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Trip Report

Backpacking southern Guatemala

Guatemala offers culture, tostadas, tamales, beautiful landscapes and interesting people.

by liakl_About Me:I am a 25 year old, female solo traveler. I like to travel around the world, especially in Latin America. I try to take my time while getting to know places and also explore stuff beside the well known tourist paths. read more

North AmericaGuatemala13 days / July - August 2022

Highs & Lows

Lake Atitlan takes your breath away with incredible views across the lake to several volcanoes and mountains.

As a tourist, you have to be careful not to get ripped of (often prices are too high)

Itinerary Overview

After 3 1/2 months in Mexico, I finally arrived in Guatemala. As I was planning to go to El Salvador next, I concentrated on the southern part of Guatemala. After an adventurous, 8 hour journey from Tapachula in Mexico, I got to San Juan la Laguna at Lake Atitlan. And wow it's really an experience to get around with the local buses, which are called "Chicken Buses" - they use old American School Buses, which are painted in different colors and drive way too fast through the streets. I spent one week at the Lake exploring different villages, after I went for a few nights to Antigua and lastly enjoy tranquil beach vibes in surfer town El Paredon. Prices were definitely higher than in Mexico and I needed some days to adapt to the local currency, which are Quetzales. And what people say about the height of Guatemalan people is true, they are really short! I often felt very tall, even next to men, whereas in Germany I’m the average women height with 1,67cm.

  • 7 Nights: San Juan La Laguna
    Guatemalan culture and stunning views over the lake
  • 6 Nights: El Paredon
    Beach time!

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    Try out surfing in El Paredon!

  • How was the food?

    Get street food and make sure to try out Tostadas! In San Juan I can highly recommend the iced coffee at Café de Flor

  • What tips would you give a friend?

    Always negotiate prices at the mercado for fruit and vegetables!

  • Packing tips?

    Take warm and cold clothes with you as it can get chilly at nights at the lake because of the altitude.

  • Transportation Tips?

    If you don't feel safe with taking the chicken buses, you can also book shuttle services to every location. If you take local buses, make sure you know beforehand which buses you need to take and plan some extra time.

  • Booking details?

    Booked everything via booking and hostel word and it was easy to extend my stay once I was there without paying additional booking fees.


  • Chirris Hostel. Super welcoming, modern and clean hostel. It's a small hostel with two dorms and one private apartment that can be booked. The owners are very friendly and help you with everything. Would definitely come back here!

  • Mellow Hostel. Beautiful Hostel with awesome food and pool. A lot of possibilities to hang out and relax. Everything is new and clean - staff is super chill and friendly.