Guatemala is a small country packed with many amazing things to do and places to see. However, most of these attractions are scattered throughout the country so you would require careful planning to see all the best places in Guatemala.
As a result, it is important to plan your Guatemala trip, whether you have 2 weeks, 3 weeks, or even 4 weeks in Guatemala.
After backpacking Guatemala for 2 months, I have come up with the perfect Guatemala itinerary for 2 weeks. One that would let you see ancient Mayan ruins in the midst of a jungle, see an active volcano erupt (safely), and relax on one of the most beautiful lakes in Guatemala.
Note: This 2-week Guatemala Itinerary is a recommendation. It is the most logical way to see the entire country in 2 weeks. Feel free to spend 3 weeks or even a month in Guatemala if you prefer traveling a bit slower and seeing more things.
Without further ado, let’s see what you will be doing for 2 weeks in Guatemala!
Where Should You Start Your Guatemala Trip?
Guatemala is a big country with many attractions spread out. So where should you start your Guatemala adventure? The capital Guatemala City?
We actually recommend starting your itinerary in Flores, in the northern parts of Guatemala. Flores is home to the Tikal Mayan Ruins, a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site in Guatemala. It is one of the must-visit places in Guatemala, but its location is quite inconvenient unless you fly to its rather expensive airport.
Don’t be tempted by the cheap flights to Guatemala City, you’ll end up spending about the same at the end of the trip because you’ll need to fly out of Flores.
The Perfect 2-Week Guatemala Itinerary
Day 1-2: Flores
Welcome to Flores Guatemala, one of my favorite towns in all of Guatemala! The Peten Lake that surrounds the whole entire town makes Flores a magical place.
The main reason why you are here is for Tikal Mayan Ruins, one of the most impressive Mayan ruins in the entire world. It is many times better than Chichen Itza in Mexico, mainly because of its location and the fact that you can climb onto most of the ruins.
Tikal National Park is simply a must-see place in every Guatemala itinerary, and believe it or not, you can camp overnight in Tikal if you want!
Day 1: Exploring Flores And Relaxing
This is your first day of vacation, so what is there better to do than a day of good relaxation? There are two places for chilling in Flores:
- Jorge’s Rope Swing
- Playa Chechenal Peten
Jorge’s Rope Swing is a beautiful place close to the island of Flores where you can just lay down and sunbathe or have a swim in the lake. There are also rope swings and platforms to jump into the lake from!
When you are tired, try some of their homemade food or play some board games with your friends.
The second place is called Playa Chechenal Peten, which is also located on a nearby island. Everyone knows playa means beach in Spanish, and this is one of Guatemala’s finest freshwater beaches. Its crystal clear water and relaxed vibe will make you feel like you are in a dream!
Take some time in the day to explore the small town. There are plenty of charming colonial buildings and cobblestone streets in Flores. The island of Flores is quite touristy, but it is surely beautiful.
If you want to experience a more authentic Guatemala vibe, cross the bridge in Zona 1. There are a few markets on this side of town but just make sure you watch your belongings and don’t visit at night. We recommend finding a nice bar and trying some aguardiente while watching the sunset.
You will also want to reserve your sunrise Tikal ruins ticket today. There are plenty of places to book your tour in town, but you might find the prices can differ. Alternatively, you can book your ticket online to save all the time and hassle of searching for the perfect tour company. Booking it online also means you are going to have a reputable company.
Day 2: Tikal National Park
Today you will see the magnificent Tikal ruins for sunrise. Then you will spend half the day exploring the archaeological site. You will return to Flores with no intention of doing anything else but sleep.
If you are not exhausted after visiting Tikal, check out one of the top things to do in Flores Guatemala.
If you haven’t explored the town yet, make sure you walk around the perimeter especially, it is so beautiful. Also, you will want to arrange transport to go to Lanquin for tomorrow to visit Semuc Champey, one of the most stunning natural wonders in Guatemala.
Where To Stay In Flores Guatemala
Best Hotel In Flores – Hotel Isla de Flores
Hotel Isla de Flores is undoubtedly one of the best hotels in Flores. The moment you walk in, you are greeted by the utmost hospitality and charming decor. Enter your room and you will find a spacious area to ensure a cozy stay.
But that is not all, the hotel has a rooftop top and a bar where guests can relax after a long day or watch the sunset!
Day 3-4: Lanquin and Semuc Champey
Are you ready to leave the beautiful island of Flores Guatemala?
Because today you will be taking a tourist transport to the beautiful town of Lanquin and Semuc Champey. Get ready for the 8-hour bumpy ride on some of the worst Guatemala roads ever. I highly recommend you bring a travel medicine kit.
(Trust me, it’s worth it!)
The main attraction in this area is a natural pool called Semuc Champey.
You will arrive in the town of Lanquin in the late afternoon. Before you arrive, decide if you want to stay in the town of Lanquin or next to Semuc Champey.
The town of Lanquin is a local town that has everything you need (grocery stores, restaurants, markets), if you decide to stay there, stay at Vista Verde Hostel.
If you stay next to Semuc Champey, you will have to rely on your accommodation for food, transport, and everything. My recommendation is Greengo’s Hotel, which always has a social vibe and a beautiful pool. You can also literally walk to Semuc Champey pools from there.
Day 3: Relaxing in Lanquin
You will spend the majority of today in a van to Lanquin. After arriving in Lanquin, just relax for the day at your accommodation and get ready for your exciting day at the Semuc Champey pools tomorrow!
Day 4: Exploring Semuc Champey
Today is your big day at Semuc Champey, one of the most beautiful natural pools in Guatemala. Bring your swimsuit, bring your hiking shoes, and bring a travel padlock for the lockers so you can guard all your stuff when you are swimming.
After you are done with Semuc Champey, arrange transportation with your accommodation to head to Quetzaltenango, or Xela for short.
Day 5-6: Quetzaltenango (Xela)
Welcome to Quetzaltenango (after another 8-hour ride, I promise it’s the last 8-hour van ride), or if you can’t pronounce that, just Xela. It is hard to believe but Xela is the 2nd most populated city in all of Guatemala. What’s harder to believe is that it barely gets any tourism.
Many tourists decide to skip Quetzaltenango because it is definitely not the prettiest place to be for a vacation. But the reason I put it in this 2 week Guatemala itinerary as one of the places to visit is that Quetzaltenango is as authentic as Guatemala can be
In Quetzaltenango, you will see how the majority of people in Guatemala live, how their conditions actually are, and how much heritage it has. Quetzaltenango is a place filled with Guatemala culture. It is the place to visit in Guatemala to experience local life!
But if you don’t like seeing the raw and ugly, skip Xela and go to Panajachel on Lake Atitlan instead and you will have more days to spend in Antigua.
Quetzaltenango is one of the best places to study Spanish in the world!
Note: Xela can be cold due to the high altitude, especially at night!
Day 5: Exploring Quetzaltenango
You will arrive in Quetzaltenango in the evening. Just walk around, go to the central park, and eat some local food. You can visit the Minerva market if you want an authentic and hectic Guatemala experience.
If you are interested in going to the hot springs (Fuentes Georginas), make sure you reserve that tour.
Day 6: Go Hiking or Soak in Fuentes Georginas Hot Springs!
If you decided not to go to Fuentes Georginas, there are still many activities you can do. One of my favorite activities in Xela is to hike volcano Santa Maria! If you don’t want to do a hike, check out one of the things to do in Xela down below.
Also, you will arrange our transport for San Pedro in Lake Atitlan for tomorrow. Depending on where you are staying, your accommodation should be able to help you with that. Otherwise, we recommend reserving a shuttle online!
Other Things to Do in Quetzaltenango (Xela), Guatemala
While there are many exciting things to do in Xela, here is what we recommend:
- Hot Springs at Fuentes Georginas
- Hiking Volcano Santa Maria – Climb one of the tallest volcanoes (3800m) in Guatemala.
- Cementerio Privado Minerva – Yes! The cemetery is a big attraction in Xela. Guatemala, like Mexico, celebrates death as well. As a result, the cemeteries are colorful and well decorated.
- Xocomil Waterpark – One of the biggest and best waterparks in Guatemala and it is close to Xela.
Where To Stay In Quetzaltenango Guatemala
Best Hotel In Xela – Casa Elizabeth
Whether you are traveling as a group, a couple, or solo, you cannot go wrong with staying at Casa Elizabeth. With a variety of rooms, travelers are guaranteed to find a room that they like.
This no-frills hotel in Xela is situated in an excellent location, allowing guests to explore Xela easily. Its spacious and comfortable rooms give guests the perfect night’s rest. Along with the cozy common areas and complimentary breakfast, there is really nothing to complain about Casa Elizabeth.
Day 7-9: Lake Atitlan
Today, you will finally arrive at the famous Lake Atitlan, one of the most fun and beautiful places in Guatemala. Lake Atitlan is a place you must visit on your Guatemala trip. Made up of small villages and towns with different specialties around the lake, there is so much culture to explore here.
- San Pedro la Laguna – Known for its nightlife, bars, and cute cafes
- San Marcos la Laguna – Known for its hippie and creative vibes, good for yoga and wellness
- Panajachel – Known for the best infrastructure in all the Lake Atitlan villages, also excellent for getting to other places in Guatemala.
We will start our adventure in Lake Atitlan by taking the boat from San Pedro to Santa Cruz, where you’ll stay at a hostel called Free Cerveza!
Day 7: Stay At Free Cerveza In Santa Cruz
One of the most famous accommodations in Lake Atitlan is Free Cerveza, which translates to “Free Beer.” This beautiful eco-friendly place is a lakeside accommodation that offers free beer every day for 2 hours.
Yes, 2 HOURS!
Though the free beer might be its most famous selling point, the property is gorgeous and eco-friendly. Budget backpackers can stay in one of the tents. Travelers that don’t mind spending a bit more can stay in the lake house, which juts into the beautiful lake.
There is always something happening at Free Cerveza, perfect if you want to socialize. But if you want to realize and enjoy the natural beauty of Lake Atitlan, the property has plenty of places to do so. You can even rent out one of the SUP or kayaks and take it out to the lake. If you don’t mind hiking, the village of Santa Cruz is very local and has a unique charm.
Free Cerveza is not just a place to say, it has become an attraction in Lake Atitlan that travelers should not miss.
Day 8: Exploring Lake Atitlan
After a day in Free Cerveza, we’ll move to San Pedro, one of the more touristy towns in Lake Atitlan. San Pedro is much suited for all types of travelers, with lots of restaurants, cafes, bars, and a lot more places to stay.
Though you’ll be staying in San Pedro, we recommend that you take the boat and go village hopping around Lake Atitlan. San Marcos and San Juan (known for their indigenous Guatemalan culture) are two towns worth checking out.
Remember to reserve your tour for the Indian Nose sunrise hike for tomorrow, it is one of the best hikes in Guatemala.
Day 9: Indian Nose Hike
You will spend the early morning today hiking Indian Nose and watching the sunrise, one of the bucket list items in Guatemala.
After the hike, catch some sleep back at your hotel and then explore the nearby towns a little more. If you didn’t get to go to any of the towns yesterday, today is a good day to go.
Of course, you can just relax too! You are on vacation after all!
Relax by the lake, sip a mojito at Bar Sublime, or go cliff jumping at Cerro Tzankujil (Nature Reserve) in San Marcos. There are plenty of things to do in Lake Atitlan!
If you are looking for more adventure, we recommend you to check out the village of Santa Catarina Palopó! It is a village in Lake Atitlan known for its painted houses using patterns common in Mayan textiles. It also has a market full of traditional crafts and souvenirs from Guatemala!
Remember to reserve transportation for the beautiful town of Antigua tomorrow, which you can do online here!
Where To Stay In Lake Atitlan Guatemala
Best Hotel In Lake Atitlan – Anzan Atitlan
There are no shortages of stunning places to stay in Lake Atitlan, but none can compare to this gorgeous lakeside house.
Anzan Atitlan is the perfect combination of cozy and romantic. Featuring an outdoor terrace with breathtaking views of Lake Atitlan and its volcanoes, guests will unquestionably spend hours here, sipping a coffee and enjoying life.
If you are still unconvinced, there is an indoor standing hot tub where guests can relax after a day of exploring Lake Atitlan’s villages. Finish off the day with a full-course meal at their onsite restaurant with mouth-watering dishes made from fresh local ingredients.
Day 10-14: Antigua
Last but not least, you are at the breathtaking colonial city of Antigua, the most popular tourist destination and a present-day UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Antigua was once the capital of Guatemala, but a series of devastating earthquakes prompted changing the capital to present-day Guatemala City. Walking down the cobblestone streets of Antigua and you will undoubtedly stumble upon cultural gems, interesting museums, and buildings in ruins.
There are many awesome things to do in Antigua, but the ones you cannot miss are hiking volcano Acatenango, visiting Hobbitenango, and checking out the Cerro de la Cruz viewpoint.
Below is our recommended time allocation, but you are welcome to switch it up however you like.
Day 10: Exploring Antigua and Cerro de la Cruz
You will arrive in Antigua in the afternoon. Walk around the city, check out Santa Catalina Arch and go to Cerro de La Cruz for sunset. On a good day, you can see the entire city of Antigua plus the volcanoes in the distance. You might even see Volcan de Agua (Agua Volcano) watching majestically overt the city.
Afterward, head over to one of the best restaurants in Antigua – Fridas. They have some of the best Guatemala food I’ve ever tasted in my several months in Guatemala.
Sign up for the 2-day 1-night volcano Acatenango hike where you get to see volcano Fuego erupt in front of your eyes! Don’t worry, it is not dangerous!
If you are traveling Guatemala with family or just don’t want to do such an exhausting hike, there are other options. We recommend a smaller Volcano hike called Pacaya Volcano, an active volcano that is constantly spewing lava.
The most interesting part of the hike is that hikers can use the volcanic lava to make s’mores at the base of the cone. It is quite a unique experience in Guatemala!
Day 11: Hiking Volcano Acatenango (or Volcano Pacaya)
Today is your big hiking day, and probably one of the biggest hiking days you’ll ever have in your life. Your transport will pick you up from your hotel and drive you to the base of Volcano Acatenango, where you will hike 6 to 8 hours to the base camp.
There you will camp for the night and see Volcano Fuego erupt all night (erupts every 15 minutes to an hour).
You will sweat, you will gasp for air, but hopefully, you won’t cry, and you will definitely be amazed at the end of your hike.
You’ll wake up very early the next morning to complete the summit to the top of Volcano Acatenango.
Day 12: Sunrise Summit And Complete Relaxation
Early in the morning, you’ll summit Volcano Acatenango for a miraculous sunrise. At the top, you can see the morning glow surrounding Volcano Fuego, as it spews out volcanic lava from the top. It is magic on top of magic and an absolutely surreal experience.
After an exhausting overnight hike on Acatenango Volcano, your body will be in shreds. You’ll return from the hike in the late morning, and you are probably not going to want to do anything today besides sleeping.
So today, there is nothing better to do than getting into a pool, having a massage, and just doing nothing for the rest of the day.
If you have a bit of energy, I recommend you to walk around town and check out some of the souvenir shops. We love a shop called Nim Po’t near the El Arco de Santa Catalina. It has everything from the usual tourist souvenirs like t-shirts and fridge magnets, but you’ll also find some authentic Guatemala gifts here.
Day 13: Hobbitenango
I hope you are well recovered from the Acatenango hike. Today you will be taking a day trip to the exotic and unique eco-lodge called Hobbitenango up in the highlands of Guatemala.
Hobbitenango is a “The Hobbits”-themed eco-lodge similar to the Hobbiton in New Zealand. But Hobbitenangois so much more than just a movie set. Its motto is “disconnect to reconnect”, and the whole property is about being at one with nature and having a peaceful stay.
It has 26 areas where visitors can relax, as well as two on-site restaurants that serve locally-sourced food. The eco-park sits on top of a hill, and the views from there are just gorgeous!
If you wish, you can even stay in one of their hobbit holes (casitas) for a night to experience something different!
Day 14: Take A Day Trip To Chichicastenango
You’ve finally made it to the last day of your Guatemala itinerary! Hopefully, you are not too sad to leave this beautiful country. If your flight is late in the evening, you might have time to check out one of the biggest outdoor markets in Central America – Chichicastenango. If you do not, then we guess you have to come back to Guatemala! 🙂
Chichicastenango is best visited on a Sunday because that is when all the villages bring their products here to sell. You’ll literally find anything here – from old clothes to the original Game Boy and souvenirs to fresh produce.
Chichicastenango is a labyrinth, and it is very easy to get lost. However, getting lost is part of the fun when you are in a chaotic market like this!
If you are heading to the airport, make sure you arrange your transport ahead of time. Be aware that the road from Antigua to Guatemala City often has bad traffic, so allow extra time.
Where To Stay In Antigua Guatemala
Antigua is quite a popular destination in Guatemala, and there are plenty of amazing accommodations to choose from. MAny are situated in historical colonial houses, and visitors surely get an immersive experience when staying in those!
Best Hotel In Antigua – Hotel Museo Spa Casa Santo Domingo
If you are looking for an extraordinary place to stay in Antigua, then this luxurious Hotel Museo Spa Casa Santo Domingo is ideal for you.
Set in a historical convent, this hotel oozes charm that will transport you back in time. In fact, the hotel is not only a place to stay, but it has its own museums and galleries. No luxury experience in Antigua even comes close to what the Hotel Museo Spa Casa Santo Domingo can offer.
Come enjoy their top hospitality, dreamy sleeping arrangements, and delicious breakfast at its gourmet restaurant. Don’t miss the large outdoor pool, spa and other wellness features when staying at this hotel!
Is Guatemala Safe?
Even though Guatemala is a fairly safe country, it is still a poor country. That means you need to be careful with your fancy electronics. Don’t flash them everywhere you go, go with a friend if you can, and try not to carry them at night. Stealing an iPhone from you could be worth 2 months of their salary.
Practice extra caution when you are in Guatemala City and when you are in Quetzaltenango. These are the only places I have heard of crimes happening to travelers. Antigua is one of the safest cities in Guatemala.
- Don’t DIY hikes in Lake Atitlan. San Pedro volcano and Indian Nose hike are notoriously dangerous for travelers.
- Avoid taking any “chicken bus” in Guatemala. Chicken bus is the main form of public transportation in Guatemala. They are cheaper but you become an easy victim of theft. If you have to, watch your stuff carefully!
Other than that, enjoy Guatemala! Don’t worry all the time because that will just ruin your vacation! We highly recommend that you pick up some travel insurance in Guatemala because crime does happen and this will give you peace of mind!
Is Guatemala City Worth Visiting?
If you have read through our Guatemala itinerary, you might notice something unusual – we didn’t include a stop in Guatemala City, the capital of Guatemala.
Why? Simply because there isn’t much to see and it is rather unsafe.
Armed robberies and phone snatchings are quite common, even in some of the safer zones in Guatemala City. It is also just a big metropolitan city, which if you are planning to visit Guatemala, is probably not something you are into.
But if you are curious or just want to tick Guatemala City off your list of cities, then by all means go ahead. Zone 1 in Guatemala city is the historic center, and this is where you’ll find Plaza de La Constitución (Central park of Guatemala City) and the national palace. It is also the safest area in Guatemala City.
Some of the other things to do in Guatemala City are:
- Museo Popol Vuh – One of the biggest museums in Guatemala city filled with Mayan relics and artifacts! A good way to get to know the history of the Mayans that used to inhabit Guatemala.
- Eat at La Cocina de la Señora Pu – One of the best restaurants in Guatemala City. La Cocina de la Señora Pu serves traditional Mayan dishes with a twist!
When you are in Guatemala City, watch your belongings and always take an Uber instead of a taxi!
2 Weeks In Guatemala Packing List
For your two weeks in Guatemala, you will go from the heart of the forest of Guatemala all the way up to the mountains. For that reason, you will want to pack a variety of clothes and items to ensure you are well prepared. These are some general things you should pack outside of the usual!
- Sunscreen – Do you want to look like a lobster? I didn’t think so! Pack some for your Guatemala trip.
- Insect Repellent – Do you like feeding mosquitos? If not, pack some! Places like Tikal and Hobbitenango can have a lot of bugs.
- Filtration Water Bottle – One of my favorite traveler items. It will save you money from buying water, and it will save you in dire circumstances.
- Gloves and hat – Guatemala is very warm in general, but if you plan on doing the volcano Acatenango hike or going to Quetzaltenango, you should pack some gloves and hats.
- Rain poncho – You will need these when you go on hikes. I don’t recommend you taking an umbrella.
- Warm Clothing – Referring to No.4 on the list, pack some warm clothes with you as well, such as a pair of long pants, socks, shirts, under armor, and jacket.
If you want a full guide on what to bring to Guatemala,
check out our full Guatemala packing list here!
How To Get Around Guatemala
Although chicken buses (camionettas) are the best popular option for locals to travel, it is not advised for tourists to use them for safety reasons.
But don’t worry, there is plenty of tourist-friendly transport to get around Guatemala. All tourist transportation can be arranged at the tour agencies in the popular tourist destinations.
Note: It might be difficult to find tour agencies when you first arrive in Guatemala City. All the tour agencies are located in the nearby city of Antigua instead.
Read More: How to get from Guatemala City airport to Antigua!
As much as I love to DIY everything from transportation to activities, traveling around Guatemala is difficult without these tourist-specific transports. The type of transportation used is small minivans that fit about 10 people. All your luggage will have to go above the minivan so be careful with what you bring to Guatemala!
One of the companies I used to get around Guatemala was GuateGo. They are a Central America-focused transportation company that offers shuttle buses between every popular tourist destination in Guatemala! The best thing is you can prebook them so you don’t have to worry about booking anything when you arrive!
Best Time To Visit Guatemala
Nicknamed the land of eternal spring, there isn’t really a bad time to visit Guatemala. However, Guatemala’s location relative to the equator means that there are distinct dry and rainy seasons.
The dry season in Guatemala is from November to April and the wet season in Guatemala is from May to October. During the rainy season, it doesn’t mean that there will be heavy rainfall constantly. Usually, it rains a few hours a day a few times a week.
If you are in the highlands of Guatemala, expect warm and beautiful days and cool nights. If you are in low elevation such as the Peten rainforest region, expect high humidity and warmer weather.
More Than Two Weeks In Guatemala?
2 weeks is the optimal time to see the best attractions in Guatemala. However, if you have more than 2 weeks in Guatemala, you can consider crossing the border to San Cristobal de Las Casa in San Mexico or San Ignacio in Belize. Heading towards Belize would be a good choice if you are a beach-lover.
If you want to stay in Guatemala, there are a few other tourist destinations worth visiting. They are namely Livingston, El Paredon, Monterrico, and Rio Dulce.
Livingston is a small town located next to the Caribbean sea. Habited by the descendants of slaves known as the Garifuna, come to Livingston to experience a different side of Guatemala. It is also a very relaxing spot with lots of wildlife.
El Paredon and Monterrico are the beach towns of Guatemala. They are known for their black-sand beaches and excellent waves, but they aren’t exactly the most beginner-friendly. These places are rather off-grid, so they might not be somewhere you want to go if you are looking for luxury and comfort.
Rio Dulce is a small riverside town off the beaten path that provides a calm escape on the riverside and a peek at the authentic Guatemalan lifestyle!
Visiting Guatemala FAQs
How Many Days Should You Spend In Guatemala?
To see the best tourist attractions in Guatemala, two weeks is sufficient time. This will allow you to visit Flores in the northern parts, as well as Antigua and Lake Atitlan in central Guatemala. If you want to head over to the coasts, you might want to allocate a few more days.
Is Guatemala Expensive?
As a relatively poor country in Central America, Guatemala is not expensive at all, especially when compared to places in Europe or America. However, it is slightly more expensive than places like Thailand and Vietnam, and certain places in Mexico as well.
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I hope this 2 week Guatemala itinerary will help you plan your trip. If not, I hope it at least gives you an idea of things to do in Guatemala!
Did you find this post helpful? Let us know in the comments!
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2 thoughts on “An EPIC 2-Week Guatemala Itinerary: The Best Of Guatemala”
I loved reading your blog on Guatemala and have learned so much! Thank you!
I want to go to Lago Atitlán in November to study Spanish. You have answered many of my questions concerning safe travel options and places to stay. I’d also like to know your opinion about a female traveling there alone. I’m wondering too if I’ll experience altitude sickness and what I should bring along in that case.
Thanks again! All the best to you in your travels!
Hey Cher, sorry for the late reply. I’ve met plenty of solo female travelers in Guatemala and none of them seem to have any more safety issues than men. Yes, of course, sometimes you get catcalled and stuff like that, but you should be fine as long as you don’t engage them. You probably won’t get altitude sickness in Lake Atitlan, and you can always buy the altitude sickness pills in Guatemal if needed!