One of the most spectacularly beautiful countries in the world, Guatemala and her people will steal your heart. There is no end to the amount of time you could spend here travelling and getting to see and understand her. But we'll cover a few places not to miss. If arriving into the north, stop in the stunning town of Flores on the lake and explore the streets. There are many hostels throughout Flores, some less accessible to amenities, so make sure you get one that doesn't require taking a boat over if you want to be a part of the action.
From Flores, hop on down to Lanquin or Semuc Champey. The hostels here are nested into the amazing hills and have incredible views. Some are total luxury. From these hostels you can take a caving tour and hike up through Semuc Champey and chill out in the pools. You can also get your shuttle onwards to Antigua.
Antigua has a quaint charm about it and is a popular town for locals to stop in for a while, learn some Spanish, party, and hike some volcanoes. The four volcanoes around the town are Agua, Acatenango, Pacaya, and Fuego. Acatenango is the largest and the hardest of them to hike, but if you aren't up for it and want an easier option, Pacaya is only a day trip and you can take a local guide from the town every day. The hostels here should be able to point you in the direction of organizing your activities. Hostels in Antigua are very abundant, so you shouldn't have too much trouble finding one, just make sure if it is a busy time to book in advance.
From Antigua, most continue heading west towards Lake Atitlan. Hostels can be found at many of the different towns around the lake. The most popular of these towns are Panajachel and San Pedro La Laguna. Many people also choose San Pedro as their destination to relax and chill out by the lake and learn some Spanish. Some of the amazing activities here in the town are run by most of the hostels in conjunction with the other businesses in the town throughout the week. Other more quieter towns around the lake where you will find hostels are San Juan La Laguna and Sololá. It is also possible to take day trips to these smaller towns with boats across the lake that run quite regularly for a good price.
Quetzaltenango, or Xela, as affectionately known by the locals is one of the towns where you will get a more authentic local experience. There is less English spoken here, so you will need to brush up on your Spanish. There is a company called Quetzaltrekkers that is a volunteer based organization that organize trekking, rock climbing, and other activities around the area with all proceeds going back into the local communities to help the kids in the area go to school. Get on it and support them, and if you have the time, maybe even volunteer to become a guide. There are quite a number of hostels around the area, so you shouldn't have trouble finding a good place to bunk down while you explore the amazing things around this exceptional area. There are also some hotsprings here that are great to relax in once you get back from trekking at the Fuentas Georginas.
When heading over to Honduras, make sure you book a hostel in Livingston or Rio Dulce in advance to help you cross the border in good timing. They also do shuttles to Utila if you are there on the right day with enough people.
Whatever it is you are looking for, you will find it here. Take your time, explore. It is an incredible country to experience!
Hi, I'm Globetrotter,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Guatemala hostels. Welcome.