Guest author Ben Cohen-Leadholm is the author of the family activities blog Kids Are Awesome But So Am I, helping parents reclaim their mojo through activities equally enjoyable to child and parent. Find him on Twitter (@parentingmojo), Facebook (www.facebook.com/kidsactivity), and Email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Visiting Guatemala can be surprisingly straightforward as a family vacation destination – with the right planning. Give your family a truly unique experience by heeding these 10 tips for traveling to Guatemala.
There are no especially unique immunizations required for travel to Guatemala (we did not need any, in fact). Of course, always double-check with your doctor and with this site. Lastly, it’s important to know whether you’re headed to malarial areas, in which case you’ll need preventative medication.
2. In-Flight Entertainment
An easy flight with kids is a rarity, so plan accordingly for entertainment. For infants and toddlers, ensure that sufficient toys and books are readily available in carry-on bags. And for preschool-age children and older, the key is ample, varied entertainment. We used a Kindle Fire to provide our 3-year-old with hours of movies, books, and music. For more in-flight advice, here’s an entire site on flying with kids.
Snacks are critical for easy travel with kids. We all know this. But they are especially helpful during a vacation in a foreign location with different cuisine. So bring a good supply of your kids’ favorite portable, packaged snacks. Because Goldfish will make them happy.
In Guatemala, you will only be drinking bottled water. You will use bottled water for teeth-brushing, and you won’t be eating any unpeeled fruit or uncooked veggies (because of tap water). Prepare your kids by talking about how the water is “different” (not “dirty”) and consider bringing their favorite sippy cups or water bottles from home to make the bottled water experience more fun.
5. Speaking Spanish
It can be so surprising and enlightening when kids grasp that people around the world speak different languages. Embrace this foreign travel by teaching your kids basic phrases and numbers. Guatemalans will truly appreciate an “Hola” from your kids.
6. New Foods
Trying new foods can be a fun part of visiting a new country – within measure. Guatemala offers many familiar foods (i.e. tortillas, beans, rice, grilled meat) and some unfamiliar ones (i.e. plantains, tamales, stews). Talk with your kids about the fun in discovering new tastes. Here’s a site where you can preview Guatemalan cuisine.
7. Ancient Ruins
Visiting Guatemala will offer views into Central American antiquity. From Tikal (Maya civilization) to Antigua (colonial history), the country has many sites with awe-inspiring ruins to educate your family on the region’s rich history.
8. Farms and Plantations
Guatemala is a country with innumerable farms and plantations, and many are open to the public for tours and tastings. Consider visiting a coffee or cocoa farm to teach your kids how some of our favorite foods are made. Here is one example.
9. Swimming Pools
It goes without saying that kids love pools. So consider researching ahead of time which locations have pools. Because there is nothing more satisfying than playing in the pool after a long dusty day under the heavy Guatemalan sun.
Guides make a big difference throughout Guatemala – especially when kids are involved. Not only will the guide’s local knowledge contribute to a worthwhile experience, but the guide will also provide an easy and stress-free experience overall. Which allows your family to focus on enjoying Tikal or the volcano hike or the market – and not the logistics.
Guatemala can sound foreign and unfamiliar. But, in fact, it is as easy to visit with your family as Mexico. Follow these tips, do some pre-trip planning, and you can have an incredibly unique and enlightening trip.
Photo credit: Ben Cohen-Leadholm