13 Incredible Tourist Attractions in Guatemala
Guatemala tourist attractions go far beyond our beautiful towns and lush forests.
There are so many amazing places to visit and things to do that even some Guatemalans still have a lot to explore.
Sometimes, travelers have to stay in Guatemala City for a couple of days to wait for their flights. Maybe you’re visiting a friend that has an important meeting during the day, or maybe you’ve visited many times and want to explore something new.
This list has some of the best areas to visit in Guatemala City, Antigua Guatemala, and other interesting spots around the country.
1. Xetulul: Amusement Park
Xetulul is the first of three awesome theme parks located in Retalhuleu. Created and managed by IRTRA—an autonomous worker recreational institution—this is a Guatemalan theme park that has lovely attractions and wild rides.
The theme park is divided into sections of Guatemala themed rides and restaurants, as well as European sections based on the countries that have influenced us such as Spain, Italy, and Germany. In this park you’ll find rides for all ages, flying chairs, magic shows, a traditional Guatemalan fair with some arcade games and bumper cars, you name it! If you’re like me and you prefer to not feel dizzy all the time, many of the rides are more laid back, like the flying chairs, or the pirate ship pendulum.
2. Xocomil: Water Park
Xocomil, named after the noontime choppy waters of Lake Atitlán, is a waterpark close to Xetulul. It’s a great place to visit with an incredible lazy river. You can go through the traditional waterslides and wave pools, but we also have some fun rides such as El Regresón, which has you go forward, back, and out a huge slide while riding a raft.
There are lots of water themed games and rides, and nothing is better than having an amazing meal inside a Maya pyramid restaurant after a good day’s swim! If you’re an introvert and prefer to be at water parks when it’s less crowded, I recommend going on a weekday. It’s a great option if you’re a traveller who’s visiting for a week or two.
3. Xejuyup: Flora and Fauna Theme Park
Xejuyup is the third and newest theme park managed by IRTRA en Retalhuleu. Inside this natural reserve you will have close encounters with the local flora and fauna that makes our country so great. If you want to visit all three theme parks, IRTRA has an array of wonderful hotels with free shuttle services to all three of them.
The IRTRA hotel rooms have a wide selection of rooms such as Maya themed suites, tree houses, entire houses, and small cabins to accommodate most budgets. If you want to do something that’s fun and outside the box, make sure to visit Reu—short for Retaulheu— and amaze your friends with pictures of jaguars and exotic birds!
4. IRTRA Petapa: Amusement Park
If you want to have the IRTRA experience without leaving Guatemala City, IRTRA Petapa is the place for you! This theme park has some of the coolest rides of all four IRTRA parks, with a spire that drops you from a high distance, but not without letting you enjoy a panoramic view of the entire city first. Similar to Xetulul, but with a circus-oriented theme, thsi theme park offers great fun for an afternoon. Another of my personal favorites from this park is a roller coaster that sits you on a motorcycle-like cart, zooming you across the tracks for some great thrills.
5. Green Rush: Ecological Park
Out of all the Guatemala tourist attractions, Green Rush is an ecological park that is surprisingly close to Guatemala City. A 45 minute drive from the national airport will take you to a place with an amazing view, great food, and many fun activities. You may go ziplining, shoot some arrows with a bow, or visit the beautiful deer sanctuary. You can also go on a long hike or ride a horse if you prefer.
There are so many amazing things to do and enjoy here that you’ll want to come back after your trip to Guatemala is over. They offer packages that are tailored to extreme sports fans and people who love to stop and smell the flowers, so think about checking them out next time you’re near the city.
6. Cuidad Cayalá: Mall City
Ciudad Cayalá is as fancy as Guatemala City can get. This project started many years ago as a mall that has evolved into a huge residential area with lots of restaurants, stores, and even a movie theater in a modern interpretation of Spanish colonial architecture. If you want to experience the artistic side of Guatemalan cuisine, head to Cayibel inside Cayalá, a two story food court with restaurants owned by inspired chefs and entrepreneurs.
You can walk around, and look at the stores. This place is great if you want to go to eat, watch a movie, or visit some of the public events such as farmers markets and art shows. However, I do advise against shopping here, since prices are almost always higher than they should be for things that aren’t food.
7. Finca El Pilar: Natural Water Pools
Finca el Pilar is another great place to visit if you love nature. This one is located in Sacatepequez, a mere 10 minutes away from Antigua Guatemala. It features a set of natural mountain water pools that are a great way to give you a jolt of energy early in the morning. You can also hike and do some mountain biking. Finca el pilar also offers cooking and yoga classes, as well as camping sites to give people who love adventure a space to be one with nature and unwind.
8. Auto Safari Chapín: Outdoor Safari
This Safari, located near Escuintla, was founded to help with the preservation and reproduction of animals in danger of extinction in Guatemala and the world. As it grew, it became one of the best Guatemala tourist attractions to visit. You will go through many different natural living spaces that do a better job than most zoos at keeping the animals happy in their environment. You’ll be able to see all sorts of exotic fauna up close with over 90 species of animal and 70 exotic plants to look at.
9. Volcán de Pacaya
Volcano climbing is one of the best known Guatemala tourist attractions. I love it with all my heart, and I always want my friends to hike up volcanoes with me. When they tell me they’re not fit enough to climb a volcano, I suggest we go to Pacaya. This volcano is quite easy to climb, with a hike of approximately 1-2 hours and very few steep hills. I’ve seen elders and kids climb it without much issue. This volcano also has a “lava store” at the top, where you can buy awesome jewelry made from volcanic ash.
10. Volcán Acatenango
If you went up Pacaya and want a bigger challenge, Acatenango is one of the Guatemala tourist attractions for you! This hike is between 4-6 hours long, with some steep hills and many different biomes you’ll be walking through. This hike is doable by most people, but you have to go prepared! Warm clothes are extremely important since the strong winds and chills of the summit have caused trouble to some tourists and locals.
Acatenango is best enjoyed when camping at the summit, where you might see its neighbor, Volcán de Fuego, erupt in a blaze of glory from a close but safe distance. The natural landscapes and the sunsets of Acatenango are some of the best views I’ve had the pleasure of seeing.
11. Laguna del Pino
Laguna del Pino is a top rated Guatemala tourist attraction amongst locals since it is so close to the city. It’s the perfect getaway for people who have a free day and need some isolation in nature. The Laguna del Pino National Park has food available for its guests, but they also provide outdoor cooking stations if you want to bring your own food for a BBQ. Don’t forget your charcoal! A swimsuit is also something you’ll want to bring, since the pristine water of the lake will make you want to dip your feet and gaze upon Guatemala’s natural beauty.
12. Teatro Nacional
At HSA we’re all about learning Spanish, so this one is special for us. Guatemala’s national theater is one of the top rated tourist attractions in the city. It’s great for those who have an intermediate or advanced level of Spanish and want to see some local plays based on Latin American culture and experiences. The place itself is beautiful enough to explore on its own. It was built by Guatemalan artist Efraín Recinos, and to this day it’s the pride and joy of many Guatemalans such as myself.
Inspired by The Lord of the Rings, Hobbitenango is a hotel and restaurant that merges the words Hobbit, and “tenango”, a suffix in the nahuatl tongue that means “place of.” This new combination of words translates as “place of the Hobbits,” and it sure lives up to its name. You have a restaurant with a big, round door and fantasy themed food and drink. You can walk around and enjoy the amazing scenery, or go have fun with some of the activities such as axe throwing. Sometimes, you’ll be able to enjoy some amazing live music from local and foreign artists too.
Guatemala Has a Lot to Offer!
Today we saw some of the top rated Guatemala tourist attractions that might go under the radar of most tourists. Tourism is a great way to bring income to families in need, and it’s one of the paths to the prosperity of our country. We have so many wonderful places to see and things to do, not even Guatemalans have seen them all! Some of these require an advanced level of Spanish for you to fully enjoy, and we can help with that! We have been providing flexible and reliable language learning services for over 10 years. With over 24,000 monthly active students, our teachers will adapt your curriculum to your own interests so you can learn what you need the most. If you want to get to know our teachers and methods better, take a free class with us so you can make your next trip easier and more enjoyable.
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