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This Underrated Latin American Country With Ancient Ruins Is Shockingly Cheap!

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Guatemala is unlikely to feature on the average traveler's priority list.

A majority of people are only somewhat aware of the country's existence, and those who have heard of it do not know an awful lot beyond, well, its name and the fact it's maybe located in Latin America.

Lake Atitlan In Guatemala, Central America

Sitting in the Central American isthmus, this Hispanic country is dominated by jungle, with nearly 40% of the territory being forested, and it boasts both a rich biodiversity and a cultural wealth like no other, yet surprisingly, only 2.4 million tourists visited last year.

As it turns out, not only is it hugely underrated, but Guatemala is also shockingly cheap, and it may well be one of the most affordable international getaways in 2024:

Why You Should Visit Guatemala In 2024

Iglesia de la Merced Antigua de Guatemala

Located south of Mexico, and often eclipsed by its neighbor's omnipresent popularity, Guatemala is a small Latin American state encompassing a verdant territory, including volcanic hinterlands, rainforests an extensive Pacific coastline, and a (very narrow) Caribbean one.

It is everything you'd expect a Latin gem to be, with your usual tropical weather, the same hospitable locals, and the rich native and Hispanic heritage: whether you're here for the culture, or the breathtaking natural sites, rest assured you won't be disappointed.

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, Central America

One of the main Guatemalan landmarks is Lake Atitlán, perhaps the country's best-recognized symbol, towering high above coffee fields and sleepy jungle villages, and it's only one of several volcanic formations you could visit.

When it comes to the coast, beaches can be of volcanic black sand, sugar-white, or honey-gold, and as Guatemala isn't your typical resort getaway – it only receives a small fraction of the competing Mexican Caribbean's record-setting levels of tourismit is much quieter.

Woman relaxing on a hammock at the beach

Playa Blanca is Guatemala's Caribbean jewel, lined by tall palms and a calm, teal-colored sea, while Monterrico on the Pacific side is the complete opposite, with darker-colored sands and surf-friendly waters.

Other gorgeous beach zones include Livingston, a resort town and area of outstanding natural beauty within driving distance of hidden waterfalls and unspoiled preserves, El Paredon, a migration spot for marine life and a watersports capital, and the laid-back Puerto Barrios.

Guatemala Is An Underrated Cultural Hotspot

Panorama Of Tikal, Guatemala, Central America

For all your History buffs out there, you should probably know tiny Guatemala is only one of four countries outside Mexico where you can see Mayan ruins (in fact, it has the highest concentration of such sites as it was once at the center of the Mayan World).

The best-preserved of them, Tikal is the quintessential example of Mayan city-building, with its giant Lost World pyramid, Temple IV, the tallest pre-Columbian building in the Americas, and the landmark Temple of the Grand Jaguar, surrounded by lush vegetation.

Historic Street In Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala, Central America

Guatemala's cultural wealth extends far beyond the Mayan period, however, as it concentrates several of Latin America's most beautiful colonial zones, including Antigua Guatemala, a 16th-century UNESCO World Heritage packed with colorful low houses and Spanish-Baroque monuments.

This is a country full of natural and manmade wonders, and most importantly, it is incredibly cheap to visit:

A Dirt Cheap Tropical Getaway

Cultural Center Of Guatemala With National Flag Waving Outside, Central America

According to Budget Your Trip, a one-week trip to Guatemala for two people costs a mere $685 on average, including everything from accommodation to daily meals and transportation, minus flights, though it can be even cheaper if you're a ‘budget' traveler.

In that case, your weekly expenses total a nearly-negligible $135, but it's worth noting that's likely without comfort, staying in hostels, using local buses, and eating from inexpensive, local-frequented restaurants; if you're a big spender, on the other hand, weekly costs cap at $868.

Sunset At Monterrico Beach In Guatemala, Central America

Either way, you'll find that Guatemala is not the kind of destination that will wipe your wallet clean: if you're not exactly frugal and you don't mind treating yourself every now and then, there are five-star spa hotels in Antigua Guatemala that will only set you back by $154 per night.

Flying to Guatemala from the States is just as affordable, with Spirit Airlines offering nonstop flights from Fort Lauderdale to Guatemala City from only $138 one-way, while Avianca links Los Angeles to the Guatemalan capital on airfares from $182.

Planning on visiting Guatemala soon? Read more and start getting inspired here.

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