A place of rare beauty, major historical significance and vibrant culture, Antigua remains Guatemala's must-visit destination. A former capital, the city boasts an impressive catalogue of colonial relics in a magnificent setting. Streetscapes of pastel facades unfold beneath three volcanoes.
The departments of Quetzaltenango, Totonicapán and Huehuetenango are more mountainous and generally less frequented by tourists than regions closer to Guatemala City. The scenery here is incredibly beautiful, and the indigenous culture vibrant, colorful and fascinating.
Lago de Atitlán
Guatemala’s most dramatic region – the highlands – stretch from Antigua to the Mexican border northwest of Huehuetenango. Here the verdant hills sport emerald green grass, cornfields and towering stands of pine, and every town and village has a story. The traditional values and customs of Guatemala’s indigenous peoples are strongest in the highlands.
Vast, sparsely populated and jungle-covered, Guatemala's largest and northernmost department is ever ripe for exploration. Whether it's the mysteries of the Classic Maya, the biological bounty of the jungle or simply the chance to lounge lakeside that inspires you, it's all here in abundance.
Flores & Santa Elena
With its cubist houses cascading down from a central plaza to the emerald waters of Lago de Petén Itzá, the island town of Flores evokes a Mediterranean ambience. A 500m causeway connects Flores to its humbler sister town of Santa Elena on the lakeshore, which then merges into the even homelier community of San Benito to the west.
The Pacific Slope
Separated from the highlands by a chain of volcanoes, the flatlands that run down to the Pacific are universally known as La Costa. It's a sultry region – hot and wet or hot and dry, depending on the time of year – with rich volcanic soil good for growing coffee, palm-oil seeds and sugarcane.