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Things to Do




Hiking and Climbing:

It’s hard to separate these two activities, since so many of Guatemala’s hikes involve either the summits of volcanoes or Mayan ruins.
Volcanic Hikes: 
Hiking these volcanoes is an enjoyable activity that generally does not require serious technical expertise, though loose volcanic ash and the high altitude can make some climbs very interesting and challenging.

Rainforest Trekking


Cycling and Mountain Biking:

Both long distance riders and recreational mountain bikers will find Guatemala’s spectacular landscapes appealing and its rugged terrain challenging. Because so many Guatemalan roads are unpaved, and because the paved roads are so often so narrow that riding on the shoulder is essential, a mountain bike is really the only alternative.
Cycling is best suited best for the November-April dry season or July-August.

Horseback Riding

Recreational horseback riding is available in a few regions throughout Guatemala. There is an English riding stable near Antigua Guatemala. Some trek by horse to remote archeological sites in the Petén, especially in the rainy season, and Finca Ixobel near Poptun has regular riding excursions. 


Cavers will find that the limestone bedrock of Alta Verapaz and the Petén has eroded into remarkable shapes and forms, suitable for both amateur and expert spelunkers. Caverns like the Grutas Actun Can near Flores/Santa Elena and the Grutas de Lanquin in Alta Verapaz are accessible and suitable for anyone, while other like Grutas de Candelaria near Raxruja, Alta Verapaz, and Naj Tunich (a major archeological site near Poptun, Petén) usually require guide tours. Fluvial limestone features like the swallow-hole at Semuc Champey, on the Rio Cahabon in Alta Verapaz, are for more adventurous spelunkers.

Whitewater Rafting:

One of Guatemala’s best water sports option is its variety of whitewater rafting experiences, which vary with the season and even the day or hour. Tropical rivers are notoriously changeable, depending on the storms and their local intensity. The class II-III Rio Coyolate, draining the Boca Costa near Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa is a popular one-day trip in the summer rainy season (June-November) and is good for novices. The class II-plus Rio Chiquibul near the Belizean border in the Petén is a one or two day trip, as is the class II-III Rio Motagua, northeast of the capital.
The class III-plus Rio Naranjo, in the Boca Costa near the Mexican Border, is also a one or two day trip. The more challenging Rio Cahabon, a class III-IV river in Alta Verapaz, can range from one to five days all year. Probably the most difficult is the class IV Rio de los Esclavos in the department of Santa Rosa.

Sailing and Windsurfing:

Lago de Izabal, in the Caribbean lowlands, is the best place for sailing. It’s a good area for windsurfing as are Rio Dulce and the highland Lago de Atitlan.


Around Puerto Quetzal, the Pacific coast is renowned worldwide as the best deep-sea sport fishing, including dorado, sailfish, and marlin. Guatemala’s Pacific Coast offers the highest concentration of sail fishing worldwide becoming a destination of interest for both amateur and professional fishermen.


Bird Watching:

The Pacific littoral, the Caribbean lowland, and the Petén are all extraordinary areas for birdwatchers in search of colorful tropical species like the scarlet macaw and killed-billed toucan. But the beautifully rare quetzal, Guatemala’s national symbol, is common in the highlands of Alta Verapaz. Many migrant species from North America frequent Guatemala in winter and will be familiar to experienced birders.

Coffee Tours:

Coffee lovers unite! Guatemalan coffee is revered as one of the most flavorful and nuanced cups in the world. Found in eight distinct regions total, several coffee plantations trace the towns of La Antigua, Lake Atitlán, and Huehuetenango and their beauty and aroma are calling all visitors. Explore the cherry color coffee trees with shades of brown compost and trunks peering over these tastefully magnificent creations. Guatemala coffee is as interesting as it is instrumental to the global economy. Experience Guatemalan coffee first-hand from bean to cup.




Colonial Art:

Guatemala art of colonial times was largely religious and most of it anonymous; among the exceptions are the paintings by Thomas de Merlo (1694-1).
Andres Curruchich (1891-1969) pioneered an entire school of so-called primitivist paintings in his hometown of Comalapa, Chimaltenango.
The watercolors of Carmen Pettersen (1900-1991), Guatemala-born of English-Mexican-German-Spanish decent, recorded the clothing styles of numerous highland villagers and while she painted from an obviously European tradition, her sympathy for and empathy with Guatemala’s native peoples stand out. Her work is on permanent display in Guatemala City’s Mesue Ixchel.
Sculptor Ricardo Galeotti Torres (1912-1988) belongs at the romantic end of the indigenous spectrum, with massive statues like the muscular figure of Tecun Uman at Santa Cruz del Quiche, but his equally immense marimba monument at Quetzaltenango is worth to see.
Born and educated in Guatemala, Carlos Merida (1891-1984) spent years immediately before World War I in Paris before settling in Mexico, involving himself with the Mexican muralist before abandoning figurative art in favor of more abstract elements drawing Maya themes.
Humberto Garavito (1897-1970) was influenced by Picasso. In the 1930s he traveled through the Guatemalan countryside with the photographer Roberto Eichelberger.
Sculptor Efrain Recinos, also an engineer designed Guatemala City’s Centro Cultural Miguel Angel Asturias. Alfredo Galvez Suarez (1899-1946) painted the epic murals of the capital’s Palacio Nacional, where his contemporary Roberto Gonzalez Goyri contributed a sculpture of Miguel Angel Asturias.
Painter Elmar Rojas ( b. 1940) who studied in Guatemala, Italy, Spain and France made a list of the world’s 15 best artists in 1991; he treads the line between the figurative and the abstract.

Arts and Crafts:

Weaving is far and away Guatemala’s leading craft, and virtually every highland village has its own distinctive style. In general, women’s traje is easier to come as most Maya men have abandoned their traditional dress (tradition, of course is a relative word as highland styles have evolved over the centuries). The streets are abundant with rich colors and patterns of impressively woven textiles.
After weaving, the most noteworthy craft is jade jewelry, which has a long heritage in Maya culture. However, it is now more commonly sold in upscale commercial outlets in Antigua Guatemala.
Wooden masks, of the type used for ceremonial dances, are common at highlands markets like Chichicastenango. Ceramics, furniture and colorful lacquered boxes are specialties of Totonicapan; nearby Momostenango has a reputation for woolen blankets.

Guatemala Holidays:

January 01: New Year’s Day
March/April: Easter Week
May 01: Labor Day
June 30: Army Day
August 15: Fiesta de Guatemala (Assumption)
September 15: Independence Day
October 12: Columbus Day
October 20: Anniversary of the 1944 Revolution
November 01: All Saints Day
December 24: Christmas Eve 
December 25: Christmas Day