In this ball game between the Maya and the Inca, neither loser nor winner will be sacrificed and I am the referee.
Guatemala City vs. Lima: neither would win a prize for charm or beauty, but Guatemala City is one of the worst – ugly, dirty, seedy, a mishmash of buildings built with no city planning or regard for architecture. There isn’t one good thing I can say about it.
Atitlan vs. Titicaca: Atitlan is a clear winner here, with the volcanoes surrounding it, it’s much more picturesque, but the islands on Titicaca were the coolest, so in the end, it’s a tie.
Maya vs. Inca:
This is a tough one… I’ll vote for the Incas. To me, they were more colorful and exotic with their top hats and full skirts. I’ll vote for them.
Antigua vs. Cusco.
Cusco is much more beautiful and lively, by far. There is no comparison here.
Tikal vs. Machu Picchu:
Another tough one. The setting of Machu Picchu is magnificent and incomparable. Nothing comes close. And I love the Andes. The ruins themselves- here I’m not sure. Personally, I probably prefer Tikal. The jungle it is in is also one of the prettiest. So I’ll vote for Machu Picchu overall, even though I really liked Tikal.
This is very clear: food in Guatemala stinks. No good snacks, street food, breakfasts, dinners. We had one good meal and that was in the most upscale restaurant in Antigua. In Peru, every meal we had was great. Even on the Inca trail, when it was cooked in a field kitchen, it was good.
So if you are deciding where to go, Peru or Guatemala, I’d choose Peru.
But why choose if you can do both?