Updated 2016

Guatemala City is probably a better example of the things people go to CentralAmerica to get away from rather than things they go to visit. As Guatemala's and Central America’s largest city, this place is a bit of a sprawling mess. But on the other hand, this is urban life in this part of the world so it’s fascinating in that respect. If you are coming through this area it’s worth looking around for a day or so, but unless you have specific business in Guat City you probably don’t want to linger.

What To Do

There are plenty of old colonial churches all over town to see. This is been the capital of Guatemala ever since Antigua was flattened by an earthquake in the 18th century so much of the infrastructure is still visible here. There is an interesting museum dedicated to traditional costumes from the pre-colonial days that is popular with visitors.

The central market is always bustling and a very interesting place to see the food and culture of the locals. And the Parque Central and National Palace are well worth a visit to see the heart of the old town.

Read: Indie Travel in Guatemala for $25 a Day

Getting There

There is tourist bus service from Guatemala City all the way down to Panama City, as well as more basic bus service connecting Flores and Belize City in the north. But most will book a flight into Guatemala’s La Aurora International Airport. It’s a major hub for Central America so bargains are often available. Taxis are fairly cheap, but there are also shuttle services that can take you into the center.

Read: A Step-by-Step Guide to Riding Chicken Busses in Guatemala.

Where To Stay

The city is huge and hotels and hostels in Guatemala City tend to be fairly inexpensive so it’s probably worthwhile paying a bit more for a central location. The city can be dangerous at times as well so picking a place in a well-traveled tourist area is probably a good idea.

Read: 6 Ways to Have an Indie Travel Experience in Guatemala.