Discussion in 'Guatemala' started by tomriddle, Nov 4, 2010.
I agree that Tikal, Lake Atitlan and El Mirador would have to be the top Guatemala tourist attractions. However, If you're visiting all three, you may not have enough time to explore the city independently so, I'd suggest booking a tour of Guatemala city center.
Either way, a few attractions in Guatemala City that you don't want to miss are the Palacio Nacional, Metropolitan Cathedral, National Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, Zona Viva and Mercado Central.
top attractions in Guatemala
I'd say that the Ruins of Tikal, La Antigua and Lake Atitlan are the top attractions in Guatemala. Of course, the Ruins of Tikal is the most visited attraction in Guatemala. If you think the Pyramids are amazing, you will love walking through the ruins of Tikal.
Lake Atitlan is also cool to visit as the shores of the lake are dotted with a dozen indigenous villages. You cna easily spend a few days here as accommodation and food is cheap. You'll also be able to buy indigenous crafts like weavings and pots.
I second Tikal!
Tikal is the best attraction of Guatemala in my opinion, and it's worth the trip but only if you have enough time in your itinerary. I did Tikal with friends on a side trip from Ambergris Caye and we didn't allocate good time to see it all and we didn't get a local guide, which was a mistake.
I would recommend staying in the city so you can get there early, and do plan to stay there all day. Also, if you get a guide book or reference book instead of taking the guided tour or the headphone tour of the site, it may be more meaningful to you.
Tikal isn't the only attraction in Guatemala
Yes Tikal is the biggest attraction in Guatemala, but don't overlook other places such as Antigua which boasts many attractions, museums and churches, as well as indigenous markets, coffee plantations, and nearby volcanoes from Antigua.
Also, when you are in Antigua be warned that all tourist agencies tout their day trips so you have to choose carefully. I wouldn't recommend doing the side trip to Chichi as there isn't much to do there besides shopping. Instead, do the Lago de Atitlan excursion which will be a much more enjoyable activity.
Pacaya Volcano in Guatemala
Hiking the Pacaya Volcano is another must do in Guatemala which you can do by yourself or with a local guide, though the volcano is just an hour away from Antigua so it's easily accessible.
I would certainly recommend the hike to everyone for the beautiful views and for the fact that you get to be on a volcano. However, make sure you carry a walking stick, wear good hiking boots and bring a jacket as it's a slightly chilly when you reach the top.
Tikal national park
Tikal national park is one of the most beautiful places to go in Guatemala, and a living museum where you can see what has been unearthed and realize there are still mounds of earth that still have ruins beneath them not fully uncovered.
One day is not enough to see everything in the park, which is truly a jungle atmosphere where you can see monkeys swinging from trees and jaguars as you are walking through the jungle which is almost surreal.
driving in Guatemala mountains
The roads in Guatemala are not bad compared to other places in Latin america so, car rental isn't such a bad idea as there are plenty of gas stations and places to stay and eat. Keep in mind though that up in the mountains in Quezaltenango, Quiche and Huehuetenango you're looking at over 8,000 feet above sea level it gets pretty chilli and very cold at night.
As far as best time to visit, Guatemala is always good in my opinion in November and end of May as it's when weather is driest and less humid.
guided tour of Guatemala
I suggest going on a guided tour of Guatemala and spending three days in Antigua before you begin your tour, that way you have a few days to do some sightseeing on your own.
After leaving Antigua you can head to Rio Dulce, Flores, and Tikal, and day trips from Antigua to other places such as Pacaya where you can climb volcano Pacaya, which is an active volcano that still spews out lava and ash.... amazing experience!
dont miss in Guatemala
There are lots to see in Guatemala in terms of cultural and natural attractions, and I have to agree with everyone the visiting the magnificent Mayan ruins of Tikal in the north is the 'numero uno' attraction in Guatemala. I'd suggest though to base yourself in the island town of Flores rather than trying your luck at finding a room near the Tikal site.
Dont miss in Guatemala visiting the outdoor market in the highland town of Chichicastenango, which is the best spot in the country for buying inexpensive souvenirs like Mayan textiles.
loads more to see besides Tikal
Guatemala may be a small country but there are a ton of sights to see besides the major Mayan ruins at Tikal, and the pristine Lake Atitlan. there is also the well-preserved Colonial city of Antigua, which has to be a must on your itinerary.
Exploring El Boqueron Canyon, and the Finca Paraiso hot springs waterfall are also a must. To get there, you can get on a private boat and disembarked at a resort near the waterfall. From there, you can hop on a public mini-van towards Boqueron.
must sees in Guatemala
This are the must sees in Guatemala
Tikal Museum / Museo Sylvanus G. Morley
The Great Plaza
Archaeological Park and Ruins of Quirigua
Biotopo del Quetzal (tropical cloudforest preserve)
Cojolya Museum and Store
Guatemala off the beaten path
Tikal, Lake Atitlan and El Mirador are all great attractions, but if you want to experience the real guatemala you need to get off the beaten path. For instance, you should try an d visit the Garifuna Town of Livingston, which is only reachable by boat. This town is home to the African-descended Garifuna people, who speak Spanish, English, and Garifuna. To get there, you need to catch the boat to Livingston from the town of Rio Dulce.
Separate names with a comma.