Guatemala. A country that reverberates with sound, scent and sight. A place where Latin American beats drip-feed out of late-night salsa bars and the sweet smell of coffee perfumes the air. A hub of cultures and cuisines, with a vegan food scene that’ll make you want far more than three meals a day. The home of ancient Mayan citadels and colonial buildings, each battered and beaten by years of earthquakes. A destination where digital nomads, camera-wielding tourists and friendly locals marvel at the remnants of centuries-old civilisations.
If you love culture, stunning scenery, outdoor adventure, and fresh tropical fruit for breakfast then Guatemala is one of the most fascinating and memorable countries to visit – from hiking volcanoes to exploring Mayan ruins there are so many things to do in Guatemala that you would need a lifetime to experience it all!
If you couldn’t tell, here at Vegan Adventure Holidays I’m pretty much in love with Guatemala! Ready to join in the fun? Check out our recommended bucket list experiences and I promise a trip that’ll shape you forever.
1: Experience Antigua, The Beating Heart Of Guatemala
A stay in Antigua – the cultural epicentre of Guatemala and a UNESCO World Heritage Site – will give you the kind of zest and energy you’ll wish you could bottle! Pack your bags and get stuck into this vibrant city, one that’s doused in warm, mustard hues and equally warm welcomes. Say “buenos dias” to new friends, get lost in a network of old colonial buildings, and be humbled by The Water Volcano from beneath the iconic Santa Catalina Arch.
Antigua’s where you’ll find some of the country’s best vegan-friendly cafes, so you can stay energised on the go with juices, cakes and healthy dishes. I’m all about exploring Guatemala through taste, so finding fresh and flavourful plant-based grub is always high on my agenda!
2: Hike The Extraordinary Acatenango Volcano
After a few days of soaking up the sights of Antigua, it’s time to leave your footprints elsewhere – on the winding trails of Acatenango. Guatemala is a volcano-flanked paradise, with many of its towns, cities and jungles set against some of the world’s most impressive volcanic complexes. La Horqueta, home to Acatenango, just so happens to be one of the most beautiful.
So, lace up your vegan hiking boots, take your last gulp of city air, and prepare to leap feet-first outside your comfort zone. Soul-lifting scenery and OMG moments await as you hike through biodiverse landscapes, with stunning views of Volcán de Fuego and the Pancho Valley stretching out from Acatenango’s summit – almost 4,000 metres in the sky.
3: Experience The Bustling ‘Chichi” Market
At Vegan Adventure Holidays, I believe that a trip to Chichicastenango is the cherry on top of every Guatemalan experience! Here, you can immerse yourself in the kaleidoscope of textures and colours that is Chichi market, where traditional Mayan textiles, jade jewellery and fresh vegetables, and much more await.
Why not sit back and watch the world go by with a cup of freshly ground coffee and some corn tortilla, or let yourself be carried by the tide of shoppers surging through this mountaintop market? Chichi market is the perfect place to connect with vendors, put your nearly learned Spanish to the test, and find hidden treasures for your friends and family at home.
4: Kayak, Hike & Bike Around Lake Atitlan
Close your eyes and imagine a lake brimming with azure-blue water, surrounded by lush green landscapes and fringed by incredible volcanoes that rise into the clouds. Yep, you’re picturing Lake Atitlán. The only way to experience this stunning lake is from all angles (it’s a rite of passage!), which is I recommend hiking, biking and kayaking your way around.
Adventurous souls, it’s time to grab your vegan walking boots, bike helmet and paddles! Just the sight of Lake Atitlán will ignite a fire in your belly, so don’t forget to put it out after an action-packed day with a refreshing juice and vegan dinner.
5: Journey North To The Mayan Ruins Of Tikal
After the rush of Antigua, the sensory explosion of Chichi market and the comfort-zone-expanding adventures of Acatenango and Lake Atitlán, it’s time to reflect on Guatemala’s rich past. History buffs will love journeying north to Tikal, where crumbling citadels and archaeological wonders – a snapshot of ancient Mayan civilization – lie in wait.
At Tikal, you’ll navigate through a maze of mind-expanding monuments, soak up spectacular views and awesome sunsets from the top of Tikal’s Temple IV, and learn more about ancient Mayan life in a way that no textbook could prepare you for.
Looking For More Guatemala Travel Resources?
Check out my Guatemala packing guide below!
Say Hola To Guatemala With vegan Adventure Holidays
Ready to find your perfect vegan adventure holiday? Bring a little extra zest to your year with a might-just-change-your-life trip to Guatemala, where incredible history and culture meet epic landscapes and only the most flavoursome vegan food.
You can experience all this and so much more on my one-month work and travel program, created to connect like-minded vegans with an affinity for travel. Let’s go!
Emma – Vegan Adventure Holidays
P.S. Did you get my Ultimate Vegan Outdoor Adventure Starter Kit Yet? It’s totally FREE, you can get it here