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Guatemala Tours and Fun Things to Do in Guatemala

Guatemala is full of adventure, and there are several fun Guatemala trips and things to see in Guatemala that you can’t miss. I don’t always advocate for organized tours since I usually prefer to travel myself, but sometimes you have to pay the cash and go with the masses. Here’s my guide to the best Guatemala tours and can’t-miss Guatemala adventures.

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $39. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

Looking for Accommodations in Antigua?

I recommend several places for a hostel, including Selina and Yellow House Hostel. I recommend Hotel Mesón de María and Barbara’s Boutique Hostel for hotels. I’ve gathered all the best places to eat in Antigua if you need recommendations.

If you want to stay in San Pedro, I recommend Zoola San Pedro AtitlanAmiGosHotel Tinamit, Cristalinas Cafe, or Hotel & Restaurant at Lake.

My friend Julia is developing an incredible retreat center close to San Marcos. They have several places to stay, and I can’t recommend them enough! I stayed there—it was the most blissful I’d been in years. In Panajachel, I recommend PanaHouse or Selina Atitlan.

I also wrote an entire accommodation guide for Antigua, Guatemala City, and Lake Atitlan.

Guatemala Tours and Things to Do Guatemala

Tikal in Guatemala | How to get to Tikal in Guatemala

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 
Best Guatemala ToursClick here to check out the top Guatemala tours
Best Guatemala Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Guatemala
Best Guatemala Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Guatemala

Hike Acatenango

If you’re looking for the ultimate Guatemala adventure and are in good health, you’ll love this opportunity to tour Guatemala. Hiking Acatenango is physically and mentally challenging, but it’s worth it. To push your physical limitations and go one step further, add a Volcan Fuego hike to your Acatenango tour. Since the hike to Fuego is strenuous, few tour operators do it. The only Guatemala tour company I trust is OX Expeditions. You can read about my experience hiking Acatenango and Fuego here. 

While hiking Volcan Acatenango alone is possible, I don’t recommend it. Hiking Acatenango is no joke—six people died up there the weekend before I arrived back in 2017. It’s a serious hike that shouldn’t be underestimated. That said, it’s at the top of my recommendations for Guatemala adventures.

Hike Pacaya Volcano

If a hike to Acatenango is a bit much for you (don’t worry, it is for most people), a day trip to Pacaya Volcano is a great option. This is one of the most fun things to do in Guatemala that’s family-friendly. You can take a day trip to Pacaya or an overnight camping trip, which is lots of fun. Volcan Pacaya is an easy 1-hour hike, or you can ride a horse up there. You cannot hike Pacaya without a guide, so doing this Guatemala adventure alone is impossible. You can read about my experience hiking Pacaya here. The company I recommend using is Heart of Travel. Click here for more information about booking a Pacaya hike.

Guatemala Guides | The Top 5 Tours in Guatemala | The Best Tours in Guatemala in Guatemala
Watching the sunrise over Indian Nose

Tour Indian Nose in Lake Atitlan

This one involves a very early morning start—I’m talking 4:00 a.m., but it’s worth it. You hike up in the dark and watch the sunrise from Indian Nose over Lake Atitlan.

If you get lucky (like me), you might even see Volcan Fuego erupting in the distance. Although you could do this alone, it would be difficult to get to the trailhead at this hour in the morning without transportation.

I’m not sure you could find the trailhead in the dark without a guide. Any Guatemala tour company around the lake can take you to Indian Nose for around 100Q. Don’t let the early morning start put you off. It’s one of the best Guatemala tours, and you immediately forget the time when you see the sunrise over the volcano chain.

Guatemala Guides | The Top 5 Tours in Guatemala | The Best Tours in Guatemala in Guatemala
The view from Indian Nose

Take a Guided Guatemala Tour of Semuc Champey

I didn’t want to tour Guatemala Semuc Champey even though many people told me it’s one of the most fun things to do in Guatemala. I wanted to see Semuc and chill without being dragged on a guided tour. But my friend who worked there for a few weeks convinced me to do it, and I’m so glad I did! It’s well worth spending the money to tour Semuc Champey. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to enter the caves or find the waterfall and giant swing. You can read more about my experience on the Semuc Champey tour here.

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Semuc Champey

Explore the Tikal Runs

Oh, Tikal! We didn’t get along very well, mostly because I didn’t want to pay the money for the Tikal Ruins tour. Unfortunately, this backfired, and I had a bit of a nightmare there. Take my advice and book a guided tour of Tikal—it’s one of the most unforgettable Guatemala excursions. You’ll be transported there and back and receive a guided tour of Tikal. You can meet them at the transport stop later if you don’t want to stay with the tour. Read my experience in Flores and Tikal here.

If you’re in Antigua and want to take a Tikal tour from there, I recommend booking your Guatemala tour with Heart of Travel. You can fly or drive to Tikal. Click here to learn more about Heart of Travel and to book a tour with them.

How to see Tikal in Guatemala - The ultimate guide to what not to do

Quick Tip: View my full Guatemala packing guide here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my Guatemala Essentials shopping list here.

Guatemala Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Guatemala?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Guatemala which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for Guatemala on Amazon here.

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in Guatemala?

I strongly recommend using GottoGo. You can book almost all transport in the major tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Guatemala?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a lot of options!

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are Booking.comHotels.com, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack. 

Guatemala Tours and Things to Do Guatemala: Final Thoughts

There are many fun Guatemala excursions and unique things to see in Guatemala. Many of the most fun Guatemala trips can be done without a guide, like hiking Volcan San Pedro or visiting Chichicastenango. However, you can always book guided tours in Guatemala if you prefer.

The only Guatemala tour company I recommend for booking transport and tours in Guatemala (other than the individuals and companies I named) is GuateGo. They’re a Guatemala-owned company that‘s brought together all the transportation and tour options in one easy-to-use website. You can book transport with them here and tours with them here.

The Best Tours in Guatemala

Raj

Sunday 10th of February 2019

Hi Claire Quite impressed about You, your site and info on Guatemala. I am Raj from India along with my wife Latha planning a 10 day trip of Guatemala in mid May.We are independent travelers.We are so fascinated about history.So Tikal and Copan Ruinas are musts.We plan to arrive in Guatemala city then to Antigua and Lake Atitlan . But planning jumps into blocks as transportation s not easy in Guatemala to Flores and Copan Ruinas. We plan to spend 1 day Guatemala city. 2 days in Antigua, 2 days in Copan going from Antigua. Come back to Antigua then to Guatemala city .Fly to Flores for 2 days.If you have a better plan , and if time permits kindly advise us. With warm regards from India. Latha and Raj