Five Guatemalan activity adventures 

Jurg Widmer Probst

One of the things we love about Guatemala is the incredible range of activities that the country has to offer. If you’re a foodie, you will love exploring the street food; music lovers will lose themselves in the clubs and bars of Guatemala City, while history buffs can enjoy exploring the Mayan ruins at Tikal or Aguateca or the architecture of the colonial era city of Antigua.

But the country also has plenty for those of you looking for something even more exhilarating – whether it is hikes up live volcanoes or bungee jumping. Here is our pick of some of our favourites for the thrill seekers among you.

  1. Go bungee jumping at Xtrema Bungee, Jocotenango

If you have never tried bungee jumping then this is a great place to give it a go. The setting is spectacular of course (this is Guatemala after all!), but the big sell here is just how well run and safely organised this place is too. The team at Xtrema Bungee will pick you up from your hotel and do everything they can to make you feel completely safe once you are on site – the bungee here is a slingshot type (as opposed to one that you jump off) and it is a real adrenaline buzz. Highly recommended!

  1. Tubing in the caves of Candelaria

The cave system of Candelaria was incredibly important to the Mayan civilisations and the 35 km or so of caverns in the national park here have been a rich source of archaeological finds over the years. One of the best – and most unusual ways – to explore the accessible parts of the cave is by tube. Not the London Underground, but rather a rubber ring that you sit in as you float along the subterranean rivers. The tubing tour starts from Cobán Alta Verapaz and usually takes around 7hrs – it’s cold, dark and wet, but well worth it for a truly unique experience.

  1. Take to the skies above Lake Atitlan

It is one of the most visited and best loved parts of Guatemala, but if you want to get a slightly different perspective on the beautiful Lake Atitlan we recommend paragliding with the team at Realworld. They offer tandem flights with experienced instructors and you will get to enjoy around half an hour or so flying around the lake itself and the surrounding area. Flying tandem is great because your expert instructor is doing all the flying –

leaving you to snap pictures and take in the view while you are up there!

  1. Go big game fishing

So, we admit fishing might not sound like the most adrenaline-packed activity, but a trip with the team at Big Buoy Fishing based at the Marina Pez Vela in Puerto de San Jose is anything but dull. They will pick you up from the airport if needed and take you to your very own villa. Then, using that as your base, you’ll head out on sport fishing trips with an experienced crew who help you to catch big game fish including mahi-mahi, sailfish and wahoo. The best bit for us was the chance to then enjoy fresh caught fish cooked by their great resident chefs – a truly unforgettable experience.

  1. Hike to the top of one of Guatemala’s most active volcanoes

No list of experiences for Guatemalan adrenaline addicts would be complete without a trip up one of the country’s many spectacular volcanoes. Pacaya volcano is over 2,500m high and is actually a relatively easy hike, but the fact that it is one of the most active in the country adds an element of danger into the mix that makes this such a rewarding experience.

Getting up there to see the sun rising is highly recommend, but it will be the flowing lava streams that will really stay with you. There are plenty of good tour operators who offer guided hikes up the mountain – and we have to stress that you should never attempt to head up there without a local expert alongside you.

Jürg Widmer Probst 

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