Guatemala is one of the lesser visited Central American countries, but tourism is now a growing industry. Although it is the most populated country in Central America, it is still one of the poorest. Unlike it’s neighbors to the north and east, Mexico and Belize, tourism has not been a major income source for Guatemala until recent years.
Until the mid-2000s, the country had a bad reputation for violent crime, femicide (the killing of women because of gender), and illegal drug trading. It spent decades in a bloody civil war that finally ended in 1996. The country’s problems didn’t end there though. Many more years were spent recovering, rebuilding the economy and fighting to reduce crime. Although the country has made huge strides and is now fairly safe for tourists, many still associate the country with its violent past.
Visiting Guatemala with kids
If you are considering a visit to the country, there are many ways to do so. Along the Pacific coast, there are popular ports for several different cruise lines. The historic city of Antigua is perhaps the most popular tourist destination. Nearby, you’ll find the Pacaya Volcano, an active volcano you can actually hike, and Lake Atitlán, a beautiful lake inside a volcanic crater. However, eastern Guatemala, the region we visited is becoming more popular among visitors thanks in part to the archeological sites, like the Mayan city of Tikal.
This region of the country is easily accessible through Belize, but buses and shuttles also run to this area of the country from the other regions, as well. We found the country to be safe and welcoming and the people to be friendly.
For more information on visiting Guatemala with kids, crossing the border, safety, and individual reviews of the places we visited, follow the links below.
Click on each individual image to see posts about our time spent in Guatemala.