Places to Visit Before or After Volunteering in Guatemala

places to visit while volunteering in guatemala

One unspoken rule of volunteering is to focus on your work and the people you are there to help, making them your priority. However, this does not mean you shouldn’t try to experience the amazing country you are in.

Visiting destinations in Guatemala before or after your volunteer time is the perfect way to take advantage of being in the area while still allowing yourself to be the best volunteer you can be. Below is our guide on places to visit while in Guatemala to make the most of your experience.


Tikal is easily one of the most magnificent places in Guatemala, for countless reasons. Located in the middle of the jungle, the destination full of ancient ruins is a sight to see.

While visiting Tikal, you may encounter many different animals, such as howler monkeys, toucans, pizotes, and many other exotic animals. Then, if you want a bird’s eye view, the highest structure is over 200 feet at its tallest point. You’ll be left in awe at the size and beauty, something that can’t be explained.

When visiting, you typically stay in the island town of Flores, with its many hostels and hotels. Experience their amenities at your leisure before waking up to hike the trails and see all the different scenes Tikal has to offer. It is not known for sure why this ancient Mayan city was abandoned, but it is still being excavated to add to the wonder.


Chichicastenango is a town home to the most impressive market in the country, packed with everything you can imagine. The town is calm on most days of the week but comes alive on Thursdays and Sundays, the two days the market is in full operation during the week. Vendors come from all over to sell their products here, and it is bursting with Mayan culture. Some of the many products you can typically find and purchase are:

  • Incredible textiles
  • Leather good
  • Jewelry
  • Groceries
  • Pottery and carved goods

All products are made by locals in Guatemala and specifically the area, the colors and designs they typically include are a sight to be seen. This chaos-filled shopping area is unlike any other, and the beauty is incomparable.

Semuc Champey

If you’re ready for an adventure, Semuc Champey is the place for you. The thrill begins with the ride there, consisting of a 30-minute drive through the jungle over bumps and other natural terrain.

Once you arrive, you have the option to either relax after the wild ride or continue the thrill. With a nearby cave to explore, river tubing through the water, and a steep hike where at the top you can admire the beauty of the location, you will never be bored.

If you choose the more relaxing option, swimming in tranquil turquoise water is an unbeatable feeling. No matter how you choose to spend your time in the location, the beauty of the water and the naturally-formed limestone bridge makes the experience on its own.


Antigua is a gorgeous colonial town in Guatemala, with many different characteristics putting it high up on our list of places to visit. Walking through the cobblestone alleys, you will look up to see colorful buildings and architecture, creating a one-of-a-kind scene. When you’re not checking out the town itself, you have volcanoes surrounding the area that you can visit.

This makes it a spectacular hiking destination. You can practice with large volcanoes, leading up to the biggest of them all, called “El Fuego”, which commonly has low-level eruptions. This is only for hiking experts and certain times of the year when the volcano is not active.

The food that you can find is nothing to scoff at either. Impressive restaurants are scattered throughout, featuring Guatemalan and global cuisine, and markets and stores are found around many corners. This is a town like no other in the world and will leave you dreaming of the beauty in the streets.

Want To Visit the Beautiful Country of Guatemala?

Interested in seeing these one-of-a-kind places to visit? Buena Onda is a perfect way to get to Guatemala and volunteer in these incredible areas. Visit our website today and learn more on how to begin your volunteer experience.

Posted in Guatemala.