I'm sharing with you this little travel guide to Guatemala. I always like to return to my favorite places each time I visit. I hope that these recommendations will allow you to enrich your adventure…
Traveling through Guatemala means going from the Pacific rollers to the Quiché highlands, from the Antigua volcanoes of Antigua to the archaeological sites of Petén... I loved traveling through this country in all its diversity and all directions, on the roads or foot.
The wide-open spaces of Guatemala are fascinating. The country has more volcanoes per square kilometer than any other worldwide. Earthquakes and eruptions are part of the history and drama, but also part of the magic and power of these landscapes.
The highlight of a visit to Central America is meeting the people who share an incredible sense of humor and gentleness. Their history is rich, fascinating, and complex, a mix of ancestral Mayan origins and a Spanish colonial occupation.
Each region and each village has its own identity and language. Artisanal techniques such as weaving are linked to a whole culture and evolve throughout generations. You will find markets full of colorful fabrics, ceramics, or antiques…
The spectacular city of Antigua has been declared a part of the UNESCO World Heritage. It is a small haven of peace, caught between the twin volcanoes of Fuego (Fire) and Agua (Water).
After an earthquake in the 18th century, the capital of Antigua was moved to Guatemala City. However, the city still has many old buildings and facades, such as the magnificent ruins of the Capuchinas convent or Santa Clara...
The 17th-century Antigua Cathedral is open-air. The Museum of Colonial Art and its Moorish courtyard across the street are also worth a visit.
3a Calle Oriente 28, Antigua www.casasantodomingo.com.gt
You should stop at this 16th-century Dominican convent, which was discovered in 1995 and transformed into a museum and hotel. Today, you'll find a restaurant, a chapel, a swimming pool, and a ceramics workshop.
This highland town is remote and foggy but famous for its market and flowery church steps. Thursday is market day, and the square is filled with brightly colored fabrics. Like in a bazaar, you can find everything, everything, everything...
Callejon Contreras, Santa Ana, Guatemala - www.newrootsfoundation.org/la-nueva-fabrica-eng
This art gallery in Santa Ana, just outside of Antigua, supports several contemporary artists, weavers, and photographers through events and residencies.
6A Calle, Guatemala - museoixchel.org
The Ixchel Museum has a vast collection of textiles from all the indigenous communities of Guatemala and every era. It also displays the beautiful watercolors of Carmen L. Pettersen, painted in the villages in the 1970s. Next to this small museum is the Popol Vuh Museum, which exhibits the oldest Mayan manuscripts in Guatemala and many objects from the pre-Hispanic period.
Asking a local guide to accompany you to nature parks is highly recommended. Get their contact details at your hotel.
This is one of the most breathtaking views of Lake Atitlan, between mountains, forest and swimming. End the walk in San Marcos with a dip in the lake. Boats depart from San Pedro or Panajachel. Count 3 hours for the walk. Difficulty *
Get up early! Take a tuk-tuk to the San Pedro National Park entrance, where a 5-hour steep climb begins. At the top, the clouds offer a spectacular view of Lake Atitlan. Difficulty **
GUIDES : OX EXPEDITION 7th Calle Poniente #17, Antigua - oxexpeditions.com
One of the most incredible sights in Guatemala. Plan on two hiking days.
The climb is short but intense but on arrival at the camp, you can enjoy a view of the Fuego crater, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. In the evening, under a sky full of stars, you can watch a natural firework of lava. At dawn, you will climb the volcanic sands to the summit (3,976 m) for a beautiful sunrise over Guatemala. Difficulty ***
5a Avenida Sur 19, Antigua - www.panzaverde.com
Panza Verde is the hotel you would never want to leave. You can take a yoga class in the morning, enjoy the pool in the afternoon, and attend candlelight live concerts at night.
Calle de Los Duelos 11, Antigua - www.hotelcirilo.com
A dream. A little far from the centre but very quiet, the Cirilo hotel is a modern hotel built on an antique ruin. You can lounge by the pool between two walks and enjoy the charm of the colonial-style rooms.
Patzisotz Bay Between Panajachel and Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz La Laguna - lafortunaatitlan.com
La Fortuna is a well-named cabin-chic hotel tucked away in a small lake bay, open to nature. A magical place cut off from the world.
1a Avenida Sur #9, Antigua - www.fermentoantigua.com
Fermento opened next to the famous Café No Sé, owned by the same family of restaurateurs as Hector's. It is very intimate, with a pretty patio and antique decor.
Avenida Sur #7 Antigua 6A - Trip Advisor
I always return to the Saberico restaurant & grocery store for a snack, an ice cream or a coffee. And enjoy the exotic setting and the tables lost in a lush garden.
2da Calle Oriente # 9-D, Antigua - facebook
It feels like you're invited to a family lunch. The chefs serve traditional dishes that your Guatemalan "abuela" could have served you, such as the famous Pepian plate, Jocon, and tamales. The cuisine is 100% local and delicious. Check out the rooftop, which has a panoramic sight of the city.
Calle Santander, Panajachel 07010 - Trip Advisor
2 addresses in Pana': Jasmin & Llama de Fuego. It is an atypical place, ideal for breakfast, in a very lush setting (you can't miss the giant tulip tree in the middle of the restaurant)—Mexican, Guatemalan, and international cuisine.
Boats from Panajachel, Hotel Isla Verde, Santa Cruz La Laguna - islaverdeatitlan.com
Out of time. You can take a yoga class or have lunch by the lake. I come here to work, read, or write between swims. Isla Verde is my haven of peace on Lake Atitlan.
Boats from Panajachel,, Posada de Santiago, Sortie du village de Santiago - posadadesantiago.com
Fantastic staff. I go back again and again for breakfast—my choice: the famous blue corn pancakes with macadamia nut syrup. For an evening cocktail, you can go down to their beach bar; the view is incredible.
Carretera a San Antonio Palopo, km 6.8, Santa Catarina Palopo - www.casapalopo.com
Accessible from Panajachel by tuk-tuk. In an elegant and colorful place, enjoy the most incredible sunset in Atitlan, with a 180° view of the lake. Magical (sigh).
1st Avenida, Antigua 03001 - www.cafenose.com
This is the most intriguing and intimate bar in Antigua. Illegal Mezcal serves cocktails and shots by candlelight. Musicians play guitar until the middle of the night.
5ta Avenida Norte # 20A Calle del Arco, Antigua 03001 - www.antiguacerveza.com
The bar is on the main street, under the Santa Catalina arch. A cheerful and ultra-sympathetic team produces this 100% Guatemalan craft beer.
Calle de Los Arboles, Panajachel - crossroadscafepana.com
In addition to Michaël's devastating humour and his wife Adèle's divine pastries, people come to this hidden address to chat at the counter with friends and travelers. Michaël is an expert in the coffee sector and works with the best producers: local, ethical, organic.
Calle Santander, Panajachel, Guatemala - Trip Advisor
The proper coffee connoisseurs at Pana'. This team of Korean baristas offers many techniques to serve you. Take your loyalty cards and get in line!
6 Calle Oriente # 6 Antigua - Facebook
There are two addresses for the same city: the mezzanine or the sunny terrace, for lunch or coffee.
Calle principal, Santiago Atitlán - Trip Advisor
In the "calle principal, » ask for Tono' who will serve you the best latte in town. Their staff is always friendly, and they have the best organic coffee selection. They work with local producers.
A collective of designers has set up shop & co-working in the heart of Antigua. It features beautiful modern objects, a workspace and a café, ideal for meeting the young local and international art scene.
3ra Calle Oriente casa # 33 Antigua - algodonesmayas.com
In this beautiful shop, you will find traditional, ethical and natural textiles designed by elegant Luisa Villavicencio.
Callejon de la Concepcion 5A, Antigua - indigocustomtextile.com
Olga Reiche is an expert in natural color and traditional weaving in Antigua. She gives natural dye workshops on request and her shop is full of wonders: fashion accessories, textiles and clothing.
Calle principal, comercial las mascaras, Santiago Atitlan - cojolya.org
My favorite association! Cojolya is a non-profit that represents 35 artisans in Santiago Atitlan. They produce handmade accessories and home goods. Cojolya also gives tours and classes, so you can meet the artisans in their homes and learn more about their art.
Hacienda Mil Amores, Acul, Nebaj 14013, Guatemala
Take the road and drive through the highest Sierra in Central America that extends to Mexico. These mountains are full of history and feel protected from the world, especially from the tourist routes. Not to be missed: the towns of Nebaj and Todos los Santos. You can also visit the Hacienda Mil Amores, a farm in the magical Acul Valley, for a timeless experience.
Tzanchicham 7 Kilometro 16, Carretera a San Lucas Toliman, Santiago Atitlan 07019
End your day in Santiago Atitlan with a dip in the pool of Hotel Bambu, hidden in a tropical garden. You can hear many birds and, very often, the distant thunder in the mountains.
Curious visitors go to Santiago for Maximon. Carved in a sacred tree, this saint is a cross between a Mayan god, a Spanish conquistador, and the biblical Judas, resulting from a fusion of 2 cultures. He sits in a new house every year for easter, surrounded by flowers, candles, and offerings. People pray to Maximon with drums, tobacco, and a glass of alcohol in their hands.
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