Tikal National Park rightly holds its spot as arguably the most popular and well-known destinations in Guatemala. There are hidden gems like Semuc Champey and colonial towns like Antigua, but none can compare to the grandeur of the ancient ruins of Tikal. Teotihuacan ruins are one of the highlights of our time in Mexico, but would Tikal live up to all the hype?
Stepping off that cramped minibus in the pouring rain with the mist rising above the trees and the howler monkeys screeching in the distance, it was clear that Tikal was going to be an adventure of the senses…
Distinctive cobblestone streets are full to the brim with tourists, expats and locals alike. Crumbling churches stand behind locked gates, while next door is a modern hotel or restaurant. Vivid ‘chicken buses’ whizz around, while packed to the rafters with locals. Around another corner, you’ll spot a row of tourists shuttles ready to take the next lot of tourists on a day trip or to their next destination.
Antigua is a city which caters for tourists as much as the local population. Has the excessive demand for tourist amenities made Antigua, Guatemala lose its authenticity? That’s a question I found the answer to during my 3-day stay in Antigua. This city attracts flocks of tourists and backpackers. The question is, is Antigua, Guatemala overrated as a destination and worth your visit?
Diving into crystal turquoise pools in the middle of the Guatemalan jungle. Scaling rickety stairs 500m up a cliff to look out onto the gleaming pools and the surrounding lush wilderness. Meandering through a narrow cave, with just a candle to guide your way. This isn’t the chronicles of a National Geographic explorer, this is the reality of an ever growing number of backpackers in Semuc Champey, Guatemala.
People throw the term ‘must-visit’ around quite a lot these days. That term is often paired with Semuc Champey. However, Semuc Champey well and truly deserves its name under the term ‘must-visit’. This Guatemalan natural gem is on the lips of every backpacker in Central America.