Why I Visited These 6 Off Path Destinations In Guatemala

Why I Visited These 6 Off Path Destinations In Guatemala

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Have you ever thought-about visiting Guatemala? I spent a number of months touring on this underrated Central American nation, and these had been my favourite locations.

Although Guatemala has been rising in recognition as a vacationer vacation spot, it nonetheless doesn’t obtain as many guests as neighboring Mexico, which noticed over 18 million tourists in 2022.

Meanwhile, Guatemala peaked at 2.5 million guests in 2019.

Atitlan Lake in Guatemala with two piers going out into the water and two mountains in the distance

One of the most well-liked locations to go to in Guatemala is Antigua, the nation’s colourful colonial capital. Antigua is quaint, stunning, and surrounded by volcanoes, two of which (Pacaya and Acatenango) are in style for mountain climbing.

But these are some extra off path locations in Guatemala that shouldn’t be missed:

(*6*)

1. Guatemala City

Many guests skip proper over Guatemala City and head instantly from the airport to Antigua, about one hour away.

Although Guatemala’s capital metropolis will get a nasty fame for being harmful, there are secure areas which are value visiting. It’s gritty, vibrant, and concrete, and jogs my memory of Mexico City.

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Main square in Guatemala City

2. Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan, positioned about two hours away from Antigua, is among the most magical locations in Guatemala.

It surprisingly jogged my memory of Lake Como in Italy, with its dramatic surroundings and clear blue water. The cities round Lake Atitlan every have their very own distinct persona, and you may get round to all of them by way of lancha — small native boats that solely price a few {dollars} for a journey.

San Marcos is a hippie paradise, San Pedro is an reasonably priced haven for backpackers, Santiago is dwelling to conventional Mayan tradition, and Panajachel is a bustling hub on the lake.

empty wooden pier leading to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, Mountain View in the distance

3. El Paredon

Guatemala will not be identified for its seashores in the way in which that neighboring international locations are, however this nation has a number of nice seashores.

I visited El Paredon on the Pacific Coast, about two hours from Antigua. This sleepy fishing village has been reworked right into a laidback surf city in the previous few years.

In addition to browsing, you’ll be able to go to a sea turtle hatchery or take a ship tour of the close by mangroves, which empty out into the ocean.

Sunset on the beach in El Paredon, Guatemala

4. Semuc Champey

Although it’s not straightforward to succeed in, Semuc Champey is among the most breathtaking locations in Guatemala.

Located about 9 hours away from Antigua down bumpy, winding roads, Semuc Champey is a pure formation deep within the jungle identified for its pure tiered limestone swimming pools with clear turquoise water.

Swimming within the swimming pools and waterfalls, tubing on the river, and caving are simply a few of the adventurous actions that await you at Semuc Champey.

Aerial view of pools at Semuc Champey

5. Xela

I spent two weeks in Quetzaltenango, higher often called Xela, and completely fell in love with this metropolis.

It’s Guatemala’s second-largest metropolis after Guatemala City, but it surely has a totally completely different vibe. It’s secure and delightful, with distinctive structure and a local weather that continues to be cool and gentle year-round.

Xela is a superb place to take Spanish courses for an especially reasonably priced value. (So is Antigua, however since Xela is much less touristy, you’ll be able to follow extra!) There are additionally volcanoes and sizzling springs close by.

Main square of Xela, Guatemala

6. Tikal

Tikal National Park is a must-visit vacation spot in Guatemala. Located within the jungles of the northern a part of the nation, Tikal is dwelling to a few of the best Mayan ruins on the planet.

This historical metropolis is a sight to behold, and I discovered it to be a lot much less crowded than related ruins in Mexico. This is partially because of its measurement (Tikal is huge) and the truth that it doesn’t obtain almost as many guests.

If you’re actually up for an journey, go to El Mirador. These distant Mayan ruins are solely accessible by way of a two-day hike or an costly personal helicopter. (I didn’t make it to those ruins, however I’d love to return to Guatemala sooner or later to see them!)

Tikal ruins in Guatemala

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