by Vincent I. Porter
5 Spots to Check Out on Your Guatemala Vacation
You closed your eyes, spun the globe on your desk and planted your finger down on Guatemala. Now, you have no choice but to book flights there for your next vacation. Or maybe you did something more normal like read a few blogs that said how great it was and let them influence you. However you ended up getting there, the important thing is that you are going to Guatemala and if you’re not already excited, this article should do the trick.
Guatemala has been gaining popularity as a tourist destination for a while now, attracting backpackers and spiritual wanderers from around the world. If you’re ready to learn what all the fuss is about, make sure to add these five places on to your Guatemala itinerary.
Undoubtedly the most beautiful city in the entire country, Antigua is an explosion of culture and colour. Colonial architecture in pastel yellows, pinks, and blues lines the streets, while the main plaza boasts a gorgeous cathedral, fountain, and countless street vendors selling shaved ice and other sweet treats. In the distance, beyond the city, you’ll see the smouldering peaks of volcanoes casting shadows over the bustling markets and eclectic museums.
Guatemala’s most impressive collection of ruins, Tikal is a must-see, regardless of whether or not you’re a history buff. These crumbling temples are surrounded by thick swathes of jungle, filled with birds, monkeys, and all kinds of other animals. From the top of Tikal Temple 4 you can enjoy panoramic views of the entire site. In fact, this view is so breath-taking, George Lucas included it in one of the Star Wars films.
When it comes to natural beauty, few places on earth can compete with Semuc Champey. Hidden within a forest is a collection of natural pools that cascade down from one to the next. The water is a vibrant turquoise colour that glints in the sun and you can easily spend an entire day splashing around in it. If you want to work up a sweat before you go for a dip, climb to the top of the look out point (the mirador) and admire the pools from an aerial vantage point.
El Boqueron Canyon
If you’re the kind of traveller who likes to get off the beaten path and escape the crowds, don’t miss El Boqueron. There are very few guides online about this place as it remains relatively undiscovered. This tranquil canyon is unrivalled in its beauty and offers visitors the opportunity to swim, explore caves, and take boat rides along the Rio Dulce that runs through it. The best part is, you don’t need a guide or tour group to visit the canyon, simply organise for a driver to bring you and pick you up.
In contrast with El Boqueron, Lake Atitlan is probably the most popular tourist spot in Guatemala. The vast lake and its surrounding mountains and volcanoes make for some extraordinary photo ops, while the lake itself shimmers endlessly. Take a kayak out onto the water or explore the Mayan villages that flank its shores to make the most of your experience here.