25 Things Guatemala Is Known And Famous For

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Guatemala is known for its blend of cultural heritage, unique natural ecosystems, and diverse landscapes including volcanoes, lakes, and rainforests.

Guatemala is located in Central America, bordered by multiple countries including Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. It also sits next to the Pacific Ocean.

Despite its small size, Guatemala boasts a diverse landscape that includes mountains, rainforests, and ancient Mayan ruins, making it a famous destination for travelers that seek outdoor adventures and cultural immersion.

What Is Guatemala Known For?

With a population of over 18 million, Guatemala is famous for being the most populous country in Central America. Guatemala is known for its rich culture, with a blend of indigenous, Spanish, and African influences evident in its art, music, and cuisine.

You can explore the colorful streets of colonial cities like Antigua or visit ancient Mayan ruins such as Tikal, dating back to the 4th century BCE. Guatemala is known for its vibrant traditional textiles, handmade by Mayan weavers using ancient techniques and patterns.

Besides its cultural heritage, Guatemala is famous for its diverse landscape, including active volcanoes, rainforests, and highland valleys. It accommodates some of the world’s most unique ecosystems, making it a popular destination for eco-tourists and adventure seekers.

You can hike volcanoes, trek through rainforests, or enjoy the beauty of Lake Atitlan. Guatemala is an ideal destination for you if you want to experience Central America’s rich history, culture, and natural beauty.

History, Culture, And Traditions Guatemala Is Famous For

November 1st Festivities

November 1st is All Saints Day, also known as Todos Santos, and the day for the Giant Kite Festival in Guatemala; both are well-known traditions In Guatemala.

Families visit cemeteries, decorate graves, and hold ceremonies to honor their deceased loved ones. Traditional Guatemalan foods such as fiber salad are prepared for the Day of the Dead. It is a colorful and vibrant celebration that reflects the country’s rich culture.

The Giant Kite Festival in Sumpango is one of the most unusual events on November 1st that would be an eye-opener if you are seeing it for the first time. The festival includes the building and flying of massive kites made of colorful paper and bamboo that represent the spirits of the departed.

The festival allows you to witness the artistry and skill of Guatemalan artisans firsthand and participate in the festivities by flying your kite into the sky.

Plan your visit to Guatemala around this time, if you want to experience the country’s vibrant traditions and cultural heritage while witnessing the awe-inspiring beauty of the Giant Kite Festival.

La Quema del Diablo

Guatemala is famous for its annual ritual, La Quema del Diablo, also known as the Devil’s Burning, on December 7th. The event involves the burning of devil effigies, which represents the purification of homes and communities before Christmas.

It is a one-of-a-kind and culturally significant event that reflects the religious and spiritual beliefs of the Guatemalan people. This event is one of the interesting cultural facts about Guatemala. It allows you to learn about local traditions and immerse yourself in the country’s fascinating culture.


Art And Entertainment

Guatemala is known for its artistic and creative people, who are talented at creating stunning works of art with their hands. The country boasts a vibrant arts and crafts scene, with artisans creating stunning textiles, pottery, and other handicrafts that reflect the nation’s cultural diversity.

You can easily explore museums, galleries, and parks to see contemporary artwork and historical artifacts.

The vibrant music and dance culture are also integral to Guatemala’s cultural identity. Traditional styles such as marimba and son are one of the things Guatemala is famous for across the country and beyond.

In contrast, folk dances like the famous “El Torito” are often performed at festivals and celebrations. So, if you are interested in experiencing Guatemala’s rich artistic and cultural heritage, it is definitely a country to visit.

Guatemala Civil War

Guatemala has tried to address past atrocities and promote reconciliation in the aftermath of the war. The government and the main guerrilla group signed a peace treaty in 1996, officially ending the conflict.

Since then, various initiatives have been launched to investigate human rights violations, prosecute war crimes, and provide reparations to victims and their families. Despite the scars of war, Guatemala has made strides toward becoming a more democratic and peaceful society.

Fiesta de la Asuncion

In Guatemala, the Fiesta de la Asunción is also known as the Feast of the Assumption. It commemorates the Virgin Mary’s ascension to heaven. This tradition is meaningful to the Guatemalan people because it has religious and cultural significance.

The Feast of the Assumption is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enjoy the rich traditions and culture that Guatemala is known for. You can watch the colorful processions and participate in the celebrations, which frequently include traditional food, music, and dance.

District And Area Guatemala Is Known For



Antigua is a charming colonial city in Guatemala’s central highlands, known for its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant cultural scene. Once Guatemala’s capital, Antigua is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and a popular destination you would like to visit.

You can admire the colorful facades, intricate wrought-iron balconies, and ornate fountains that make Antigua a true gem as they walk through the cobblestone streets. Antigua also has many museums, art galleries, and cultural centers that highlight the country’s diverse cultural heritage.

Mayan Sites

The ancient Maya civilization is a fascinating part of Guatemala’s history and culture, and visiting the country provides an opportunity to explore the remnants of this civilization. The Maya civilization flourished in the region for thousands of years, leaving behind impressive ruins and artifacts that offer insights into their way of life, beliefs, and achievements.

There are historic Mayan sites scattered across the country. What you will experience when visiting these impressive landmarks in Guatemala is both educational and awe-inspiring. They are certainly highlights that you want to take advantage of if you love history, archaeology, or ancient civilizations.



Chichicastenango is a charming and vibrant town in Guatemala’s highlands. It is known for its vibrant markets, stunning architecture, and deep cultural heritage. The town is home to one of Central America’s largest and most vibrant indigenous markets, where vendors sell a variety of traditional handicrafts, textiles, and other goods.

When you visit Chichicastenango, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the market life. You can buy one-of-a-kind souvenirs to take home and enjoy delicious local Guatemalan cuisine.



Livingston sites on Guatemala’s Caribbean coast. It is a unique town that offers a glimpse into the country’s rich cultural diversity. One of Livingston’s main draws is its Afro-Caribbean influence, which you can find in the local cuisine, music, and language.

You can sample delectable seafood dishes like Tapado and shrimp in coconut sauce, or simply relax with a refreshing drink made from fresh coconuts. There are also several reggae bars and clubs where you can dance and groove all night to the sounds of local musicians.

Landmarks And Architecture Guatemala Is Famous For



Tikal is one of Guatemala’s most impressive Mayan archaeological sites and a must-see for anyone interested in ancient history and culture. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Peten jungle and is home to some of the region’s most impressive pyramids and ruins.

Tikal offers an unforgettable experience that allows you to travel back in time and explore one of the Americas’ most significant cultural and historical sites. It is a truly awe-inspiring destination, with its towering pyramids, intricate carvings, and stunning views of the surrounding jungle.

Palacio Nacional de la Cultura

The National Palace of Culture is a magnificent structure Guatemala is known for. You can find it in the heart of Guatemala City, the country’s capital.

It was built in the early 1940s as the Guatemalan government’s headquarters and served as the presidential palace until 1980. The National Palace of Culture is now a museum, cultural center, and venue for events and exhibitions, symbolizing Guatemala’s rich cultural heritage.

The grandeur and beauty of the building are breathtaking, with intricate details and artwork adorning the walls and ceilings. Inside, you can explore the galleries and exhibits highlighting the country’s history and culture, such as pre-Columbian artifacts, colonial art, and contemporary works.


Santa Catalina Arch

The Antigua arch is an iconic landmark that embodies the city’s rich history and culture. It was built in the 17th century to allow nuns to cross the street without being seen by the public. The arch still stands tall today and is one of the city’s most photographed landmarks.

You can stroll down the cobblestone streets surrounding the arch and admire the breathtaking view or even take a photograph to commemorate the occasion.

La Merced Church

The La Merced Church is a must-see attraction in Antigua, Guatemala. This historic church in Guatemala is known for its stunning baroque façade which is one of the most beautiful in the country.

The church has been standing since the 16th century and has undergone several renovations. It includes restoration following the 18th-century earthquakes that hit Antigua. La Merced Church is a true masterpiece of Guatemalan cultural heritage, with its ornate facade and incredible interior.


Lake Izabal

This is the largest lake in Guatemala and a natural wonder you should not miss. The lake is located in the eastern part of the country and is surrounded by lush rainforests, volcanoes, and other natural wonders. Its calm waters and beautiful scenery make it a popular destination for boating, fishing, and other water activities.

When you visit Lake Izabal, you can explore the area’s pristine natural beauty, with opportunities to hike, swim, and observe the exotic wildlife that inhabits the surrounding forests. One of the lake’s main attractions is the Rio Dulce, a stunning river that flows into the lake and offers a scenic boat tour.

Food Guatemala Is Known For



Guatemalan cuisine is known for its hearty stews, one of which is pepián. Pepián is a staple dish made with chicken or beef, spices, vegetables, and herbs and reflects the country’s rich culinary traditions.

If you enjoy food or are interested in discovering new culinary delights, you should definitely try pepián when visiting Guatemala. It’s a fulfilling dish that will satisfy your taste bud and leave a lasting impression with its unique blend of flavors and ingredients.


Chiles Rellenos

If you’re a foodie with a kick for peppers, you must try the Chiles Rellenos. These are poblano peppers stuffed with various fillings such as meat, vegetables, or cheese and then deep-fried until crispy.

They are actually not super spicy. But as we know, spiciness is relative and personal. Objectively, it’s less spicy than jalapeno peppers.

Chiles Rellenos are a popular and tasty dish that you can eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Also, you can serve it with rice, beans, and tortillas.

This dish is one of the famous foods in Guatemala. It will surely satisfy your taste and give you a glimpse into the country’s rich gastronomic heritage, whether exploring the bustling markets or dining in a traditional restaurant. On your trip to Guatemala, take advantage of the opportunity to sample the distinct flavors of Chiles Rellenos.



Tamales are a simple yet delicious dish you must try if you visit Guatemala. It is a traditional Central American dish made of corn masa and usually contains meat, vegetables, or cheese. Tamale is usually wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed until fully cooked. It is a tasty and filling treat that will satisfy your appetite, whether enjoyed alone or as part of a larger meal.


A trip to Guatemala is incomplete without sampling one of the country’s most popular desserts, Platanos Rellenos. It is a sweet and savory dish with mashed plantains and sweetened black beans. It is served with a sprinkle of sugar after being deep-fried, making it the perfect end to any meal.

You can learn about the country’s culture while creating a memorable experience by trying this delicious dessert in Guatemala.

Famous People From Guatemala

Miguel Ángel Asturias

Miguel Angel Asturias is a Nobel Prize-winning writer, journalist, and diplomat who has significantly impacted Guatemalan literature. It is no wonder he is one of the most famous people from Guatemala.

His work deals with social justice and political oppression, making him a national cultural icon. When visiting Guatemala, you can explore his literary works and learn about the country’s history and culture from his point of view.

Rigoberta Menchú

Rigoberta Mench is a well-known figure in Guatemala and worldwide as an indigenous K’iche woman. She received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 for her outstanding work promoting social justice and human rights.

Rigoberta has been a prominent advocate for indigenous people’s rights and has written several books, including her well-known autobiography “I, Rigoberta Mench,” which documents her life and activism.

Luis von Ahn

He is one of the most famous Guatemalans and influential entrepreneurs. Luis von Ahn is a computer scientist who co-founded Duolingo, a popular language-learning platform. His innovative work has been recognized for promoting access to education and digital literacy through technology.

Visiting Guatemala will provide you with an opportunity to learn more about Luis von Ahn’s contributions to the field of computer science and education. 

Efraín Ríos Montt

Efrain Ríos Montt was a controversial politician in Guatemala who was president briefly from 1982 to 1983. During his tenure, he faced accusations of human rights violations, particularly for the genocide of indigenous people. Although he was convicted of these crimes in 2013, his conviction was later overturned on procedural grounds.

While Ríos Montt’s presidency is a dark chapter in Guatemala’s history, it is still an important part of the country’s political and social context. Understanding this history and its impact on contemporary Guatemala can provide valuable insight into the country’s current political and social landscape.

As such, visiting Guatemala offers a unique opportunity to learn about the country’s history and engage in meaningful discussions with locals about the ongoing struggle for justice and reconciliation.

Discovering More Things Guatemala Is Known For

If you’re looking for a destination to enjoy the unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, then Guatemala should be at the top of your list.

Guatemala’s natural landscapes are breathtakingly beautiful with diverse ecosystems. The country’s rich cultural heritage and indigenous and colonial influences can be seen in its art, music, and cuisine.

From exploring the streets of colonial cities to learning about their ancient handicraft techniques passed down through generations, you are bound to discover more things Guatemala is known for in your adventure.

With its welcoming people and stunning scenery. Without a doubt, this is a must-visit destination in Central America.



Book Your Flight

I usually use a combination of 2-3 of the following search engines to find cheap flights: Skyscanner, Momondo, Google Flights

Find Your Accommodation

Booking.com is my usual platform for finding accommodation options as they have one of the largest selections. Hostelworld is great for booking hostels. For more private or long term accommodation, Airbnb is my go-to platform.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is important for to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. I usually look at a few insurance companies depending on my travel needs.
  • SafetyWings for Travel Health Insurance
  • IMG Global for added Insurance when doing activities outside of usual coverage
Packing for your trip? Check out the packing list for ideas on what to bring

For more travel resources, check out my resources page for best platforms and companies to use when you travel.

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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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