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.
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.
Guatemala Tours and Things to Do Guatemala
Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress.
Best Guatemala Tours: Click 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Guatemala Travel Guide Planning
🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Guatemala?
🚗 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?
👩⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?
I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here
✈️ Any flight recommendations?
📱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?
🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?
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.