Where to stay in Guatemala City
Where Is Guatemala City?
What Is Guatemala City Known For?
A Quick Guide to Guatemala City
- Mapa en Relieve: Mapa en Relieve is a topographical map of Guatemala that is so large, it must be viewed from an observation tower. The land size was created in 1:10,000 scale, but the mountains were created in 1:2,000 scale, making all the mountains dramatically tall and pointy. It was impressively created in 1904, well before modern surveying technology.
- Mercado Central: A massive indoor market on three levels, Mercado Central offers all types of souvenirs, handicrafts, textiles, produce, meat, and a food court. It is located in a building behind the cathedral that seems smaller from the outside than what it really is because most of it is underground.
- Palacio Nacional: A former presidential palace, Palacio Nacional was built in the 1930’s on a site that once housed two previous palaces. The imposing structure is across the street from Parque Central and now functions as a museum for Guatemalan culture. Guided tours of the collections include murals depicting Guatemalan history, paintings, sculptures, and rooms furnished as they were during the presidency. The exterior is an especially majestic sight at night.
- La Aurora Zoo: Between Zonas 9 and 14 is the La Aurora Zoo, founded in 1924 with 287 species from around the world. There are penguins, zebras, lions, parrots, tigers, elephants and so much more. It is not far from the Nacional Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, where you can study ancient artifacts and exhibitions of Mayan culture, from antiquity to Spanish colonialism.
- Catedral Metropolitana: The city is littered with a large collection of Spanish-built churches, but the landmark Baroque Cathedral, consecrated in 1815, is by far the most opulent and well-maintained. The Cathedral is next to Plaza de la Constitución and adjacent to the National Palace in Zona 1.
Popular Destinations Near Guatemala City
- Antigua Guatemala : A former Spanish colonial capital city before it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1773, Antigua Guatemala now stands as a UNESCO World Heritage site just one hour from Guatemala City. The main Parque Central is compact and easy to get around on foot. Many of the attractions are colonial-era ruins of government and church buildings that suffered destruction in a series of earthquakes in the 1700’s. Unique sights include coffee and macadamia farm tours, a chocolate museum, and volcano hikes.
- Volcán de Pacaya: Central America’s most active and accessible volcano is Volcán de Pacaya, located an hour south of the city. It is a moderate hike that requires a local guide, where you’ll pass through forests, molten and cooled lava fields, and charred trees. There are pools of molten lava where visitors can feel the heat and maybe even roast a marshmallow. The heat and sulfur fumes are more potent closer to the crater, and the minor eruptions are best seen at night when the glowing orange lava contrasts with the night sky.
- Lake Atitlan: Spectacular crater lake surrounded by dormant volcanoes and mountains, Lake Atitlan is nestled in a national park three hours west of Guatemala City. Hike the mountain trails or take a boat trip across the lake to visit the local villages, most notably Santiago and San Juan.
Best Neighborhoods in Guatemala City
- Zona 10 : Zona 10 is known as the upmarket area with high class accommodation and abundance of restaurants, bars and shopping. A small section of this neighborhood is called Zona Viva, “the lively zone” — a center of all local nightlife. Cultural attractions include the Ixchel Museum of Traditional Costumes and Jardines Botánico. Oakland Mall contains a multiplex cinema and the first restaurant aquarium in Central America, Nais Aquarium.
- Zona 4: Near the city center is a group of pedestrian streets called 4 Grados Norte, lined in dining, entertainment and shopping. Zona 4 is walkable and between Zona 1 to the north, as well as Zonas 9 and 10 to the south.
- Guatemala City Historical District: The newly revitalized old city known as the Guatemala City Historical District has been attracting bars, cafes, and restaurants to pedestrianized 6A Calle, which separates the Plaza and National Palace. The main city square, Plaza de la Constitución is surrounded by the National Palace of Culture, Teatro de Don Juan and Central Market. All of these stops are found within Zona 1.
- Paseo Cayala: Paseo Cayala is an upscale shopping mall area west of Zona 4, designed like a small village with shops, cafes, and restaurants. Safe, clean, and modern with European-influenced architecture — the area is dotted with public sculptures and entertainment includes bowling, gyms, and a golf driving range.
Home-types in Guatemala City
Points of interests in Guatemala City
- Plaza España: 10,120 vacation rentals
- Plaza de la Constitución: 10,120 vacation rentals
- Museo Popol Vuh: 10,120 vacation rentals
- La Aurora Zoo: 10,120 vacation rentals
- Relief Map: 10,120 vacation rentals
- Nacional Museum of Archeology and Ethnology: 10,120 vacation rentals
- National Palace of Culture: 10,120 vacation rentals