Mayan temples dripping with vines—sure. But if you’re feeling blasé about archaeological sites, ancient cultures, tropical rainforests and oh, volcano climbing, you don’t have to cross Guatemala off your list. Beach bums can swing in hammocks and swim with sea turtles in coastal paradise Monterrico. Linguists will love the Spanish schools of crisp, clean Antigua. A shopper? Head to traditional town Chichicastenango and cruise for crafts at the biggest and oldest market in Central America. Those in need of a long exhale will find room to breathe in the picture-perfect villages of volcanic Lake Atitlan. Even sprawling and smoggy Guatemala City has something to offer—the country’s best museums, which feature everything from pre-Hispanic artifacts to cutting-edge contemporary art. Want to experience the Guatemala culture of today? Eat fiambre and fly giant kites in Santiago Sacatepequez’s Dia de los Muertos celebrations. And if that gets boring, there’s always the awe-inspiring, dumb-founding, jaw-dropping Mayan ruins. Watch the sun rise over massive Tikal, soak in the imposing sculpture of Quirigua, and relive your favorite moments of the television show Survivor at Yaxha. But only, you know, if you have time.

Regions in Guatemala

Atlantic Lowlands

Although Guatemalans, tourists, and guidebooks all refer to Guatemala's Atlantic Highway and Atlantic coast, these are misnomers -- Guatemala's eastern coast actually fronts the Caribbean Sea. Nonetheless,... read more

Central Guatemala

Verapaz translates to "true peace," but its history reveals a path of destruction blazed by the Spanish conquistadors who met unprecedented resistance in the high mountains of this region. The fierce resistance... read more

Central Highlands

Most well beaten path travelers opt to head straight to Antigua, mistakenly thinking that Guatemala City is entirely a part of Dante's Inferno. The countryside around Antigua and Guatemala City is a spectacular... read more

Lake Atitlan

Aldous Huxley famously claimed that Lake Atitlán was "the most beautiful lake in the world," and that Italy's Lake Como paled in comparison. As one who has been to both and visited Lake Atitlán many times... read more

Pacific Coast

While the country's Pacific coast is popular with Guatemalans, it's often neglected -- or outright avoided -- by most tourists. Part of this is for good reason. Guatemala's Pacific beaches pale in comparison... read more

The Peten

Occupying the entire northeastern section of Guatemala, the Petén is the country's largest and least populated province. Most of the Petén is forest -- thick tropical rainforest -- and its lush and wild landscape... read more

Western Highlands

The rugged geography of Guatemala's Western Highlands is a dense patchwork of volcanic mountains and lakes populated mostly by small, and often isolated, villages of the country's many Maya people. Some... read more

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