Why I Frequented These 6 Off Path Destinations In Guatemala

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Have you ever considered browsing Guatemala? I spent numerous months traveling in this underrated Central American country, and these have been my favorite places.

Although Guatemala has been escalating in reputation as a vacationer vacation spot, it nonetheless does not get as many website visitors as neighboring Mexico, which observed in excess of 18 million holidaymakers in 2022.

Meanwhile, Guatemala peaked at 2.5 million people in 2019.

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

1 of the most well-liked spots to take a look at in Guatemala is Antigua, the country’s colorful colonial funds. Antigua is quaint, stunning, and surrounded by volcanoes, two of which (Pacaya and Acatenango) are preferred for mountaineering.

But these are some a lot more off route locations in Guatemala that shouldn’t be missed:

Archway in Antigua Guatemala

1. Guatemala City

A lot of visitors skip proper above Guatemala City and head right from the airport to Antigua, about 1 hour away.

Although Guatemala’s capital metropolis will get a negative name for remaining unsafe, there are harmless parts that are truly worth viewing. It is gritty, vivid, and city, and reminds me of Mexico Metropolis.

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Main square in Guatemala City

2. Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan, found about two hours absent from Antigua, is 1 of the most magical destinations in Guatemala.

It amazingly reminded me of Lake Como in Italy, with its dramatic scenery and clear blue h2o. The cities all over Lake Atitlan each and every have their personal distinct persona, and you can get all-around to all of them by way of lancha — little regional boats that only price tag a pair of bucks for a journey.

San Marcos is a hippie paradise, San Pedro is an affordable haven for backpackers, Santiago is home to conventional Mayan society, 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 may perhaps not be acknowledged for its beaches in the way that neighboring countries are, but this region has quite a few wonderful beach locations.

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

In addition to surfing, you can pay a visit to a sea turtle hatchery or acquire a boat tour of the close by mangroves, which vacant out into the ocean.

Sunset on the beach in El Paredon, Guatemala

4. Semuc Champey

Despite the fact that it’s not uncomplicated to achieve, Semuc Champey is a single of the most breathtaking spots in Guatemala.

Situated about 9 several hours absent from Antigua down bumpy, winding roadways, Semuc Champey is a normal formation deep in the jungle identified for its normal tiered limestone pools with very clear turquoise water.

Swimming in the swimming pools and waterfalls, tubing on the river, and caving are just some of the adventurous routines that await you at Semuc Champey.

Aerial view of pools at Semuc Champey

5. Xela

I put in two weeks in Quetzaltenango, improved recognised as Xela, and totally fell in like with this metropolis.

It is Guatemala’s next-greatest city right after Guatemala Metropolis, but it has a entirely different vibe. It’s harmless and wonderful, with exclusive architecture and a weather that stays neat and moderate 12 months-round.

Xela is a terrific position to just take Spanish lessons for an exceptionally inexpensive value. (So is Antigua, but due to the fact Xela is less touristy, you can exercise a lot more!) There are also volcanoes and hot springs close by.

Main square of Xela, Guatemala

6. Tikal

Tikal Nationwide Park is a should-pay a visit to place in Guatemala. Found in the jungles of the northern aspect of the country, Tikal is residence to some of the most effective Mayan ruins in the planet.

This historic city is a sight to behold, and I identified it to be considerably much less crowded than very similar ruins in Mexico. This is partially due to its sizing (Tikal is significant) and the actuality that it does not obtain nearly as numerous people.

If you’re seriously up for an journey, take a look at El Mirador. These remote Mayan ruins are only obtainable by using a two-day hike or an expensive private helicopter. (I did not make it to these ruins, but I’d love to go back again to Guatemala 1 day to see them!)

Tikal ruins in Guatemala

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This report at first appeared on TravelOffPath.com