6 Amazing Things to Do in Guatemala
One of the top things to do in Guatemala during holidays and events is to head to the beaches and balnearios (natural swimming holes) to swim, eat, drink and enjoy some revelry. Here are some top spots for day trips. tours and excursions during Holy Week or Easter in Guatemala.
Semana Santa or Easter in Guatemala, is deservedly famous. In Antigua, the religious processions that wind their way across the alfombras or carpets of fruit, flowers and coloured wood shavings are a highlight of the largest Easter celebration in the Americas.
But where does everyone go when the pomp and ceremony is over? Since the weather in Guatemala is hot in March and April, it’s traditional to head out of town to one of the beaches, into the cooler highlands or to one of the natural bathing pools. Here are some top things to do in Guatemala if you’re looking for day trips. tours and excursions during Holy Week or Easter in Guatemala (or any other holiday really).
Check out our post on 3 Budget Hotels You’ll Love in Antigua if you’re looking for a hotel. And remember to book early!
1 Take an Overnight Tour to Semuc Champey
You’ll feel as though you’ve landed in the fantasy world of Oz at these emerald green waterfalls deep in Guatemala’s Maya highlands. Getting there is half the adventure. Travel past the misty coffee town of Coban to Lanquin. Then, after a gruelling drive through green clad mountains and just when you think the road can’t get any worse, you’ll arrive at a necklace of pools cascading though dense cloud forest. Begin by scrambling to the lookout above the waterfalls, then plunge into the crystalline waters. If you don’t have a 4 X 4 you’ll need to pay for transportation in a truck from Lanquin to Semuc Champey. Due to poor road conditions, you’ll need to overnight in Lanquin or Semuc Champey.
2 Day Tripping to Monterrico is one of Top Things to Do in Guatemala
Journey through a mangrove lagoon on Guatemala’s Pacific Coast and you’ll reach this stretch of black volcanic sand beach fringed by a mighty surf. It’s one of the top things to do in Guatemala and is a favourite haunt of backpackers, surfers and weekenders from Guatemala City. Yet it’s still a quiet place where you can chill out in a humble beachside cabana, laze away in a hammock, explore a lagoon or grab a surfboard and ride the waves. Just an hour from Antigua, it’s one of the most popular places to go to celebrate Easter in Guatemala.
Insider Tip: Holiday periods are peak periods for petty crime. Read 20 Travel Safety Tips for Guatemala
3 Day Trip to Fuentes Georginas from Xela
Balance body and soul at these hot springs in Guatemala’s highlands, near Quetzaltenango. These mineral-rich thermal waters are located in an area long considered sacred by the local Maya. Begin with a trek through the cloud forest past Zunil and Santo Tomás volcanoes and then soak away your muscle aches in the legendary, healing waters. The pools, carved out of rock and obscured by swirling steam, are tucked inside a well-equipped facility complete with change rooms, showers and eating areas.
4 Cool off at Pasabien Pools in Zacapa
Deep in the eastern state of Zacapa, the sweltering heart of Guatemala’s cowboy country, is Pasabien. This series of natural rock pools and waterfalls is fed by icy water from an underground source in the Sierra de las Minas Mountains. Nearby Santa Cruz may appear to be just another dusty commercial town, but it offers market stalls with vendors selling fresh pineapples, fine local rum and quesadilla, a rich cake made of queso de Zacapa—the dry cheese beloved throughout Guatemala. Get the fixings for a picnic and shiver your sweat away with a refreshing dip in the chilly rock pools.
5 Excursion to Livingston and the Caribbean Coast
Take a boat, or walk the beach north of Lívingston on Guatemala’s Caribbean coast and you’ll arrive at the Seven Altars, a set of cascading freshwater falls and pools within a protected rainforest. Draped with orchids, the river offers cool waters perfect for splashing and swimming. Plan to spend a few days so you can soak up the lively Garifuna vibe—a mix of Caribbean, South American and African music, dance and cuisine.
6. Tour to Panajachel and Lake Atitlan
The lakeside town of Panajachel is the tourism hub of Lake Atitlan but is still very picturesque. It makes a great base for day trips to Mayan towns such as Solola, Chichicastenango and San Pedro La Laguna both in the highlands and around the lake. It also offers its own open air food market, a historic church as well as plenty of diversions such as Spanish Language Schools, restaurants, craft markets and stunning views of Lake Atitlan from virtually every part of town.
Read about: A Wild Boat Ride to San Pedro la Laguna, one of the top things to do in Guatemala when you’re in Panajachel
Guatemala Tourism Office: INGUAT is Guatemala’s Official Tourism Agency. They have an office in Panajachel located at the corner of Calle Santander and Calle Principal (near Pollo Campero) with handy maps for planning Guatemala tours or day trips. Visit the official INGUAT website.
How to Get Around: Adrenalina Tours has been in business since 1994 and has an admirable safety and service record. In addition to their door to door shuttle service around Guatemala they offer hikes, treks and multi-day Guatemala tours to Tikal, El Mirador and other archeological sites. Contact them at email@example.com or one of their offices in Panajachel, Antigua or Quetzaltenango.
Coban: The Park Hotel and Resort outside Coban offers economical bungalows with a typical Guatemalan buffet breakfast and makes an easy base for exploring Alta Verapaz
Ferry docks in Panajachel: There are two docks in Panajachel. A shared boat to San Pedro la Laguna costs 25 Q ( around $3) and take approximately 30 minutes.
Muelle de la Playa Publica ( Public Dock) in Panajachel: Located at the end of Calle Rancho Grande, this marina is where you catch the public boat to Santiago Atitlan, take a tour or book a private boat.
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