Guatemala

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Guatemala GALLERY
2020 2020 Fodor’s Go List Destination
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With incomparable ancient ruins, graceful churches, and colorful highland markets, Guatemala is the center of the Maya heartland. This landscape is known for its expansive stretches of rain forest that hide spider monkeys, toucans, and iguanas among mahogany trees draped with mosses and rare orchids. In a matter of days you can walk the cobblestone streets of a colonial capital, take a white-water rafting trip to the Pacific coast, and explore El Petén, where the stately pyramids of Tikal rise from the steamy jungle.

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Guatemala City

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...

Panajachel

The quiet Cakchiquel village of Panajachel on the northern shore of Lago Atitlán began welcoming international visitors during the heady, hippie...

Coban

Spanish King Charles V dubbed Cobán La Ciudad Imperial ("the Imperial City"), a designation that generates pride among residents even today...

Chichicastenango

Perched on a hillside, Chichicastenango ("the place of the nettles") is in many ways a typical highland town. The narrow cobblestone streets...

Flores

The red-roof town of Flores, on an island in the waters of Lago Petén Itzá connected to the mainland by a main road, is on the site of the ancient...

Huehuetenango

At the foot of the Cuchumatán mountain range, Huehuetenango—it's one of those fun Guatemalan place names to say ( way-way-tay-NAHN-go ), but...

Rio Dulce

The term "Río Dulce" denotes two geographic entities. First and foremost, it designates the beautiful waterway connecting the coastal town of...

Livingston

Visitors always compare Livingston with Puerto Barrios across the bay, and the former wins hands down, for its sultry, seductive Caribbean flavor...

Tikal

...

Monterrico

Look up "laid-back beach town" in the dictionary, and you just might find a picture of Monterrico, the only town in the country with such a...

Puerto Barrios

The friendly but down-at-the-heels port city of Puerto Barrios preserves the atmosphere of an old banana town. Its wide streets, mostly detached...

El Estor

Although the vast majority of this little town's population is Q'eqchí, there's also a decidedly Caribbean influence. Locals describe El Estor...

Biotopo del Quetzal

...

Santa Elena

Although it lacks the charms of neighboring Flores, gritty Santa Elena is pretty much unavoidable. Most services that you'll need for your trip...

Santiago Atitlan

Across the lake from Panajachel lies its rival in size, Santiago Atitlán, a small city with a fascinating, tragic history. With a population...

Santa Cruz del Quiche

A half-hour north of Chichicastenango lies the provincial capital of Santa Cruz del Quiché, which serves as a base for exploring the area. Quiché...

El Remate

...

Lanquin

This pretty village, founded in the 16th century, is on the doorstep of some impressive natural wonders, namely the caverns of Lanquín and the...

Retalhuleu

Guatemala has some pretty complex place names, but no one even bothers trying to pronounce this one. It's ray-tahl-hoo-LAY-oo if you care...

Santa Cruz La Laguna

Your first view of Santa Cruz La Laguna is the hubbub of a couple of hotels and a few vendors who hang around the dock. (A boat is realistically...

Sayaxche and Ceibal

Though Ceibal can be reached via a dirt road that floods during the rainy season, it's best accessed by boat on the Río de la Pasión, followed...

San Juan La Laguna

The tiny, one-hotel village of San Juan La Laguna bills itself as "the cleanest town in Guatemala," and it lives up to its claim. San Juan is...

San Marcos La Laguna

San Marcos has acquired fame as a center of New Age devotion, thanks to the presence of the Pirámides del Ka meditation center/lodge. The tiny...

Lake Petexbatun

This impressive rain-forest lagoon was the seat of a 6th-century kingdom that extended south as far as the Verapaces and east to present-day...

San Miguel Totonicapan

This traditional highland village is famous for its wooden toys. "Toto" is full of workshops where a wide variety of handicrafts are actually...

Jaibalito

So small that it rarely appears on maps of the region, Jaibalito is the most undisturbed of the villages surrounding Lago Atitlán. Santa Cruz...

Monumento Natural Yaxha-Nakum-Naranjo

Southwest of Tikal lies a 430-square-mile (1,200-square-km) complex of three ruins from the Late Classic period. Yaxhá is the most easily visited...

Puerto San Jose

Guatemala's oldest port dates from 1853, its construction spurred by the then-nascent coffee trade. Its importance has been eclipsed since the...

San Antonio Palopo

San Antonio Palopó is a quiet farming town, larger, but much less known, than neighboring Santa Catarina Palopó. Most people have plots of land...

Escuintla

Ghastly” and “exhaust-ridden” are two of the terms travelers use to describe the region’s largest city. If you’re negotiating the Pacific lowlands...

Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa

Tidy, prosperous Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa is the town that sugar built. The small city is worth a stop to visit a couple of lesser-known indigenous...

Takalik Abaj

...

Santa Catarina Palopo

Santa Catarina Palopó provides an odd mix of deep-seated Cakchiquel tradition and sumptuous luxury in the vacation homes outsiders have built...

Solola

The Atitlán area's "metropolis" of Sololá is the region's administrative capital. Sololá lies a steep, 20-minute climb up from Panajachel and...

San Pedro La Laguna

It's the new Pana," proclaim its growing number of fans. Indeed, as Panajachel and its international population have matured—a few wags would...

Zunil

At the base of an extinct volcano, the radiant village of Zunil is one of the prettiest in the highlands. Mud and adobe houses are clustered...

El Zotz

...

Uaxactun

Uaxactún is surrounded by thick rain forest, so the trip can be difficult. The rock-and-dirt road is passable during the drier seasons and nearly...

Semuc Champey

...

Quirigua

...

Nebaj

A fascinating part of the highlands, although one of Guatemala's most inaccessible regions, is the so-called Ixil Triangle. It's home to the...

Salcaja

What you think is your first glimpse of Quetzaltenango is not Quetzaltenango at all, but actually the Quiché market town of Salcajá. With the...

San Lucas Toliman

San Lucas Tolimán, in the shadow of the Tolimán volcano, is the first town you encounter if approaching Lake Atitlán from the south. (It lies...

El Mirador

...

Momostenango

It's "Momo" in local parlance and on the front of the buses that shuttle you here from Quetzaltenango. This is one of the few places left in...

Almolonga

In this charming village just outside of Quetzaltenango you'll find women wearing bright orange huipils and beautiful headbands. At the busy...

San Francisco El Alto

What is Guatemala's largest market? Everyone guesses Chichicastenango, but it's actually the Friday affair at this highland town an easy drive...

San Andres Xecul

A quick detour from the Pan-American Highway brings you to San Andrés Xecul, notable for its canary-yellow baroque church of the same name,...

Todos Santos Cuchumatan

Although it takes about three hours to cover the short distance from Huehuetenango to Todos Santos Cuchumatán, the bumpy ride is probably the...

Guatemala City

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...

Panajachel

The quiet Cakchiquel village of Panajachel on the northern shore of Lago Atitlán began welcoming international visitors during the heady, hippie...

Coban

Spanish King Charles V dubbed Cobán La Ciudad Imperial ("the Imperial City"), a designation that generates pride among residents even today...

Chichicastenango

Perched on a hillside, Chichicastenango ("the place of the nettles") is in many ways a typical highland town. The narrow cobblestone streets...

Flores

The red-roof town of Flores, on an island in the waters of Lago Petén Itzá connected to the mainland by a main road, is on the site of the ancient...

Huehuetenango

At the foot of the Cuchumatán mountain range, Huehuetenango—it's one of those fun Guatemalan place names to say ( way-way-tay-NAHN-go ), but...

Rio Dulce

The term "Río Dulce" denotes two geographic entities. First and foremost, it designates the beautiful waterway connecting the coastal town of...

Livingston

Visitors always compare Livingston with Puerto Barrios across the bay, and the former wins hands down, for its sultry, seductive Caribbean flavor...

Tikal

...

Monterrico

Look up "laid-back beach town" in the dictionary, and you just might find a picture of Monterrico, the only town in the country with such a...

Puerto Barrios

The friendly but down-at-the-heels port city of Puerto Barrios preserves the atmosphere of an old banana town. Its wide streets, mostly detached...

El Estor

Although the vast majority of this little town's population is Q'eqchí, there's also a decidedly Caribbean influence. Locals describe El Estor...

Biotopo del Quetzal

...

Santa Elena

Although it lacks the charms of neighboring Flores, gritty Santa Elena is pretty much unavoidable. Most services that you'll need for your trip...

Santiago Atitlan

Across the lake from Panajachel lies its rival in size, Santiago Atitlán, a small city with a fascinating, tragic history. With a population...

Santa Cruz del Quiche

A half-hour north of Chichicastenango lies the provincial capital of Santa Cruz del Quiché, which serves as a base for exploring the area. Quiché...

El Remate

...

Lanquin

This pretty village, founded in the 16th century, is on the doorstep of some impressive natural wonders, namely the caverns of Lanquín and the...

Retalhuleu

Guatemala has some pretty complex place names, but no one even bothers trying to pronounce this one. It's ray-tahl-hoo-LAY-oo if you care...

Santa Cruz La Laguna

Your first view of Santa Cruz La Laguna is the hubbub of a couple of hotels and a few vendors who hang around the dock. (A boat is realistically...

Sayaxche and Ceibal

Though Ceibal can be reached via a dirt road that floods during the rainy season, it's best accessed by boat on the Río de la Pasión, followed...

San Juan La Laguna

The tiny, one-hotel village of San Juan La Laguna bills itself as "the cleanest town in Guatemala," and it lives up to its claim. San Juan is...

San Marcos La Laguna

San Marcos has acquired fame as a center of New Age devotion, thanks to the presence of the Pirámides del Ka meditation center/lodge. The tiny...

Lake Petexbatun

This impressive rain-forest lagoon was the seat of a 6th-century kingdom that extended south as far as the Verapaces and east to present-day...

San Miguel Totonicapan

This traditional highland village is famous for its wooden toys. "Toto" is full of workshops where a wide variety of handicrafts are actually...

Jaibalito

So small that it rarely appears on maps of the region, Jaibalito is the most undisturbed of the villages surrounding Lago Atitlán. Santa Cruz...

Monumento Natural Yaxha-Nakum-Naranjo

Southwest of Tikal lies a 430-square-mile (1,200-square-km) complex of three ruins from the Late Classic period. Yaxhá is the most easily visited...

Puerto San Jose

Guatemala's oldest port dates from 1853, its construction spurred by the then-nascent coffee trade. Its importance has been eclipsed since the...

San Antonio Palopo

San Antonio Palopó is a quiet farming town, larger, but much less known, than neighboring Santa Catarina Palopó. Most people have plots of land...

Escuintla

Ghastly” and “exhaust-ridden” are two of the terms travelers use to describe the region’s largest city. If you’re negotiating the Pacific lowlands...

Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa

Tidy, prosperous Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa is the town that sugar built. The small city is worth a stop to visit a couple of lesser-known indigenous...

Takalik Abaj

...

Santa Catarina Palopo

Santa Catarina Palopó provides an odd mix of deep-seated Cakchiquel tradition and sumptuous luxury in the vacation homes outsiders have built...

Solola

The Atitlán area's "metropolis" of Sololá is the region's administrative capital. Sololá lies a steep, 20-minute climb up from Panajachel and...

San Pedro La Laguna

It's the new Pana," proclaim its growing number of fans. Indeed, as Panajachel and its international population have matured—a few wags would...

Zunil

At the base of an extinct volcano, the radiant village of Zunil is one of the prettiest in the highlands. Mud and adobe houses are clustered...

El Zotz

...

Uaxactun

Uaxactún is surrounded by thick rain forest, so the trip can be difficult. The rock-and-dirt road is passable during the drier seasons and nearly...

Semuc Champey

...

Quirigua

...

Nebaj

A fascinating part of the highlands, although one of Guatemala's most inaccessible regions, is the so-called Ixil Triangle. It's home to the...

Salcaja

What you think is your first glimpse of Quetzaltenango is not Quetzaltenango at all, but actually the Quiché market town of Salcajá. With the...

San Lucas Toliman

San Lucas Tolimán, in the shadow of the Tolimán volcano, is the first town you encounter if approaching Lake Atitlán from the south. (It lies...

El Mirador

...

Momostenango

It's "Momo" in local parlance and on the front of the buses that shuttle you here from Quetzaltenango. This is one of the few places left in...

Almolonga

In this charming village just outside of Quetzaltenango you'll find women wearing bright orange huipils and beautiful headbands. At the busy...

San Francisco El Alto

What is Guatemala's largest market? Everyone guesses Chichicastenango, but it's actually the Friday affair at this highland town an easy drive...

San Andres Xecul

A quick detour from the Pan-American Highway brings you to San Andrés Xecul, notable for its canary-yellow baroque church of the same name,...

Todos Santos Cuchumatan

Although it takes about three hours to cover the short distance from Huehuetenango to Todos Santos Cuchumatán, the bumpy ride is probably the...

The Highlands

The region that locals call the Occidente (west) or the Altiplano (high plain) is the Guatemala that everyone comes to see. The highlands begin...

Antigua

Filled with vestiges of its colonial past—cobblestone streets, enchanting squares, and deserted convents—Antigua, one of Latin America's loveliest...

Quetzaltenango (Xelaju)

Guatemala's second-largest city might seem quite provincial if you've first visited the capital. But we'll take friendly, old Quetzaltenango...

El Peten

The jungles of El Petén were once the heartland of the Mayan civilization. The sprawling empire—including parts of present-day Mexico, Belize...

The Atlantic Lowlands

Guatemala's short Caribbean shoreline doesn't generate the same buzz as those of neighboring Belize and Mexico. The coast—Guatemalans all call...

Las Verapaces

Northeast of Guatemala City, the scrubby landscape gives way to forested mountains drained by wild rivers. You may feel you’ve stepped into...

The Pacific Lowlands

Even old Guatemala hands scratch their heads when someone mentions its little-known Pacific coast. The country’s 266-km (160-mile) Pacific shoreline...

North Shore, Lake Peten Itza, and Quexil Lagoon

The small villages of San Pedro, San José, and San Andrés, on the northwest shore of Lake Petén Itzá, have beautiful vistas of the sparkling...

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