GMT -6 hours
Dramatic volcanoes and rolling highlands
This beautiful country is bursting with intriguing history and perfect for off-the-beaten-track adventures. The Mayans were one of the world’s most ancient civilisations and the ruins in Tikal National Park form the largest excavation site on the American continent. The enchanting and historic UNESCO-listed city of Antigua is home to beautifully-preserved colonial architecture while stunning Lake Atitlán in the Western Highlands is renowned for its incredible scenery.
Best time to visit Guatemala
• The tropical region of Central America incorporates both coastal and highland climates.
• The dry season spans the months of December to April, the weather is at its least humid making this the most pleasant time to travel.
• The summer months are slightly more humid with increased rainfall but are therefore less crowded.
• Between September and November the region experiences heavy rains and tropical storms which often develop into hurricanes.
Guatemala holiday highlights
Framed by the towering summit of the Volcán de Auga, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Antigua is resplendent in colonial era architecture. Steeped in historic charm, the city was founded in the 16th Century as the seat of the Spanish Government for much of Central America, then known as the Kingdom of Guatemala. Wander the streets lined with 17th and 18th Century buildings and the craftsmen's workshops or explore the city’s parks, churches, convents and mansions, some destroyed by devastating earthquakes and others perfectly preserved.
Lying deep within the Guatemalan rainforest, undiscovered for centuries, is a vast collection of the most spectacular Mayan ruins in Central America centred on a grand ceremonial structure. Formerly a major centre of the Mayan civilisation, inhabited from the 5th Century BC to the 10th Century AD, the ruins in Tikal National Park were uncovered in the mid 19th Century and now form the largest excavation site on the American continent. In addition to its huge cultural significance, Tikal also has a great ecological importance, possessing a varied natural environment teeming with numerous species of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles.
In the Mayan language Atitlán translates poetically to the ‘place where the rainbow gets its colour’. Regularly described as the most beautiful lake in the world, Atitlán is located in the highlands of Guatemala, and is dominated by three towering volcanoes and surrounded by many colourful Mayan villages.