Guatemala Tailor-made Holidays

Colourful indigenous culture, grand colonial architecture, mysterious archaeological ruins, scenic majestic volcanoes, broad rivers, crater lakes & tropical wildlife

Guatemala

Guatemala is the perfect destination for those looking for plenty of variety within a compact country: colourful indigenous culture, grand colonial architecture, mysterious archaeological ruins, scenic majestic volcanoes, broad rivers, crater lakes, and tropical wildlife.

As a wildlife destination Guatemala is chiefly of interest for birdwatchers, containing as it does over 740 avian species. That there is exceptional birdlife is evidenced in Guatemala’s currency, the Quetzal, named after the Maya god-bird known as the resplendent quetzal, the world’s most beautiful trogon. The full gamut of Central America’s mammal and other species do inhabit the rainforested El Peten region but luck is needed to see many of them. However, in El Peten one can now stay at a lodge within a jungle reserve where the chances of seeing other species are much higher.

A narrow strip of lowland fringed by black sand beaches separates Guatemala’s Pacific shore from its southern highlands. These rise sharply to 2,500 to 3,000 metres – fringed by a series of volcanoes – and stretch for 240 kilometres before descending into the northern lowlands. Various basins dot the volcanic region at around 1,500 to 2,500 metres, giving rise to rivers which drain into the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, and it’s in these basins where most of the population live. One basin has no apparent drainage: the magnificent Lake Atitlan, ringed by Maya settlements and a big draw for visitors. The southern highlands give way to the central highlands, lower, more rugged and less densely forested, which fall into the Caribbean coastal levels containing Lago Izabal and Rio Dulce, and the rainforested northern flatlands of El Peten where the mighty Maya ruins of Tikal, Yaxha and Uaxactun are found.

The Pacific coast of Guatemala has black sand beaches and is lacking in good hotels, as it is little visited by foreign tourists. However, it does have some good turtle nesting beaches and coastal biosphere reserves, and whale watching is possible in season.

Bordered by Mexico and Belize, Guatemala is the most Mayan country in Central America and the descendants of that ancient people still wear traditional dress and cleave to their customs despite hundreds of years of Spanish conquest and subsequent, often repressive, rule. The Spanish colonial era did leave one lasting gem: the impressive city of Antigua which retains hugely impressive architecture.

Guatemala combines very well with its neighbour, Belize, where you’ll find a Caribbean vibe, friendly, English-speaking people, world class lodges and the world’s second longest barrier reef, providing excellent diving and snorkelling. Taken together, Guatemala and Belize amount to a veritable “best of Central America” experience not possible if visiting just one of those countries.

Guatemala Wildlife Holiday Ideas

# Tailor-Made Tour

Exploring Guatemala in Considerable Comfort & Style

This classic tour of Guatemala takes you to the three unmissable highlights of A...
# Family Holiday

Guatemala For All The Family

Prices are based on a family of four, with two children under the age of 12. As ...
# Tailor-Made Tour

Guatemala: The Natural Choice

An exciting programme including Guatemalas most significant natural attractions...

Featured Accommodation

Porta Hotel Antigua

Perfect for families, with a large swimming pool ...

Hotel Atitlan

Long established lakeside hotel with wonderful gardens...

Villa Maya

A good value choice for the Tikal area, set in acres of lush grounds...

Jungle Lodge Hotel

Conveniently situated right next to Tikal Mayan ruins...

Hotel Meson De Maria

A beautiful Spanish colonial house converted into a charming boutique hotel...

Hotel Villa Caribe

A pleasant hotel with good views set in peaceful gardens in Livingston, at the m...

Destination Map

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Hotel Casa Palopo: 14.716716, -91.130978
Hotel Villa Caribe: 15.824961, -88.749370
Posada del Angel: 14.551429, -90.733305
Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel: 16.920510, -89.814348
La Inmaculada Hotel: 14.597307, -90.509229
Las Guacamayas Biological Station: 17.255499, -90.269766
Meson De Maria: 14.558359, -90.734965
Jungle Lodge: 17.225779, -89.614391
Holiday Inn Guatemala City: 14.598838, -90.515781
Porta Hotel Antigua: 14.552930, -90.733620
Hotel Atitlan: 14.748048, -91.165565
Nana Juana Hotel and Marina: 15.657502, -88.992038
Villa Maya: 16.916900, -89.829400

Best Time To Visit Guatemala

The climate of Guatemala varies greatly, mainly depending on altitude. Most people live between 900 and 2,500 metres, giving pleasantly warm days and cool nights. The northern lowlands and the Rio Dulce region are humid and very warm. The rainy season in general is from May to October, while the dry is from November to April. It can often be quite dry during August, too.

Travel Info

Flight Time
Around 14 to 15 hours from London, including change of plane in a US or other airport such as Madrid.

Time Zone
GMT -6

Best visited
November to April

Language Spoken
Spanish

Population
17,255,000

Area Specialist

Alan Godwin

If considering combining Guatemala with Belize, you can fly into Guatemala City and out from Belize City. You can enter Belize either from Tikal/Flores across the border into western Belize, or by boat from Livingston which takes you into southern Belize and makes it easier to access the cayes (islands) of the Belize Barrier Reef.

If you have any questions regarding travel to Guatemala please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965