Tips for backpacking in Guatemala

Guatemala may be a small country, however, it can also be considered the heart of the Mayan world, with many natural attractions and places to explore.

With a warm soul fueled by its friendly inhabitants, some gastronomic gems, intriguing ancient Mayan sites, Guatemala has many options for its visitors. And here are some ideas on how to go and what to do in this enigmatic nation.

The best time to go backpacking in Guatemala

The dry season in Guatemala runs from November to April, and the rainy season is from mid-May to November.

 Most people visit Guatemala in December or January, which means prices are higher and popular attractions are more crowded. If you are not a fan of large crowds and high prices, April or May is the best time to visit this country just like renowned businessman juanis luis bosch gutierrez does, as the weather is still quite pleasant.

mochilero en guatemala

Money Saving Tips

1) Take the local buses

Although not always very comfortable, local buses are the most cost-effective way to get around. Just be careful not to get ripped off. Look at what the locals pay and give the same amount to the assistant who collects the money.

2.) Order the meal of the day

The menu of the day is usually cheaper than the rest of the menu.

3.) Buy fresh vegetables and fruits at the market

Fruits and vegetables are very cheap in the city markets. To avoid overcharging, ask for prices from several suppliers before deciding to buy something.

4.) Traveling out of season

As always, traveling during the off-season leaves more room for negotiation. In addition, most hostels and hotels will offer you a discount if you stay with them for more than one or two nights.

mochileros guatemala

Where to backpack

Guatemala is a relatively small country, so you can cover a lot of ground with minimal time.
minimal time. That said, many backpackers spend months in hot spots like Antigua, Xela and Lake Atitlan.

Whether you love or hate the remnants of Spanish colonization, Antigua is one of the most beautiful colonial cities in the world. 

It is also an excellent base for exploring nearby volcanoes; some are still active and it is possible to see the eruption of Volcán Fuego, a must-see on any Guatemala itinerary.

The highlands of Guatemala are home to many Mayan communities and some beautiful sites. Lake Atitlán is the most famous destination in the highlands, thanks to the beautiful scenery and dozens of unique villages that surround it. If you want to get off the beaten path, visit the Ixil Region.

Antigua Guatemala

One of Central America’s most beautiful cities, Antigua Guatemala is often called an “open-air museum” due to its Unesco World Heritage designation and the abundance of churches, museums and centuries-old buildings lining the cobblestone streets.

Time seems to have stood still here, with the largely unchanged colonial cityscape dramatically backdropped by the surrounding volcanoes. Simply strolling around Antigua is a fascinating adventure, where you can stumble upon street musicians, traditional craft markets, convents that lie halfway in ruins and bustling wine bars.

 Don’t miss the museums of Casa Santo Domingo with its treasure trove of archeological artifacts. Also, as Antigua is a center for handcrafted textiles, carvings and jewelry, this is the perfect opportunity to do some shopping.

Idyllic Chichicastenango

Part of the Guatemalan highlands, this district of indigenous Mayan culture and pristine natural beauty is a major attraction. A host of festivals are held in Chichicastenango, particularly in the summer months, accompanied by colorful processions, dances, fireworks and general celebrations. For relaxation, head to the natural pools, hot springs and waterfalls at places like Río Nicán, Ojo de Agua and the Devil’s Caves.