We are living in a crazy world right now with COVID 19, borders closed, social distancing, and working remotely. What a time to be alive! Right before all this craziness started, we were able to get away to Guatemala for 5 days- and boy are we glad we did!
We found some cheap flights, booked some adorable hotels, and loved our time away! I would recommend more time in Guatemala than we spent, but here are the highlights if you’re in a hurry!
Said to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, it is a must if you’re visiting Guatemala. Flying into Guatemala city, it is about a 3 hour drive to the lake. There are many different towns you can stay in and I’m sure all of them have their charm, but we stayed just outside of Panajachel. We had read it was the most developed town and there were many markets, shops, and restaurants in the area.
We stayed at Tzampoc Resort and it was absolutely beautiful. The private villas, the views of the lake and the pool were incredible! Included in your stay is a made to order breakfast on the terrace each morning and it was both delicious and stunning. The staff were all so sweet and would call us a ride everyday if we wanted to drive into town to explore the bars and markets. You can book your stay here!
During your time on the lake, I would definitely recommend renting a kayak or jet ski from one of the many hotels, and have a meal at Casa Palopo! If you have the time, there are many hikes surrounding the lake and we heard that hopping on the ferries and exploring the other towns is fun too!
Antigua is historic, charming, and a total foodie town. I enjoyed Antigua much more than I thought I would! It gave me the Cartagena vibes with a lot of culture, night life, and color. Antigua is a UNESCO World Hertiage site lined with cobblestone streets and a lot of fun to offer!
Some of the best food or rooftops bars we enjoyed were found at:
- Fridas: BEST tacos and margaritas
- Los Tres Tiempos: Rooftop and GREAT local cousine
- Cafe Nose: A historic mezcal bar- a trip to Antigua isn’t complete without a visit to this dive bar!
Another must do if you’re in Antigua is to hike a volcano! There are many active volcanoes in Guatemala. We chose Volcano Pacaya as it was close to Antigua and able to be done in a day trip. We did the tour with Voyageur Tours and they picked us up from our hotel and guided us along the volcano! The hike was tough but worth it. The views of the volcanoes are gorgeous and at the end you’re rewarded with roasting marshmallows against the volcanic rocks!
We stayed at the wonderful Good Hotel Antigua and it was not only really cute and trendy, but affordable and promotes a great cause. 100% of the profits are given to the local community. For each night of stay, that provides 5 days of school for a child in the area. All the more reason to stay there!
Here are some answers to the frequently asked questions while on our trip:
- We rented a car in Guatemala and thought getting around was pretty easy. I will say the drive up and down to Lake Atitlan was a bit scary being that it was rocky and narrow, but we managed fine!
- We felt very safe for the most part! Like anywhere in the world, walking around late at night in an area you’re unfamiliar with isn’t smart. We always choose to take a taxi option or tut-tut (scooter taxi) back to our hotels in most places we go as opposed to walking at night.
- We felt most areas spoke a little English but some places were harder than others. My husbands Spanish skills definitely came in handy!
- Yes, Guatemala is pretty cheap! Compared to South Florida at least !
Guatemala was such a great getaway before all the craziness started with COVID 19. We went at just the right time (their airport was shutting down the day after we left!) Whenever international travel is safe again, I would definitely add Guatemala to your list of long weekend getaways!