Gorgeous Guatemala - The 10 most photogenic places
Updated: Sep 10, 2019
There is just something special about Guatemala. I can barely put my finger on it. Maybe it's the beautiful ruins spread over the whole country? Or the friendly people greeting you in the streets? Or the powerful volcanoes and the impressive sceneries? I'm still trying to figure it out. In the meantime I have made a top 10 of most photogenic locations of Guatemala...
1. Awesome Antigua - Catedral de San José
This church, located at the Parque Central in Antigua, has suffered several earthquakes since it was first built in 1541 and has only partly been renovated and rebuilt. This makes the church interesting to visit because the open arches function as beautiful windows to the sky.
If you come here early during mid- or low season, you can actually easily wander between the arches and have the whole place for yourself and make Instagram-worthy pictures. The sky is the limit! 2. Tajumulco
Most tourists climb the Tajumulco with an overnight stay only a few hundred meters from the top. The hike up until this point takes about 3 to 4 hours. In the middle of the night you wake up to climb the last part and to wait in the blistering cold to see the sun set.
It is not a long hike but the fact that you have to carry all your stuff including a few liters of water for cooking and consumption, makes the hike quite intense. So be prepared.
The view on the top however is breathtaking! Definitely worth the sore feet and the frozen fingers!
3. Lake Atitlan
There is something special about Lake Atitlan. A lake surrounded by impressive looking volcanoes and picturesque villages, each with their own character. But also delicious veggie food and tasteful frappuccino’s. It’s pretty easy to get around the lake. Starting point is Panachajel for most visitors where you can easily rent a boat. Before you head on out, please check Deli Jasmin for a beautiful vegetarian lunch in a luscious garden with shade. We visited San Pedro which is pretty crowded and full of backpackers but great for souvenir hunting and taking cliché pictures with the local; San Marcos, which is little bit more hippie and relaxed, perfect for drinking a high-quality ice coffee or taking a yoga class (I only had the coffee though) and Santa Cruz, which is very steep but for me the most authentic of the tree. And the views of the lake are absolutely stunning from Santa Cruz!
If you plan on visiting Tikal you need to get your tickets at a Banrural office first (there are different locations around the country). There you can buy an entrance ticket and a ticket for a visit before sunrise or sunset! You cannot book these on-site! Don’t forget to take your passport for identification! Please make sure you book a guide for the visit, he (or she) knows his (her) way around and knows so much more than your travel guide!
If you have the possibility to stay in the Tikal Jungle Lodge – instead of doing just a day-trip from Flores – I would truly recommend it! There is nothing more special than being woke up at 3.30am by howler monkeys and to wait in the pitch-dark for your guide ;) And of course, to have a refreshing swim in the pool surrounded by jungle sounds after visiting the ruins. The advantage of staying at the Lodge is that you will have the time to visit the site with a guide in the morning and come back in the afternoon and look around on your own and basically make the best Instagram pictures ever (because far less visitors by then).
5. Filadelfia Coffee Plantation
The Filedelfia Coffee Resort & Hotel is a short Tuc Tuc ride away from the city center of Antigua. This luxury hotel offers beautiful rooms and great dining options, but is also the perfect starting point for a coffee tour.
You learn all about coffee from plantation to the cup, while walking through amazing coffee plants and sceneries, surrounded by an ecological reserve and breathtaking views of the Volcan de Agua.
You don't need to be a coffee addict to enjoy this tour. More on this here.
6. Hotel Modelo - Quetzaltenango
First of all, if you are considering climbing a volcano and Quetzaltenango is you starting point, please make sure you stay in a nice hotel, so you can have a good night sleep before heading on out for the camp trip of your life. We stayed in the very quirky Hotel Modelo. The colonial-style hotel has about 20 charming decorated rooms with wooden floorboards and very atmospheric details. In the public areas you will find all kinds of artwork and collectibles and the patio is the perfect location for a pretty sweet Instagram shot!
7. Any other building in Antigua
Antigua is the kind of city where you want to walk around for hours while wondering every few minutes what is behind the next corner. An interesting mix of cathedrals, colonial mansions, abandoned buildings, perfectly made ice coffees and even vegan muffins. So old and so new at the same time!
8. The cemetery at Quetzaltenango
It's not easy taking pictures at a cemetery but the one we stumbled on in Quetzaltenango before heading out for the Tajamulco volcano, was so colorful and special, that I had to include it in my list. A mix of crazy pastels and tons of flowers as far as the eye can see!
9. Guatemalan Jungle
I was quite surprised by the fact that Guatemala is so green and luscious. So many beautiful areas where the rainforest is still pristene and where there are still many temples and ruins covered by dense jungle. Not to mention the biodiversity of these areas!
10. The people of Guatemala
I mean, just look at these pictures right. Not only are the locals super photogenic, they are also really friendly. When you walk down the road people say hi, when you enter the breakfast area of your hotel, all the locals say hello to you as well, tourist or not. In the beginning, I had to get used to it, because sadly in Belgium we are not so friendly to each other, but later on it became a no brainer! Buenos dias!