Central America, it shares borders to the north and west with Mexico, to the southeast with El Salvador and Honduras, to the northeast with Belize and the Caribbean sea. Guatemala is beautiful country to explore where you will get to see volcanoes, ecosystems, scenic towns and ancient Mayan ruins. 

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Gap Years, Backpacking & Travelling in Guatemala

Guatemala is located in Central America, it shares borders to the north and west with Mexico, to the southeast with El Salvador and Honduras, to the northeast with Belize and the Caribbean sea. Guatemala is beautiful country to explore where you will get to see volcanoes, ecosystems, scenic towns and ancient Mayan ruins. 


 
 

Guatemala Travel Ideas, Gap Year Programs & Experiences

Find inspiration for the best things to do if you would like to go travelling, backpacking or take a gap year in Guatemala.

Guatemala Travel Guide

Guatemala Travel Guide

Get information, tips, itineraries and inspiration for visiting Guatemala.

  • Population: 12,300,000 (approx)
  • Currency: Quetzal (GTQ) although US dollar is accepted
  • Capital: Guatemala City (population 1,100,000 approx)
  • Language: Spanish + local languages
  • International Country Code: +502
  • Country Area: 108,900 km2

 

Guatemala holidays

Top Reasons to Travel to Guatemala

  • Great value for money destination
  • Ancient ruins
  • Beautiful cities like Antigua
  • Realatively untouched by globalisation
  • A lot safter than decades ago
  • International tourism here is growing fast so you need to get here before the crowds arrive
  • Good transport connections to other destinations in the region

 

Tourist Visa

If you are planning a trip to Guatemala you will be please to know you won't need to apply for a visa before hand if you are a British citizen. On arrival you will be granted a 90 day visa where you can travel anywhere you like. If you would like to stay longer you might need to do a border crossing and go back which is quite easy to do. Also unlike many countries no bank funds or proof of outbound tickets are required so the experience of getting into Guatemala is very easy. 

 

Best Places to Visit in Guatemala

  • Travel to Lake Atitlan where there are two massive volcanoes over a lake, its really pretty and looks amazing in real life
  • Antigua is a really scenic town with little cobbled streets and colourful houses and shops and is someone you need to add to your itinerary
  • Guatemala city is huge and worth exploring if you like big cities
  • Be sure to visit the ancient ruins of Tikal which are some of the best in the world and our top recommended thing to see in Guatemala
  • Flores is a relaxing place to stay if you are going to visit Tikal, take bug spray though as its surrounded by water and there are mosquitoes
  • Other must visit places include Lanquin and Livingstone

 

 

Travelling & Backpacking in Guatemala 

Be intrigued and delighted in Guatemala - there's something for everyone here! Take the hassle out of your travels by booking through our website. The logistics are worked out for you - accommodation, transportation and an experienced leader to show you the best the country has to offer and to take the stress out of your trip. Travel operators can even pick you up and drop you back to the airport! Our packages are suitable for all - whether a short break or want an experience to form part of longer travels. 

Guatemala is a highly recommended country to visit, it might not be as popular as Mexico and is a little bit off the beaten track but its well worth visiting. There are lots of things to do and we have put together some useful advice which you might find useful. Expect lots of culture, history and tradition in Guatamala - a country which has been plagued by war in the past but which is now very peaceful and open to tourists. We have some fantastic travel packages where you can mix with locals and see more than your average tourist.

Discover the highlights of Guatemala including the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal, Lake Atitlan, remote colonial towns and the pretty city of Antigua. 

 

 

Plan a Gap Year to Guatemala

Guatemala is one of the most up and coming destinations in Latin America for backpackers and its easy to see why. Guatemala has some of the friendliest people in the whole continent and lots of places to visit including the ancient temple ruins of Tikal deep in the jungle. Guatemala will not disappoint. If you want to really make a difference on your gap year and travel with purpose then we recommend viewing our gap year programs, this gives you chance to explore this beautiful country and to help local people in places like Antigua. 

Traveling in Guatemala can be a daunting but exciting prospect, don't let the countries last wars put you off now its a very safe country to travel in. Guatemala presents a great opportunity for you to make explore ancient ruins, help communities, improve your Spanish and see amazing places. A safe and recommended way to experience the highlights of Guatamala is to join an organised trip, you can book these on our website. There are lots of different trips and itineraries where you can explore Guatemala,or travel overland seeing more of this region or a neighbouring country. Transport is very easy to book, public transport in the form of funkily local busses are reliable and easy to use but sometimes very crowded. Try to get a lock and keep an eye on your belongings.

If you are looking to travel on a budget check the Tika bus which operates buses both North and South in this continent. Knowing basic Spanish will improve your experience. There are also lots of mini buses designated just for backpackers which you can book in hostels and hotels and at travel agencies which are located everywhere. On our website you can also book organised trips which provide a great chance to explore this country is a safe fashion with others. Use common sense when travelling in Guatemala, it is very safe but try not to walk around flashing money or your phone, also try to travel with someone especially at night. You shouln't encounter or worry about anything that you wouldn't expect in other countries. This country is a very cheap destination and the local food is very tasty, we recommend you try a tamalitos which is like a tortilla.

Local people are very welcoming especially if you speak a little Spanish and there are a wide range of options where you can help. You could join a program to improve the lives of less fortunate communities in Guatemala and get a really rewarded experience, a lot of people travel to Antigua and join a teaching program helping to educate local children. You could also work at a day care centre, nursery, community centre or orphanage.

Don't worry if you don't have any previous experience doing something like this, most placements in Guatemala are non-skilled meaning you don't need previous experience. You will need to have a positive attitude and be open to living and working in a new culture though. It's not all work too, there will be free time at weekends to visit new places and explore the country. There are also lots of cultural homestay programs where you can live with a local family and teach them English. Teaching at schools in Guatemala is popular, whilst internships and medical projects are very worthwhile if you are looking to gain hands on work experience. You might also like to view our Costa Rica gap year trips.

 

Guatemala Travel Tips

  • General: Guatemala is very cheap especially compared to other destinations nearby like Costa Rica and Mexico
  • Accommodation: You can find lots of hotels and hostels in Guatemala if you book a program through our website accommodation is usually provided where you will stay in a shared house with other internationals, there are also homestays available for an authentic local experience. This is a very cheap country to visit in Latin America and the food is very varied and tasty. You can find cheap hotels, dorms and hostels throughout the country all at great prices among the lowest in Central America.
  • Safety: Guatemala on the whole is a safe destination but be more cautious in the larger cities and at night

 

Related Pages

Guatemala Travel Blog

 

 

      

 

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