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Things to do in Guatemala: places and attractions

Find out all the things you can do in Guatemala in this article. Plans, activities, attractions and so much more!

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June 26, 2023

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Welcome to a city full of emotions and colors. If you are planning your next trip and you don’t know what to do in Guatemala, you are in the right place. In this article, we will explore the best places, plans, and attractions that this vibrant city has to offer. We will also show you how to connect to the internet and avoid the expensive international roaming service.

From impressive historical and cultural sites to outdoor activities and unique culinary experiences, Guatemala City has so much to offer. Let’s begin!

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Find out more about how to connect to the internet in Guatemala with an eSIM! Just Scan the QR code

What to see and do in Guatemala?

This city has many exciting activities and things to offer during every season of the year. In summer, we recommend you explore the lush parks and gardens, such as Parque Central and Jardín Botánico, where you can enjoy the natural beauty and relax in the tropical sun.

During Fall, you cannot miss the cultural festivals and traditional celebrations that fill the streets with music and color. In winter, you can visit the local markets and enjoy delicious typical dishes, such as kak’ik (a turkey stew) or fiambre (a cold salad). In spring, adventurous travelers can explore nearby volcanoes, such as the Pacaya Volcano, where you can enjoy incredible panoramic views.

Nonetheless, no matter how long you travel in Guatemala, it is very important to connect to the internet all the time. An excellent alternative is to get the Holafly Guatemala eSIM, which will give you an internet connection all the time during your trip.

1. Best squares in Guatemala

Guatemala City is home to some of the most charming and lively plazas. These public spaces are true cultural treasures, where visitors can dive into the city’s vibrant atmosphere and enjoy many activities and attractions.

Plaza Mayour in Guatemala
Plaza Mayour. One of the most important squares in Guatemala. Source; TripAdvisor.

Constitution Square (Central Park)

The Plaza de la Constitución, also known as Parque Central, is the heart of Guatemala City. Located in the historic center, this iconic square is famed for its architectural beauty and lively atmosphere. You can easily reach it by public transportation or walking from the surroundings. Once you arrive, you’ll find plenty of street stores, street performers, and cozy cafés.

Enjoy a nice walk, and see the Metropolitan Cathedral and the government buildings that surround the square. You can also visit the National Palace of Culture, an impressive historical building that houses museums and exhibitions.

Main Square of Antigua Guatemala

The Plaza Mayour in Antigua Guatemala is another must-see place for travelers. This charming square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, will take you back in time with its colonial architecture and beautiful environment. You can get to Antigua Guatemala from Guatemala City in about an hour by car.

Once there, you will be able to see the beauty of the Fuente de las Sirenas and the historical buildings that surround it, such as the Cathedral of San José and the Palace of the General Captains. Don’t forget to explore the nearby cobbled streets, lined with craft shops, art galleries, and charming restaurants.

Neighborhoods square

Plaza Barrios, located in the historic center of Guatemala City, is another important place to visit. This square is known for its impressive fountain and lively atmosphere. You can easily visit it by public transportation or on foot from the surroundings. Once you are there, you can enjoy a relaxing walk through its gardens and admire the architecture of the surrounding buildings. You will also find a wide variety of restaurants, bars, and cafés where you can enjoy the local gastronomy and relax with a refreshing drink.

Obelisk Square

Plaza Obelisco is an emblematic place in Guatemala City. This square is known for its high-rise obelisk and its modern design. You can easily reach it by public transportation or by car. When you get there, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city and its surroundings. Also, the square is home to several restaurants and cafés where you can enjoy a delicious meal or have a coffee while admiring the urban landscape. It is also a popular venue for outdoor events and concerts.

2. Museums to visit in Guatemala

Guatemala’s museums offer a fascinating sight of the history, art, and culture of this beautiful country. Dive into the past and discover the treasures that these museums have to offer.

National Museum of Archeology and Ethnology

The National Museum of Archeology and Ethnology is a must for history and archeology lovers. Located in Guatemala City, in zone 13, this museum houses an extensive collection of pre-Columbian artifacts and exhibits showcasing Guatemala’s rich cultural heritage.

You can get to the museum by public transport or by car. Once there, you can explore the themed spaces that range from pre-Hispanic times to the present. Learn about the Mayan civilization, discover ancient sculptures and ceramics, and dive into the rich culture of Guatemala.

Prices:

  • Kids: Free
  • Adults: $7.67

Schedule:

  • Tuesday to Friday from 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 PM hours.
  • Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 PM and from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. hours.
  • Closed on Monday.

Popol Vuh Museum

The Popol Vuh Museum, located at the Francisco Marroquín University in Guatemala City, is a jewel dedicated to Mayan art and culture. This museum houses an impressive collection of Mayan artifacts, including ceramics, sculptures, and ritual objects. You can get to the museum by public transport or by car. Once there, you will be able to explore the fascinating history of the Maya and discover the beauty of their art.

The museum also offers temporary exhibitions and cultural events.

Prices:

  • Adults: $5
  • Students and children: $2

Schedule:

  • Monday to Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Saturdays, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • Sundays, closed.

Ixchel Museum of Indigenous Costume

The Ixchel Museum of Indigenous Costume, located at the Francisco Marroquín University in Guatemala City, is a unique venue that celebrates Guatemala’s rich textile tradition. This museum houses an impressive collection of indigenous costumes, handwoven and embroidered by different ethnic groups in the country. You can get to the museum by public transport or by car.

Once there, you will be able to see the beauty and diversity of indigenous costumes, learn about weaving and embroidery techniques, and understand the cultural importance of these garments.

Prices:

  • Adults: $5
  • Youth (0 to 18 years old): $2

Schedule:

  • Monday – Friday 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 PM
  • Saturday: 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Miraflores Museum

The Miraflores Museum, located in Zone 9 of Guatemala City, is an interactive museum that will take you on a journey through the history and culture of Guatemala. You can get to the museum by public transport or by car. Once there, you can explore the different themed rooms that go from ancient times to the modern era.

Discover the history of the Mayan civilization, Spanish colonization, and contemporary Guatemala. The museum also features interactive exhibits that let you experience Guatemalan culture and traditions up close.

Prices:

  • Adults: $5
  • Students & children: $3
  • Seniors: $2
  • Disabled and special needs: $1

Schedule:

  • Tuesday to Sunday: 9 am to 7 pm

You can try exploring Travel Apps that will help you find museums and cultural plans to enjoy during your trip to Guatemala.

3. Places to visit in Guatemala

Guatemala is a country full of wonderful destinations that caught the attention of travelers. From breathtaking landscapes to historical and cultural sites, here you’ll find a wide variety of places you won’t want to miss during your visit.

Lake Atitlan in Guatemala
Lake Atitlan, one of the most popular places in Guatemala. Source: Pexels.

Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlán is a dream place that will take your breath away. Located in the highlands of Guatemala, this lake of volcanic origin is known for its crystal-clear waters surrounded by majestic volcanoes and beautiful indigenous villages. You can get to the lake by public transport or by car.

Once there, you’ll be able to enjoy wonderful panoramic views, take boat rides on the lake, and visit charming lakeside towns such as Panajachel and San Pedro La Laguna. You can also do activities such as kayaking, hiking, and exploring local crafts. Admission to the lake is free, but activities and transportation may have additional costs.

Tikal

Tikal is a world-renowned archaeological site and historical gem in Guatemala. Located in the jungle in the north of the country, this ancient ceremonial center of the Mayan civilization is a fascinating place to explore. You can get to Tikal by plane from Guatemala City or by car.

Once there, you will be able to see the towering pyramids, temples, and ruins that rise among the lush vegetation. Hike the trails and discover the rich history of this ancient civilization. Also, you will be able to see wildlife and enjoy spectacular views from the heights. The entrance to Tikal costs approximately $5 and the archaeological site is open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Semuc Champey

Semuc Champey is a natural paradise hidden in the mountains of Guatemala. Located in the department of Alta Verapaz, this set of waterfalls and natural pools is an impressive place to visit. You can get to Semuc Champey by public transport or by car, although access can be a bit challenging due to the winding roads. Once there, you will marvel at the beauty of the waterfalls and the pools of crystal-clear water surrounded by exuberant vegetation.

Enjoy a refreshing bath in the natural pools, explore the nearby caves, and venture into exciting activities such as tubing in the Cahabón River. The entrance to Semuc Champey costs approximately $7.

4. Activities to do in Guatemala

Guatemala offers a wide range of exciting activities and unforgettable experiences for travelers who want to fully enjoy their holidays. From outdoor adventures to cultural explorations, there is something for everyone.

Volcano in Guatemala
Do not leave Guatemala without hiking the Pacaya Volcano. Source: Pexels.

Climb the Pacaya volcano

One of the most exciting activities you can do in Guatemala is climbing the Pacaya volcano. Located near Antigua Guatemala, this active volcano lets you enjoy a spectacular hike and experience the lava flow in its crater. You can hire local guides in Antigua or in the Pacaya Volcano National Park to carry out this adventure.

The usual price for the tour is $35, which includes the guide and transportation.

Explore the Lanquín caves

The Lanquín caves, located in the department of Alta Verapaz, are an impressive destination for lovers of adventure and exploration. Dive into the cave system and discover spectacular rock formations, underground rivers, and hidden chambers. You can hire local guides in the city of Lanquín to explore these caves.

Surfing on the Pacific coast

If you are a lover of the sea and water sports, you cannot miss surfing on the Pacific coast of Guatemala. Places like El Paredón, Sipacate, and Champerico offer ideal conditions for surfing. You can rent surfboards on the beaches or attend classes with local instructors. Prices vary depending on the length of the lesson or board rental, but it usually costs approximately $10-$40.

Visit the Chichicastenango market

The Chichicastenango market is one of the most colorful and traditional markets in Guatemala. Located in the department of Quiché, this market is held on Thursdays and Sundays and attracts visitors from all over the country. Here you can find a wide variety of handicrafts, textiles, food, and much more.

You can also dive into the local culture and witness Mayan rituals at the Church of Santo Tomás. Market access is free, but product prices may vary.

Tips to enjoy your trip to Guatemala

During your visit to Guatemala, there are some things that we recommend you consider to fully enjoy your trip. You can find them below:

  • Have an open mind: Guatemala is a country full of cultural diversity, breathtaking landscapes, and unique experiences. Have an open mind and be willing to dive into the rich culture and traditions of the destination. Interact with the locals, taste delicious Guatemalan gastronomy, and explore the hidden treasures the country has to offer.
  • Plan your itinerary with anticipation: It can be exciting to discover places as you go, but having a general plan can help you make the most of your time in Guatemala. Try investigating the activities you want to do, and what is the best time to do them.
  • Connect to the Internet: During your stay in Guatemala, it is important to have an Internet connection to find information, share your experiences on social media, and communicate with your loved ones. A great alternative for this is the Holafly eSIM card for Guatemala. With it, you can enjoy high-speed internet access throughout the country, without needing to change your SIM card.
  • Remember to practice responsible tourism: When traveling, it is essential to be respectful of the environment, culture, and local communities. Respect archaeological and natural sites, follow the rules of behavior in temples and sacred places, and support local and sustainable businesses.