1. Take a guided walking tour of Tikal and learn about the lives of the ancient Mayans
2. Feeling a bit daring? Ask if you can try eating a termite from one of the many termite mounds in the jungle. They taste like carrots!
3. Stay at Earth Lodge, a series of cabins and tree houses residing at an avocado farm on a mountain overlooking Antigua. Buy the Earth Lodge cookbook, or at least try everything they prepare for you in the main lodge. Delicious!
4. Visit Old Town Outfitters in Antigua and take a long bike tour through the countryside. You can pick the tour that best fits your interest, and enjoy an active day of exploration!
5. Hike Volcan Pacaya and roast marshmallows over the geothermal heat radiating from the cracks (most guides bring these along if you do a guided hike). Also be sure to check out the natural caves that have been formed on the slope of the volcano. It’s like a natural sauna!
6. Stay in Antigua and walk the beautiful cobblestone streets
7. Go to the Antigua market and get lost in the maze of produce and woven handmade crafts typical to the country
8. Visit Lanquin and stay at a lodge in the jungle
9. While there, take a hike through Semuc Champey National Park
10. During your hike, be sure to swim in the natural springs
11. For the extra adventurous souls out there, take a guided cave tour in Lanquin where you swim and climb through underground caves by the light of a candle. These caves were once considered sacred by the Mayan people, who called them the “heart of heaven”
12. Stay at the Casa Roja in El Remate in the Petén region (this is a good place to depart from for your tour of Tikal!)
13. Always be on the lookout for leafcutter ants, who besides humans, make up the largest and most complex animal societies on Earth!
14. Ride one of the many hard-to-miss and colorful chicken buses that can be found anywhere in Guatemala
15. Visit a mango farm. Enjoy eating the delicious fruit straight from the tree, while you can also learn about process of growing and selling mangos in Guatemala
16. Visit the town of Panajachel on the banks of the famous Lake Atitlan
17. Venture across the lake and have a stay at La Iguana Perdida for a night or two
18. Take a boat tour to the other side of the lake to visit the Mesoamerican Institute of Permaculture (IMAP) which promotes permaculture, sustainable agriculture and food sovereignty in Guatemala
19. Hike Indian Nose on the northwest shore of Lake Atitlan, and see incredible views of the lake as well as the neighboring towns of San Juan and San Pedro
20. Stay at the mountain school (La Escuela de la Montaña) and take a tour of the coffee finca in the town
21. Improve your Spanish skills with personal one-on-one immersion classes
22. Visit Quetzaltenango, also commonly known by its indigenous name of Xela, which is the second largest city in the country. Be sure to check out the music and art scene in the city that is considered “The City that is the Soul of Culture”
23. Take a trip to the small coastal town of Chiquistepeque and enjoy some amazing sunsets and much-needed beach time
24. From your hostel in Chiquistepeque, take a tour to visit a salt farm and learn about the process of harvesting salt from the ocean for sale
25. Finally, and most important, get fried plantains anywhere you can find them, and eat as many as possible!