Guatemala holidays for the sporty backpackers

Guatemala holidays are very famous among the visitors who love varied adventures. A few highest volcanoes as well as mountains of Central America reside here, several Mayan archeological gems throng here, pristine rainforest along the lowlands on the mountains grow here featuring abundant wildlife. In fact, ‘Guatemala’ stands for the ‘Land of Many Trees’. So, you can imagine how adventurous Guatemala holidays can be! And yes, do not worry of safety, as the region is normally a safe place to travel with general precautions against Bandits who rarely rob because of the armed guides.

Guatemala adventures

Walking and hiking

Start your adventurous Guatemala holidays from the central highlands – a real heaven for the walkers. Experience hiking the dormant volcanoes, which is one of the best ways to feel the natural charm of Guatemala. Most of the ideal hikes occur in the zones flanking Antigua and Lago Atitlan. As these areas are influenced by the bandits, it is wise to hike with an armed guide from a sound agency. Just beware of the Bandits’ assistants who offer unofficial guides. A few ideal routes of hiking are: Honduras via Chiquimula route in the eastern highlands, the famous route via Copan, and forest track from Corinto to Puerto Barrios. If you walk along the other main roads, you will get a chance to explore the charming cultural hamlets and volcanic black sand beaches. Visitors love to hike along Antigua, the Lake Atitlán, Chichicastenango and Xela.

Acatenango Guatemala

On the highlands, the scenery is spectacular, especially around the wonderful Lake Atitlan. It is here that you can hike via the traditional Indian hamlets, cloud forest, and coffee plantations as you ascend the peaks. Walking to the moving lava flows of living volcano Pacaya, ascending to the Cerro Quemado’s vaporing crater, exploring the Mayan Indian culture, and a walk to the scenic Antigua are some memorable adventures here.

At higher altitudes, nights might be freezing. So, carry all that you can from saving yourself from the chilling cold. Further, acclimatize well to avoid altitude sickness. And yes, carry suntan lotion, insect repellant, broad brimmed hat, and sunglasses too.

Guatemala bus

Camping

If you are hiking off the beaten track, know that not much accommodation is available there. So, camping becomes inevitable. If you were to ask me, I would suggest asking a local trustworthy tour operator about the sites and amenities. At the famous Mayan ruins of Tikal, a supervised campsite is there on offer. Prefer a petrol-based stove, instead of methylated spirits as they are not available. Further, do not expect a camping gas or paraffin, assemble enough firewood for a campfire, and use a mosquito net during wet times for protection against the vampire bats.

Cycling

This has to be obvious in Guatemala as there are many mountains here. The Guatemala holidays that are planned for mountain biking are just awesome to explore the countryside at a steady pace. Although they are well for cycling, several routes are unpaved as well as rough. In addition, not many signposts stand here; but the locals are very happy in guiding and instructing anybody. The roads, in addition, are fairly challenging in the sense that the major ones feature speed bumps, rough cobblestones (local hamlets), drainage covers to trap you, and wash-outs termed as ‘Hundimientos’. For the minor roads’ direction, kindly do not rely on the maps as they are not that inaccurate.

Bike shops are available, which are good in providing services as well as the basic spare parts. Do not ask the buses to carry bikes as they will do so for a charge. For cycling, November to February is the best time because of the cool and pleasant weather. Avoid coming in September and October as the rains render several roads impassable!

Local tours

Volcano Kings Guatemala RD03 – 15 days – from 2,245 USD

Mini Guatemala KD99 – 5 days – From 1,240 USD

Tips

  • Cheap food and accommodation is available throughout Guatemala.
  • Do not wander in some zones after dark; inquire about them at your hotel’s reception.
  • Avoid taking photographs of locals or their property without permission.
  • Use traveler’s checks and ATM machines.
  • Tipping is not common, but is appreciated.
  • Surface water is not good; so, drink bottled water only available at stalls and cafes.
  • Bring a Spotter’s Guide so that you know about the animals and birds you spot here.
  • Never ever trek, hike, or climb alone as many dangers are hidden here: Mayan Trekking 14-Day Adventure
  • Always prefer loose cotton clothing.
  • Never ever forget to cover your arms and legs while hiking as insect bites are common.
  • Bring warm clothing for nights.