Overview

Exotic Guatemala lies at the heart of the Mayan world. It’s a country steeped in history, proud of its traditions and culture, with breath-taking scenery. There are vivacious markets and volcanic landscapes, mystical lakes, and tropical jungle embracing ruined pre-Conquest Mayan settlements.

The old Spanish capital of Antigua has shady plazas, and colonial houses and courtyards bursting with bougainvillea. A few hours’ drive up into the highlands is exquisite Lake Atitlán, surrounded by forest-cloaked volcanoes. Concealed in the jungle of the far north are the Mayan ruins of Tikal – a magnificent abandoned city where temples tower high above the forest canopy, rich in wildlife.

Many villagers live a traditional life little changed since those pre-Columbian times. From choice – not to please tourists - they still wear richly-woven costumes, the vivid hues and intricate designs varying from place to place. The authentic markets in highland villages are a hive of activity and a kaleidoscope of colour, while the gentle tones of marimba music are all-pervasive in the flowery courtyards. The frequent indigenous festivals are characterised by Catholic and evangelical motifs intertwined with the mysticism of the old beliefs.

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Active Guatemala: Trekking in style

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Easter in Guatemala: Semana Santa

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Family Guatemala and Belize: Ancient temples and Caribbean isles

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Things to do

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Where to go when - our guide to Guatemala

Lake Atitlan

The weather in Guatemala is wide and varied

Perfect for combining with a holiday to Mexico or Belize, Guatemala is a compact and safe destination to visit and is steeped in history, tradition and culture. Lying at the heart of the Mayan world you can expect to find vivacious markets and volcanic landscapes, mystical lakes, and tropical jungle embracing ruined Mayan settlements. The climate here is pleasant meaning it’s perfect for year-round visits. The dry season runs from November to April, but even in the wet season the rainfall is generally only for a couple of hours a day. The highlands are known for their beautiful warm days but cool nights, whilst the lowlands around Tikal are hot all year round, with humidity increasing from May onwards.
If you love a good fiesta then head to Antigua for Easter for Semana Santa where religious processions pass through the streets which are paved with colourful flowers. Day of the Dead is celebrated with gusto on 1-2 November throughout the country and the festival of Santo Santo Tomás in Chichicastenango from 13 -22 Dec with processions, traditional dancing and marimba music. There is also a giant kite festival near Antigua as well as wild horse-racing in remote Todos Los Santos that are both worth a visit if you happen to be in the area.

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Meet our team

Real Latin american experts

  • Lina
    Lina Fuller - Travel Expert

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

  • Chris
    Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert

    Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.

  • Kathryn
    Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert

    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

  • Sallly
    Sally Dodge - Travel Expert

    A former Journey Latin America tour leader, Sally spent 7 years working, travelling and living throughout Latin America before returning to the UK to help people arrange their own adventures to this wonderful destination.

  • Mary
    Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert

    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.

  • Juliet
    Juliet Ellwood - Travel Expert

    After graduating with a degree in Anthropology and History and having been fascinated by Latin America since childhood by the book featuring photos of Nazca, Juliet first visited the region in 2003. Since then, Juliet has visited the majority of countries in Latin America but has particularly extensive experience with Peru, a country she loves for many reasons but not least, its incredible archaeological richness and delicious food!

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