December 2011, February 2018
A crazy, dangerous, exciting nation.
Guatemala has a reputation in the US for being both exciting and sketchy. In my experience, it's certainly both.
I spent two weeks backpacking this nation one winter, fearing death on speeding public transport, summiting the highest peak on a frosty trail, and having Tikal all to myself during a hot, misty dawn. It's definitely an amazing place to travel, and the tourists that come here and only see Antigua and Lago de Átitlan are missing out. There are some incredible springs hidden in the jungle, and more caves here than I'll ever be able to see.
If you're gonna go (and you definitely should), make sure to have enough travelling experience to avoid sketchy situations, speak at least some Spanish, and go alone for several weeks. Any trip to Guatemala is best served as an adventure.