Guatemala is a popular destination located south of Mexico in Central America. According to itypetravel, it also borders Honduras, El Salvador and Belize. Spanish is the official language, but in addition to that, over 21 different Native American languages are spoken in the country. Like its neighbors, nature is dominated by mountains, volcanoes and rainforests as well as white beaches that seem to have fallen from the paradise garden.
The living Mayan culture that is well preserved
In no other country has the ancient Mayan culture been as well preserved as in Guatemala. This is also a reason why so many people travel here. An important attraction is the old ruined city of Tikal in the middle of the rainforest, which has a given place on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Here you can view the ancient structures and buildings of the Maya people and really breathe in the ancient atmosphere that still surrounds the place.
Antigua – the capital with volcanoes, festivals and bright colors
Another reason to come to Guatemala is a visit to the capital Antigua which is located in the southwestern part of the country. It is surrounded by three large volcanoes and the city is also the best-preserved Central American city since colonial times. In Antigua, you can combine nature experiences with the pulse of the city by hiking up the conical mountains with the craters on top, or strolling along the cobbled streets and living life in the many bars and cafes. The buildings in the city are breathtakingly beautiful with strong colors and if you want to experience them in even greater splendor, you should head here during Easter when the annual Santa Easter festival takes place. The city also offers more festivals during the year.
Bargains at markets in the big cities
In Guatemala’s major cities, there are not only festivities but also a series of markets where you can find clothes, embroidered bags and gadgets at wreck prices – often with influences from the Maya – or Native American people. The patterns and colors in the fabrics are fantastic and can definitely not be found at the same price and quality elsewhere. The country’s largest market takes place daily in Chichicastenango and is talked about throughout Central America.
In the western part of Guatemala is Quetzaltenango – a mountain town that is considered the major cultural center in the country. Here, too, large markets are held side by side with hip bars.
The world’s most beautiful lake – Lago de Atitlán
If Lake Titicaca in Peru and Bolivia has a reputation for being the world’s most famous lake, Lago de Atitlán is known for being the most beautiful. If you look at it from above, it almost looks like a flying bird. In the middle of the Guatemalan highlands, this lake is nestled between the mountains of the Sierra Madre and provides a light and views that no one has ever seen before. The name Atitlán means “by the water” in Nahuatl spoken by the Aztecs. It is the deepest lake in all of Central America (max. 340 meters) and is therefore a cold lake. It is worth taking a trip around the lake and visiting the small towns and villages that are properly inspired by the Mayan culture even today.
Get around Guatemala
Bus is both the cheapest and most efficient way to get around Guatemala. However, the roads are both muddy and uneven during the rainy season, so it may be a good idea to take a motion sickness tablet if you are sensitive. Between the larger cities such as Antigua and Chichicastenago and more, there are constantly buses. In some cases you can also take a domestic flight, and to some national parks it is best to go by boat. There are also boat connections between Guatemala and Belize and between Mexico and Guatemala you can take the train.