Since the fall of a Mayan megacity, the end of Spanish colonialism and a succession of military dictators – Guatemala has become a fascinating graveyard of greats.
Guatemala’s history haunts its ruins like a ghost. The once mighty city of Tikal is now a glorious ghost town steeped in deep forest. In the city of Antigua, the baroque buildings of colonial days flake with abandoned memories. And the Guatemalan people speak of their former revolutions with the fervour of newly liberated souls. This coastal nation of is not just a tropical paradise; it’s a history buff’s dream.
Guatemala travel highlights
Sleep under the temples of Tikal
Over a thousand years ago, Tikal was the capital of the Mayan world. Camp beneath the soaring temples in the lush Tikal national park.
Drive out to sea in Flores
This town is situated all around, and inside of, Lake Peten Itza. Drive out to the old part of the city, an island in the middle of the lake.
Marvel at the architecture in Antigua
The churches, cathedrals and convents of Antigua inspire awe with their grand pillars, elegant facades and elaborate floral motifs. This UNESCO site has more architectural wonders than a sightseer could dream for.
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Articles on Guatemala
Guatemala holiday information
Capital city Guatemala City (population 1.15 millio...
Local culture of Guatemala
The population of Guatemala is made up of about 40% Mestizo, 40% Amerindians, and minor...
Geography & environment
Guatemala lives on the isthmus of Panama, that thin stretch of land connecting North an...
Shopping guide to Guatemala
Guatemala’s markets are stocked full of vibrant and authentic handicrafts that any shop...
Guatemala festival calendar
Easter Easter celebrations are unlike anything else in the Western hemisphere. It’s ...
Food & drink in Guatemala
The strong influence of Indigenous culture on Guatemala is no more evident than in thei...
When the Ground Turns in its Sleep by Sylvia Sellers Garcia The Bruja’s Tale by Ti...
Guatemala travel FAQs
- Australia: Not required
- Belgium: Not required
- Canada: Not required
- Germany: Not required
- Ireland: Not required
- Netherlands: Not required
- New Zealand: Not required
- South Africa: Yes - in advance
- Switzerland: Not required
- United Kingdom: Not required
- USA: Not required
Tipping is customary in Guatemala, especially in restaurants. Some restaurants include a 10% surcharge on the bill which will suffice as a tip, but otherwise rounding up the bill is a good idea. You may also like to leave extra change when at cafes and using other services.
You’ll find internet cafes and Wi-Fi hotspots in major cities but service is harder to find outside these areas. It’s also a little slower than some parts of the world.
You’ll have mobile phone coverage in major cities and towns, but service is patchy in rural and remote areas. Remember to activate global roaming with your provider if you wish to use your mobile while traveling.
Most toilets are Western-style flush toilets, although some rural areas have compost or pit toilets. You may like to carry some soap and toilet paper with you in case they aren’t provided.
- Cup of coffee at a cafe = US$1.50
- A bottle of beer = US$2
- Basic meal = US$4
- Dinner at an international restaurant = US$10-15
Drinking tap water is not considered safe in Guatemala. For environmental reasons, avoid buying bottled water and bring a bottle or canteen with you. Ask your leader where you can access filters to refill your supply, or carry your own purification tablets with you.
Credit cards are accepted at places like big hotels, major shops and tourist establishments. The locals however deal primarily in cash, so prepare for this when buying from small businesses.
Major centres like Guatemala City are well stocked with ATMs however they are harder to find and unreliable in rural and remote areas.
Yes. All peregrine passengers are required to purchase travel insurance prior to their trip. Your insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day.
For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/Guatemala/public-holidays