Enriched with so much history, culture, and natural beauty, Guatemala is a must-visit for any families looking for that off-the-beaten-track vacation experience. A favorite with backpackers for many moons now, Guatemala is now transforming into a holiday destination for all, with better infrastructure, safer streets, and the pre-existing attractions that have drawn so many culture vultures over the last decade in particular.
What’s more, family is a huge part of Latin American life, and you and yours will be welcomed, arms open, by locals and other holiday-makers alike.
1. Splash Around in the Aquamarine Waters of Semuc Champay
One of the principle tourist attractions countrywide is the Semuc Champay national park. Nestled deep in a valley of Guatemala’s tropical rainforests, enriched with banana, plantain, cacao, and coffee trees, there are naturally platformed pools, fed by local spring water of the most spectacular turquoise blue color.
A favorite destination for travelers and local families alike, these pools provide the perfect cooling-off spot from the intense tropical weather, and due to their levelled nature, are natural spring boards for jumping, diving, and splashing around.
Jungle walks around the park will lead to waterfalls and magnificent viewpoints providing out-of-this-world vistas across the stunning blue pools below.
2. Explore the Jungle Ruins of Tikal
A significant site in the country’s Mayan history, unlike Yucatan’s world-wonder, Chichen Itza, Tikal is a fully explorable settlement, and comes complete with typical pyramids and trademark stone masoned homes.
Its location is deep in the Guatemalan jungle in the North of the country near the border with Mexico, where jaguars, howler monkeys, and various creepy crawlies have been king for centuries, no matter who or what else has occupied the area.
3. Soak in the Caribbean Culture of Livingston
For a seaside break and a complete change of culture from the rest of Guatemala, head to Livingston on the Caribbean coast. You’ll be greeted by colorful wooden homes on stilts, coconut palms, and dense jungle backdrops.
What’s more, you’re merely a hike or boat ride from Playa Blanca, one of the best beaches in the entire country. Reaching Livingston itself is an experience, as the only way to do so is via motorboat along the Rio Dulce river.
4. Get Colonial in the Old City of Antigua
Spanish colonialism is a touchy subject in much of Latin America, and divides opinion across the board, however, it’s hard to deny that the conquistadors knew a thing or two about city planning and architecture. Antigua is a prime example of the quality of this era of municipal curation, with houses and streets, centuries old, still looking sturdy to this day, and furthermore, supporting the traffic that the city now entertains daily.
Antigua happens to be set within a beautiful plain below a volcano dotted periphery. One in particular, Fuego, happens to be one of the most active on Earth, with eruptions occurring every ten minutes during the peak of its weekly cycle, which can be seen and most definitely heard from the city on a clear night.
A trip to Guatemala, long or short, will leave you and your family with a hatful of memories, and the urge for making more. It’s a springboard for further travel, and a mental jolt towards exploring everything that Latin America has to offer.