Visit This Central American Country For A Budget-Friendly, Relaxing Escape From Cold Winters

If these chilly winter temperatures have got you feeling down, we propose you book a flight somewhere warm. While it might seem like the only escape to somewhere tropical is in far-flung destinations like Bora Bora, the Maldives, or Thailand, you can get your quick fix of sunshine without jumping on a 12-hour flight across the globe.

Head down to Guatemala, a quick jaunt from mainland USA that will provide all the sunshine your heart desires without breaking the bank. Guatemala is well known for its relaxed, chill atmosphere, providing good vibes that will remove you from the misery of winter. Located in Central America, this historic nation has warm weather year-round, making it a perfect escape. While Guatemala has been overlooked by travelers in the past, it has recently seen a serious tourism boom. The country is finally gaining the recognition it deserves as a sought-after global destination. If you are pining to plan a last-minute first trip of the new year, Guatemala is calling.

Where to visit in Guatemala

Guatemala is geographically small, but plenty of destinations within its borders provide a diverse itinerary and experience. Antigua, for starters, simply cannot be missed. Well known for its colorful streets, Antigua is lined with Spanish colonial architecture. One of the top attractions in town is the Santa Catalina Arch. The town is so historically prominent and beautiful that it has been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Another Guatemalan requirement is visiting Lake Atitlan, a wonderful place to rest and recharge. It is known for its deep blue waters and is the deepest lake in Central America. To ensure you get the best possible views of the lake, book a hotel directly on the water at one of the 11 villages surrounding Lake Atitlan. Try Kaapul Atitlan Eco Hotel & Spa; it's one of the most sought-after resorts on the lake.

Tikal National Park is yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site that is well worth a visit when in Guatemala. Here, travelers are given the opportunity to learn about the country's Mayan history and to revel in important Mayan archaeological fixtures.

Know before you go

Getting to Guatemala from mainland USA is quite easy, thanks to direct flights throughout several major U.S. cities. Municipalities such as New York City, Orlando, Dallas, Miami, Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale, and Houston are just some that offer direct flights to Guatemala City. The local currency of Guatemala is the Guatemalan Quetzal. While currency values can change, $1 roughly translates to around Q7.60. 

You'll want to brush up on your Spanish before heading here (or, at least, learning the basics), as it's the national language of Guatemala. However, in total, an estimated 25 languages are spoken in Guatemala. What's a proper getaway without digging into the local food scene? The national dish of Guatemala is pepián, a curry-like stew filled with vegetables and meat, typically accompanied by tortillas. Pepián is best washed down with an ice-cold cerveza, so go for Gallo, the national beer of Guatemala.