A comprehensive Guatemala travel guide providing Guatemala tourism and travel information with hotels, tourist attractions, restaurants, tours, food, culture, and visitors guide to Guatemala cities such as Antigua, Tikal, Coban, Guatemala City and more.
World Travel Guide Travel to Guatemala

Guatemala travel guide


Overview

Whether your dream is to study Spanish in the historic town of Antigua, or to become acquainted with the ancient Mayan culture, or whether it's to explore the mountainous nether regions of this green and glorious country, Guatemala draws you in and won't let go. The country's Mayan heritage abounds, as evidenced in the archaeological sites of El Peten and Chichicastenango, and also in the everyday life of Guatemalans — Mayan in ethnicity, language and culture. And if you want to go back even further in time, take a trip to Sana Lucia Cotzumalguapa for a peek into the strange and intriguing Pipil culture with its mystifying carved heads made of stone. And just so you know, traveling through Guatemala used to be considered dangerous but this is no longer true. Backpackers are a common site and get along just fine using the ordinary amount of caution you'd use anywhere.

Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is situated between three volcanoes (Fuego, Agua and Acatenango). This colonial city was once the capital of Guatemala but a 7.4 magnitude earthquake in 1717 destroyed much of the city and caused authorities to consider moving the capital to a safer place. Then in 1773, another earthquake wreaked even more havoc on what was left of Antigua, forcing the Spanish Crown in 1776 to move the capital away from Antigua to what is now Guatemala City. Today, Antigua is a Spanish language learning destination for anyone wishing to bone up on their Spanish. For very reasonable prices, you can stay with a local family while attending Spanish classes during the day. Best of all you get to explore this stunning city so unlike other Central American cities you'll wonder where you are. For example, building codes are actually respected, trash is collected, power lines are underground, and crime is extremely rare. The streets glisten with bougainvillea breaking out of stone buildings, and brightly painted houses grace narrow cobblestone streets. Hostels, language schools, cafes and restaurants await visitors everywhere. Since Antigua is so high, it's cold at night, especially between October and February, so remember warm clothing.

For a more off-the-tourist-track destination, visit Triangulo Ixil in the Cuchumatanes Mountains. The Ixil Triangle is made up of three main villages: Cotzal, Nebaj, and Chajul, and also numerous smaller villages. It's hard not to have your breath taken away by the soaring mountain views, but what travelers enjoy even more are the Ixil Maya locals. These people suffered greatly during the civil war in the early 80s and their perseverance remains. The women are known for their brightly colored hair braids, dresses and shawls, and they love showing off their wares for anyone who comes by. This region really is far off the tourist track, so read up before going and come prepared!


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