Everything You Need to Know About Backpacking in Guatemala

Backpacking in Guatemala is becoming increasingly popular, so you should head there as soon as possible. The country still feels adventurous, and because there are many other backpackers, it has a very lively atmosphere. Additionally, it’s a relatively affordable travel destination in Central America, and you can find many great hostels. All of this makes it a fantastic backpacking destination. In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know about backpacking in Guatemala!

Is Traveling by Bus Expensive in Guatemala?

During backpacking in Guatemala, you’ll cover most of the distance by bus. The chicken bus is the cheapest means of transportation in Guatemala. These are old American school buses that operate all over Guatemala. You often take the chicken bus for shorter distances. A ride of a few hours costs just a few dollars. For longer distances, you’ll mainly use shuttle buses or more luxurious buses. These buses are more expensive than chicken buses but much more comfortable. They have air conditioning, comfortable seats, and sometimes even Wi-Fi.

Tip: In our destination articles about Guatemala, you can learn about the best way to travel to your next destination by bus.

Is Guatemala Touristic?

Despite being one of the most popular countries in Central America, many places in Guatemala don’t feel very touristy. For example, the Maya city of Tikal is much less crowded than Chichen Itza in Mexico, and in the beautiful natural area of Semuc Champey, you can find plenty of beautiful spots all to yourself. Additionally, there are still some undiscovered destinations in Guatemala, such as the charming beach destination El Paredon.

Are There Many Great Hostels for Backpackers in Guatemala?

Absolutely! You can find great hostels for backpackers in Guatemala at all destinations. They are ideal if you’re backpacking solo or just looking for some social interaction. During our trip, we compiled a list of our favorite hostels in Guatemala. These hostels often organize fun activities. For example, La Iguana Perdida in Lake Atitlan hosts a communal dinner every evening, and there’s usually live music afterward. The Driftwood Surfer Hostel in El Pardon is right on the beach and offers daily activities like game nights, pub quizzes, volleyball, and often hosts lively evening parties. Los Amigos Hostel in Flores is also the go-to place for backpackers seeking a vibrant atmosphere.

What Does Backpacking in Guatemala Cost?

Backpacking in Guatemala is relatively inexpensive. It’s not as cheap as Nicaragua but certainly not as expensive as Costa Rica. As a backpacker, you can travel with a daily budget starting from $35. Of course, these costs depend on your travel style, so it’s a good idea to carefully consider this beforehand. You can read all about the costs in Guatemala if you want to know more.

What’s a Fun Travel Itinerary for Guatemala?

We’ve been to Guatemala multiple times and, based on our experiences, we’ve put together the ultimate travel itinerary. We recommend dedicating 3 weeks to this itinerary, but you can easily shorten it if you have less time. With this route, you’ll have a super diverse trip that showcases all the different aspects of this beautiful country. If you have more time, it’s fun to combine Guatemala with Nicaragua, Belize, or Mexico. Enjoy your trip!