Guatemala is made up of 6 regions. In “The Best of Guatemala Guide” I’m going to share where to stay and some really fun things to do.
First, I will show you my FAVORITE hotel, which is located in the Western Highlands Region. It is considered to be the most beautiful part of Guatemala and I totally agree!
Then, I’m going to share some things to do in Lake Atitlan, which is located in the Western Highlands Region. I will also show you things to do in Guatemala City and Antigua, which are located in the Central Highlands Region. That is where the capital and one active volcano are located. Get ready for an adventure in Central America!
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Where to Stay in Guatemala
Hotel Atitlan is an incredible, luxury filled, hotel with botanical gardens. When I was in Guatemala on a Volunteer Medical Mission’s Trip, we were fortunate enough to take a day trip to Hotel Atitlan. It is approximately 3 hours away from the Guatemala City Airport, but it’s worth it to stay there! As one of the most well known luxury hotels in Guatemala, they have some of the best things to offer.
Hotel Atitlan is located at Finca San Buenaventura Panajachel, Solola 07010. It is approximately 1/2 a mile from Panajachel’s town center. This is a really cute town with lots of shopping.
It is one hour from the world-famous Chichicastenango Market and three hours from Guatemala City. At Hotel Atitlán there are breathtaking views of the Atitlán, Toliman, and San Pedro volcanoes.
There are 61 private rooms and suites, and each has a private balcony. On the balcony, you can see views of either Lake Atitlán or views of the well-manicured botanical gardens with exotic birds. The infinity pool also has views of the beautiful lake and volcanoes in the distance.
If you’ve read “Top 5 Things you Need to Know When Finding a Hotel” then you know I try to be very selective. Personally, I think this is one of the BEST places you can stay at, so it’s my only pick for “The Best of Guatemala Guide”. TripAdvisor ranks Hotel Atitlan #4 out of 37 hotels in the area. It won the Traveler’s Choice award for 2021!
There are SO many amazing amenities at this hotel. Aside from laundry service and in room massages, they also have a helicopter pad.
Didn’t bring the chopper on this trip? No problem. In order to make getting around Guatemala easy, they offer a number of different options for vehicle shuttle services into the main town. You can get to town on one of the shuttle buses or take a short trip by boat.
I mentioned in my post “How to Make Memories When You Travel” how much I love to take tours. We took a boat tour into town. That’s where I had the best time on my (little crazy, but mostly fun) ride in a tuk-tuk! Check out the video of my little tuk-tuk tour.
This boutique hotel is a popular destination for weddings and events. We were fortunate enough to eat lunch at the Hotel Atitlán Restaurant. The amazing views and DELICIOUS food made this the perfect place to end our week-long work trip. This was one of the most beautiful places I saw in Guatemala.
Click the link below for more info or to book a room at the luxurious Hotel Atitlán.
There really is so much to do in Guatemala. Three popular places for tourists are Lake Atitlan, which is by the Hotel Atitlan, Guatemala City, and Antigua. In “The Best of Guatemala Travel Guide” I’m going to tell you about some of the highlights from each of these areas.
What to Do in Lake Atitlan
Lake Atitlan: Mayan Ceremony at the Sacred Caves
The Mayan Ceremony at the sacred caves is a unique 2 hour experience. If you like visiting archaeological sites, you will love this opportunity to explore ancient ruins and learn about Mayan culture in the Mayan villages.
You will get to hike to an amazing 200 ft. waterfall, take in awesome views, and experience 4 different sacred caves during this excursion. Round trip transportation and entrance fees for vising the ancient Mayan ruins are included in the ticket price.
Lake Atitlan: Boat Trip and Full Day Tour with Lunch
This option is very similar to the excursion we took, which I mentioned earlier. A local guide picks you up in Panajachel and lets you visit the villages of Santiago Atitlan and San Juan La Laguna. In these small villages, you will walk through the local market and see lots of areas for shopping. You will find fresh produce, street food, and various vendors. It’s a great spot to get a feel for what it’s like to live beyond the rural areas of Guatemala. This is where I rode in the tuk-tuk.
Lake Atitlan: Full-Day Kayak and Trek Adventure
I’m still new to kayaking, but I think it’s so much fun! This is 3-hours packed full of adventure. You will get to kayak with views of volcanoes, then swim or relax on the white-sandy beach. This adventure has a variety of sights and history to take in.
What to Do in Guatemala City
Guatemala City: Half Day City Explorer Tour
This 4-5-hour tour lets you get immersed in the culture of Guatemala. You will experience and learn about the architecture and history. There are 10 sites along the tour, which includes 5 stops. All of your transportation and admission is included. With the safety of a professionally guided tour, this is the best way to experience Guatemala City.
Guatemala City: Coffee & Culture Full-Day Tour
On this delicious tour, you will experience the culture and history of different cities. You will see churches, monuments, and of course a coffee tasting and tour. When I was in Guatemala I thought their coffee was DELICIOUS. Coffee tours are a good reason to learn more about Guatemala. You will definitely enjoy this 9-hour tour which ends with visiting the coffee plantations.
Half-Day Guatemala City Explorer Tour
If you are interested in a short tour that packs a LOT in, then this is a great way to see the highlights. This 3-hour tour covers all of the main city attractions including: the National Palace, City Hall, Plaza of the Constitution, National Library, Metropolitan Cathedral, and the Central Plaza Market. I love this tour because you get to see so much amazing architecture! If you don’t want to spend a long time exploring the big cities then this is the best option.
What to Do in Antigua
Antigua's Food, Culture, and Traditions Tour
On this tour you get to learn AND TASTE your way through Antigua! This tour is five hours of food, history, and architecture. It’s certainly the most delicious way to experience Guatemala. If you are interested in the history of the food in Guatemala and how the dishes have evolved over time, then you will love this guided tour. You even get to learn how to make corn tortillas.
Antigua Guatemala: Half-Day Walking Tour
We were fortunate enough to spend a few hours in the beautiful town of Antigua while we were in Guatemala. This is a popular spot for shopping and seeing the beautiful architecture. This three-hour-long walking tour allows you to see the best of Antigua. You will go to Central Park where you will see various monuments and famous buildings like City Hall and the Church of San Jose.
From Antigua: to Pacaya Volcano Day Hike
Would you like to see the natural beauty of active volcanoes up close and personal? This 6-hour tour includes transportation and a freshly prepared picnic lunch/dinner served on the mountain! This is the ULTIMATE experience. You even get to roast marshmallows above the volcanic heat vents. Don’t worry, it is very unlikely that there will be any volcanic eruptions during your private tour.
The Best of Guatemala Tours
I HIGHLY recommend that you do guided tours in Guatemala, for safety reasons. I like to purchase my tickets in advance online so I have them all in an app on my phone. Viator and Get Your Guide allow you to book in advance and cancel within 24 hours of the excursion, with NO FEES. Here are some quick links to things I’m suggesting in “The Best of Guatemala Guide“.
LET’S CONNECT: In “The Best of Guatemala Guide” I talked about how much I loved Hotel Atitlan. What hotel did you see on vacation that you loved?