Are you searching for things to do in Guatemala City?
Naturally, it would make sense for anyone coming to visit the truly stunning nation of Guatemala to visit Guatemala City.
But unfortunately, with many concerns for safety and endless travelers’ nightmare stories, this must-see part of Guatemala’s impressive history has been crossed of many traveler itineraries.
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Things to do in Guatemala City
However, it is also true that the tremendous location of Guatemala City is a place richly detailed, and full of old-school architecture.
Not to mention, the old artifacts, amazing tapestries, and rich detailed sights that you simply would not find in other parts of the world.
Is Guatemala City worth visiting?
Primarily the hub by which everyone enters, most travelers tend to skip out of the capital quickly to other regions.
Whilst, not the prettiest, it’s worth spending at least a couple of days to explore some of the best sights which include the bustling Plaza Mayor and the Museo Popol Vuh, with the latter known for its Mayan artifacts.
There’s also the nearby fiery Pacaya Volcano which is great for a hiking day trip, and is also a good starter before attempting the more demanding hikes in Guatemala.
Visiting Guatemala City
Going to the capital of Guatemala City should be an obvious place to go to if you come to this beautiful nation.
What kind of experiences could/should you expect if you choose to make this your chosen destination for the year?
Private City Tour
If you want to avoid going on a large group tour, you can pay a bit more and get a private tour with Guatemala City tour guides.
They’ll show you the major landmarks around the city, and help you find out other gems worth seeing in the city.
If you do go on this special afternoon tour, make sure you use the opportunity to get all the information that you need!
Tikal Day Trip
A fun way to spend a day from Guatemala City is to join the Tikal Day Trip air tour.
This will take all across the aviation skyline of the city, giving you some truly breathtaking sights.
Definitely, one that I’d recommend for any budding photographer who is looking to take some impressive and new snaps to put up online.
Just be sure to get the helicopter in the right angle for your money-maker shots; there’ll be plenty of chances to do so!
Lake Atitlan Cruise
You’ll find that outside of the private city tour most of the attractions in Guatemala city are focused outside of the city.
You can get picked up and taken to Lake Atitlan. Which with the help of cruise transport, you are able to sail along the lake at your own leisure.
On this boat tour of Lake Atitlan from Guatemala City, take in some amazing sights as you go along, and mingle with other boats on tour.
Just be sure to have plenty of photos and video memory, as you often see some very unpredictable things as you move along the lake.
Definitely a good choice for those who are looking for something a bit more easy-going.
Chichicastenango Maya Market
Again, from Guatemala City, a good place to go for a touch of unique retail therapy would be the Chichicastenango Maya Market.
You will find many good things to buy here. Just be sure to make some bag space, and keep your pockets protected at all times.
This marketplace is often a haven for those who are looking to pick up something for nothing if you know what we mean!
This special tour picks you up from your hotel and will transport you to the market.
Keep your wits about you, though, and this is easily among the best things to do from Guatemala City.
Visit the Iximche Ruins
Just outside of the city, you can take a tour guide to visit the Ixmiche Ruins.
These are fun and engaging ruins with plenty of opportunities for you to pick up some awesome content in terms of photos along the way.
The ruins are normally quite busy, so be ready to meet up with some other people coming to visit.
Be aware that there are some steep areas and drops in the ruins, too, so be sure of where you are walking – and listen to your tour guide!
Where to Stay in Guatemala city
As you get used to backpacking in Guatemala you find that the accommodation in Guatemala city is slightly different from the rest of Guatemala.
Of course, you can check out Airbnb as an option. I have found some great abodes.
Admittedly, though, they’re not the best place to get all the Guatemala travel information you may require, but you can chat with hosts to get more information on the surrounding area.
Talking with hosts is another one of my methods for practicing Spanish while I’m on the road.
Three reasons to use AirBnb
- Get to know local people
- Authentic living experiences
- Private space to think/work
If you use Hostels, here are three reasons to use hostels in Guatemala city. Make sure you check from a list of the best hostels before making your decision to book.
- Connect with other travellers
- Look for unique local activities
- To practice living on a budget
When traveling alone in Guatemala, use all three methods for the most rewarding and authentic experience as it will give you a real 4-dimensional view of not only Guatemala but also the rest of Latin America.
Where to Eat in Guatemala City
You may be surprised to know that the restaurant scene in Guatemala City is booming.
If you’ve got money in your pocket and looking for a culinary experience that takes inspiration from traditional foods and local ingredients, look no further:
- Kacao Get directions
- Flor De Lis Get directions
- La Hacienda Real Get directions
As you may know, Guatemalan cuisine is quite spiced. I say ‘quite’ because my spice threshold is very high. However, the dishes in Guatemalan are all about flavor, not burning your mouth off.
Guatemalan food tends to be quite heavy, so prepare yourself and turn up with a rumbling stomach.
💡 Smart Travel Tip
Be cautious when spending time in Guatemala City. Keep your wits about you and don’t show-off your belongings in any way.
While it’s relatively unsafe for most tourists, it’s hard to ask the locals for directions; many are more than happy to send you the wrong way, rather than say they do not know! This can be very common in Latin America.
Guatemala City Travel Tips
If I was to suggest one of the best places to visit in Guatemala City, it would be the Museo Popol Vuh – it’s a must.
As one of the most amazing parts of the city, found within the Francisco Marroquin University. As far as Guatemala tourist attractions go, this is off the radar.
Don’t let the small size put you off; every step that you take opens the chance to really engage in something special.
Everything from the amazing old-school colonial paintings to the rich tapestry showing the old Guatemalan conquest.
Other than a trip to the Museo Popol Vuh, I recommend that you check out the Ixchel Museum as they are close by.
Not every zone is tourist-friendly, and for that reason, I’d say the best area for backpackers and travelers alike would be Zona 10.
It’s where you’ll find the majority of hotels and restaurants. It’s not a cultural zone like many others, but it’s the best place to stay in Guatemala City.
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Guatemala City: Over to you
Out of all the best things to do in Guatemala City, the above should give you plenty of food for thought.
If you can look beyond the safety issues and the cultural challenges which are apparent here, you’ll have a truly special time getting to know Guatemala City’s various appeals.
So, if you are backpacking Guatemala soon, where would you like to go and see first while in the capital? What impressed you the most?
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