Guatemala Itinerary

My country number 19 and my first international trip of 2022! I was seeing a lot of Guatemala pictures and videos popping up on my social media, so I had to come check it out myself. This country is colorful, charming, and true hidden gem in Central America. When people asked me where I was traveling to, most people were shocked when I said Guatemala since it is not your typical vacation spot. Guatemala is home to active volcanoes, rainforest, lakes, and ancient Mayan sites. If Guatemala was not on your radar before, it should be now! Read my guide to see where to visit and what to do in this country.

Things to Know Before Visiting

Guatemala City

First, we started our journey by arriving in Guatemala City. We rented our car from Alamo. We paid a total of $100 for the rental car. Once we picked up our car, then it was time to drive to Antigua. Before arriving to Antigua, we stopped at a local restaurant, Accurran, to eat some lunch. It was our first time trying Guatemalan food so we didn’t know what we were necessarily ordering. We ordered a plate with steak, chicken, rice, beans. It blew my expectations and foreshadowed all the delicious food I would eat here in Guatemala. 

Antigua

Antigua is such a colorful, vibrant, and colonial city! It is a small historic city surrounded by volcanoes. I would recommend staying here 1-3 days. Everything is walking distance and the locals are so kind. 

Where to Stay in Antigua

We stayed at this hotel for only one night. It was perfect for what we needed – A/C, breakfast included, free parking, and an 8 minute walk from the city center.  It came out to a total of $87 USD for a room with two full sized-beds. 

Things to Do in Antigua

Santa Catalina Arch

Visit and take a picture in front of the famous Santa Catalina Arch. When it is not cloudy, you can see the volcano right behind the arch. Make sure to get there as the sun is rising to beat all the tourist. 

Central Park

Just a couple steps away from the Santa Catalina Arch, is Central Park. Here you’ll find, locals selling art, food, and playing music. There is a fountain in the middle of the park and is surrounded by local restaurants and shops. It is the perfect place to take a little break on a bench and people watch. I bought an ice cream here for only 1 Quetzal (about $0.15).

Market

You can find almost anything here! This market is like a maze and the deeper you go into it, the more you find yourself as the only tourist. That is what makes it so special. From fresh fruits, to clothes, to household items, you can find it all here.

Always be careful with your belongings when in enclosed areas and in a big crowd. Not just here, but anywhere. We had a young boy follow us around for a couple minutes, but luckily we caught onto him and were able to get out of that situation. 

Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan is known for being the deepest lake in Central America. It is surrounded by volcanoes and mountains. I would recommend staying here 4-5 days. It’s definitely a place to unwind and escape reality. There are so many cities surrounding the lake that you can explore. Most of the people that live around the lake, are indigenous. Lake Atitlan is an actual dream. I saw it on TikTok, and I knew I had to come visit this hidden gem.

How to arrive to Lake Atitlan

We drove from Antigua to Lake Atitlan which took about 3 hours. There is no actual way to drive to the hotel since it is cliffside on a lake, so we parked at a private parking lot in Panajachel. It was 70 quetzal a day. From there we walked to the bay to take a boat. There is two options: take a private boat or a public boat. The public boat costs 25 quetzal per person. It run every 40 minutes and fits up to 30 people. The private boat was a total of 125 quetzal and leaves immediately. Ultimately we decided to take the private boat just so we could get to our hotel sooner since it was a bit of a long travel day.

Where to Stay in Lake Atitlan

By far, the most beautiful hotel I have ever stayed at. It is a unique hotel on the side of a cliff located on Lake Atitlan. You are able to pick which exact room you want. I picked the deluxe suite (room #1) overlooking the volcano and lake. Our balcony looked like straight out of a movie scene. Absolutely un freakin real. At La Casa Del Mundo, they offer kayaking, paddle boarding, and snorkeling. They even have a sauna and a natural hot tub (it takes 5 hours to heat up with fire). Just beware there are a ton of steps since it is on the side of a cliff. The food was really good and the view was even better. We paid $327 for a total of 3 nights (room for 4 people). You can find hostel-styled accommodations starting from $50 a night.

Things to do in Lake Atitlan

Visit Surrounding Cities

There are so many cities surround Lake Atitlan. Popular towns include San Pedro, San Juan, San Marco, and Jaibalito. 

Go for a Swim

No better feeling than taking a dip into the fresh water. 

Hike Indian Nose

This was by FAR, my favorite thing we did while in Guatemala. We decided we wanted to do the sunrise hike at the Indian Nose Mountain, so we told the reception at our hotel and they arrange a tour for us. Our wake up call was 3:00am and we had to be ready at the dock at 3:30 for our pick up to San Pedro. After arriving in San Pedro, we met our guides Domingo and Alfonso. They drove us an hour to Santa Clara and from there, we began our hike. The hike took about 30 minutes and was not too difficult. After we made it to the top, we waited for the sun to rise. The view was so surreal overlooking Lake Atitlan while the sun was glowing on the water. I can’t recommend this hike enough if youre in the area. 

Here are our guides information. They were so informative and sweet! 

 

Domingo Tour Guide Contact: +502 5634 1393

 

We paid $27 per person for this hike. You can find cheaper prices, but we booked it the day before so we had no choice. 

 

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