I visited Guatemala as part of a four country trip in Central America. I am glad that I got to experience two different parts of the country as it gives you a glimpse at the two fold history of the country – the Mayans and the Spanish. The ruins in Tikal in the north of the country show the magnificence of the once great Mayan empire and Antigua shows the remnants of Spanish colonialism in the country. Antigua, similar to other Spanish colonial cities, is colorful with traditional Spanish architecture. Tikal is a treat, but be sure to ensure you get a good guide! The markets of Guatemala are full of handmade rugs, blankets, shirts and other trinkets. Guatemala is definitely one of my favorite countries in Central America. #catchmeinguatemala
Where to eat
Set in a maze of gardens, Sabe Rico is perfect for an outdoor lunch on a sunny day. With a variety of options for carnivores (check) and herbivores alike, everyone will satisfied. Be sure to try the kale chips. Yummy!
Luckily while in Antigua I was with Guatemalan friends. One suggested XQ No? or Porque no? The restaurant is quite small so I suggest you make reservations. The curry was delicious and be sure to write on the table or wall so people know you were there. If you visit find my tag and send me a picture!
I generally do not like dive bars, but Café No Sé is a blend of dive bar meets cool speakeasy, meets live music venue. Though there was live music in the front, we headed straight to the back to a doorway where anyone shorter than about 4’5" had to stoop to get through. The other bar which is indicated by a handwritten sign “Mezcal bar” only serves mezcal and beer. The tiny space has a few seats at the bar and three other tables. You have three choices of Mezcal, I suggest you have the extra anejo, a perfect nightcap.
I must admit, I was a bit thrown when my friend said that we were going to an Israeli hostel for dinner, but I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived. The very comfortable setting of Zoola is good for dinner or drinks or just for those looking for a cool vibe. The low tables are paired with colorful pillows and dim lights. The bottles of wine are cheap and the playlist kept my Shazam busy.
Where to stay
Located about a bit over an hour from Tikal and 10 kilometers outside of Flores, Las Lagunas is set on several lagoons and offers sunrises that you can view from the comfort of your bed or private jacuzzi. The infinity pool is the perfect place to unwind following a day touring the ruins of Tikal. Head to Las Lagunas for its proximity to Tikal, but stay for the beautiful rooms and the perfect setting to relax and unplug.
Set in the heart of historic Antigua, Casa Santo Domingo is THE place to stay if you are looking for luxury and beautiful digs in between walks around the city. The hotel boasts a museum and spa set in its sprawling gardens which seem endless.
What to see
Located just off of Parque Central, El Mercadito is an extensive and HUGE indoor market that has everything your heart may desire. The bright colors draw you in and the unique details will have you lingering in the different booths trying to decide what to leave behind. Be sure to bring an extra bag for all of your goodies.
In the northern Guatemalan rainforest you can find the ruins of Tikal. It is one of the largest archaeological sites and urban centers of the pre-Columbian Mayan civilization. Though only 20% has been excavated, Tikal's magnitude is felt during the four hour tour around the massive complex.
Santa Catalina Arch
Tikal - Top of Temple 4
Tikal Temple 1