Things to do in Guatemala

Our most recommended things to do in Guatemala

From Antigua: Pacaya Volcano Trek

1. From Antigua: Pacaya Volcano Trek

Walk for 2 hours to the summit of Pacaya Volcano and enjoy stunning views. Leave from Antigua for a 1-hour bus journey to the volcano's base before immediately starting your 2-hour trek with your local guide. Hike through wonderful pine forests up to the trickier volcanic ash section and finally to the sulfur smoking cone. On occasion, you can even see small eruptions and lava flowing, depending on the activity of the volcano. From the summit, you can enjoy great views of the nearby volcanoes, Agua, Fuego, and Acatenango, the pacific lowlands, and all the way to El Salvador. To ensure your safety you won’t be able to visit the crater, but you will get an amazing view of red-hot lava flowing and steam baths created by the heat of Pacaya. Take a break and relax here as you take in more scenic views before hiking back to the base of the volcano, from where you will transfer back to your accommodation. 

Overnight Volcano Acatenango Hiking Adventure

2. Overnight Volcano Acatenango Hiking Adventure

Volcano Acatenango is the sleeping giant, and a twin of the most active volcano in Guatemala. Acatenango is the third highest volcano in all of Central America and it is a real adventure to hike to the top. It gives you the best location to observe the sunset and the sunrise. Sleeping overnight in the base camp of the volcano will be unique experience. Its highest summit is 3,976m (13,044 ft). The itinerary of the trip is broken into two days. Day 1 will begin at 9:00 AM, with a shuttle from Antigua to La Soledad village. The tour guide will pick you up at your hotel. Your hike will begin at 11:00 AM and will continue for approximately 5 hours. You will reach base camp by 17:00 PM in time to watch the sunset. The second day will begin at 4:00 AM, as an hour's hike to the summit will provide a great view of the sunrise. Breakfast will be served back at base camp and the trek will start around 8:30 AM downwards toward the village. Reaching the village by 11:30 AM, you will have some time to look around before the transfer to Antigua. The tour finishes here by 12:30 PM, giving you the rest of your day. 

From Flores: Tikal Ruins Day Tour

3. From Flores: Tikal Ruins Day Tour

Tour the Tikal Mayan Ruins on a day trip from Flores. Enjoy a stunning sunrise before driving through the wild jungle and hiking through the breathtaking ruins with a local guide. Meet your driver at the meeting point by the entrance to Flores island. Drive out from the city towards the archaeoligical site and watch the sky burst into crimson color with the sunrise. Enter the jungle as you continue your adventure and be introduced to your guide at the start of the winding forest trails. Start hiking and admire the scenery as you trek, discovering the temples, pyramids, ruins, and palaces of the Mayans. Listen to the chirping birds and spot monkeys swinging through the trees. Learn about the history of Mayan culture and how these wonders of archaeology were built and used.

From San Ignacio: Tikal Maya Site Day-Trip with Local Lunch

4. From San Ignacio: Tikal Maya Site Day-Trip with Local Lunch

Start with pickup from San Ignacio at 7:00 AM, and take a 15-minute drive to Guatemalan border. Be assisted at the border by your guide, and continue on the 2-hour long journey to Tikal. Discover the ancient Mayan site of Tikal which is considered to be one of the most spiritual locations on earth. Once at the national park, see the abundance of wildlife surrounding the temples. Discover how the Mayan civilization built inspiring temples and cities that formed a vast complex of religious, social and political power.  Enjoy a guided tour of the main sights of the complex, which is estimated to have over 3,000 structures including palaces, temples, ceremonial platforms, ball courts, terraces, plazas, causeways, and reservoirs. See several of the main temples including the tallest structure which measures 212 feet.  After visiting the main parts of Tikal, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Then, drive back to San Ignacio you can stop at the local gift shops, with arrival back in San Ignacio at approximately 4:30 PM.

Tikal Day Tour From Flores With Lunch

5. Tikal Day Tour From Flores With Lunch

Discover the impressive splendor of Tikal, which means Place of Voices. The park, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979, spans an area of 576 square kilometers. During this 8-hour tour you’ll have the opportunity to walk through the jungle and admire the many species of local flora and fauna. In addition to the main temples and plazas, there are several other sites not to miss. See the Major Plaza surrounded by impressive buildings such as Temples I and II, or the North and Central Acropolis. See the altars that played a role in the dynamic history of Tikal’s Mayan civilization. At the end of the tour you’ll enjoy a traditional lunch.

Acatenango Volcano 2-Day Hike

6. Acatenango Volcano 2-Day Hike

This 2-day/1-night hike brings you up the slopes of beautiful Volcan Acatenango to our private campsite – bench-cut into the side of this towering mountain. From here we enjoy our camp meals, incredible views, and plenty of room to stretch out. In camp there we will have ample time to appreciate the sights and sounds of nearby Volcan Fuego’s violent volcano eruptions. On the morning of the 2rd day, our group will summit Acatenango’s peak (3,975m/12,720ft - the third highest volcano in Guatemala), taking in panoramic views from atop the summit. Finally, we will descend back down through a myriad of microclimates to return to Antigua by early afternoon. Day 1: Hike To Camp Our group leaves from the Old Town Outfitters Shop at 8:00am, where you can fill up your water bottles and purchase any additional gear you might need. Hikers should eat breakfast beforehand and pack a small snack for the road. A one-hour drive takes us from Antigua to the sleepy mountain village of La Soledad, perched on the ridge of the Pacific slope of Volcan Acatenango. The trail up Volcan Acatenango has four distinct microclimates, each of which will take you about an hour to traverse. We’ll begin by walking up a steep trail through local farm fields - the same trail used by local villagers each morning to access their corn, snow pea and lily fields. Our first hour of hiking will help you acclimatize and warm up the leg muscles for the day’s hike. The second phase of our ascent passes through old-growth tropical cloud forest. In this environmental zone, we find some of Acatenango’s oldest trees, an incredible biodiversity of flora and fauna, fresh mountain air and the sounds of local birds and wildlife. This type of high-alpine cloud forest is found on the upper slopes of many of Guatemala’s tallest volcanoes and mountains, and is home to the famous Quetzal. After exiting the cloud forest, we will be rewarded with fantastic views of the other highland volcanoes (Atitlan, Toliman, San Pedro, Santa Maria, Santo Tomas, Tajamulco), along with glimpses of the Cuchumatanes mountain chain. A fresh picnic is prepared mid-day for our group to enjoy. Temperate coniferous forest and tropical dry forest characterize the 3rd phase of our ascent, which will lead us to the storm-beaten tree-line of the volcano. Our campsite is perched just below tree-line with sweeping views of the Antigua valley and Volcan Fuego. After setting up camp, hikers are free to rest, relax and enjoy their surroundings while our guide prepares a fresh camp dinner at ~3750m with hot tea and coffee. Day 2: Summiting Acatenango In the morning, after an early camp breakfast, our group embarks on a 45-minute ascent to the summit on a sand and gravel scree-trail dotted with dwarf pine trees and high alpine mosses. The trail up to the summit is the steepest we will have seen, and leads to the rocky summit exposed to the gusty and cold winds which constantly pass over Acatenango’s peak. At the summit, our group will rest and enjoy unparalleled 360-degree views of the entirety of the Guatemalan highlands – all the way to the border of Mexico. After 45min at the top (depending on conditions and time considerations), the group will begin the 3-hour descent back towards La Soledad. Our group has the opportunity to descend through an alternate route down Volcan Acatenango, experiencing a variety of microclimates and beautiful trail. From La Soledad, we will transport back to Antigua, arriving in the afternoon with plenty of time for you to enjoy the delights of the old Spanish colonial capital (~13:00hrs).

From Guatemala City or Antigua: Pacaya Volcano Day Tour

7. From Guatemala City or Antigua: Pacaya Volcano Day Tour

Come and see the Pacaya Volcano: the most active volcano in Guatemala at 2,500 meters (more than 8,000 feet). Witness spectacular views of the lagoon of Calderas and three other volcanoes: Agua, Fuego and Acatenango. The surrounding area is an experience unto itself, composed in large part of humid forest and rocks. After a walk through volcanic sand paths, with great views of the volcanoes and unique vegetation, you´ll arrive at the plateau where you can see the main crater of the volcano. Today, you can't visit the crater of the volcano for security reasons, but you will see the lava (if active) and some steam baths created by the heat of the Pacaya Volcano. At the volcano, you'll have the opportunity to get an up-close look at the volcano. After a thrilling day of exploration and dramatic views, you will arrive back at your hotel.

Sunrise and Hiking to the Indian Nose Mountain

8. Sunrise and Hiking to the Indian Nose Mountain

Climb to the summit above where the mountains meet water. The Indian Nose is the mountain on the northwest shore of Lake Atitlan. Also called Rupalaj K’istalin, this  2550 meters tall mountain presents one of the most rewarding climbs of Lake Atitlan. In addition to viewing the sunrise over a chain of volcanoes and then onto the pristine waters, this climb provides great views over the San Juan and San Pedro la Laguana villages. The climb takes about 30 minutes beginning in either of these villages.  Your guide will meet you at your San Pedro la Laguana accommodation, where you will then catch a shuttle bus to the beginning of the hiking trail. It is much more enjoyable and easier to begin the hike in the village of Santa Clara la Laguna, meaning that the pick-up time from your hotel is 3:45 AM, to be able to make the sunrise. 

From Antigua: 3 Mayan Villages on Lake Atitlan Day Tour

9. From Antigua: 3 Mayan Villages on Lake Atitlan Day Tour

This is a real immersion in the Mayan culture and you will see the lifestyle of the Mayan people. See how ancient technology is used for textile manufacture as you visit three Mayan villages around Lake Atitlan. The departure is from Antigua, with a 2.5-hour drive to Panajachel (Lake Atitlán). Then, visit San Juan la Laguna, San Pedro, and Santiago Atitlan, returning at the end to Panajachel. This is a round trip around Lake Atitlan, and there will be a one-hour stop in every town. Admire the colorful town of San Juan. Visit its attractions down the main streets such as galleries and women's coops, and witness a chocolate and coffee production demo. Then, explore San Pedro. A small town populated by Mayan Tzutujil. Discover its interesting sights and learn about the local culture there. Lastly, make a stop in Santiago Atitlán, where you can make a visit to a deity revered by the locals and visitors. Its market day is very colorful, and you can visit Santiago Apóstol Parish Church, built in the colonial times in the Renaissance style.

From Antigua: 1-Day Guatemala-Pacaya Active Volcano Hike

10. From Antigua: 1-Day Guatemala-Pacaya Active Volcano Hike

After pick-up from your hotel in Antigua arrive at the foot of the volcano. From there your expert guide will lead you on a 1-hour hike from the San Vicente de Pacaya village up to a distance of approximately 50 meters from the crater. Look down into the crater at the lava as you experience the energy of an active volcano. Note the fumaroles, vents in the earth through which gases escape. Learn about Pacaya Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in Guatemala, and observe how it has shaped the country around it. At 2500 meters above sea level wander through an unusual landscape of humid forest and rocks.  Before transfer back to your hotel in Antigua visit the Lava Store to buy souvenirs made from the volcanic ash produced by the mountain. 

Other Sightseeing Options in Guatemala

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What people are saying about Guatemala

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 449 reviews

Awesome guide!! The best we had travelling around Latin America in 6 months! Redo (Mr López) was excellent and showed us around as well as pointing out species of birds, monkeys, and other animals along the way. He made the tour not only interesting but really fun at the same time. His time talking Spanish and translating in English was even and for that, he was just the best! We loved the tour, thank you Redo and the driver of course!

You got to know the history about the Mayans. Saw the market and the lake. Wish we had more time to buy stuff but it’s ok. Saving money. The best part was. There were two other local guides at the market that took you around so you wouldn’t get lost and helped translate.

It was very good, very nice experience, there was an eruption a year ago so there were fumaroles on the slopes of the volcano. Consider wearing good shoes, not so much for the climb up the volcano but for the descent down the sandy part.

Old Town Otfitters gives the best tours! I cant be more grateful for this life experience, he was kind, respectful, funny and very patient. You are not going to regret it.

Wonderful hike. Terrific views. Quiet day of volcanic activity. Great outdoor activity. Fine guide.