Guatemala

Superb landscapes, ancient Mayan ruins, grand colonial cities

The birthplace of Mayan civilisation, Guatemala today is a mixture of traditional culture and modern lifestyle.  Mayan ruins continue to be discovered deep in the jungle and you can still walk and climb many of them. There are beautiful colonial cities, colourful markets, stunning lakes and smouldering volcanoes.  Guatemala is a fabulous destination for an active and cultured holiday.  Highlights include:

  • El Peten, an area of jungle concealing many ancient ruins including the lost city of Tikal.  At Yaxha, discovered only a few years ago, you can still see archaeologists at work.
  • Lake Atitlan, overlooked by three volcanoes where you can see Mayan culture and dress. You can also visit some of the women-run weaving co-ops preserving weaving traditions and selling gorgeous artisanal textiles.  
  • The UNESCO world heritage site of Antigua surrounded by smouldering volcanoes.  Active travellers can climb sections or, time permitting, the whole of some of the volcanoes.
  • The colourful market of Chichicastenango full of woven textiles, ceramics and masks.
  • Fabulous birdlife, including the elusive quetzal, the national bird of Guatemala in the area surrounding Coban.

Walking

Walking in Guatemala is all about the volcanoes.  Treks of varying lengths, from half day loops to multi day treks are available to the top of many of the volcanoes surrounding Antigua and Lake Atitlan.  The views from the top are spectacular.  Of neighbouring smouldering volcanoes or Lake Atitlan itself. Whilst some of them can be done in a day the views from the summit are spectacular at sunset and sunrise and camping on the volcano is an experience in itself.  

  • Flying time: 14.5 hours via Spain or the US
  • Time difference: -6 hours
  • Currency: Guatemalan quetzal
  • Best time of year to travel: December to May
  • Best time of year for walking: November to March

Ideas for a trip to Guatemala

Here are some ideas for trips to Guatemala all of which can be adapted for you and we are always happy to create a bespoke trip from scratch.

Highlights of Guatemala

from £2779 per person
A ten-night private tour of Guatemala including a guided walking tour of Antigua, three nights at Lake Atitlan and a full day's guided tour of Tikal. Price includes international and domestic flights transfers and two nights' accommodation.

Classic Guatemala and Belize

from £3800 per person
A fourteen-day private tour taking in the main sites of Antigua, Atitlan and Tikal in Guatemala and then crossing the border into Belize. Four nights in the Cayo district to visit ruins, ancient cave systems and swim in waterfalls are followed by two nights on beautiful Ambergris caye.

Mexico and Guatemala higlights

from £995 per person
Group tour for the intrepid traveller from Playa Carmen in Mexico to Antigua in Guatemala visiting a host of sites with plenty of free time and options for activities. Travel by private car, taxi and public bus.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions that haven't been answered here? Send your questions to enquiries@shearwatertravel.co.uk and we'll try our best to help.

British citizens don’t need a visa for entry to Guatemala for up to 90 days but always check entry requirements with the Foreign Office here.

Up to date immunisations and Hepatitis A and Typhoid advised.  For full details and other vaccinations to consider visit NHS Fit for Travel.

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