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15 Best Places to Visit in Guatemala (Expert Picks for 2024)

15 Best Places to Visit in Guatemala (Expert Picks for 2024)

Guatemala is the perfect destination to explore and discover a unique culture, breathtaking landscapes, and rich history. From colonial cities like Antigua to the fascinating ruins of Tikal National Park, there are activities for all tastes.

If this seems appetizing, then you’ll want to know more about the beautiful country that is Guatemala. Let’s learn about all the top spots that make up one of the most beautiful countries in Central America. Let us be your guide!

15 of the Best Places to Visit in Guatemala

Guatemala has so much to offer and visit, so we want to ensure that you know what you can find and where! Here is our list of the best places to visit in Guatemala:

1. Flores

Tan and red homes in Flores, one of the best places to visit in Guatemala


Flores is a popular tourist destination due to its stunning beauty and rich culture. Located on the northern shore of Lake Petén Itzá in the department of El Petén, Flores is known for its colonial-style architecture and vibrant nightlife.

From zip lining through the jungle canopy to exploring ancient Mayan ruins like Tikal National Park or Yaxhá National Park, visitors can find something exciting to do no matter what tickles their fancy.

There are also plenty of water sports available such as kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and fishing trips that take you out onto Lake Peten Itza, where you can spot local wildlife like crocodiles and monkeys!

2. Tikal

Mayan ruins of Tikal, one of the best places to visit in Guatemala, pictured towering over the green grass

Brester Irina/Shutterstock

Tikal is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Guatemala. Located in the heart of the Petén jungle, it is home to some of the world’s most impressive Mayan ruins and archaeological sites; a unique place.

When visiting Tikal, you can explore many ancient structures such as temples, palaces, and plazas that were built by the Maya people over 1,500 years ago.

The main attractions at Tikal are its two massive pyramids – Temple I (Temple of the Great Jaguar) and Temple II (Temple of Masks) – even the Egyptians are envious!

Both are worth exploring for their unique architecture and stunning views from atop them. You can also take guided tours around other parts of this vast site, which will give you insight into how these ancient civilizations lived centuries ago.

3. Rio Dulce

Image of the river in Rio Dulce, Guatemala


Rio Dulce is one of Central America’s most beautiful and unique places to visit. Located on the Caribbean coast, Rio Dulce offers a variety of activities for tourists looking for adventure or relaxation.

The area around Rio Dulce is full of outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, swimming, and fishing. Many trails lead up into the hills where you can take in stunning views of Lake Izabal and its surrounding mountains.

You won’t believe your eyes once you’re up on the hills.

The lake is perfect for kayaking or canoeing along its calm waters while admiring the wildlife and lush vegetation along its banks. For those who prefer to stay dry, there are plenty of opportunities to go bird watching or relax by the shoreline with a good book.

4. Livingston

Boats and homes on the river in Livingston, one of the best places to visit in Guatemala

Livingston, Guatemala – August 31, 2016: Riverside moored boats in late afternoon light on Rio Dulce in Caribbean town of Livingston, Guatemala/Lucy.Brown/Shutterstock

Livingston, Guatemala is an amazing destination for tourists looking to experience a unique and vibrant culture. Located on the Caribbean coast of Guatemala, Livingston offers stunning views of both the sea and lush jungle.

Livingston is known for its adventure activities like kayaking, snorkeling, and swimming in the Caribbean Sea.

The nearby Rio Dulce River provides opportunities for rafting, tubing, and fishing trips with local guides who can take you upriver into remote areas where wildlife abounds.

For those looking for more extreme adventures, there are zip-lining tours through the jungle canopy or hikes up nearby mountains with breathtaking views of the surrounding area.

5. Quirigua

Big stairs in the park with the ruins of Quirigua, a top pick for must-visit places in Guatemala

Fredy Estuardo Maldonado/Shutterstock

Quirigua, Guatemala is a hidden gem that should be on the top of any traveler’s list. Located in the department of Izabal, Quirigua is home to some of the most stunning Mayan ruins in Central America.

It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981 and is known for its many stone monuments and sculptures.

Quirigua boasts an impressive collection of archaeological sites including several stelae (large carved stones), plazas, temples, altars, ball courts, and other structures that provide insight into the lives of those who lived there centuries ago.

6. Coban

Small town of Coban in Guatemala, one of the best places to visit in the country

COBAN, GUATEMALA – 03.02.2019: Typical central american local streets of Coban in a tropical region, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala/Pablo Joanidopoulos/Shutterstock

The area around Coban offers plenty of outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and camping. Several trails are located nearby with varying difficulty levels, so there’s something for everyone.

In addition to its natural wonders, Coban also offers visitors a chance to learn about local culture through various museums and cultural centers throughout town.

These include Museo de Arte Popular (Museum of Popular Art), Centro Cultural La Azotea (La Azotea Cultural Center), and Casa de la Cultura (House of Culture).

Visitors can also attend traditional festivals like Semana Santa (Holy Week) or Feria Agostina, which celebrates local craftsmen and artisans from all over Central America.

7. Semuc Champey

Asian man photographing the natural pools at Semuc Champey, one of the best places to visit in Guatemala, as seen from the trees with water flowing over the tiered sections in little falls

Galyna Andrushko/Shutterstock

Semuc Champey, Guatemala is one of Central America’s most beautiful and unique places to visit. Located in the heart of Guatemala’s lush rainforest, Semuc Champey is a natural paradise with stunning views and plenty of activities for visitors to enjoy.

Semuc Champey offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in Central America. The area features towering limestone cliffs covered with lush vegetation, cascading waterfalls, and crystal-clear pools surrounded by tropical jungle.

Visitors can take advantage of numerous hiking trails throughout the area or simply relax on one of its many beaches while admiring the stunning landscape around them.

8. Lanquin

Small village of Lanquin, one of our top picks for places to visit in Guatemala, as seen from the street with old vehicles moving down the road


Lanquin, Guatemala is a must-see destination for any traveler looking to experience the best of Central America. Located in the heart of Alta Verapaz province, Lanquin offers stunning natural beauty and plenty of activities to keep you busy during your stay.

From white water rafting on the Cahabon River to exploring ancient Mayan ruins at Semuc Champey National Park, there’s no shortage of outdoor adventures in Lanquin.

The area is home to some incredible caves that are perfect for spelunking or just taking a leisurely stroll through their winding passageways. You can also go horseback riding or take a guided tour through lush jungles filled with exotic wildlife like howler monkeys and toucans.

9. Nebaj

Idyllic view of the small town of Nebaj in Guatemala, seen on a cloudy day with lush green vegetation all around


Nebaj, Guatemala is a stunningly beautiful destination that offers an array of activities for tourists. Located in the Quiche region of Guatemala, Nebaj is known for its rich culture and vibrant atmosphere.

Nebaj has plenty to offer those who enjoy outdoor activities. The area boasts some of the most spectacular views in all of Central America with lush green mountains surrounding it on all sides.

Visitors can take advantage of hiking trails leading up to nearby peaks or explore caves and waterfalls just outside town. For those looking for more extreme adventures, there are also opportunities to go rock climbing or rappelling down cliffsides.

10. Chajul

Small town of Chajul pictured from the street looking down over the valley below

Chajul, Guatemala – January 2019, Street view of houses in small town with mountains in background/Studioloco/Shutterstock

Chajul, Guatemala is a hidden gem that should be on the top of any traveler’s list. This small village in the Quiché region of Guatemala has plenty to offer for those looking for an authentic and unique experience.

Chajul offers many activities that will keep you busy during your stay. From exploring ancient Mayan ruins to hiking through lush jungles, there are plenty of ways to explore this beautiful area.

You can also visit nearby villages such as Nebaj or Uspantán and learn about their culture and history. For those who want something more adventurous, there are opportunities for zip-lining, white water rafting, horseback riding, and even paragliding!

11. Todos Santos

Men riding mules down the dirt road on a track with spectators observing on either side of the track

Todos Santos Cuchumatan, Guatemala – November 1, 2011: Traditionally dressed indigenous locals & tourists watch drunken men from town race up & down dirt track on horseback all day on All Saints’s Day/Lucy.Brown/Shutterstock

Todos Santos, Guatemala is an amazing destination for tourists looking to explore the culture and beauty of Central America. The great outdoors offer a variety of activities in Todos Santos.

Hiking trails lead visitors through lush jungles and across mountain peaks with breathtaking views. Adventure seekers can also enjoy white-water rafting on the nearby Rio Chixoy River or take a zip line tour over the treetops of the rainforest canopy.

For those who prefer more leisurely pursuits, bird watching tours are available throughout the area as well as horseback riding along secluded beaches and jungle paths.

12. Xela (Quetzaltenango)

Xela in Quetzaltenango with the church pictured behind an idyllic garden and walking area with people mulling about on a blue-sky day for a piece on the must-visit places in Guatemala

Bruno Adrian/Shutterstock

Xela (Quetzaltenango), Guatemala is a beautiful and vibrant city that offers something for everyone. From its stunning colonial architecture to its bustling markets, Xela has plenty of attractions to keep tourists busy.

Xela is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. The nearby volcanoes provide breathtaking views and great hiking opportunities, while the surrounding forests offer plenty of birdwatching and wildlife spotting possibilities.

There are also numerous festivals throughout the year which celebrate Xela’s rich cultural heritage, including Semana Santa (Holy Week), which takes place each March or April when locals parade through town dressed in colorful costumes carrying religious statues on their backs.

13. San Francisco El Alto

People walking in a market in San Francisco El Alto, one of the best places to visit in Guatemala

Judith Lienert/Shutterstock

San Francisco El Alto is a small Guatemala town that offers travelers an unforgettable experience. Located just outside of Antigua, the city provides visitors with stunning views of nearby volcanoes and lush green hillsides.

San Francisco El Alto has plenty of activities to keep you busy during your stay. From exploring the local culture at the markets or taking part in traditional dances and music performances, there’s something for everyone here.

For those who want to get out into nature, hiking up one of the nearby volcanoes can be a great way to take in some breathtaking views from above.

14. San Andres Xecul

Yellow church in San Andres Xecul on a clear day with a single man praying in front of it

Francisco Sandoval Guate/Shutterstock

San Andres Xecul, Guatemala, is a hidden gem of Central America. Located in the western highlands of Guatemala, this small town offers visitors a unique experience with its lush landscape and rich culture.

San Andres Xecul is an ideal destination for adventure seekers looking to explore the outdoors. Hiking trails wind their way through the jungle-covered hills surrounding the town, offering spectacular views of volcanoes and waterfalls.

The local culture in San Andres Xecul is vibrant and alive, with traditional music playing throughout the streets and festivals celebrated throughout the year celebrating different aspects of Mayan life, such as Day of The Dead or New Year’s celebrations.

15. Momostenango

Granite landscapes of Momostenango, one of the best places to visit in Guatemala

Bruno Adrian/Shutterstock

Located in the western highlands of Guatemala, Momostenango offers visitors an array of activities to enjoy during their stay. For those who love water-based activities, nearby lakes provide great fishing spots and kayaking or canoeing excursions.

The area also has several zip lines that offer thrilling rides through the treetops with breathtaking views over the valley below.

Visitors can learn about traditional Mayan weaving techniques at local workshops or take part in cooking classes where they can learn how to make authentic Guatemalan dishes such as tamales and pepián de pollo (chicken stew).

Frequently Asked Questions

Giant tree pictured in the middle of the forest in Tikal, one of the best places to see in Guatemala


Do you still have doubts about traveling to Guatemala? We answered some of the most frequently asked questions:

What is the most visited place in Guatemala?

The most visited place in Guatemala is the ancient Mayan city of Tikal. Located in the northern part of the country, this UNESCO World Heritage Site offers a unique insight into one of the world’s oldest civilizations.

Visitors can explore temples, plazas, and pyramids built over 1,500 years ago. There are also trails for hiking through lush jungles and wildlife spotting opportunities.

The nearby town of Flores provides access to restaurants, bars, shops, and accommodation options for visitors looking to stay longer than a day trip.

What are the safest areas in Guatemala?

Guatemala is a beautiful country with many attractions and activities to explore. However, it is important to know the areas considered safe for travelers.

The safest areas in Guatemala include Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Quetzaltenango (Xela), Coban, and Flores/Tikal. All these cities have good infrastructure and safety measures in place. They are also close to major tourist attractions such as volcanoes or Mayan ruins.

For those looking for an even safer experience, there are several small towns around the lake area where crime rates are low and locals friendly. You can ensure a safe stay in Guatemala with proper research and preparation before your trip.

Is Guatemala good for tourists?

Yes, Guatemala is a great destination for tourists. It has stunning natural beauty, from its lush rainforests to volcanoes and lakes. There are also plenty of cultural attractions to explore, such as the ancient Mayan ruins and Spanish colonial architecture.

The country offers visitors various activities, including hiking, rafting, zip-lining, and exotic experiences. Additionally, Guatemala is known for its friendly people and delicious cuisine that will make your trip even more enjoyable.

How many days is enough for Guatemala?

Depending on your interests, 3-4 days in Guatemala can be enough to taste the culture and scenery. You could visit Antigua for its colonial architecture, take part in some Mayan history at Tikal, or relax by Lake Atitlan.

If you have more time available, 5-7 days will give you ample opportunity to experience the best of what Guatemala offers. With longer stays, you could venture out into rural areas and explore smaller towns and villages off the beaten path.

So, Where Should You Visit in Guatemala?

Guatemala is a beautiful country full of amazing places to explore. From the colonial charm of Antigua to the ancient ruins at Tikal National Park and the stunning beauty of Lake Atitlan, there’s something for everyone.

Flores & El Mirador offers an incredible view into Mayan culture and history, while Chichicastenango Market provides a unique shopping experience that can’t be found anywhere else.

So, with so much to see and do, and natural beauty practically bursting from every part of the country, what are you waiting for — book your trip to Guatemala today!