Historical Places in Guatemala: Ethnic churches fill the cobbled streets of pilgrim urban towns from ancient sanctuaries such as Tikal and the Spanish chapels that line the cobbled streets.
If you’re looking for ancient Mayan ruins or lost urban settlements deep in the rainforest, Guatemala is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered. If you’re looking for swashbucklers, culture explorers, ocean fans, and vacationers in search of a little downtime in one place at the same time, Guatemala is an excellent option. Even in Antigua Guatemala, with its colonial architecture and cobblestone streets, as well as at the Mayan ruins at Tikal, the country is a social issue area. Torre del Reformador, National Palace (Palacio Nacional), and El Obelisco are among the most popular historical sites in Guatemala, according to visitors’ polls. El Mirador and Balberta are both well-known landmarks in Guatemala. Is there anything else you’d like to know? To learn more about the city’s history, see our interactive map of Guatemala’s historical sites or these three Antigua landmarks.
Antigua is a stunning colonial city.
One of Central America’s most beautiful and memorable cities is Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Volcanoes, coffee plantations, and indigenous towns surround this sixteenth-century city, which is dotted with deteriorating pioneer temples, communities, and Baroque structures that have been painstakingly restored.
You may explore the city’s rich relics of colonial towns and religious structures, the bustling Parque Central with its throng of people, the Choco Museum, and the 17th-century Arco de Santa Catalina, which has become an iconic image of Guatemala.
Attractions in Guatemala City are attracting attention.
Guate, as locals call it, has a good few fortunes of its own, despite the fact that most visitors choose to avoid the city’s commotion in favour of the quieter provincial roads of Antigua. The Metropolitan Cathedral, the Palacio Nacional de la Cultura, and the National Library are all located in the city’s Centro Historico, which was established as the capital in 1775. There are also theatres, workmanship exhibitions, a botanic nursery, and some of Central America’s most intriguing galleries here.
Even though Kaminaljuyu, a Mayan ruin located right in the heart of the city, is interesting in its own right, it pales in comparison to what can be found further north. A large portion of Kaminalijuyu has yet to be uncovered by the rapidly growing city. Even today, it serves as a sacred place for both Mayan and Christian communities in Guatemala, where rituals are held on most days of the week. Local guides can be pre-arranged, and getting there should only take 15 minutes by cab or Uber from tourist areas in the city.
Archaeological site Tikal, a Mayan city in Central America
Located in the Petén region of northern Guatemala, the ancient Mayan city of Tikal has long been one of the country’s most beloved and enticing attractions, and with good reason. Beginning in 400 BC, the Mayan city of Tikal was once one of the largest and best-preserved in the region, but it was abandoned about a thousand years ago. Thoughts that Tikal was abandoned due to overpopulation and agrarian disappointment or a meteorological dry season following impractical degrees of imbalance were prevalent towards the end of the 9th century. It was only in 1848 that Tikal was rediscovered by a group of brave adventurers who had been searching for it for decades in the jungle.
A few days spent exploring the pyramids, sanctuaries, and ancient ruins strewn across the rainforest aren’t too taxing. Even if you don’t want to leave the recreation area, there are a variety of lodging options, including some upscale inns with pools and more affordable options like camping or loungers.
Get an up-close view of the site at dawn or dusk as the surrounding wilderness comes to life around you. It is common to hear howler monkeys, bug monkeys, coatimundis, toucans, wild turkeys, and even panthers within a few feet. However, Flores, just a few miles from Tikal, is the main provincial hub with a neighbouring air terminal, direct flights to Mexico and Honduras, as well as a wide range of lodging and dining options to choose from.
It is a small town on the island of Flores.
In the Lago de Peten Itza, about an hour’s drive from Tikal, is Flores, a charming pioneer island hamlet connected to the downtown area by a narrow boulevard. Tayasal, the former capital of the Itza, was located on the island dating back to 900 BC when the Itza ruled the area. Even though there are few Mayan remains left on the island, it’s meandering, cobblestone roads, a historic Spanish church, and a notable square make it a great base for exploring Tikal, with both public and private transportation accessible to the vestiges.
If you’re planning a trip to Mexico, Belize, Honduras, or the rest of Guatemala, this is a great place to start because there are so many options for lodging, dining, and transportation.
A Visit to the Mirador
The five-day journey to El Mirador, an ancient Mayan city in the Amazon, is required. It was once one of the largest cities in the old world, with more than 100,000 residents. Triadic pyramids with wobbly seats and steep stone steps to the top give awe-inspiring views of the surrounding wilderness and nearby sanctuaries.
Archaeologists are just beginning to uncover the city’s history, which began 3,500 years ago and was abandoned 1,850 years ago, on a multi-day trek into the forest or by helicopter. Carmelita is the starting point for the voyage, which can be arranged in Flores or Santa Elena. The cost of the trip should fall somewhere between $150 and $500. You may want to add a sixth day to your itinerary to visit Nakbe and Wakna, where you can trace the ancient Mayans’ footsteps along an old roadway and glimpse a few additional abandoned urban centres in the forest.
The Aguateca Mayan Ruins
For those who aren’t up for a long trek through the woods, Aguateca’s Mayan ruins offer an excellent alternative. To get to Lago de Petexbatun, the best option is to take a bus to Sayaxche, then a kayak along the waterway through swamps and mangroves and pristine wilderness to Lago de Petexbatun. In Sayaxche, you can arrange everything on the spot and book a visit with a driver; otherwise, if you like to plan ahead of time, you can take a day trip from Flores. There’s a lot to see and do in a little more than an hour at the site, which includes a hummingbird sanctuary, a castle, and beautiful carvings of hummingbirds, pineapples, and pelicans.
Antigua and Barbuda, Guatemala
If you’re looking for a city that’s a little less crowded, this is the place to go. It’s not hard to fill your days here, with reasonably priced hotels, trendy restaurants, and a wide variety of activities. Antigua Guatemala sometimes referred to simply as Antigua, is one of the country’s most notable features, and one of Central America’s best urban areas. Located in the shadow of three volcanoes, the former capital of Guatemala gives a stunning view of a city that hasn’t been tainted by modern, high-rise architecture.
Old provincial structures, some of which show evidence of the quakes that have enriched the city’s history, are fixed to the cobblestone streets. Unimaginable places of worship and communities can be found all across the historic downtown region.
Atitlán, the largest lake in the country
Lake Atitlán, often described as the world’s most beautiful lake, is another popular destination for intrepid travellers. You won’t be disappointed if you make the trip here. You might easily spend more than a week exploring the small towns and villages that surround the lake.
Guatemala City and Antigua are both under two hours away by car from Lake Atitlán, which is located in the highlands. At 1,538 metres above sea level, it is surrounded by slopes and volcanoes, with a considerable percentage of the coastal settlements accessible only by boat or kayak. The city of Panajachel serves as an excellent crossing point. After exploring the main avenue, which is lined with a variety of vendors selling their wares in side streets and back alleys, make your way to the waterfront to hail a water taxi.
Market in Chichicastenango.
Locally known as “Chichi,” the town of Chichicastenango is a sprawling metropolis surrounded by valleys and mountains. On Thursdays and Sundays, the sluggish cobblestone streets awaken from their slumber because Guatemala boasts one of the country’s largest and most active commercial sectors.
This is a local people’s market that carries a wide variety of goods, including vegetables, herbs, and other speciality items. Sellers travel long distances to attend this market, making it a fascinating open-air location for people watching and taking pictures of the passing scenery. If you’re coming from Lake Atitlán, Chichicastenango is just a 90-minute bus journey away. From Guatemala City, the trip takes around 2.5 hours, and from Antigua, it takes about 3.5 hours.