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Planning a Trip to Guatemala

I’ve remained mum on my travel plans for 2017, but that isn’t to say I don’t have any. Some have been in the works for a while but others were impromptu. So in case the title didn’t alert you, my first trip (that has started by the time this post goes live!) is to Guatemala. My sister recently moved to Antigua, so I’m taking off two weeks to explore the Central American country. This is my first honest-to-god vacation in a while. I’ll definitely have to spend a few days working, but most of my activities will not be sponsored or blogged about. I just hope to enjoy myself, flexing my rusty Spanish, shopping for Mayan crafts, and eating all the food.

My plans are so far flexible, so I’m open to your suggestions as well as transportation tips. I’ll also need your packing advice! Share below.


Antigua, Guatemala

Credit: Jasperdo

I’m spending the majority of my time here with my sister, who is doing social media for Ox Expeditions, one of the tour operators in town. I’ll be climbing a volcano with them and exploring the colonial city. I also want to visit the local market and maybe even make it up to the Earth Lodge for lunch. I know there are plenty of great places to stay here and it will be nice to ease into traveling in a more gringo-centric town.

Lake Atitlan

Another must-see is Lake Atitlan. I’ll be splitting my time between Santa Cruz and Panajachel. In Santa Cruz, I want to go scuba diving, as it’s been a few years, and shopping in Panajachel. I’ll also use the touristy town as a base to catch up on work and day trip to the famous Chichicastenango market. If I have time, I’ll take a boat to some of the other villages. This isn’t as much time as I’d like, but I want to see what I can. 

Semuc Champey

Semuc Champey, Guatemala

Credit: Matt Stabile

Kate won me over with her photos from this water wonderland last year. I know it’s not easy to get to, so I hope to spend two days in town, swimming in the pools and exploring the caves. This area will certainly put me off the grid, which is a good thing. Now I just have to figure out where to stay.



Credit: side78

I couldn’t come to Guatemala without visiting its famous ruins, located in the far northern part of the country. It may be tricky to get to, but I’m excited to wander around Tomb Raider-style. I will spend three days here, including one in transit, so may catch a sunrise and a sunset as well as an extra temple. I will probably stay in Flores because of the amenities.

Guatemala City

Guatemala City Plaza Flag

Credit: Gus MacLeod

And last but not least, I’ll arrive mid-day here before leaving the next day to go back home. I know it’s not much time in the sprawling capital, but I’ll give it a chance. I’ve been surprised by cities like this before. Alex shared some pictures from one of the hip zonas that I will try to visit.

Where else should I add to my Guatemala itinerary? Share your tips!

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One Response to Planning a Trip to Guatemala

  1. Brittany Thiessen January 18, 2017 at 10:23 am #

    I’m so excited for you about your travel plans in Guatemala!! I just traveled there in November and was constantly amazed at how beautiful the country was – the landscapes, markets, ruins, churches, and people were all amazing.

    Your itinerary looks great. There is so much to do in and around Antigua and it’s a really beautiful colonial city. I loved checking out the churches and convents there.

    Lake Atitlan was definitely my favourite place in Guatemala. I fell in love with Santa Cruz and it was such an authentic and charming place with friendly locals. Panajachel was probably my least favourite town on the lake – it was always busy and crowded, not very pretty and over-commercialized. It felt kind of like Playa del Carmen in Mexico to me, and I much preferred some of the other towns like San Marcos and San Juan. I would definitely recommend checking out those villages for sure!

    Tikal is such an impressive set of ruins to explore. Three days in Flores is a good amount of time and that will allow you time to see the ruins for a day trip and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere in Flores. It’s a really pretty little town and island. If you take a boat across the lake to the town of San Miguel, there are some pretty hiking trails in the jungle that lead to some small ruins and a look-out tower overlooking the lake and Flores, which is a fun activity to do while you’re there.

    I hope you have an amazing time and I can’t wait to follow your photos and adventures in Guatemala!

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