Affordable international destination - Santa Catalina Arch in Antigua, Guatemala

Guatemala Travel Inspiration: 45 Stunning Photos to Fuel Your Wanderlust

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Prepare to add Guatemala to the top of your travel bucket list. No, seriously.

Guatemala had been on my travel radar for a few years, but I always imagined visiting as part of a longer Central American backpacking trip. However, when the opportunity arose for a one-week getaway, I jumped at the chance to travel to Guatemala. Let me tell you, I’m so glad we picked this destination. It’s super easy and relatively quick to get to from the US. Plus, considering we only had one week, it was a great introduction.

I had the chance to brush up on my Spanish, enjoy delicious food, and stay at some of the most breathtaking accommodations. Exploring Antigua’s colorful streets, admiring Lake Atitlan’s volcano views, and hiking Acatenango and Fuego made it an unforgettable trip.

I’m excited to share some of my favorite photos from my time in this beautiful country.

Antigua

The week began with flying into Guatemala City, then heading to Antigua, where we would spend a couple of days. Arriving in the late evening, we eagerly welcomed the comfort of our cozy accommodation, the Yellow House Hostel.

We spent the first day wandering the streets and taking in our new surroundings. We stumbled upon the central square where many birds were flying about, attracted by the children feeding them.

As we continued to wander, we enjoyed the charm of Antigua’s cobblestone streets, passing by countless squares, churches, and hidden cafes tucked away in quiet courtyards. A visit to the ruins of Santa Clara church offered a glimpse into the city’s history, and while we were there a beautiful wedding was being set up.

Our time in Antigua was cloudy, so unfortunately, we couldn’t see the top of the volcano from town, which I’m sure is a spectacular sight on a clear day.

Colorful buildings line a cobblestone street in Antigua Guatemala

View over city of Antigua, Guatemala

Lake Atitlan

After our time in Antigua, we made our way to Lake Atitlan. The shuttle ride was a series of winding roads and breathtaking views. Eventually, we arrived at Panajachel, where we boarded a small boat (lancha) bound for the lakeside town of Santa Cruz, where we would spend our next two nights.

Santa Cruz La Laguna

Our accommodation, Hotel Area De Noe, welcomed us with lush gardens and amazing views of the volcanos.

The view of the volcano right from our bed was stunning.

Scenic view of a volcano over Lake Atitlan from a bungalow at Hotel Arca De Noe

We walked up the steep hill into Santa Cruz, where we had a delicious breakfast with an amazing panoramic view. After breakfast we stumbled upon the central square where school children were playing a game of football. We sat on a ledge and took a moment to reflect, enjoying the fact that we were the only travelers in sight.

View over Lake Atitlan and Volcano from Cafe Sabor Cruceno, Santa Cruz, Guatemala

San Juan La Laguna

That afternoon we took a lancha over to San Juan, where umbrellas and vibrant murals adorn the streets. This town is known for its skilled artisans and handmade textiles.

The streets are all so colorful, and every time you turn a corner there is another gorgeous mural. Despite being much more popular among tourists than where we were staying, we still very much enjoyed our time wandering around.

A highlight was stumbling upon a great lunch spot where we had a delicious, cheap meal.

Hotel Casa Del Mundo

The following morning, after a leisurely brunch and a moment to get some work done and take in the views, we took a very short boat trip to our next accommodation, La Casa Del Mundo.

Perched on the edge of a cliff, this hotel is like something straight out of a fairytale. The lush, terraced gardens were beautiful, with many hammocks and relaxing spots tucked away throughout the property. And again, breathtaking views of the volcanos over Lake Atitlan.

We spent the afternoon exploring the grounds, going for a swim in the lake, and once again soaking in the beauty of our surroundings.

Scenic view looking up at Hotel Casa Del Mundo perched cliffside, view from the water

Scenic view of Lake Atitlan from Hotel Casa Del Mundo's terrace

Multi-level terraces over looking Lake Atitlan

Acatenango & Fuego

The week ended with the ultimate adventure: a challenging hike and a one-night overnight stay on top of the dormant Acatenango Volcano. I also opted for the additional ascent of the active volcano Fuego. Despite the extremely challenging hike, every bit of it was worth it. It’s undoubtedly one of the most incredible experiences. I would highly recommend looking into this hike and adding it to your Guatemala travel itinerary.

Tip: Book this hike with Wicho & Charlies. Hands Down.

A group of hikers trekking on Fuego Volcano, an active peak in Guatemala

Capturing Guatemala: A Look Back at an Unforgettable Trip

Some of my favorite travel photos to date came out of this trip, and I’m thrilled to share them with you in this format. If Guatemala wasn’t on your radar before, I’m sure it is now. This beautiful country truly has it all—adventure, yummy food, rich culture, and it’s affordable too.

I’m sure someday I’ll travel back to Guatemala, especially to visit the northern region around Tikal. In fact, I have a feeling it won’t be long until I’m back, as Guatemala is also renowned for its Spanish language immersion schools, something I’ve long considered doing.

If you’re inspired to start your own adventure or are looking for more travel tips and insights, be sure to check out my resources page.