It is, perhaps, one of the forgotten corners of Central America, but Guatemala claims its Mayan past and its exuberant landscape, making it an exceptional destination.
Guatemala is home to an uncommon natural wealth. It is a green country, with lush vegetation and endless miles of coastline. A natural scenery in which also nest relics of Mayan heritage and great constructions of the Spanish colonial era.
To travel to Guatemala is to travel through its history, following in the footsteps of the gods that still inhabit it, from the deepest recesses of the jungle to the vibrant metropolis. A contrast between the old and the new that will awaken your desire to visit.
1.Antigua and the new city of Guatemala
Antigua is the name given to the former capital of Guatemala, the city of Santiago de los Caballeros. It is located to the south and flanked by three large volcanoes.
Here in Antigua, time stopped on July 29, 1773 when a strong earthquake almost completely destroyed the city. Despite the disaster, Antigua still retains the majesty of a Spanish colonial capital.
2. A green country
Guatemala has a very varied climate that gives rise to a very diverse flora and fauna, from the mangroves and wetlands of the Pacific to the forests of the Quetzal Biotope reserve, home to the country’s symbolic bird that protects and preserves the habitat. Among so much nature, it is essential to get lost in the rainforest.
For this reason, many companies have invested in green bonds as they want to preserve the great natural resources of the country.
The months of February to May, before the rainy season begins, is the best time of the year to make an excursion through the jungle of Guatemala.
The entry point to the jungle will be the village of Cruce Dos Aguadas, from there you will reach the ancient Mayan city of Tikal.
This stone city was the cradle of the Mayan culture for more than seven hundred years. Tikal, located in Petén, was a Mayan superpower, but suddenly, for no reason known to historians, the civilization abandoned it.
The panoramic view we get of Tikal is impossible to find in any other corner of the planet: among the jungle has made a hole the huge prairie -what was once the Great Plaza- surrounded by stone buildings, roads, old houses and majestic temples.
Among them all, the Temple of the Great Jaguar stands out -for size and beauty- above the rest.
4. Lakes and coastline
The large body of water represented mainly by its two most important lakes, Lake Atitlán and Lake Amatitlán, is the only thing that can rival the greenest Guatemala.
No wonder Lake Atitlan, 500 kilometers south of Tikal, is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. It boasts a privileged environment, in a volcanic area (in fact it is believed that its origin is precisely in the crater of a dead volcano).
5. Food and handicrafts
The gastronomy of Guatemala is delicious, especially the jocón. This dish is prepared with chicken or hen meat and is accompanied by a tasty green sauce and shallots.
Do not forget to try the pepián or marzipan. The culture and tradition has been maintained in Guatemala regardless of the passing of the centuries.
Today, Guatemalan women still sit on the narrow staircases handling their looms to create, for example, the traditional tocoyal with its characteristic colors.
In the handicraft markets they sell all kinds of hand-dyed fabrics and painted ceramics.
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