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Off-the-Beaten-Paths You Can’t Miss in Guatemala

With its unique blend of cultural heritage and picturesque landscapes, the Central American country of Guatemala poses an irresistible travel destination. A landscape that showcases lakes, lush forests and volcanoes draws millions of nature lovers and hikers every year.

Of course, just like every other country, there are some renowned destinations where all tourists go. The overly adventurous bunch, however, seeks the thrill of off-the-beaten-path. Thankfully, Guatemala has lots of them to offer.

This article explores Guatemala travel and tours destinations you can’t miss if you’re planning a visit.

Semuc Champey

One of the major tourist attractions in the country ironically draws one of the lowest numbers of tourists. It comes down to its remote nature in the Alta Verapaz region. It’s about 290 kilometers northeast of Guatemala City.

The primary attraction of the destination is its limestone caves and turquoise pools, surrounded by thick forests.

While 290 kilometers may not sound very far, the rough terrain packed with gravel roads makes it a very hard-to-reach area. If you’re up for an adventure that challenges the muscles of your butt, Semuc Champey is one of the first places you should visit.

Los Cuchumatanes

Widely considered a natural treasure of Central America, the Los Cuchumatanes plateau is a very unique travel destination for adventure seekers. This is also home to the country’s highest non-volcanic peak. The region is surrounded by some of the highest mountains in Central America, reaching upwards of 3,800 meters in altitude.

Due to the high altitude, the temperature fluctuates a lot between day and night, giving birth to one of the most diverse wildlife ecosystems in the world. This is an ideal location if you’re into bird watching and hiking in the wilderness.

El Paredon

If you’re into beaches, don’t miss El Paredon. It’s one of the many local beach towns along the Pacific coastline of Guatemala. The best part of visiting these towns is that there are barely any tourists to disrupt your view. Viewing is important because if you visit during the right time of the year, you may turn the trip into a turtle and whale-watching event.

This is the destination to be if you’re into surfing. The waves are highly regarded among expert surfers and you’ll see plenty of them during your stay in the small town. It’s interesting that not many foreign tourists know about this place despite the fact that it’s only 2 hours from Antigua.

Piedras Negras

The infamous Mayan civilization occupied the lands of Central America for thousands of years. While it’s common knowledge that Guatemala was one of their primary habitats, many tourists don’t know about Piedras Negras, the historic ruins of the once-glorified civilization.

It’s as remote as travel destinations go, acting as a natural border between Guatemala and Mexico. There are only 2 ways to reach there, either by horse or by boat. If you’re ready to compromise the safety and comfort of by-road travel, you may return with an experience of a lifetime from Piedras Negras.

San Juan La Laguna

Lake Atitlan will most likely show up as one of the primary tourist attractions of Guatemala. But you may not find San Juan La Laguna in mainstream recommendations.

This hidden gem is very near popular destinations like Panajachel and San Pedro yet the town is mostly empty throughout the year. The atmosphere of the town is also very different from others in the vicinity, offering a more authentic Guatemalan flavor.

Apart from swimming in the lake or chilling at the local bars, you can explore many treacherous hiking trails that go into the nearby jungles.