Thursday, August 11, 2022

Destinations in Guatemala

North AmericaGuatemalaDestinations in Guatemala

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Regions in Guatemala

  • Central Highlands
    This region is home to the capital of Guatemala and at least one active volcano.
  • Western Highlands
    This region is by far the most beautiful part of Guatemala and includes many indigenous Mayan villages. Lake Atitlan is also in this region, as are at least two active volcanoes.
  • Eastern Guatemala
    An arid region on the roads to Honduras and El Salvador, with a predominantly Hispanic population devoted to cattle ranching.
  • Caribbean coast
    This coast has many beaches.
  • Northern Lowlands
    This region has a very dense tropical forest and amazing Mayan ruins, including Tikal.
  • Pacific lowlands
    These are the gentle foothills of the Sierra Madre, stretching across the vast Pacific plain to beautiful beaches.

Cities in Guatemala

  • Guatemala City – capital and largest city with many amenities.
  • Antigua Guatemala – Spanish colonial capital of Central America, World Heritage Site and the most popular with tourists.
  • Flores – The island capital of Petén, a good starting point for access to the Mayan ruins of Tikal.
  • Melchor de Mencos – border town that is the main crossing point to Belize.
  • Panajachel – gateway to Lake Atitlán, a beautiful and popular tourist area.
  • Puerto Barrios – Caribbean seaport with fast boats to and from Belize.
  • Puerto San José – Pacific Seaport
  • Quetzaltenango – Second largest city in the western highlands. Popularly called “Xela”.
  • Sayaxché – River gate in Petén

Other destinations in Guatemala

  • Lake Atitlan – A beautiful lake region in the mountains, surrounded by many picturesque villages and volcanoes, which is increasingly being developed for tourism.
  • Monterrico – The closest beach to Guatemala City and Antigua, volcanic sand.
  • Rio Dulce – Known as a “unique ecological and cultural heritage for humanity” and home to one of the largest bridges in Central America, the area surrounding this emerald green “sweet river” offers many sights and activities. From jungle walks to hot spring waterfalls (Finca Paraiso is located on the Rio Dulce), a visit to Castillo San Felipe de Lara, sailing and water sports, exploring the colourful and inviting villages and landscapes of the area, to a lancha drive through the majestic Livingston Canyon. There are a variety of places to stay, including some beautiful waterfront spots. The Rio Dulce is also a great access point not only to places in Guatemala such as Antigua, Tikal, Cobán, Semuc Champey and many others, but also to surrounding countries: Belize, Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

Mayan ruins in Guatemala

  • El Mirador – a massive site of the early Maya, perhaps the cradle of Maya civilisation. As it is still being discovered and explored, it is less accessible to visitors than the other major Maya sites.
  • Tikal – long considered the largest of the Maya ruins (although ongoing research at El Mirador may challenge this claim), this vast and impressive ancient Maya site is probably worth the trip to Guatemala alone. Stay overnight in the park or in the nearby town of Flores for an early morning excursion to Tikal to see the sunrise over the ruins. Excursions from the surrounding area are easy to arrange.
  • Aguateca – some of the best preserved Mayan ruins in Guatemala, where you are more likely to find archaeologists at work than tourists with cameras.
  • El Peru (Waká) – a three-day hike or boat trip from Flores, identified as the source of many looted Maya artefacts.
  • Iximche – ruins in the central highlands, an easy day trip from Guatemala City or Antigua.
  • Nakúm – an impressive classic Maya site
  • Yaxhá – ruins with more than 500 structures, between Flores and Melchor de Mencos.

How To Travel To Guatemala

By air Guatemala's main airport, La Aurora International Airport (IATA: GUA), is located in Guatemala City. International flights come mainly from other Central American countries, the USA, Mexico, Colombia and Spain. The airport recently underwent a modernising reconstruction. Today it is a glass and concrete building with modern shops and...

How To Travel Around Guatemala

By bus It's hard to miss the brightly coloured buses that fill the streets of Guatemala's big cities and highways. These are chicken buses, or camionetas in Spanish, and are a common mode of transport for Guatemalans and an adventure for tourists. They are much cheaper than tourist buses or...

Visa & Passport Requirements for Guatemala

The following nationalities do not require a visa to visit Guatemala: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Chile, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Russia, Singapore,...

Weather & Climate in Guatemala

Guatemala has a varied climate. Most parts of the country are hot (between 80 and 90 , depending on the season and location), with post-meridian thunderstorms usually moderating the heat somewhat. In the Altos, the mountainous region, the weather is generally a little cooler, varying between 70 ...

Things To See in Guatemala

The Mayan ruins are the country's main attractions and the most notable are El Mirador, perhaps the cradle of Mayan civilisation, and Tikal. Volcanoes Guatemala has many volcanoes, many of which are over 3,000 metres high. Volcán de Pacaya (2500m) - this is an active volcano located about 30 minutes from Antigua....

Things To Do in Guatemala

Guatemala is rich in natural beauty and travel opportunities. It is a country that offers so much for those who are willing to get off the beaten track for a while. Antigua Guatemala is often referred to as a hub for travellers, a picture-perfect ruined city in Central America surrounded...

Food & Drinks in Guatemala

Food in Guatemala Typical food : Kaq IkPepiánJocomQuichomTortillas and tortillas de harina. Corn tortillas are served with most meals.Frijoles negros - stewed black beansCaldos - Beef brothsTamales - steamed maize flour with various toppings, wrapped in banana leaves.Rice and beans (Garifunafood in Puerto Barrios)Tapado, ceviche and other fish dishesChurrascos The typical breakfast...

Money & Shopping in Guatemala

Currency The local currency is the quetzal, named after the national bird, whose connotations are still ancient and mythical today. One US dollar is equivalent to 7.61 quetzals. US dollars are widely accepted and can be exchanged in most small towns. ATMs can be found in larger towns, but don't...

Festivals & Holidays in Guatemala

The Guatemalan Labour Code recognises the following dates as public holidays with paid leave: 1 January: New YearMarch / April Thursday, Friday and Saturday: Easter, Holy Week1 May: International Labour Day, known as "Workers' Day".30 June: Armed Forces Day15 September: Independence Day20 October: Revolution Day1 November: All Saints' Day24 December:...

Internet & Communications in Guatemala

Phone The international telephone code for Guatemala is 502. There is no area code. All telephone numbers have eight digits. On 18 September 2004, the telephone system was changed from seven to eight digits, and there is a system for adding certain digits to the beginning of seven-digit numbers (description...

Language & Phrasebook in Guatemala

Spanish is the official language of Guatemala and the most widely spoken language. More than twenty indigenous languages are still spoken throughout the country, but many Maya have at least a basic knowledge of Spanish, except in the most remote areas. For the Garifuna of Livingston, Garifuna and English...

Culture Of Guatemala

Guatemala City is home to many of the country's libraries and museums, including the National Archives, the National Library and the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, which has an extensive collection of Mayan artefacts. There are also private museums such as the Ixchel, which focuses on textiles, and the...

History Of Guatemala

Pre-Columbian The earliest evidence of human settlement in Guatemala dates back to at least 12,000 BC. Sites dating back to 6500 BC have been discovered at Quiché in the central highlands and at Sipacate, Escuintla, on the central Pacific coast. Archaeologists divide Mesoamerica's pre-Columbian history into a pre-Classical period (2000...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Guatemala

Stay Safe in Guatemala Guatemala has one of the highest violent crime rates in the world. Travellers should take extra precautions while in Guatemala. If you are assaulted, robbed or approached by armed persons, cooperate. Do not make any sudden movements or hand over any items or money that are...



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