The Best Things To Do In Guatemala For Adventure Lovers

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Are you looking for the best things to do in Guatemala? Then look no further in this guide I’m going to share with you my top 5 tours to take in Guatemala. Guatemala is a country full of adventure and there are a few tours that you really shouldn’t miss.

I’m not always an advocate of an organized tour, I normally prefer to do it myself, but sometimes you just have to pay the cash and go with the masses. So here is my guide to the best things to do in Guatemala. 

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

If you are planning a trip right now then you NEED to thing seriously about insurance. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you need to be prepared for anything!

Travel insurance has always been high on the list of things to get before you travel but now more than ever it should be at the top of your list! I’m pretty sure we have all had travel plans messed up because of COVID and not all insurers covered this. So you need to find an insurer that covers travel disruption due to COVID-19, World Nomads and Safety Wing are the ones to go for. World Nomads is great for incidents that happen prior to your trip, so if you get sick or are unable to travel due to travel restrictions some of their policies will cover that as cancellation cover. Safety Wing goes the extra mile and covers quarantine outside your home for up to 10 days, they also have a really handy map on their website showing requirements and restrictions for each country.

If you are doing shorter trips or a onger backpacking trip then WorldNomads is the best option. If you are a digital nomad or planning travel of at least 6 months then go for SafetyWing. Alternativly Travel Insurance Master is a great site to do a more general serch for vacation insurance. Just make sure whichever insurance plan you go with will cover you for COVID.

What Are The Best Things To Do In Guatemala?

Tikal in Guatemala | How to get to Tikal in Guatemala

Hike Acatenango in Guatemala

If you are looking for the ultimate adventure in Guatemala and you are in good health this is the tour for you. Hiking Acatenango in Guatemala is physically and mentally difficult but, it is so worth it. If you are really looking to push your physical limitations and go one step further then add a hike to Volcan Fuego on to your Acatenango tour. Because the hike to Fuego in Guatemala is difficult not many tour operators do it. The only tour company in Guatemala I would trust is OX Expeditions. You can read about my experience hiking Acatenango and Fuego here. 

While it is possible to hike Volcano Acatenango alone, I really wouldn’t recommend it. Hiking Acatenango is no joke, 6 people died up there the weekend before I arrived back in 2017, it’s a serious hike and not to be underestimated. That said, it is at the top of my best things to do in Guatemala if you love adventure.

Hike Pacaya Volcano in Guatemala

If a hike to Acatenango is a bit much for you (don’t worry it’s a bit much for most people) a day trip to Pacaya volcano is a great option. This is one of the best things to do in Guatemala that is family-friendly. You can choose to take a day trip to Pacaya or an overnight camping trip (lots of fun).  Volcan Pacaya is an easy 1-hour walk up the volcano. However, if even that is a bit much for you, there is an option to ride a horse up there. You are not allowed to hike Pacaya without a guide so it’s not possible to do it alone. You can read about my experience hiking Pacaya here. The company I recommend going to Pacaya volcano with 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 Indians Nose.

Take a Tour to Indian Nose in Lake Atitlan

Now this one involves a very early morning start, I’m talking 4 am. But it really is worth it. You will hike up in the dark and then get to watch the sunrise from Indians Nose over Lake Atitlan.

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

In fact, I’m not sure you could even find the trailhead without a guide in the dark. Any tour company around the lake can take you to Indians Nose for around 100Q but I recommend paying extra and doing the tour with a guy called Matt. You can read about my experience hiking Indian Nose and how to get hold of Matt here. Don’t let the early morning start put you off it is one of the best tours in Guatemala I did and you soon forget the time when you see the sunrise over the chain of volcanos!

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

Take a Guided Tour of Semuc Champey

I really didn’t want to do this tour, even though many people told me it is one of the best things to do in Guatemala. I just wanted to go and see Semuc for myself and chill without being dragged around on a guided tour. But my friend who had been working there for a few weeks convinced me to do it, and I’m so glad I did! It is well worth spending the money to do the tour of Semuc Champey. Without doing the tour I wouldn’t have been able to go into the caves or find the waterfall or big swing. You can read more about my experience on the Semuc Champey tour here.

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Semuc Champey

Take a Guided Tour of Tikal Ruins 

Oh, Tikal! We didn’t get on very well… Mostly because I was being tight and didn’t want to pay the money for the tour of Tikal ruins. Unfortunately, this backfired and I had a bit of a nightmare there. So take my advice book a guided tour of Tikal. You will be transported there and back and get a guided tour of Tikal. And if you don’t want to stay with the tour you can just head off on your own and meet them back at the transport later. You can take a read of my experience in Flores and Tikal here.

If you are in Antigua and want to take a Tikal tour from there I recommend booking a Tikal tour with Heart of Travel. You can choose if you want to 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

Final Thoughts On The Best Things To Do In Guatemala

Guatemala is full of fun things to do and adventures to be had. Many of the things you can do in Guatemala you can do without a guide like hiking Volcan San Pedro or visiting Chichicastenango. But you always have the option of booking a tour if you prefer.

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

Looking for Accommodation in Antigua?

There are 3 places I recommend Selina or Yellow House Hostel if you are looking for a hostel. For hotels, I recommend Hotel Mesón de María, Barbara’s Boutique Hostel, or Hotel Paseo de la Merced.

PS. If you are looking for a really good complete guide to Guatemala check out this great guide here from Layer Culture. Or maybe you need some backpacking advice for Guatemala?

The Best Tours in Guatemala


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

Guatemalan Textiles at Lake Atitlan


9TH - 19TH OCTOBER 2021