Best things to do in Guatemala City: explore the best zonas

Amazing murals, historic buildings and trendy bars: Guatemala City has more to offer than you would suspect. Most travelers continue their Guatemala trip straight away after arriving in Guatemala City, considering the Guatemala capital too dangerous to visit. We decided to do otherwise and stayed for one day. We recommend you to do the same, as we think Guatemala City has plenty to offer to entertain you at least a day, while we didn’t feel safe at all. Read more about the best things to do in Guatemala City, where to stay and how to stay safe.

Safety in Guatemala City

The main reason for travellers to avoid the capital is its level of safety. Guatemala City is still not the most safe travel destination, but that is becoming more and more. In the end, we didn’t feel unsafe for a moment. Throughout to actieve this feeling, we did follow all the tips that had been given to us.

We were advised not to walk down the street in the evening and always take a taxi or Uber (hou van sign up here. Also was an important tip to avoid certain zones. The most important zones for you as a traveller are not covered, so limit your visit especially to those places. Of course you always have to look after your stuff, like anywhere else. Don’t walk down the street unnecessarily with expensive stuff and pay close attention to your bag and bags.

The historical centre in Zona 1

Guatemala City is built in a grid with multiple zones. For you as a traveler, Zona 1, 4, 10 and 13 are the most interesting places to visit in Guatemala City. Zona 1 has the most historic buildings, squares and the Guatemala City cathedral. This is also the best area around town to find affordable hotels and hostels and restaurants. One of the Zona 1 attractions is the indoor local market. You can buy pretty much anything here and there is a food court to try the local food.

Urban and upcoming Zona 4

Our favorite thing to do in Guatemala City was visiting Zona 4. The district is often referred to as the Brooklyn of Guatemala because of its urban, industrial, artistic and upcoming vibe. It is filled with street art and the highest concentration in Guatemala of cool hotspots restaurants for food and drinks. Our favorite places in Zona 4 are food court La Esquina, coffee and murals at 4 Grados Norte and coffee near Coffee District. Check out our map at the top and at the bottom of this blog post for more favorites and their exact location.

Musea and luxury stays in Zona 10 and 13

Are you visiting the capital to find out more about Guatemala? Then Zona 10 and 13 are the areas you’ll like best. They have the biggest Guatemala museums and are the city’s more luxurious neighborhoods.

Where to stay in Guatemala City

We already referred to Zona 1 as the best place to find affordable hotels and hostels. We choose to stay in nearby Zona 4, as we were invited to stay at one of the best budget spots in the city: Capsule Hostel. It is not luxurious and spotless, but the rooms are basic and decent, the atmosphere is good and the staff is friendly. And the pancake breakfast is just the best!

Interested in staying at another Zona? Or is Capsule Hotel fully booked? Check out our selection of top hotels and hostels in the Guatemala City.