Guatemala’s incredible biodiversity and extraordinary selection of active volcanoes is just the tip of the iceberg: this Central American gem has an intriguing past, accomplished artisans, vibrant urban landscape, and a community that is as warm as it is traditional. It’s a modest country in many ways – plenty of sites escape the pages of popular guidebooks – but a deeper, interactive experience is there for the taking. Whether you bump along in a chicken bus or jet-set between major locales, any Guatemalan adventure should include these eight unbelievable sites.

1. Antigua


Guatemala’s charming colonial city is the center of most tourist activity, but it also hosts a vibrant local culture and a sizable contingent of expats. Here, the lush highland landscape mingles with centuries-old stone buildings — a harmony of European style and Latin American spirit. You’ll find everything from luxury guesthouses to modest food stands selling traditional fare within the small grid of streets, and don’t miss Nim Po’t, the famous artisan market at the north edge of the city center, where you can browse a huge array of traditionally made Mayan crafts and textiles. This city is a fantastic introduction to everything Guatemala has to offer.