Guatemala: a beginner’s guide
Guatemala was once a major block of New Spain, the viceroyalty that spread from Central America up into Texas and California, across to Florida and the Caribbean, down to Nicaragua and eastwards to the Philippines.
Top five attractions
- The Mayan ruins of Tikal and the surrounding Petén jungle.
- Lago Atitlán, a beautiful highland lake ringed by volcanoes.
- The twice-weekly market at Chichicastenango in the Maya-dominated western highlands.
- The natural limestone pools of Semuc Champey.
- The Cuchumatanes mountain range for hiking.
Antigua, the old capital, a global centre of Spanish language-learning, which is also a delightful, low-slung colonial city with some great coffee shops and restaurants.
Souvenir to buy
Hand-woven textiles from the highland markets.
All Saints Day is celebrated with an alcohol-fuelled horse race in the village of Todos Santos Cuchumatán. The festival runs from October 31 to November 2, with the race on November 1.
‘Mr President’, by the Nobel literature prize-winner Miguel Angel Asturias, about a Latin American dictator.
Your edit for Latin American inspiration
Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.View Extraordinary Inspiration
Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.
Heloise Buxton - Travel Expert
Heloise started her Latin American journey as an exchange student in Santiago, Chile. With extended summer holidays this was the perfect opportunity to backpack through Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Brazil.
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.
Sophie Barber - Travel Expert
Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.
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!
Charlotte Daubeney - Travel Expert
Charlotte's fascination with Latin America began with a family holiday to Belize. She went on to study Spanish in school and at university before spending a year living in Santiago, Chile.