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Know of any cool, un-touristy places in Guatemala?

I have friends staying at Lake Atitlan, 2 hrs west of the airport. I will visit them there and then, not sure... 


I kinda HATE really touristy spots, unless it's cool enough. But it has to be REALLY really cool - and spread out. Know what I mean?

Details: I'm on a budget, I like water, nature, and adventures, and I'll be here at least 10 days.

4 Answers

answered first by

A friend of mine living there actually recommends us visiting Lago de Atitlan, a beautiful spot surrounded by nature, Antigua Guatemalawhich was the former capital city, Tikal an archaeological park and Volcán Pacaya

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Lago de Atitlan (attraction)
  2. Antigua Guatemala (city)
  3. Tikal (attraction)
  4. Volcán Pacaya (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Gina from Minneapolis

Hey Nick,

Given that your likes, I would say that it'd be worth your while to spend some time around Lake Atitlan. Given your dislike of touristy spots, don't stay in Panajachel or San Pedro La Laguna, especially, but there are tons of little villages in the area, like Jaibalito or Sololá. The great thing about Guatemala is that it's super easy to hop from little town to little town on the chicken buses, even when you're starting from more touristed places like Antigua Guatemala. You could alway hop on one and then get off at whatever place looks appealing to you. There might not be hotels in every place, though, so keep that in mind. You could also consider El Remate up in the Peten or something along the Rio Dulce.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Panajachel (attraction)
  2. San Pedro La Laguna (attraction)
  3. Jaibalito (attraction)
  4. Sololá (attraction)
  5. Antigua Guatemala (city)
  6. El Remate (attraction)
  7. Rio Dulce (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Victor from Vienna

All spots Veronica mentioned first are a must when traveling to Guatemala. Check out this video on Tikal

You can't miss that!!!

Another beautiful place to visit is Monumento Natural Semuc Champey

Have fun! 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Tikal (attraction)
  2. Monumento Natural Semuc Champey (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
MaryBeth from Los Angeles

Hi Nick, my last visit to Guatemala was in 1999 when a friend was living in Antigua, so I suspect a lot has changed (for better and worse) in terms of the 'touristy' aspect of things. Tikal National Park is a must do.  I saw Tikal prior to Machu Picchu.  I was disappointed with Machu Pichu. Tikal spoiled me.Antigua  is a beautiful colonial city.  You can also go horseback riding, hike the volcanos, check out coffee farms.  It is also Spanish school central, so there's a lot of backpackers from all over the place.  Could be easy to connect with other people to travel with from there. Lago de Atitlan is also gorgeous.  Per friends,  Rio Dolce, Coban  and Livingston to can be good places off the grid to hang out, as well as some of the small beach towns along the Pacific.  Guatemala seems to have a lot of inexpensive B&Bs, and places on Airbnb.  There are a lot of buses to cut down on transport costs.  I'd avoid taking overnight buses and make sure you are at your day's destination before dark.  There used to be a decent number of night bus robberies, that may have changed, but better safe than sorry. Enjoy!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Tikal National Park (attraction)
  2. Machu Picchu (attraction)
  3. Antigua (attraction)
  4. Lago de Atitlan (attraction)
  5. Coban (attraction)
  6. Livingston (attraction)

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