Our favourite luxury holiday experiences in Guatemala
Guatemala is a small yet captivating part of Central America with a huge diversity of landscapes, including some of the finest scenery on the continent. Explore wild expanses of jungle, and volcanic mountains; soak up ancient Mayan culture and discover old Spanish colonial cities.
Only a tiny amount of Guatemala is urbanised, but its cities still pack a punch. Political centre Guatemala City is a vast urban sprawl against the dramatic backdrop of volcanic mountains, and its old capital, Antigua, is one of the country’s biggest attractions.
The former Spanish empire powerhouse is a treasure trove of colonial architecture, with terracotta-topped buildings and tiny churches lining the city’s neat grid. One of Central America’s most relaxed and sophisticated cities, Antigua’s charm is in its bustling streets, central plazas and renowned museums.
After the buzz of the city, throw yourself into rural Guatemala and experience the thick, tropical rainforest that covers much of Peten in the north. Wildlife tours are amazing here, especially in Tikal Nature Reserve, where you can explore steamy forest on the look out for brightly-coloured birds, screeching monkeys and maybe even a slinking jaguar.
In the heart of Tikal’s jungle you can discover relics from Guatemala’s fascinating Mayan history at one of its finest archaeological sites. Once a thriving Mayan city, Tikal’s landmarks are its five magnificent temples, surrounded by ancient crumbling ruins and jungle.
Lake Atitlan is an activity hotspot in the Highlands region thanks to its rugged mountain scenery. You can try everything from early-morning expeditions to the distant peaks to peaceful boat trips across the shimmering green lake. Mayan traditions are still observed in the traditional villages that fringe the lake.