Within Zona 10, east of Avenida La Reforma all the way to 6a Avenida and running north to south from 10a Calle to 16 Calle, the Zona Viva is Guatemala City ’s most pleasant commercial district, with a variety of hip cafés, trendy boutiques, lively bars and nightclubs, excellent restaurants, and expensive hotels.
It’s Guatemala City at its best and after long periods in the country’s hinterlands, it can be downright refreshing.
Unlike in downtown Guatemala City, you’ll find plenty of trees sheltering the streets from the harsh tropical sun in addition to wide, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks. Zona Viva’s many high-rise buildings harbor banks, office buildings, the bulk of Guatemala City’s international hotel chain properties, and condominiums.
None of these buildings is more than 20 stories high, as the airport’s proximity limits vertical expansion of the adjacent areas, giving the neighborhood a cosmopolitan feel without the claustrophobic concrete-jungle look found in larger international cities.
Interspersed between office buildings are the area’s many dining and entertainment options and tucked away into the side streets are some of Guatemala’s nicest residences sheltered behind walls, barbed wire, and bougainvillea.
During the day, Zona Viva’s streets are mostly the haunt of businessmen because of the area’s prominence as the city’s main financial district. By night, especially on weekends, it becomes the enclave of young folks heading to the area’s bars and nightclubs  or to dinner at a fancy restaurant.
If you find yourself needing to spend a night or two in Guatemala City, you might make it a very enjoyable experience by checking into one of the area’s attractive boutique or international chain hotels, eating at one of the recommended local restaurants, and taking in one or several of the nearby museums.
The recent addition of a hostel to the area’s accommodations means this is no longer just an option for wealthy travelers. It is also conveniently close to the airport.