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Where to Stay in Guatemala

Where to Stay in Guatemala – the “place of many trees”

Map The most populated country in Central America, Guatemala has an unfavorable location. Surrounded by countries such as Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, and near the Caribbeans and the Pacific Ocean, this stunning destination remains under the radar. However, Guatemala is a culturally and historically rich country. 

Its territory once belonged to Mayan Civilization which can be seen from the Mayan ruins in Tikal National Park. As a testament to Guatemala’s cultural diversity, there are 21 different dialects solely spoken in this state. 

Aside from its culture and history, Guatemala is world-famous for coffee—its main exporting product; blue denim—absolute leaders in the textile production; volcanoes—contains more than 30; and chocolate—as the mass producer of chocolate products. 

Based on everything said, deciding where to stay in Guatemala can be difficult but with this personalized guide to the ‘’place of many trees’’ finding the ideal accommodation is a piece of cake. 

Guatemala Image source: pixabay

Five best cities to stay in Guatemala

Map Image source: Britannica

The largest city in Guatemala is Guatemala City. Apart from the capital, Guatemala has many other less populated cities scattered around the country. They are different in nature and there are places for everyone’s liking. 

Although these cities differ, they are united in preserving the spirit of the Mayans alive. Some of them achieve this through the authentic atmosphere, while others are trying to conserve the tradition while trying to keep up with the contemporary lifestyle. 

Either way, choosing where to stay in Guatemala largely depends on your preferences and your travel budget. We recommend the following cities: 

  1. Guatemala City
  2. Antigua Guatemala
  3. Ciudad Vieja
  4. Quetzaltenango (Xela)
  5. Villa Nueva 

Not every city from this list is suitable for the same interests. But, whatever your interests may be, you don’t have to worry, as you will be able to pursue them in a Guatemalan city. 

City

Ideal for: 

Why? 

Antigua Guatemala

First visit 

Great cultural and historical values and landmarks

Guatemala City

Nightlife As the capital of Guatemala, it has all you could possibly need for a great night

Ciudad Vieja

On a budget

Affordable accommodation with great sights

Villa Nueva

Bohemians and ex-pats

Uncongested and peaceful but with plenty of content

Quetzaltenango (Xela) Long-term stay

Unlike other cities, rather inexpensive costs of living

Where to stay in Guatemala for the first time – Antigua Guatemala

map

Antigua Guatemala or simply Antigua is a smaller city in Guatemala. Still, it is an incredibly vivid town that managed to preserve architecture, mostly churches, in colonial and Spanish Baroque style. During the period of the Kingdom of Guatemala, Antigua served as its capital. In the 17th century, the majority of this town was destroyed by earthquakes but it managed to recuperate and some of the historical buildings were renovated. 

Although the city has a traditional feel, it successfully combines the traditional cultural aspects with the modern ones. As the perfect example is the existence of local festivity Semana Santa (Holy Week) and International Jazz Festival. With cobblestone paved streets, colorful colonial buildings, ruins, and surrounding volcanoes, this city is like a postcard. 

Antigua Image source: miss_angie_jones

Things to see and do in Antigua

As such a diverse city, there is plenty to see and do in Antigua. This city contains some of the iconic cultural and historical landmarks in Guatemala. Here is what we recommend: 

  • Santo Domingo Del Cerro
  • Cerro de La Cruz
  • El Arco de Santa Catalina
  • Nim Po’t
  • Plaza Mayor

Santo Domingo Del Cerro

Dedicated to the work of Efrain Recinos, Guatemalan Picasso, this park contains some of his most refined sculptures. His most famous sculpture, El Triunfo de la Guatemalita is the highlight of this park. 

Santo Domingo Image source: annlopeza

Cerro de La Cruz

Thanks to well-preserved Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture and colonial churches, Antigua was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. To admire the most splendid view of the city, take a walk to Cerro De La Cruz, Antigua’s park. 

Image source: sawyer.mirage

El Arco de Santa Catalina

One of the best examples of colonial architecture in Antigua is Santa Catalina Arch. This mustard-yellow building is located near the Iglesia de La Merced. 

Arch Image source: alyswin

Nim Po’t

This is the ideal place for familiarizing with the unique textile product of Guatemala. Also, you can buy authentic souvenirs, masks, sculptures, and other trinkets to remind you of Antigua. 

Image source: eve_in_the_world

Plaza Mayor

Plaza Central Park is the central place of Antigua. Like the town square, it is a popular gathering spot for both locals and tourists. 

Image source: stguatemalatravel

Where to stay in Antigua

Antigua offers diverse accommodation options for every budget. From the more traditionally designed Airbnbs to more modern to suit everyone’s taste. The average nightly price in Airbnbs is $66. Our top picks are: 

Affordable option – This private room in a villa with breakfast and yoga 

Moderate option – This luxury studio with Netflix 

Luxury option – This entire luxurious villa 

Find more Airbnbs in Antigua here

Where to stay in Guatemala for nightlife – Guatemala City 

Guatemala City is the capital of Guatemala. Located in the south-central part of Guatemala, and well-nested in Valle de la Ermita, this global city is where most activities take place. 

For the longest time, Guatemala City has been connected with violence and gangs, but it seems that the city has got this under control. Still, there are some parts of the city that are better to avoid, while others are urban and contain everything you may need during your visit to Guatemala. 

This metropolis has an energetic atmosphere and numerous restaurants, shops, bars, markets are at your disposal. From tasting local dishes to learning to dance the samba, everyone can find something to do here!

Image source: liaknoek

Things to see and do in Guatemala City

Guatemala City has plenty to offer to its tourists. From historical buildings, cultural hotspots, to markets and restaurants. Check out our favorite spots: 

  • Rincon Del Steak
  • Mercado Central 
  • Oakland Mall 
  • Paseo Cayala
  • Picasso Stone Flame Oven

Rincon Del Steak

If you are a meat lover, then you absolutely must visit this restaurant. ‘’The corner of steak’’ serves all kinds of steaks in different sauces and dishes based on meat and the atmosphere of the restaurant is pleasant. 

Image source: food_addicts_gt

Mercado Central

One of the largest markets in Guatemala City, Mercado Central offers authentic Guatemalan produce such as different kinds of textiles, handicrafts, woolen blankets as well as fresh and organic fruits and vegetables.

Image source: mastrdelafuente

Oakland Mall

Oakland Mall is the largest shopping facility spreading on 4 floors of retail and outlet store of some of the world-famous brands. Apart from boutiques, there are also restaurants, cafes, bars, and fast food joints. 

Image source: oaklandmallgt

Paseo Cayala

Another multipurpose complex is Paseo Cayala which has an abundance of shopping, dining, entertainment options for everyone’s liking. It has a modern feel and includes many international fashion brands.

Image source: tiffmartinez22

Picasso Stone Flame Oven

Located inside Hotel Intercontinental, this restaurant offers a wide variety of delicious specialties of international cuisine. Along with the great service and live music, Picasso Stone Flame Oven is an ideal place for lunch or dinner. 

Image source: thundercakes_

Where to stay in Guatemala City

As the capital and central tourist destination, Guatemala City offers the most varied accommodation options for every budget. The average nightly price in Airbnbs is $48.

We recommend the following ones: 

Affordable option – This cozy private apartment 

Moderate option – This fully equipped apartment with rooftop 

Luxury option – This luxurious suite 

Find more Airbnbs in Guatemala City here

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