Best things to do in Guatemala

Guatemala is a country in Central America famous for its breathtaking beauty, archeological sites, ruins, and natural features. This is a country where you can see indigenous forests which are unpolluted and unexploited. The green pools look like images from a Disney movie, and the colorful attire of the people is something you will remember for years. You can learn how to make coffee or weave traditional clothing, among other things. These are the five best things to do when visiting this unique country.

1.    Visit the breathtaking Lake Atitlan and paddle board
The blue lake is a sight to behold. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. While there, you can cruise the lake in a boat or enjoy paddle boarding. The water is peaceful and still, and there is little traffic on the lake, making it easy to paddleboard. When paddle boarding, the first few times will be challenging because it will be hard to balance, but with practice, you will master the skill. It is advisable to stay at a hotel with a private dock that offers free paddle boards, which will help you save money and have a lot of fun. Besides paddle boarding, you will also view the surrounding mountains and ferries carrying people across the water.

2.    Walk around the Chichicastenango market
This is one of the Mayan markets you can consider visiting in Guatemala. It is situated on Lake Atitlan’s northern side in Guatemala’s highlands. The market is open on Sundays and Thursdays. It is colorful and vibrant. Most people in the market wear brightly colored traditional clothing, showing their pride in their culture and religious beliefs. You can visit there by taking a mini-van or chicken bus. A chicken bus is an old American school bus used for public transportation in Guatemala. However, you can also go there by taking a shuttle from Antigua or Panajachel, which is a more convenient option. If you don’t want the hassle of planning the trip yourself, you can take a guided tour from Antigua to the market, which consists of stops at the sacred Maya Pascual Abaj Shrine, Santo Tomas Church, and the market. While at the market, you can explore Museo Regional de Chichicastenango, walk through the produce market, see the colorful cemetery, and watch ancient Mayan rituals at the Santo Tomas church. In the craft and open-air market, you can also buy textiles, weavings, and various handmade items.

3.    Dive into the beautiful Semuc  Champey pools
Located inside the country’s highlands, this natural feature has gorgeous emerald-green waterfalls. The pools are inside a thick and cloudy forest. The terrain leading to the pools is rugged, so the best way to get there is using a truck or a 4 X 4. Besides swimming in the pool, you can also engage in other fun activities like hiking, tubing, and caving. Since the road is in a bad state, consider staying overnight at Semuc Champey or the nearby town of Lanquin.

4.    Walk on the black sand beach of Monterrico
This is one of those rare sights in the world that will surely blow your mind. You have probably never seen such a beach before. It is a must-visit spot for most visitors who come to Guatemala. You can travel to this site by passing through a mangrove inlet on the country’s Pacific Coast. A coastline of black volcanic sand beach characterizes it. While at the beach, you can also see sea turtles who like to breed and lay eggs on the beach. The tranquil environment is also ideal for other activities like relaxing by the beach or a hammock. You can also surf or visit the lagoon. This beach is only one hour trip from Antigua. However, it would help if you were careful during holiday periods as the petty crime rate increases during this period.

5.    Visit the active Pacaya Volcano
If you have never seen an active volcano, don’t leave this country without seeing Pacaya Volcano. The volcano was inactive for 70 years, then it started to erupt in 1960, and it hasn’t stopped since. The most significant eruption happened in 2014. If you enjoy the outdoors, you will love hiking to the highest point of the mountain and getting a great view of the area around the mountain. On the way up the mountain, you will come across food traders selling marshmallows that tourists buy and roast with the heat of the volcanic rock. The journey up the mountain takes about two hours. If you enjoy watching volcanos, there are two other active volcanoes in the country that you can visit. The country has 37 volcanoes, so it is a haven for geologists.

Final Thoughts
Guatemala is a great tourist attraction in Latin America. This country has many more sites worth visiting, including ruins, temples, and parks. Remember to be well-prepared before the journey to enjoy your trip to the fullest. Find out the best times to visit each location to avoid getting disappointed. Also, be ready to deal with the rugged terrain in some of the remotest attractions and ensure you observe safety measures as a traveller. Overall, you will enjoy your experience in the country because of the warm people, great culture, and numerous places to visit.