With the exception of some regional specialties, the most common and prevalent aspects of Guatemalan cuisine are rather unimpressive. Handmade fresh corn tortillas are the most basic staple of Guatemalan cooking, and these are quite good. Tortillas, along with refried black beans, are usually served as an accompaniment to some simply grilled meat or chicken. Very few vegetables are typically served at Guatemalan meals.

You will find excellent restaurants serving a wide range of international cuisines in Guatemala City, Antigua, and Panajachel. However, outside the capital and these major tourist destinations, your options get very limited very fast. In fact, many destinations are so small or remote that you have no choice but to eat in the hotel's dining room. Even at the more popular destinations, the only choices aside from the hotel dining rooms are often cheap local places or overpriced tourist traps serving indifferent meals.

If you're looking for cheap eats, you'll find them in little restaurants known as comedores, which are the equivalent of diners in the United States. At a comedor, you'll find a limited and very inexpensive menu featuring some simple steak and chicken dishes, accompanied by rice, refried beans, and fresh tortillas.

Guatemalans tend to eat three meals a day, in similar fashion and hours to North Americans. Breakfast is usually served between 6:30am and 9am; lunch between noon and 2pm; and dinner between 6 and 10pm. Most meals and dining experiences are quite informal. In fact, there are only a few restaurants in the entire country that could be considered semi-formal, and none require a jacket or tie, although you could certainly wear them.

I have separated restaurant listings throughout this guide into three price categories based on the average cost per person of a meal, including tax and service charge. The categories are Expensive, more than Q150 ($20/£10); Moderate, Q75 to Q150 ($10-$20/£5-£10); and Inexpensive, less than Q75 ($10/£5). Keep in mind that the 12% IVA tax added onto all bills is not a service charge. A tip of at least 10% is expected. If the service was particularly good and attentive, you should probably leave a little extra.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.