Where to stay in Guatemala
Hotel standards, prices and facilities vary considerably throughout the country, but in general tend to be of good quality, especially in the tourist areas. There are many first-class hotels in Guatemala City, and Antigua also has a good selection of smaller, boutique hotels which offer high quality services and excellent restaurants and bars.
However, the majority of the country’s hotels are small to mid-sized establishments that are comfortable and welcoming even if not brimming with mod-cons. Chichicastenango, Cobán, Panajachel (near Lake Atitlán), Puerto Barrios and Quetzaltenango have a reasonable selection of this type of hotel Elsewhere accommodation tends to be a bit more limited and rustic, although prices do reflect this. Registered hotels are required to display room rates.
Bed and breakfast
Inexpensive guest houses are found in all the main towns and tourist areas. Guatemalan people are very hospitable and it is a good way to understand more of the local culture. Rooms tend to be comfortable but quite simple and a hearty breakfast of pancakes or eggs is common.
There are a few campsites dotted around the country but facilities are usually basic. A popular excursion is to stay overnight in camping grounds on the still active Pacaya volcano to see the glow of the ashes and lava from the volcano's eruptions. Around Lake Atitlán, camping is permitted only in designated areas. Camping is not recommended due to safety issues.
Hostels: Budget travellers will find a good range of accommodation options, and some excellent hostels can be found in all the main tourist areas such as around Lake Atitlan, Antigua, Semuc Champey and Flores. Private rooms, communal dorms and shared bathrooms are all common, and many hostels offer a wide range of facilities including bicycle rental, pick-up services, local tour booking, internet cafes, on-site restaurants and social evenings.
Homestays: Spanish language schools and voluntary work schemes often offer their students or participants the opportunity to stay with local families. This is a relatively cheap option and is a great way to get under the skin of the local culture, practice Spanish and discover traditional home-cooking.
Eco-lodges: The rise of eco-travel has seen several high quality eco-friendly lodges and resorts pop up in Guatemala’s beautiful landscape. These are found in rural areas such as Lake Atitlan, Rio Dulce, Semuc Champey and around Antigua. They range in luxury from more rustic cabins to full spa resorts.