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Guatemala City Travel Guide

  • Photo: cleanfotos / Shutterstock

Plan Your Guatemala City Vacation

Central America's largest metropolis has what you'd expect from an urban area of 2.5 million people—the best selection of hotels, restaurants, nightlife, and museums in the country. Yet most tourists come to Guatemala for ancient ruins, colonial towns, flamboyant markets, and spectacular volcanoes and lakes—not to explore a large, mostly modern city with a questionable reputation for security.

If

time is tight, we certainly wouldn't recommend lingering in Guatemala City instead of, say, Lake Atitlán or Antigua. But if you have a couple of extra days, the capital, once known as "the Jewel of Latin America," does offer some unique attractions, all located within just a few of the city's 21 zones. Whereas the narrow streets of the Old City can be chaotic, the quieter, more polished streets of the New City, with their fine restaurants and comfortable hotels, can be a much-needed dose of civilization after hitting the country's more remote sights. Toss in visits to a couple of impressive museums, and Guatemala City might surprise you. Who knows, if you stay in the capital long enough, you just might start using the same affectionate name residents give to their city: "Guate."

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Culture Guatemala City boasts some impressive institutions, including the National Archaeology and Ethnology Museum, the Ixchel Museum of Indigenous Dress, and the Popol Vuh Museum.
  2. Food and Drink The capital has the country's highest concentration of fine restaurants, with an emphasis on international and fusion cuisine. There are also enough bars and clubs to keep the most ardent night owl busy for weeks.
  3. R&R After a week or two traveling in the provinces, there's no better place to check into a luxury hotel, kick back, and loll by the pool for a couple of days.
  4. Shopping If you're interested only in handicrafts, by all means head to Chichi; but if your tastes run toward fine art, antiques, and designer shops, Guate is the place to be.

When To Go

When to Go

The capital has distinct rainy (May to October) and dry seasons (November to April). Being the center of business and politics, Guatemala City...

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Check historic weather for your trip dates:

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