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Guatemala Travel Guide - Home

Guatemala and the introduction of ecotourism

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Photo: Lake Atitlán by Jeff P / CC BY 2.0 

Costa Rica started the ecotourism trend back in the 1990s and is definitely leading in that sphere, and now Guatemala is trying to catch up to its near neighbor by taking up the popular trend. Up until now, Guatemala has focused on its indigenous culture, including its Mayan ruins, and the more recent colonial architecture on view in its cities. However, with all that green and lovely nature in the country, it only makes sense for Guatemala to look to the ecotourism industry, not only to protect its environment but also to attract more visitors each year.

For those who love to spend time in nature, with beautiful landscapes, rather than cityscapes, eco-lodges are the best option. If you are planning a tour of Guatemala, bear in mind that the country offers a range of eco-lodges in the country’s best natural areas, allowing guests to fall asleep surrounded by the sound of the jungle, waking up after a good night’s sleep to the sound of twittering birds.
Most eco-lodges are set in remote areas of Guatemala, offering everything a visitor could need, including their meals and activities such as bird watching, biking and hiking in the area. In most cases, meals are cooked with organic and healthy ingredients and accommodations, while basic and charming, are built using local products. The following are some of the best locations to enjoy a trip out into nature.

Visit Lake Atitlán

One of the best locations is Lake Atitlán, where the town of Panajachel offers a range of comfortable, eco-accommodation in a beautiful location, surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, and overlooking the clear water of the lake. Activities available for visitors include hiking, swimming, kayaking and zip lining and the town offers a good range of restaurants, bars and shops.
Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Photo: Lake Atitlán by Daniel Mennerich / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 

Santa Cruz La Laguna is also set on the shores of Lake Atitlán, west of Panajachel. Santa Cruz is accessible only by boat, making it an unspoiled destination, hugged by lush green forests and right on the lake. While most of the hotels and other facilities are close to the water, the original Maya village is set back from the lake, making for a comfortable inland hike. 

The town itself has only one road, which keeps the atmosphere tranquil and slow. While there isn’t much to see in town, there is still plenty to do, with several lakeside trails to hike, swimming in the lake or just relaxing with a book. The town does have a dive shop, offering fun dives and certification courses. 
Lake Peten Itza, Guatemala

Take in Lake Petén Itzá

Lake Petén Itzá is Guatemala’s second biggest lake, set in tranquil and beautiful surroundings. There are several towns located right on the lake, including San Andrés, San José and El Remate, all of which are great for relaxing, swimming and getting close to nature.  

El Remate is also close to Biotopo Cerro Cahuí, a great location for hiking and bird watching. Along the lakeside, several excellent eco-lodges can be found, offering great food and a relaxed vibe.

Head to Cobán in the Western Highlands of Guatemala

While Cobán itself has little to offer, the town is set in remarkable surroundings, including hillsides covered with forests, interspersed with coffee farms.
Photo: Lake Petén Itzá by Bernard Dupont CC BY-SA 2.0   

This gives the opportunity to choose from a range of locations to go hiking, bird watching and touring. There are also a number of other attractions in the area, including the Laguín caves and the limestone pools at Semuc Champey.

Take time out to visit the ecological side of Guatemala – a sustainable and relaxing way to spend your holiday or vacation.
Coban, Guatemala
Photo: Forest in Cobán NELO Mijangos CC BY-NC 2.0 


Guatemala Travel Guide