Must-see attractions in Guatemala

  • Stone water bowl at Hotel Casa Santa Domingo.

    Iglesia y Convento de Santo Domingo


    Founded by Dominican friars in 1542, Santo Domingo became the biggest and richest monastery in Antigua. Following three 18th-century earthquakes, the…

  • Reserva Natural Atitlán


    A former coffee plantation being reclaimed by natural vegetation, this reserve is 200m past the Hotel Atitlán on the northern outskirts of town. It makes…

  • Market


    Some villagers still walk for hours carrying their wares to reach Chichi's market, one of Guatemala's largest and a highlight of many people's trips to…

  • Visitors swimming in turquoise-coloured waters of Semuc Champey.

    Semuc Champey

    Semuc Champey & Around

    Semuc Champey is famed for its great natural limestone bridge, 300m long, on top of which is a stepped series of pools with cool, flowing river water good…

  • Cofradia San Simón

    Western Highlands

    While you're in Zunil, visit the image of San Simón, the name given here to the much-venerated Mayan deity known elsewhere as Maximón. His effigy, propped…

  • Iglesia Merced


    At the northern end of 5a Av is La Merced – a striking yellow building trimmed with white plaster filigree. Its facade is one of the most beautiful in…

  • Arco de Santa Catalina


    The Arco de Santa Catalina is Antigua's most iconic monument, and an early-morning or late-afternoon photo opportunity framing Volcán Agua through its…

  • Cofradía Maximón

    Santiago Atitlán

    Maximón is a traditional Maya deity who resides in Santiago Atitlán. He appears as a life-sized but broken-legged effigy in a hat, dark suit and glasses,…

  • Casa MIMA

    Guatemala City

    A wonderfully presented museum and cultural center set in a house dating from the late 19th century. The owners of the house were collectors with eclectic…

  • La Galería


    Overflowing with art by Guatemalan painters and sculptors, this gallery functions as both an exhibit space and cultural center, hosting lectures, films…

  • Ruins of an ancient maya pyramid (La Danta) deep in the Guatamalan jungle. Trees growing on the structure. Shot in El Mirador national park in Northern Guatemala. ; Shutterstock ID 1711358266; your: Bridget Brown; gl: 65050; netsuite: Online Editorial; full: POI Image Update

    El Mirador

    El Petén

    Buried within the furthest reaches of the Petén jungle, just 7km south of the Mexican border, the Late Preclassic metropolis at El Mirador contains one of…

  • Sunset from top of Temple 216 at Yaxha site.


    El Petén

    The Classic Maya sites of Yaxhá, Nakum and El Naranjo form a triangle that is the basis for a national park covering more than 37,000 hectares and…

  • Estación Biológica Las Guacamayas

    El Petén

    A scientific research center within the Parque Nacional Laguna del Tigre, Scarlet Macaw Biological Station offers wildlife-watching/archaeology tours and…

  • Templo I


    Templo I, the Templo del Gran Jaguar (Temple of the Grand Jaguar), was built to honor – and bury – Ah Cacao. The king may have worked out the plans for…

  • Iglesia de Santo Tomás


    This church on the plaza's east side dates from 1540 and is often the scene of rituals that are more distinctly Maya than Catholic. Inside, the floor of…

  • Templo IV


    Templo IV, at 65m, is the highest building at Tikal and the second-highest pre-Columbian building known in the western hemisphere, after La Danta at El…

  • Tikal

    El Petén

    The most striking feature of Tikal is its towering, steep-sided temples, rising to heights of more than 44m, but what distinguishes it is its jungle…

  • Crater Azul

    El Petén

    This stunning spring-fed tributary lies just a 90-minute boat ride from Sayaxché, during which you pass birdlife and a mix of farms, fields and forests…

  • El Mirador

    Western Highlands

    This viewpoint is 4km uphill from Chiantla. It's worth the steep climb on switchback roads for the absolutely stupendous views. On a clear day you can…

  • East Acropolis & Structure 216

    El Petén

    Near the site entrance is the high point of Yaxhá (literally): Structure 216 in the East Acropolis. Also called the Temple of the Red Hands, because red…

  • Templo Maya el Ceibal Peten, Guatemala; Shutterstock ID 1029397006; your: Bridget Brown; gl: 65050; netsuite: Online Editorial; full: POI Image Update


    El Petén

    With its strategic position on the west bank of the Río de la Pasión, the independent kingdom of Ceibal amassed considerable power controlling commerce…

  • Quiche Mayan capital burned by Pedro de Alvarado in 1524. Major unexcavated Mayan archeological site.
The ruins of the ancient K'iche' Maya capital of K'umarcaaj



    The ruins of the ancient K'iche' Maya capital of K'umarcaaj remain a sacred site for the Maya, and contemporary rituals are customarily enacted here…

  • Honor guards at National Palace, Guatemala City, Guatemala

    Palacio Nacional de la Cultura

    Guatemala City

    On the north side of Parque Central is this imposing presidential palace, which was built between 1936 and 1943 during the dictatorial rule of General…

  • Zaculeu, old capital of the Mam people, Guatemala, Central America


    Western Highlands

    A remnant of the Mam capital, the Zaculeu archaeological zone was 'restored' by the United Fruit Company in the 1940s, leaving its pyramids, ball courts…

  • Catedral de Santiago (Santiago Cathedral), Antigua, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Guatemala, Central America

    Catedral de Santiago


    Antigua's cathedral was begun in 1545, wrecked by the quake of 1773, and only partially rebuilt over the next century. The present sliver of a church –…

  • Laguna Petexbatún

    El Petén

    Laguna Petexbatún is a 6km-long lake south of Sayaxché, approached by an hour's lancha (small motorboat) ride up the Río Petexbatún, a tributary of the…

  • Aguateca

    El Petén

    The ruins of Aguateca stand on a hilltop at the far south end of Laguna Petexbatún. Defended by cliffs and split by a ravine, the city enjoyed military…

  • San Miguel & Tayazal

    El Petén

    Covering the western end of the San Miguel peninsula are the remains of Tayazal, among the last of the Maya capitals. The chiefly Classic-era mounds are…

  • Museo El Baúl

    The Pacific Slope

    This museum, about 2.75km on foot or 5km by vehicle from El Baúl hilltop site, comprises a very fine open-air assemblage of Pipil stone sculpture…

  • Guatemala City, Guatemala

    Museo Ixchel

    Guatemala City

    This museum is named for the Maya goddess of the moon, women, reproduction and textiles. Photographs and exhibits of indigenous costumes and other crafts…

  • Parque Central at night, Antigua, Guatemala, Central America

    Parque Central


    Surrounded by superb colonial structures, this broad and beautiful plaza is the gathering place for antigüeños and visitors alike – a fine, verdant place…

  • Biotopo Monterrico-Hawaii


    This reserve, administered by Cecon (Centro de Estudios Conservacionistas de la Universidad de San Carlos), is Monterrico's biggest attraction. The 20km…

  • Pascual Abaj


    On a hilltop south of town, Pascual Abaj (Sacrifice Stone) is a shrine to the Maya earth god Huyup Tak'ah (Mountain Plain). A stone-faced idol stands amid…

  • El Mundo Perdido


    About 400m southwest of the Gran Plaza is El Mundo Perdido (Lost World), a complex of 38 structures with a huge pyramid in its midst, thought to be…

  • Centro Cultural La Azotea


    A sprawling coffee plantation outside Jocotenango, La Azotea features a complex of three museums. The Museo del Café covers the history and process of…

  • Dos Pilas

    El Petén

    If you have the time, it's well worth visiting this ruin. It has fine carvings on display, particularly the hieroglyphic staircase, with five 6m-wide…

  • Cuevas de B'ombi'l Pek

    Alta & Baja Verapaz

    A mere 3km north of Chisec, these painted caves remained undiscovered until 2001. They haven't been fully mapped yet, but some claim that they connect to…

  • Centro Intercultural de Quetzaltenango


    Quetzaltenango's railroad station, 1km east of the Templo de Minerva along 4a Calle, lay dormant for many years until the city converted it into this…

  • Acrópolis del Norte


    The Acropolis del Norte predates the nearby temples significantly. Archaeologists have uncovered about 100 different structures, the oldest of which dates…

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