The country of Guatemala has an abundance of natural beauty to offer – mountains, beaches – and even volcanoes. From the scenic sites of the Cuchamatán Mountains in the western highlands, to the coast lines on the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala is proof that big things can come in small packages.

It is one of Central America’s most diverse countries. It can captivate travelers with its lush landscapes and a civilization-spanning culture that is rich in history. This makes it one of the most interesting places to explore in the world.

So here are my top reasons why I believe Guatemala is bucket-list worthy:

You can experience everything in a relatively short time.

Although the Guatemalan landscape is lush and rich with natural beauty and captivating historical scenic sites, it is a relatively small country. If you are looking for an immersive experience, you can check out Guatemalan tours, which offers a country-wide tour that is sure to fulfill even the most eager of travelers. However, there are many local guides that offer one-day tours of some of their most popular sites.

Reasons to Add Guatemala to Your Bucket List

It’s not expensive to visit

Compared to a lot of destinations, Guatemala is not an expensive place to visit. Though it’s not as cheap as some countries, it is still relatively affordable for most people. It’s not difficult to find affordable hotels in Guatemala and there are lots of cheap restaurants to choose from, meaning it’s not a trip that will break the bank. Transport in Guatemala is also a lot cheaper than many other destinations, so travelling from place to place and seeing a lot of what the country has to offer is always an option. Be mindful for all its beauty, it still has regions that are under-developed, where even finding an ATM might be challenging. Here is a good guide to help with getting you prepared, and where and what is worth spending on.

Reasons to Add Guatemala to Your Bucket List

It has beautiful lakes

Guatemala is home to some of the world’s most beautiful lakes, one of which is Lake Atitlan. Surrounded by volcanoes and mountains, Lake Atitlan is the deepest lake in Central America. With a number of villages and towns surrounding the lake, it’s a great place to really emerge yourself in all things Guatemalan.

Reasons to Add Guatemala to Your Bucket List

There’s no shortage of wild animals

As is the case with a lot of counties in Central America, Guatemala has a wide range of exotic and native animals that aren’t easily found elsewhere. This includes monkeys, jaguars, ocelots, tarantulas and a number of native birds.

Reasons to Add Guatemala to Your Bucket List

It’s not overrun with tourists

Among some of the most visited countries, Guatemala is  known to be amongst the least visited, and sits in the bottom half of the top 200, with less than 1.7 million tourists a year. I don’t know about you but I love to brag to my friends that I’ve visited a place not many others have been to. The low tourists levels also means that Guatemala is less crowded than many other similar destinations and the traditional way of life is still present.

Reasons to Add Guatemala to Your Bucket List

The people are welcoming

Though it’s a case of personal opinion, most people would agree that people in Guatemala are very welcoming of visitors. This makes it a lot easier to find out more about the history, traditions and culture of Guatemala. You won’t find yourself short of recommendations, help and conversation from locals.

Reasons to Add Guatemala to Your Bucket List

It’s home to many Mayan Ruins

You can’t visit Guatemala without taking the time to check out the Mayan ruins. One of the most popular sites is Tikal, but there are a number of others located throughout the country. Visiting Mayan ruins will provide you with an insight into some of Guatemala’s unique and vast history.

Reasons to Add Guatemala to Your Bucket List

As you can see, there are a lot of fantastic reasons to add Guatemala to your bucket list. If you are interested in exploring a country that’s rich in culture and still relatively unexplored by tourists, Guatemala is ideal. Plus, thanks to its warm temperatures in December and January, it provides you with somewhere to escape to during the cold winter months.