Hola, my name is Edgar García, a young photographer and traveler of 21 years old from Guatemala City. In this short travel guide I would like to share with you my perfect 1 month trip to Guatemala.
My love for travel started when I realized that my life did not make sense and it was becoming a routine — waking up, studying, working and sleeping. The same thing every day that lacked excitement and adventure.
Photography was something that I picked up from a very early age. I remember that my father owned a small digital camera which he used to photograph things that caught his attention. The times which we used it the most were for Lent and Holy Week here in Guatemala.
My first trip was a little journey to Antigua Guatemala. I decided to document this adventure with as many photos as possible and I can swear it felt so good! I disconnected from the world every time I went out and took pictures. This was the moment when I decided to take a different path in life and put aside my normal routine. I wanted to be happy.
One thing that I have learnt from traveling and photographing Guatemala is that we live in a country full of culture and traditions that make us unique. People are full of joy and are always willing to help you, even if you are a tourist who doesn’t speak Spanish. Guatemalan people always try to find a way to help.
We also live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world with stunningly diverse landscapes. I never get tired of visiting places like Semuc Champey, Laguna de Lachuá, Laguna Brava, Cenotes de Candelaria, Rio Dulce, Playa Blanca and Pacaya Volcano – just to name a few!
Guatemala is home to many volcanoes and among the experiences that you can not miss on your trip is to climb a volcano! Nonetheless, my favourite place in all of Guatemala would have to be Laguna de Lachuá, also known as the “mirror of heaven”, located in Cobán Alta Verapaz. It is a place completely disconnected from the noise of the city.
The Ultimate 1 Month Travel Guide to Guatemala
The first destination I would recommend for travelers to Guatemala would be the capital city. Guatemala City is undoubtedly one of the places that every traveler should visit at least once when they come to Guatemala. What I like to do most here is to wander through the streets of the historic centre and enjoy the stunning architecture.
I recommend visiting the National Palace and the variety of churches and museums on offer in the city centre. Undoubtedly, a place that I would recommend to enjoy a good coffee would be Café del Centro and to enjoy a delicious meal I would recommend Arrin Cuan.
The next destination would be Antigua Guatemala better known as “Antigua”. This beautiful city is lined with cobblestone streets and colourful colonial buildings, and has volcanoes looming in the distance. Antigua is full of museums and ruins to visit. It’s also a place with a lot of history which is why it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
There is also a beautiful lookout in Antigua where you can see the entire colonial city called Cerro de la Cruz (or “Hill of the Cross”). Offering some of the very best views of Antigua and the nearby Volcán Agua located in the south, this is a must-see site worth visiting. The famous cross at the head of the viewpoint is devoted to the city’s patron saint.
Next on our 1 month itinerary of Guatemala I recommend a visit to the town located in the Guatemalan Highlands, Panajachel or “Pana”. This town is where you can enjoy all the other towns located near the beautiful Lake Atitlán such as San Marcos, San Juan and Santa Cruz. Experiencing the natural beauty of this lake is one the highlights of any trip to Guatemala.
From Lake Atitlán travelers should head west to Quetzaltenango to visit Georgina’s fountains, the El Baúl Hill and the Santiaguito Volcano. At Georgina’s fountains you will find tranquility in the beautiful thermal hot springs, while at Santiaguito you can get up close to an active lava dome volcano which is a mere infant in geological years.
Finally, to cap off an incredible journey to Guatemala, we finish at Petén. This tourist destination is an ideal place for lovers of history, archeology and nature as it is surrounded by tropical jungle and beautiful fauna. The amazing temples of Tikal can be reached from Petén, although it is a long trip.
Despite the distance, the satisfaction that you feel when visiting the pyramids of Tikal is something incredible. To learn about the history of Guatemala’s ancestors and to see the great structures that were erected in this special time in history is simply amazing!
Advice for First-Time Travelers to Guatemala
The advice I would give for first-time travelers to Guatemala is to mobilize to all parts of the country. Even if it means taking private transport or a ride-sharing App such as Uber. Guatemala is a surprisingly big country.
I would also take into account the exchange rate. Remember that the US Dollar is accepted in almost all of the tourist destinations throughout the country. If you are traveling with Euros then you might find it difficult. I would recommend exchanging a fair amount of cash into US Dollars or into the local currency: Guatemalan Quetzal.
Finally, I would recommend enjoying your trip as much as possible. Eat the local food – you must try Guatemalan Turkey Soup known as “Kak’ik Broth”! Climb a volcano, even if it’s your first time scaling a mountain. And immerse yourself in Guatemalan culture – whether it be with local people or learning about our fascinating Mayan history.
Guatemala has so much to offer that in reality you would need more than 1 month to experience it. Nonetheless, I hope this travel guide gives you some inspiration to visit my beautiful country of Guatemala.