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Villas B’Alam Ya in Guatemala
Villas B’Alam Ya/Eric Mohl

The seven countries that make up Central America (Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Belize, and Guatemala) offer something for every traveler, from beaches to volcanoes to cool cities to pristine rainforest to archaeological sites. These countries are also offering a wider and wider range of hotels. To help you plan your trip, we’re presenting three smart stays in every country in Central America. Up now, our Guatemala hotel guide.

Best Budget Option
If you are traveling to Guatemala, the natural pools of Semuc Champey are probably on your itinerary. Do yourself a favor and plan on a night or two at nearby El Retiro Lodge in the town of Lanquín. Dorm rooms, private bungalows with bathrooms, and private bungalows with shared, clean and quirky bathrooms are available (from around 120 Q or $15.50 USD for private double rooms with a shared bathroom) are scattered around a lawn-covered hillside that slopes down to a river — great for swimming. The open air restaurant serves up a massive all-you-can-eat buffet (with veg options) for dinner as well as a la carte options all day.


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Best Mid-Range Option
Posada del Cerro (private double rooms from around 300 Q or about $38 USD, including breakfast) is a stylish but not too spendy option in the town of El Remate near the Tikal archaeological site. Owned by a German man named George and his Brazilian wife Raimunda, Posada del Cerro has seven rooms and bungalows, two apartments with kitchenette,s and one guesthouse with seven beds. Each accommodation was built using five different types of local woods in tones of yellow, toffee and dark chocolate. The same woods were used to make the clean, crisp furniture — much of it designed and built by George. Rooms are minimal but homey — like living in an IKEA catalog in the jungle. Home cooked meals are available, there’s WiFi, and some rooms have views of Lake Peten Itza. Check the mattress before choosing on a room. Some are very, very hard.


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Best Splurge
Villas B’Alam Ya offers four stand-alone houses with kitchens ($150-$350 USD) on the shore of volcano-ringed Lake Atitlan. Whether you’re looking for a cozy, romantic hideaway (the petite Jade cabin) or an art-filled and spacious multiple bedroom retreat for a family or group of friends, you’ll find it here. If you really want to splurge, go for the personal chef and pre-stocked fridge. Guests also have access to a private dock, kayaks, canoes, and sculling shells. Yoga classes are sometimes offered. Villas B’Alam Ya is owned by the same people who run Meson Panza Verde, which is a fantastic splurge in Antigua.

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