In a country like Guatemala, adventure is waiting around every corner. From hiking volcanoes to taking a chocolate workshop in Antigua, to sipping a mocha on a rooftop terrace at sunset, Guate offers authentic cultural experience with no lack of adventure or luxury. Here are 10 things you must do if traveling to Guatemala for the first time.
1. Drink A Mocha (Or Ten)
Coffee is the #2 export of Guatemala, sugar is #1, and the Mayans basically invented chocolate (mas o minus). You’d be hard pressed (pun intended) to find a better mocha on earth.
Mangroves are trees native to Guatemala, or forests of these trees. This is the natural environment of much of Guatemala. Take a boat tour of the protected Mangroves to experience the untouched countryside and for the chance to see the beautiful wildlife.
Tikal is the site of some of the most famous ancient Mayan ruins and is located in Petén, a state in the northeastern part of the country. The site was used in the filming of Star Wars Episode IV.
Two of the best hours of my life were spent learning how to make chocolate. The Choco Museo in Antigua offers workshops where you can roast, shell, grind, and pour your own chocolate. And there’s plenty to eat, too!
5. Have Dinner At Cafe Sky During Sunset
Cafe Sky is the highest (and possibly best) terrace restaurant in Antigua. It is one of the best places to watch the sunset over the peaks of the surrounding volcanoes.
6. Check Out The “Worst” Terrace in Antigua
Luna De Miel claims proudly to have the “worst” terrace in Antigua. Yes, this is as bad as the views in this beautiful city get. They also serve the most amazing crêpes that are a fusion of French, Guatemalan, and other foods. I ordered the Chicken in Curry with Pineapple and Mango Salsa crêpe. Nothing quite like three separate continents all coming together in one bite!
7. Take A Private Boat Tour of Lago Petén Itzá
Lake Petén is home to some of the most beautiful scenery and wildlife that Guatemala has to offer. Catch a private boat from the shores of Flores, a beautiful island on the lake that has a relaxed, Caribbean culture.
If you have ever wanted to learn how to surf, El Paredon is the place to do it! A small town on the Pacific coast in the southwest state of Escuintla, Paredon Surf House has board rentals and lessons both available.
Another beautiful thing about El Paredon is that the coast faces directly south, so you can see both the sun rise and set. Every. Single. Day.
Before I even entered the country, I discovered that the most appealing part of the Guatemalan culture is that everyone is always smiling, always friendly, and always happy to help. The most beautiful aspect of this country are the beautiful people you will meet along the way!