Ultimate Girl’s Guide to Guatemala Travel!

I pretty much fell in love with Guatemala right from the start.  Though I’d heard Guatemala City was “scary,” I hired a shuttle with four other people at the airport upon arrival, & we were immediately whisked away to Antigua with two cheerful  Guatemalan guys.  Nothing scary about it.  And the rest of my Guatemala travel journey only got better.  Guatemala is a place that I genuinely LOVE, & know I will return to.  It’s filled with warm, friendly people, fantastic coffee, & gorgeous landscapes.  And I think it’s a great place for female travel…so welcome to your “Ultimate Girl’s Guide to Guatemala Travel!”

Ultimate Girl's Guide to Guatemala Travel, Girl Who Travels the World

Just two girls paddle-boarding on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala…

I didn’t meet very many Americans during my travels in Guatemala.  I think they’re either scared off by reports of violence, or even more simply: it’s just not on their radar.  And yet, it’s a short flight from the States (about 4-5 hours) & so FULL of amazing adventures ~ I finally feel compelled to reveal some of Guatemala’s secrets: because there is SO much to discover there. 

Ultimate Girl's Guide to Guatemala Travel, Girl Who Travels the World

Antigua, Guatemala.

Guatemala holds the colonial jewel of a city: Antigua.  When I arrived & looked around my rooftop patio, I thought, “I could live here.”  I even called my best friend from high school & told her, “I think I found the place for us to retire!”  The food in Antigua is HEAVENLY, & the coffee is my absolute FAVORITE I’ve ever had.  And it tastes better in Guatemala!  And if that’s not enough, you’ve got the famous ancient ruins of Tikal in northern Guatemala ~ the #1 tourist attraction in the country.  And my personal favorites: Lake Atitlan & Semuc Champey, two legendary destinations with views that will blow your mind. 

Ultimate Girl's Guide to Guatemala Travel

Legendary sunset views in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.

But it’s the people that make Guatemala so special.  I’ll never forget the women who taught me how to weave in the tiny lakeside village of San Juan la Laguna, on the shores of Lake Atitlan.  Or all the dogs I met!  All my Guatemalan hotel owners happened to have the sweetest dogs ~ & I even got to paddle-board with one of them: Bailey.  It’s why I’m writing this “Ultimate Girl’s Guide to Guatemala Travel,” to help introduce people to a country they may not otherwise learn about. 

Let’s Go to Guatemala!

Guatemala Travel Overview!

  • Safety = Take Precautions in Guatemala City (or avoid it); Antigua & other tourist spots quite safe 75% 75%
  • Cost = Like most of Latin America, CHEAP!! 30% 30%
  • Adventures = Abundant!!! 100% 100%
  • How Safe I Felt as a Female Traveler = Surprisingly Quite Safe 90% 90%
  • Favorite Mode of Transport = Colorful Chicken Buses! A MUST! 100% 100%

Guatemala Travel Quick Facts!

  • Guatemala in One Word = Volcanoes.
  • Guatemala in One More Word = Tikal. 
  • Wi-Fi = Wi-Fi can be spotty, except in cities like Antigua & Guatemala CityI had great Wi-Fi in some Lake Atitlan accommodations; others, it was terrible.  Your best bet is to buy a Claro stick that can be used throughout the country. 
  • Global Peace Ranking in 2017 = #117 out of 163 countries (U.S. is #114).  Crime tends to be concentrated in Guatemala City, which is a drug trafficking zone, & area of violent crime.  Take precautions there.  Personally, I chose not to spend any time there on my trip.
  • Hotels = For $30/night (& often less), you can get hotels with views that will take your breath away.
  • Musts = Stroll the beautiful streets of Antigua.  Visit a coffee farm, or “finca.”  Paddle board & hike volcanoes at Lake Atitlan.  Visit the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal, near the Belize border.  Swim in the amazing, cascading turquoise pools of Semuc Champey.
  • Is Guatemala Good for Solo Travelers? = Yes & no. Guatemala isn’t my choice for first-time solo travelers.  Visit Guatemala with a little more experience & confidence under your belt.  Personally, I was there for over a month by myself in 2017 & LOVED it.  But I’ve also got years of travel (& solo travel) under my belt.  
  • What to Expect as a Female Traveler = Machismo culture is prevalent throughout Latin America, but I personally didn’t find it excessive in Guatemala.  Packs of young, teenage guys may make annoying comments once in awhile (or even packs of older guys!) ~ but overall, I didn’t find it overwhelming or persistent.     
  • Would I Go Back to Guatemala = Yes!!! Ohh…hell yes!

Ultimate Girl’s Guide to Guatemala Travel!

I think one of the best ways to help explain why I love Guatemala so much….is to show you.  Hundreds of words could not explain what a few photos can.  To that end, here are some of my favorite photos of Guatemala, to perhaps inspire some wanderlust, & help us to paint this picture for our “Ultimate Girl’s Guide to Guatemala Travel.”

Ultimate Girl's Guide to Guatemala Travel, Girl Who Travels the World

Paddle-boarding on Lake Atitlan…

Ultimate Girl's Guide to Guatemala Travel, Girl Who Travels the World

Sunrise volcano views in San Marcos la Laguna, in Lake Atitlan.

Ultimate Girl's Guide to Guatemala Travel, Girl Who Travels the World

Beautiful gardens abound all over Guatemala…like this one, in San Marcos la Laguna, Lake Atitlan.

Ultimate Girl's Guide to Guatemala Travel, Girl Who Travels the World

Adventures abound in Guatemala!

Ultimate Girl's Guide to Guatemala Travel, Girl Who Travels the World

Turquoise pools of Semuc Champey.

Ultimate Girl's Guide to Guatemala Travel, Girl Who Travels the World

Jumping off bridges during a thunder storm, in Semuc Champey, Guatemala.

Ultimate Girl’s Guide to Guatemala Travel!

Thanks for reading the “Ultimate Girl’s Guide to Guatemala Travel!”  Charm is one of the first words that comes to mind when I think of this country…& I hope more Americans discover its charms for themselves.  Just not too many!  Have you traveled to Guatemala?  What was your experience?  Let me know in the comments below! 

Read Next: Guide to Semuc Champey in Guatemala!