What to do

What to do in Tikal

Tikal is a huge archeological site that was once one of the largest and most important Mayan cities, and is the largest excavated site in the American continent. 

It’s a remote site set amongst lush jungle, which makes it all the more mysterious and you’ll be dying to explore the ancient ruins that are still being uncovered today.

If you think that Tikal looks like it’s been plucked straight out of a movie set, you might be thinking of the rebel base on Yavin IV in the first Star Wars film. The site was famously used in the shooting of this movie so it’s pretty recognisable!

Tikal history dates back as far as 1,000 BC according to ancient agricultural traces that have been found on the site. The first construction is thought to have been between 400–300 BC, when some of the major pyramids of the city were erected. 

Archaeological expeditions began in the late 19th century when the ruins were discovered, and today they are some of the most iconic in Guatemala. You’ll recognize the towering pyramids, typical of most Mayan cities, but the setting in the vivid green jungle makes Tikal stand out from the rest.

The vastness of the site means it’s an archaeologists dream, and you may even get to see some archaeologists at work during your visit as they continue excavation works to unfold more tales of the Mayan peoples past.

Why is Tikal famous?

More than 1,000 years ago during the Classic Period, Tikal was a prominent and prosperous power amongst the Mayan civilisation. It is set within a huge rainforest (known as the Maya forest) that spreads as far as Belize and Mexico, in which the Tikal National Park is encompassed, covering 575 square kilometres of lush rainforest and thousands upon thousands of ruined structures.

Tikal is so impressive that the cultural and natural preserve was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, attracting thousands of visitors each and every year.

The Tikal ruins are made from limestone and amongst the buildings you’ll find here are royal palaces, temples, administrative buildings, living quarters and plenty of stone monuments and figures.

Possibly the most famous monuments – and those most iconic of any Mayan archeological site – are the pyramids. The highest of the Tikal pyramids is 213 feet, or 65 metres, and the structure dominates the ancient city.

Can you climb the pyramids at Tikal?

Yes! In fact, it is encouraged.

For unparalleled views across the whole of Tikal National Park and the tops of the other pyramids that peek through the forest canopy, we absolutely recommend taking the trip to the top of one of the remaining pyramid structures.

If you get there early, you can make the ascent in time to watch the sunrise over the jungle and the Tikal Mayan ruins – it’s a magical experience so it’s worth getting out of bed before daylight.

If you have a guide during your visit, you’ll be given a detailed explanation of each Tikal temple, how it was used in ceremonies and rituals and its significance within the city, before having the opportunity to climb to the top for some of the best views you’ll see in Guatemala.

Is it safe to travel to Tikal Guatemala?

As you know, Tikal is a huge archaeological site and first things first, it’s not wise to attempt to see it all in one day, even if you’re in peak physical condition!

As an extremely popular tourist destination, unfortunately this means that pick-pocketing and robberies can occur – it’s kind of an opportunists dream. We recommend travelling in groups if possible, and sticking to the highlighted trails without deterring down some lesser-trodden paths. It can be tempting given the magic of TIkal, but try your best to stay with the crowds!

As always, try to limit the valuables on your person where possible and carry bags on your front rather than your back if you can. If you’re travelling by taxi, make sure it’s been pre-booked and don’t just flag one off the street. Buses are generally safe as long as they leave on time – that means there will be a police presence looking out for you.

As long as you remain alert and aware of your surroundings, it is perfectly safe to travel to Tikal!

For more information check our guide on: Scams in Guatemala

What to do

Guatemala with a Family

Planning a family vacation? Guatemala could be the destination for you! 

Ok, it might not be at the forefront of your mind as it’s not the most obvious choice for a trip away with the kids, but in some ways this makes it all the more exciting as a destination for your next family holiday.

It is certainly not the typical choice, but Guatemala is growing rapidly in popularity as a tourist destination and it’s with good reason. Rife with history, culture, ancient archaeological sites and some of the most incredible natural landscapes in all of Central America, Guatemala really has a lot to offer.

Guatemala is the perfect place to experience different cultures, experiment with the local language with the friendly Guatemalan people and there are some great educational opportunities to be had for the little ones, too.

We understand one of the most important factors when planning a family vacation is safety, so we expect the question on your lips is..

Is Guatemala safe with kids?

We know as well as anyone that Guatemala has had a bad rap for safety and crime in the past, but that’s changing. As tourism grows the country has responded and taken action to improve safety in the most popular destinations, including the major cities and resorts.

In the cities, you may see more police on the streets than you are used to back home, but they’re part of the reason that Guatemala is considered much more safe than it was a decade ago. Your safety is their interest, after all!

Of course, you should take precautions like you would when travelling anywhere else in the world, such as researching the good and the bad neighborhoods before booking your accommodation or selecting your preferred dining options and sightseeing activities.

Similarly, try to limit the valuables in your possession when you’re out and about, and be aware of what’s going on around you.

This is nothing out of the ordinary when travelling internationally, though, and you certainly shouldn’t be let safety concerns get in the way of your dream family vacation in Guatemala!

There’s more than meets the eye here, and there will be no bored kids during this holiday. Keep reading for more of our top tips for your Guatemala vacation with a family.

If you want to know more, read our guide on: Safety in Guatemala

So where should we go?

This all depends on the kind of vacation you’re looking for, so we’ve broken it down to help you decide.

If you’re looking for a city break, Antigua should be top of your list

Antigua is a small but vibrant city, with a growing and thriving tourist industry. It is particularly popular amongst families travelling with kids as is considered one of Guatemala’s safest cities! 

The people of Antigua Guatemala are friendly, and while English is not widely known or spoken throughout the country the locals here will be glad to help with your Spanish and you’ll be sure to get by just fine with even limited language skills.

The small city is surrounded by a volcanic landscape and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Guatemala. It was once the capital of Guatemala before it was destroyed in the late 1700’s by a series of shattering and fatal earthquakes that forced most of its inhabitants to up and leave, migrating over 40 km east to where, today, you will find the capital Guatemala City.

Today, it is filled with pretty pastel colonial architecture, and quaint cobbled streets that make the city quite charming, and very exciting to explore. The architecture is Spanish influenced Baroque-style and the buildings are simply beautiful – there’ll be plenty of photo opportunities during your stay in Antigua!

The kids (and adults) will love the Choco Museum, which tells the historical story of how the ancient Mayan people discovered the culinary uses of the cacao bean. They’ll have the opportunity to take part in a workshop where they will make their very own chocolate, straight from the bean, all the while learning about Mayan culture!

For outdoor playgrounds, gardens and ziplines head uphill to Santo Domingo del Cerro, an open-air gallery and sculpture park packed with exciting (and educational) activities, including two museums – all of which you can access for free.

We know that kids aren’t always a fan of educational activities, but they’ll be amazed by the ancient archaeological sites on offer throughout Guatemala and Antigua specifically. View the ruins of the Convent of Santo Domingo, the San Jose Cathedral, the Church of Candelaria and more as you take a self-guided walking tour through Antigua’s historical centre.

For nature at its finest, head to Lake Atitlan where you’ll be guaranteed a volcanic vacation

While there are several towns surrounding the lake, you’ll probably want to stay in Panajachel as it has the most amenities available; transport, restaurants, cafes, shops, grocery stores and more. Yes, it is more touristy as a destination, but we know when you’re travelling with family it’s important to have everyone covered and everything you need at your fingertips.

There is plenty to do at the lake, whether you prefer to relax and take in the beautiful surroundings, or be a little more active (we suspect the kids will enjoy some of the activities available in the area).

Guatemala’s third largest freshwater lake allows you to rent a kayak and go paddling around the lake (top tip: the water is most calm in the morning) or perhaps go stand-up paddle boarding or rent a boat. There are places to cliff jump, and paragliding is a popular option, too.

Nearby Atitlan Nature Reserve has monkeys, hanging bridges, hiking trails and ziplines, so it’s sure to be a win with the thrill-seekers of the family!

Discover the ancient city of Tikal and learn about Mayan culture

The Tikal National Park is a must-see during any Guatemala holiday, but particularly one with family as we think the kids will love the lush jungle and exploring the ancient ruins – if you think it looks like it’s been plucked straight out of a movie set, you might be thinking of the rebel base on Yavin IV in the first Star Wars film.

These UNESCO-listed Mayan ruins are of Tikal, one of the largest and most powerful ancient Mayan kingdoms during the 1st millennium AD. The buildings date as far back as the 4th century BC, so there’s a mind-boggling amount of history here.

Archaeological expeditions began in the late 19th century when the ruins were discovered, and today they are some of the most iconic in Guatemala. You’ll recognise the towering pyramids, typical of most Mayan cities, but the setting in the vivid green jungle makes Tikal stand out from the rest. Climb to the top for panoramic views of the whole jungle!

Where to stay

As Guatemala is still evolving as a destination for families, you shouldn’t expect to find the same array of all-inclusive child-friendly resorts and hotels that you can typically find in neighbouring countries. 

Having said that, they are out there, but we recommend doing some research before booking to ensure the accommodation meets the needs of everyone in your travelling party. Book in advance to get the best deals on overnight stays, and look out for packages such as ‘Book 3 nights, get one free’ or ones including cheap (or free!) admission to nearby attractions.

What to do

La Azotea

Embrace Guatemala’s famous coffee culture at this sprawling coffee plantation outside Jocotenango. Guatemala is world-renowned for its coffee and its production is an important part of Guatemala’s economy, the country being Central America’s top producer of coffee for most of the 20th and much of the 21st century, too.

At La Azotea, one of Guatemala’s most historic coffee plantations dating back to the late 1800’s, you can learn about everything from coffee to Mayan musical instruments. This diverse complex of museums – three museums, to be exact – are housed within a 19th century coffee mill and plantation.

Let’s take a look at the different elements of La Azotea..

Museo del Café

Here in the mill is the coffee museum, where visitors can learn about the history of coffee and view the fully-functional equipment from the 1800s that remains at the plantation. 

Between December and March, visitors can even tour the plantation itself to see the harvesting and production of coffee in action. You will learn from expert coffee farmers and the passionate La Azotea staff about the history of the coffee production in Guatemala, and how it has been marketed globally to make it the world-famous export it is today.

For the equestrians out there, by prior arrangement it is also possible to arrange a tour of the farm on horseback!

Casa K’ojom

This Mayan museum houses artifacts from the ancient Maya people in pre-Columbian times, such as musical instruments, masks and other crafts spread across permanent and temporary exhibitions. There’s a reconstructed Mayan village, lots of ancient paintings, and the Antigua valley’s traditional outfits and crafts. 

You can pre-book a guided tour in the Pre-Hispanic, Contemporary and La Cofradía rooms, and in the auditorium you will find an audiovisual presentation taking you on a journey through Mayan history.

Rincón de Sacatepéquez

The final of the three museums is dedicated to items of traditional Guatemalan dress. Garments are displayed on mannequins and take you through how the culture and dress has evolved over the years.

No coffee plantation would be complete with a cafe to sip the homegrown goods, nor a shop for you to purchase the local produce to take back home as a memento of your travels, or a gift for your loved ones.

For more information, including details of tours and admission, please visit

What to do

Guatemala with Kids

As a growing touristic location, Guatemala should be on the list of next destinations to visit for its archeology sites, history and culture, and beautiful nature. Who knew it could be a great place to experience with your children and family? Regardless of the concerns about safety, travels in Guatemala can be a great way for the family to experience different cultures, language, and food of this Central American country. No need to book a sitter for your next trip to Guatemala, because it is friendly for children and families to come and enjoy. 

Is Guatemala safe with kids?

A child’s safety is always the most important to parents when traveling internationally. Just like anywhere else unfamiliar, you want to make sure to keep close eyes on your children at all times. Guatemala does have a reputation for not being the safest destination, however with proper safety awareness or precautions that a wonderful vacation is bound to happen very smoothly.  You do not want to judge a book by its cover. It is a great opportunity to travel in Guatemala!

If you want to know more, read our guide on: Safety in Guatemala

Things To Know 

There are a few things that should be known before traveling to Guatemala with your children to ensure safety and fun. English is not widely known or used, so it could be fun to brush up on some Spanish phrases. Blonde haired children will stick out and people would want to interact with them, because most of the people are darker skin toned with dark hair color. They will be happy to see families traveling with their children. Be sure to not allow anyone to drink water from the tap, inform your children to only drink from bottled water (or better yet, bring a travel filter so you don’t keep wasting plastic bottles). Try to avoid fresh fruits without a peel, because the fruit has been washed with water that is not drinkable. Most months are very hot and humid, so be sure to have enough sunscreen and sun gear for your little ones. Car seat laws do not exist in Guatemala, so do not be alarmed to see children without them or riding on motorbikes with their families. Car insurance is not recognized, so any accidents are paid out of pocket. You should also check with your doctors to make sure you are up to date with all vaccinations before travelling. Be advised that there are a lot of stray dogs, and to not allow your children to pet them because they may have things like fleas.

Antigua with Kids

A trip to Antigua, Guatemala will be one that you and your family will remember. You can explore the churches, ancient Mayan ruins, antique shops, and coffee and chocolate makers throughout the cobblestone streets. It can be hard to get around with a stroller, because of the uneven streets so by foot is probably a better way to get around. The ChocoMuseo is a perfect place to take the children to experience a chocolate workshop on how to make sweet treats straight from the cocoa bean! This will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of traveling to Guatemala for kids. Take your kids out on a hike to the Pacaya Volcano, an old volcano site where you can find the beautiful Lake Atitlan. The kids can enjoy the water and allow for their vivid imaginations and adventurous spirit to flourish!

What to do

Valhalla Macadamia Farm

When you think of Macadamia nuts, you probably think that they’re from Australia or Hawaii. Many people do not know that the Valhalla Farm in Guatemala is home to some of the best macadamia nuts in the world! All around Guatemala, you will find vendors that sell nuts, but in Valhalla you can find different products like butter, flour, and creams. Take a free tour of the farm, and get away from the crowded city life to experience a day of fresh air and new experiences. 

Attractions at Valhalla

Although the farm is open for production purposes, there are attractions for visitors and tourists to enjoy. There is a spa, restaurant, and shops to take advantage of that have products and food made from the macadamia nuts. Indulge in the best pancakes at the Valhalla Oxygen Lounge Restaurant. Made with bits of macadamia nuts, drizzles of creamy macadamia butter and topped with fresh blueberry that are all made fresh on the farm. They offer other great breakfast and lunch options as well. You can book in advance a reservation for spa treatment Valhalla Wellness SPA with products used and  made from fresh macadamia. 

How to get to Valhalla Macadamia

Valhalla is a short 15-20 minute ride from Antigua. You can go by taxi, but most people go by the chicken bus towards San Miguel Dueñas, leaving from the main station in Antigua. The bus costs less than $1 per person one way. The bus can take you straight to the farm, just ask the bus driver to stop at the las macadamias. This farm is perfect for a day trip outside of the rustle and bustle of the city.

We think an even better option is stopping by the Valhalla Macadamia farm as you travel from Guatemala City to Antigua by private car. This saves you the hassle of figuring out taxis or busses, and doesn’t waste your holiday time traveling back and forth.

What to do


Located at an altitude of 2,200 metres and just 90 kilometres west of Guatemala City, Iximche was the capital of the indigenous Mayan kingdom called the Kaqchikel from 1470 until its abandonment in 1524, after clashes with Spanish conquistadors.

Iximche was built on this site due to its defendable ridge and surrounding deep ravines and within 50 years the city reached its height. When the Spanish arrived in Mexico, the Kaqchikel received messengers from the Aztec emperor warning them of the impending Spanish threat. After the defeat of the Aztecs by the Spanish, the Kachikel offered an alliance with the Spanish in return for their safety the Kaqchikel would provide native allies to help with the conquest of the other Mayan kingdoms. The Spanish arrived in 1524 and Iximche became the capital of the Mesoamerica region.

The demands of tribute from the Spanish conquistadors proved too great for the Kaqchikel, resulting in the alliance being broken and the Kaqchikel abandoning Iximche. The Spanish would burn Iximche shortly afterwards and hostilities would continue until 1530 when the Kaqchikel surrendered.

The ruined city of Iximche would once again become important to Guatemalans during the Guatemalan civil war between 1960 and 1996, a meeting between Mayans and guerrillas leaders took place in 1980. Which resulted in the guerrillas declaring they would defend indigenous rights. The ruins of Iximche became a Guatemalan national monument in 1960; afterwards in 1989 a ritual took place at the site to re-establish these ruins as a sacred place for Mayan ceremonies; these ceremonies are still carried out today.

What’s the best way to see Iximche?

The best way to visit Iximche is on a guided tour. Your guide will share details and background about Iximche, and point out things you’d almost certainly miss on your own, such as signs of previous human sacrifices. Due to restoration efforts you will also get to visit former palaces, temples, ball courts, murals and a small museum housing artifacts.

Take a guided tour from the city of Antigua which is about 90 minutes away. Tours take between 5 – 6 hours from Antigua, includes pick up and drop off back to Antigua.

Alternatively, if you would like more of a personal experience rather than a larger group tour which takes a majority of the day, you can stop at Iximche on your way from Antigua to Panajachel with a private car. You can find one of the guides on site to take you around Iximche and provide you with great insight about the ruins. This is a great option to take your time at this history filled experience, the private driver would wait for you to finish your tour and take you back to your chosen destination so you can further explore Guatemala.  

What to do

The best Waterfalls in Guatemala

Siete Altares Waterfall (Seven Altars)

Located near the beachside town of Livingston, this series of seven waterfalls hidden within the jungle of Guatemala is well worth the hike or boat road to experience the natural beauty on offer.

Hiking the route from Livingston to the waterfalls is about an hour and a half through the jungle, you will get to listen to birds and other wildlife. Alternatively you can hire a boat guide to take you from Livingston to the entrance of Seven Altars, the hike from the entrance is about 30 minutes. Whatever way you decide to reach Seven Altars ensure you hire a guide.

The series of waterfalls flow into pools where you can take a dip to cool off from the walk and heat but make sure you make it to the 7th and final waterfall as it’s certainly the finest of the lot. If you’re looking for Guatemala pools and waterfalls, this is the one to visit.

While Seven Altars is open all year round, it’s best to go during the rainy season to see the waterfalls in full force.

Semuc Champey

Semuc Champey means “where the river hides under the stones”, and is a must-see natural wonder when visiting Guatemala, and is only an hour away from the town of Lanquin which is located just one hour away.

Cascading over a mossy rock into limestone pools, it’s a great place to swim, especially after you build up a sweat hiking to the viewpoint at the top. The viewpoint will make for a stunning view of the pools below and surrounding rainforest, and will make it easy to see why this is also called the Blue River Waterfall Guatemala.

The Semuc Champey is the perfect location to forget about all the worries about life in the city and get back to nature with its absolutely stunning surroundings, sit in the refreshing pools and listen to the birds sing away. And this amazing experience is just $5.

Los Amates Waterfall

Located just one hour drive from the lakeside town of Izabal, the spectacular Los Amates waterfall is 35 metres tall rock wall with a stunning view of the surrounding area from the top of the falls and with a pool perfect for swimming at the bottom of the falls.

Getting to Los Amates is fairly difficult as it’s only accessible by 4X4 vehicle so it is best to plan a private driver to take you there. It takes a few hours to get through the terrain, so it’s best to leave in the early hours of the day. 

If you’re looking to test your rappelling abilities, organized local tours include rappelling down the waterfall.

Make sure you bring a change of clothes, water and food with you also it can get very hot here so cooling off in the pool at the bottom of the falls is fantastic.

Las Conchas Waterfall

Located just one and half hours from Rio Dulce, Las Conchas waterfall is certainly worth a visit for a day.

The waterfall surrounded by jungle stands at 15 metres and with limestone pools at the bottom provides a great chance to relax, Las Conchas gets its name from the snails found near the bottom of the falls.

There is also a viewing platform at the top which is only a short hike, and definitely worth the effort to see the natural beauty of the area.

Equality Falls

On the slopes of the Tajumulco volcano, Equality falls is one of the highest waterfalls in Central America at around 200 metres. With its swimming pool at the bottom of the falls and hot springs about 20 minutes walking away from the falls, it’s certainly worth the adventure.

This area of Guatemala was previously privately owned land but has been opened up so there is a great chance to see a natural jewel of Guatemala that is maintained by the local community. 

Getting to Equality falls, take a guided tour from Quetzaltenango which is about 2 and half to 3 hour drive so leave in the early morning. Once you reach the local community, it’s about a 40 minute walk to the falls, where you can cool off in the pool, take a much deserved rest and enjoy the natural surroundings.

Finca el Paraiso

Translated into ‘the paradise’ the name says it all. This Guatemala waterfall stands at 12 metres and is fed by natural hot springs water. Finca el Paraiso is one of Guatemala’s hidden gems, you’ll enjoy the warm water by standing under the cascading water, swimming in the pool to cool off and venture to the nearby natural hot springs to relax.

A trip to Finca el Paraiso is perfect to recharge your batteries and getting there doesn’t require hours of hiking. It’s just 40 minutes from the town of Rio Dulce, and after you’ve paid the small entrance fee of $3USD, a short walk through the jungle where you can listen to the sounds of birds and other wildlife.

You’ll know when you’re getting close to ‘the paradise’ as you’ll hear the flow of water, followed by the sight of steam ascending through the tree’s which is produced by the natural hot water hitting the colder waters of the river. This really is a unique experience.

After you’ve enjoyed the warm water from the falls and the cooler waters of the pool, head up the waterfall to relax in the natural hot pools.

What to do

The Best Guatemala Beaches

With 400 kilometres of coastline, there are countless Guatemala beaches to choose from. Whether you’re wanting to relax in the sun, learn to surf, or party with the sand between your toes, there are beaches in Guatemala for everyone.

Does Guatemala have Beaches?

Guatemala is home to three different types of beaches, black sand beaches on the pacific coast, white sand beaches on the caribbean coast and lakeside beaches. While most travelers head to Guatemala to see the Mayan temples and Spanish architecture, the beaches are well worth the time spent travelling to either of the coastlines.

Visitors can experience a number of activities at the different beaches in Guatemala, such as learning how to surf,  observe the wildlife by taking a diving tour or simply sit on the beach and hope to see some awe inspiring whales in search of warmer waters.

Is Guatemala by the Ocean?

Like many other countries on the Central American isthmus, Guatemala actually has two coasts – the warm waters of the Caribbean on the north coast and the world’s largest ocean on the south coast, the Pacific Ocean. 

Are there beaches in Antigua Guatemala?

Since it’s up in the mountains, there are no beaches in Antigua Guatemala. However, it’s close enough to the coast that you can take a bus, shuttle, or private car and be on one of Guatemala’s beaches in just a few hours.

Monterrico Beach

The closest beach to Antigua would be Monterrico on the Pacific Coast. It’s located in a small, relaxed beachtown with many hotels and resorts to enjoy beachside escape from the hustle of the city, with its black sand beaches and the power of the pacific ocean it’s certainly an unique area to walk along on the beach and soak it all in.

While Monterrico beach is made for an easy going, lazy beach experience, there is also fantastic wildlife in the area. From the sea turtles nesting to the serene Hawaii-Monterrico Biotopo mangrove for those bird watching and nature enthusiasts. This fantastic mix might explain why it’s one of Guatemala’s best beaches!

Playa Tilapa

Located by the Mexican border, Playa Tilapa is one of the more remote Guatemala beaches. It’s set on a sandbar apart from the mainland, so is only accessible by boat. Fortunately getting there is simple – you’ll need to get to the fishing village of Tilapa (we’d recommend taking a private car – the busses usually require multiple transfers. But once you get to Tilapa, you get to enjoy a 10 minute boat ride through the mangroves to get to Playa Tilapa. 

Known for its white sandy beaches and palm trees it offers the chance for a much deserved rest to unwind and recharge your batteries.

Playa Tilapa is certainly one of the hidden gems of Guatemala, so for a nice relaxing day or two simply book a beachside vacation home and enjoy the sunsets, catch some waves surfing or sit back and relax while the world goes by.


Iztapa is one of the best beaches in Guatemala and only a 2 hour bus ride from Guatemala City, there are few hotels in Iztapa but also look into staying at one of the vacation homes.

Being located on the Pacific ocean coast line it offers wonderful black sand beaches to have a nice relaxing stroll down, be sure to bring the surfboard as well. The biggest draws to Iztapa are the world class sail fishing, you’ll need to book a boat to take you out to seas and while any sailfish caught must be released to preserve the species, however any tuna caught can be brought back to shore and put into the frying pan!

If whale watching interests you, Iztapa beach is a great place to see these impressive animals in their natural habitat. You’ll need to hire a yacht to see these impressive animals up close and personal, but don’t worry the yacht will come with a skipper and technology to have the best chance of seeing some whales. 

You’ll want to visit between December and April for the chance to see any of the humpback whales that head to the warmer waters of Guatemala.

Playa Dorada

This lakeside beach is located on the southside of Lago De Izabal (Lake Izabal), it’s about a 5 hour bus ride from Guatemala city so hiring a car and staying a few nights at any of the hotels located on the lake is recommended.

Enjoy a stroll down the shoreline and soak in the picturesque views or hire a boat and explore the surrounding area. Some of the popular activities include exploring the mangroves by boat to see the natural wildlife including manatees or explore the nearby Mayan ruins of Quirigua, you’ll need a half to a full day for either of these activities. 


Located along the Pacific coast of Guatemala, this beachside town is about a 2 hour drive from Quetzaltenango. Champerico offers a laid back beachtown experience, along with its instagram worthy famous wooden pier and known for the delicious seafood restaurants located on the shoreline. Enjoying a great meal while watching the sunset will make for a relaxing experience away from the busy cities.

The black sand beaches and warm water will make for a great bare foot walk along the beach, the swell here is well known for its surf so this is a great place to test your surfing skills but do exercise care when in the water as the waves can be dangerous for those less experienced surfers and swimmers.


This beachside town is great for those adventurous travelers, located on the Caribbean coast of Guatemala it offers white sand beaches, palm trees and surrounding rain forest. There is certainly a lot of exploring in this area.

Livingston is only accessible by boat, so you will need to depart from the town of Puerto Barrios or take a river boat ride down the Rio Dulce that goes through the jungle.

From Livingston, head to Playa Blanca on a short boat ride being the most popular beach in the area it’s well worth heading to this beach for a relaxing day sitting under the palm trees with a drink or for a swim in the warm waters. On the way to Playa Blanca you can visit the Seven Altars waterfalls.

Playa Blanca

Located near the beachside town of Livingston, this beach is a must visit due to its white sand beaches and because it’s only accessible by boat it makes for a truly relaxing experience away from the cites and crowds. Sit back in the sun or under one of the many palm trees for shade and unwind while enjoying the caribbean water.

If you’re keen to enjoy a swim in the clear waters, hire a snorkel and spend your time exploring the sea and its residences. The calm, clear waters and abundance of space means it will make for a great experience.

El Paredon

This small beachside town, located north of Monterrico with its black sand beach is well known for its surf breaks and sunsets. If you’re an intermediate surfer this is a must visit but there are also surfing schools for those beginners looking to be challenged as the waves here can be quite strong.

There isn’t a lot to do here for other types of entertainment so it makes for a great get away from the busy cities and crowds. 

Puerto San Jose

This beachside town is located on Guatemala’s Pacfic coastline and is a 2 hour drive from Guatemala City. The town is well stocked with shops, restaurants, hotels and bars making for a great place to stay.

Puerto San Jose beach with its black sand and fantastic views makes for a relaxing experience but for those looking for an adventure should look into the deep sea fishing tours or whale watching tours available.