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Ways to Celebrate Day of the Dead in Guatemala City

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Ways to Celebrate Day of the Dead in Guatemala City
The Day of the Dead (El Dia de los Muertos) is an ancient Aztec cultural tradition practiced throughout Central America. Despite the name, it’s a joyful celebration—a time to remember and pay tribute to deceased ancestors, friends, and family. Here’s what to know about Guatemala’s Day of the Dead.

When to Go
Guatemala’s main Day of the Dead celebrations are held on Nov. 1 and 2, coinciding with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. Preparations often begin months in advance, and if you’re visiting Guatemala in the weeks before the festival, you might see local families and children crafting colorful kites, making sugar skulls, and decorating gravestones with traditional offerings.

Where to Go
The Day of the Dead festival is celebrated all around Guatemala, but the most spectacular events are held in the highland villages of Santiago Sacatepéquez and Sumpango, about a 30-minute drive from Guatemala City.

Ways to Celebrate
Head to Santiago Sacatepéquez or Sumpango to see the giant kite festival, Guatemala’s most spectacular Day of the Dead celebration. Locals launch giant kites (some as tall as a 5-story building) into the skies. The kites are believed to keep away evil spirits and provide a method of communicating with the dead. The vibrant kites are handcrafted using delicate tissue paper and traditional papel picado techniques, with messages are attached to the tail of each kite. Other traditions include cleaning and decorating family grave sites and feasting on traditional foods such as pan de muerto.
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Guatemala City Tours & Activities (12)
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Full Day Tour: Chichicastenango Maya Market and Lake Atitlan from Guatemala CityDay Trips

Full Day Tour: Chichicastenango Maya Market and Lake Atitlan from Guatemala City

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Discover the lively highland culture and beautiful scenery of Guatemala during this 12-hour visit to Chichicastenango and Lake Atitlan from Guatemala City. Start by checking out the colonial architecture and sprawling market of Chichicastenango, where vendors hawk everything from colorful handicrafts to candles, food and machetes. You’ll then have a chance to explore the picturesque town of Panjachel on the volcano-rimmed shores of Lake Atitlan. Your Chichicastenango and Lake Atitlan trip includes a guide, optional lunch upgrade and round-trip hotel transport.
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  • 12 hours
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  • 12 hours
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Private Tour: Guatemala City Morning or Afternoon TourHalf-day Tours

Private Tour: Guatemala City Morning or Afternoon Tour

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Discover the cultural highlights of Central America’s largest city on a private morning or afternoon tour of Guatemala City. Alongside your guide, you’ll visit landmarks such as the Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana), the National Palace, and the Bank of Guatemala, while listening to history-rich commentary. Admire the modern structures of the Civic Center (Centro Civico) and browse Mercado Central for artisan souvenirs before heading to Paseo Caya — a walled luxury complex — to enjoy a delicious dinner (own expense). Receive undivided attention from your private guide.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
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Half Day Experience in Guatemala CityBus Tours

Half Day Experience in Guatemala City

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See Guatemala City's top attractions as you learn about the culture, heritage and traditions of this capital city. Tour the financial and commercial centers, navigate the main thoroughfares and quiet squares. It's the perfect overview for first-time visitors who want to get oriented to this diverse city.
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  • 3 to 4 hours
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  • 3 to 4 hours
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Antigua Guatemala & Guatemala City TourDay Trips

Antigua Guatemala & Guatemala City Tour

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Explore the old and new capitals of Guatemala on this full-day sightseeing adventure that combines both vehicle and walking tours of Guatemala City and Antigua. You’ll see major highlights like the Civic Center, Metropolitan Cathedral and the Central Market in Guatemala City, before heading to the World-Heritage listed city of Antigua. Wander the historic streets of this picturesque colonial town and stop at La Merced Church, Central Park and other highlights before enjoying a traditional lunch.
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  • 10 hours
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  • 10 hours
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Chichicastenango and Lake Atitlan Day TripDay Trips

Chichicastenango and Lake Atitlan Day Trip

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On your own, it’s difficult to squeeze the the Chichicastenango Market and Lake Atitlan into a single day, but this guided tour makes it a breeze by handling all the transportation logistics from Guatemala City. Plus, going with a guide keeps you from getting lost in the crowds of one of the largest open-air markets in Central America and provides tons of insight into the rich cultures around Lake Atitlan.
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  • 1 day
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  • 1 day
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Private Tour: Chichicastenango Market and Lake Atitlan from Guatemala CityDay Trips

Private Tour: Chichicastenango Market and Lake Atitlan from Guatemala City

Discover the lively culture and beautiful scenery of Guatemala's highlands on this private tour to Chichicastenango from Guatemala City. Admire the colonial architecture and sprawling market of Chichicastenango, the largest outdoor market in Central America, and check out the wares from textiles to flowers to street food. A private guide and vehicle plus round-trip hotel transport make for a hassle-free trip.
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  • 10 hours
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US$130.00 
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From  
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  • 10 hours
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Guatemala City Afternoon Sightseeing TourHalf-day Tours

Guatemala City Afternoon Sightseeing Tour

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Experience the buzzing capital of Guatemala on this 3-hour afternoon sightseeing tour of Guatemala City, including hotel pick-up. Get your bearings in Central America’s biggest city, as you follow your guide around landmarks like the Avenue of the Americas, Constitution Plaza and the Metropolitan Cathedral. Learn more about the city’s rich history and heritage as you admire the murals and mosaics of the Bank of Guatemala, browse for handicrafts at the bustling Central Market.
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  • 3 hours
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  • 3 hours
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Chichicastenago and Panajachel Day Trip from Guatemala CityDay Trips

Chichicastenago and Panajachel Day Trip from Guatemala City

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Explore the colorful towns of Panajachel and Chichicastenago on this exciting day trip from Guatemala City, complete with round-trip hotel service. You’ll wander through open-air markets and comb through the unique handmade goods Guatemala is famous for on this popular day trip. Visit the Church of Santo Tomas and Calvary Church in Chichiscastenango’s central plaza with your expert local guide, and make your way to the lakeside town of Panajachel, where you’ll navigate the Santander Street towards incredible views of Lake Atitlan and check out handcrafted leather goods, pottery and fabrics along the way.
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  • 9 hours
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US$76.93 
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  • 9 hours
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UNESCO JEWELS: Antigua Half Day Tour from Guatemala CityDay Trips

UNESCO JEWELS: Antigua Half Day Tour from Guatemala City

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Experience the Spanish-colonial charm of Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage site, during this 5-hour morning tour from Guatemala City. This atmospheric city was the country’s capital for more than 200 years, creating a wealth of historic architecture and gorgeous scenery for you to discover during your walking tour. Tread on Antigua’s cobblestone streets as you explore sites like the Cathedral of Santiago, Central Park and Palace of the Captain Generals. Your Antigua visit also includes a guide and round-trip hotel transport.
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  • 5 hours
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  • 5 hours
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Small-Group Cooking Class in Antigua from Guatemala CityCooking Classes

Small-Group Cooking Class in Antigua from Guatemala City

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Embark on an exotic culinary adventure with this 5-hour small-group cooking class in Antigua, including hotel pick-up. Master expert techniques and local ingredients to create typical Guatemalan dishes like ‘hilachas’, tamales and ‘camote en dulce’, under the watchful eye of a professional chef. After tasting your creations over lunch, leave armed with recipes and cooking tips to help you recreate your favorite dishes back home.
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  • 5 hours
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From  
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  • 5 hours
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Day of the Dead Giant Kite Festival Cultural ExperienceCultural Tours

Day of the Dead Giant Kite Festival Cultural Experience

With their costumes, music, and parades, Day of the Dead celebrations are some of the most iconic in Latin America. Take part in the cultural tradition of giant kites on this Day of the Dead festival tour from Sumpango, which shares with you the history of the holiday and teaches you about the kite making ritual. This tour presents a rare opportunity to learn directly from a local guide about a unique regional custom.
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  • 4 hours
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  • 4 hours
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  • Free Cancellation


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