Guatemala City Travel Guide

Guatemala’s capital is Central America’s largest and most modern city and the financial and political hub of the country. Located in a mountain valley in the southern-central part of Guatemala, it is divided between the Old City and the New City and has not yet become very popular with tourists.

The former jewel of Central America, Guatemala City has lost much of its appeal. It is a web of streets and alleyways with few traces of its colonial past. Most visitors stop here because the majority of the country’s transport options begin and end in the city. However, the city does not have many of the attractions Guatemala is known for, such as old ruins, colorful markets and impressive peaks.

On the bright side, there are a number of respectable restaurants and hotels in addition to numerous exceptional museums and a dynamic nightlife. Over 30 galleries showcase Guatemalan artists through paintings, photography, engravings and sculptures. Theaters stage an extensive variety of plays, particularly those by national playwrights.


Kaminaljuyu: are ruins from the early Mayan era right in the center of the city and consist mostly of mounds, but the excavations are very accessible and interesting.

Ixchel Museum of Traditional Costumes: houses a large collection of examples of traditional dress with information on weaving and dying techniques.

Metropolitan Cathedral: on the eastern end of Plaza Mayor, is one of the city’s most enduring colonial landmarks with ornate altars and exceptional samples of colonial religious art.****

National Palace: offers free guided tours taking in the interior courtyards and official function rooms as well as a small statue honoring the end of the Guatemala Civil War.

Botanical Gardens: have a remarkable collection of plants and a small natural history museum.****

Archaeology and Ethnology Museum: exhibits archaeological remnants of the Mayan civilization, including the legendary Tikal mask.