#01 Antigua

The graceful former capital, with an incredible legacy of colonial architecture, is one of the most elegant cities in the Americas.

#02 The Ixil region

The Guatemalan highlands at their most bewitching: the costume and scenery of this deeply traditional Maya region are astonishing.

#03 Todos Santos Cuchumatán

A fascinating highland Maya town, home to one of the finest textile traditions in Latin America, which hosts a legendary fiesta, with a rip-roaring horse race.

#04 Maximón

Visit the pagan temple of this liquor-swilling, cigar-smoking evil saint.

#05 Tikal

This unmatched Maya site has it all: monumental temples and palaces set in a tropical forest alive with spider monkeys and chattering parakeets.

#06 Studying Spanish

Guatemala has dozens of excellent language schools that offer one-on-one tuition and home-stay packages at rock-bottom rates.

#07 Copán ruins

There’s a plethora of exquisitely carved stelae and altars, a towering hieroglyphic stairway and an outstanding museum at the magnificent ruins of Copán.

#08 Río Dulce

Cruise up the jungle-cloaked gorges and estuaries of Guatemala’s “sweet river” by boat, and marvel at the scenery and birdlife.

#09 Chichicastenango

For souvenir hunters, this twice-weekly highland market is unsurpassed.

#10 National Archeological Museum

A wonderful collection of Maya artistry and breathtakingly carved monuments from many remote Petén sites.

#11 Volcán de Pacaya

Trek up this volcano for an unforgettable encounter with the lava-oozing cone of Pacaya, one of Central America’s most active.

#12 Lívingston

Shake your booty to the hypnotic drum-driven punta beat in the Garífuna town of Lívingston.

#13 Yaxhá

This massive Maya site, superbly positioned on the banks of Lago de Yaxhá, has dozens of large temples and impressive monuments.

#14 Lago de Atitlán

Encircled by three volcanoes, the awesome crater lake of Lago de Atitlán was famously described by Aldous Huxley as “the most beautiful lake in the world”.

#15 Chicken buses

Garishly painted and outrageously uncomfortable, there’s never a dull journey aboard Guatemala’s iconic fume-belching camionetas.

#16 Semana Santa

During Easter Week, head to either Antigua for its epic Catholic processions, or Santiago Atitlán to witness the symbolic confrontation between the pagan saint Maximón and Christ.

#17 Highland hiking

Explore the beguiling, lofty trails of Guatemala’s western highlands: the town of Quetzaltenango and Nebaj are good bases.

#18 Coffee

Sample some of the world’s finest single estate roasts in Cobán, the easy-going capital of Alta Verapaz.

#19 Semuc Champey

Explore the exquisite turquoise pools and river system around Semuc Champey, a natural limestone bridge.

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