Guatemala: Discovering the Wonder
Friday, May 3rd, 2019
Believe everything you’ve heard and then some – discovering Guatemala will thrill all visitors with its natural diversity, culture, beauty and adventure. Time and again, it captivates travelers of all tastes and interests. Discover the wonder of what Guatemala has in store for you…
No visit is complete without a stopover in Antigua, a 16th-century city that looks like it stepped straight from the pages of a period romance novel. Nestled in the shadow of three volcanoes, the cobblestone streets of this UNESCO World Heritage Site are the perfect place to lose yourself in colonial charm, amid ruins and restored pastel-colored buildings, discovering cafes, craft stores, and vibrant nightlife. Learn to pick and roast your own coffee at a nearby farm, or get hands-on experience at a jade-crafting workshop in the Casa del Jade museum.
No Mesoamerican culture held a candle to the Mayans. Their mythology, artistry, cosmology, lifestyle, and architecture have astonished through generations, and Guatemala was their heartland. The pre-modern Mayan capital of Tikal needs no introduction. Towering above the jungle line, its iconic 47-meter temple pyramid oversaw a metropolis of up to 90,000 people, living amid palaces, apartments, embassies, markets, and arenas thousands of years ago. Buried deep in the jungles and forests, the secluded ruins of Yaxha, Aguateca, and El Mirador are less visited but no less fascinating.
STRONG INDIGENOUS CULTURE
With over 23 languages spoken, Guatemala is the most diverse country in Central America. Mayan temples bear mute witness to the past, but the Mayan bloodline is alive and well in over 40% of the country’s population. Spanish colonial segregation policies resulted in remarkable preservation of Mayan culture, including traditional dress and rituals. Guatemala is also a homeland of Garifuna culture, descended from coastal tribes and distinguished by unique cuisine and entrancing music. Immersing yourself in modern tribal life is one of the great joys of a trip to Guatemala.
EXCEPTIONAL TRADITIONAL CRAFTS AND TEXTILES
Another glorious result of Guatemalan diversity are traditions of arts and crafts unlike anywhere else in the world. Wander through the markets of Antigua and Guatemala City and you could end up taking home wicker baskets, hand-woven wool blankets, hand-blown glass, jewelry, leather crafts, and traditional embroidered clothing.
Guatemala’s landscape boasts over thirty volcanoes, a few of them active on a daily basis. Volcano Pacaya is the most accessible, but geology junkies should make the trip to Acatenango. Climb its dormant slopes and you will be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views and watch awestruck as nearby Volcano Fuego booms and blasts lava into the sky.
Nestled in the western highlands, the Mayan civilization considered this volcanic lake to be the navel of the world. Modern Mayan culture thrives in the villages and towns that dot the lake’s coastline. This is the perfect place to get away from it all. Referred to as “Eden on Earth”, Lake Atitlan has something for everyone. Enjoy a thermal bath in San Pedro de Laguna, take in a practice at the Yoga Farm in San Marcos, hike an active volcano or simply relax as the sky turns a symphony of colors during one of the fabulous sunsets over the lake. Other popular activities include paragliding, kayaking, taking a bicycle or scooter into the countryside, enjoying the breathtaking scenery from atop the Indian’s Nose hill, shopping for crafts at a nearby market and SCUBA diving in the lake in search of volcanic vents. On New Years Eve, Lake Atitlan really comes alive with the Cosmic Convergence festival…a truly magical experience!!
While not huge, Guatemala extends from the Pacific coast deep into the Yucatan Peninsula, and with a Caribbean coastline jutting out south of Belize. This geography results in an astonishing variety of landscapes to sample. If you’re not satisfied with a beach chair, you can venture inland to see lakes, rivers, deserts, mountains, rainforests, and cloud forests.
Ecotourists rejoice. The varied biomes on Guatemala give rise to a stunning menagerie of wild beasts. A forest or jungle adventure could bring you a selfie-stick away from spider monkeys, capuchin monkeys, armadillos, vampire bats, ocelots, speckled caymans, and brown basilisks. Marine life abounds on the coasts, including the Olive Ridley sea turtle, one of the only non-endangered species of sea turtle in the world. Guatemala is also a prime destination for bird watchers, home to more than 720 bird species including the black-necked stilt, Montezuma Oropendola, toucan, and the magnificent Quetzal.
LUXURY AND UNIQUE ACCOMMODATIONS
The luxury hotel market is only just taking off in Guatemala, but first-class accommodations are at your disposal if you know where to look. Ritzy resorts, upscale boutique hotels, and restored colonial villas cater to the upscale tastes of the most discerning travelers. On the more rustic end of the spectrum, Guatemala is replete with unique lodges, including lakeside cabins, jungle eco-lodges, and quarters among indigenous tribes. This is one of our specialties so please don’t hesitate to contact us.
READY TO DISCOVER
Are you ready to discover the wonder of this magical land? Let us help you craft an itinerary that encompasses your interests, passions, and quenches your wanderlust. Tell us what most intrigues you or let us make a recommendation and design an unforgettable travel experience. We are here to take the stress out of travel planning and ensure that your time abroad is spent fully enjoying your vacation, worry-free.
Read more about Guatemala on our site.
If your wanderlust is calling, why not start by filling in our travel enquiry form or give us a call at (877)509-6033. We take the stress out of planning and deliver highly personalized travel packages and concierge service for individuals, families, and groups.
With an adventurous spirit,
Your friends at Central America Journeys
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