Guatemala is an inexpensive destination to visit in Central America, but just because it’s affordable doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do and see while visiting. The sprawling capital of Guatemala City welcomes international visitors with a dizzying array of museums, colonial architecture, parks and markets,
Guate, as the locals call it, can be a little rough around the edges. Pollution plagues the city, impoverished neighborhoods are scattered throughout and safety concerns — although improving — aren’t unwarranted. But as brash as the city might be, there’s a certain charm to Guate that draws visitors time and time again. Locals crowd into the open space of Plaza Mayor every Sunday for music, food and festivities, while incredible traditional costumes of the Guatemalan people are on display at the Ixchel Museum of Indigenous Textiles and Clothing. Courtyards and murals throughout the city reflect the buzzing energy that is simply known as Guate. After dark, the libations and music flow freely at the bars and clubs of the Zona Viva neighborhood, where the city’s best nightlife keeps the locals partying into the early morning hours. And in the morning, it’s time to fall for Guatemala’s charm all over again.
The dry season is considered the peak travel season in Guatemala City, and the dry months run from December through April. The city only experiences one other season: rainy season, which lasts from May through October. Visitors will have an easier time finding cheap flights to Guatemala City by booking flights during the rainy season.
Visitors to Guatemala City can use the local public buses to get around the city’s various zones. Green buses have limited routes but offer access to a number of popular tourist destinations. These buses also have their own dedicated lanes, which allow the buses to avoid regular city traffic. Blue buses have more stops throughout the city but travelers must purchase a prepaid card to ride. The green buses, however, accept coins. The local red buses are considered the most unsafe option for public transportation in Guatemala City, due to crowding and crime. Visitors should avoid these buses in favor of the green or blue buses. Taxis can also be arranged by telephone and may be metered or unmetered. When using an unmetered taxi, travelers should not be hesitant to negotiate for the best price.