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Guatemala

Guatemala
A holiday in Guatemala is a journey into the heartland of the ancient world of the Mayans.  Unlike most of Latin America, the majority of the local people are still indigenous Indian and many still wear their colourful, traditional costume.  The landscape is stunning and varied with impressive mountain ranges and some of the regions highest volcanoes, many of which are still active.

Read our blog articles on Guatemala here
Guatemala is a small exotic country in Central America located just below south-west Mexico and also bordering Belize, Honduras and El Salvador.  It is has a diverse geography including 33 volcanoes, highland areas, cloud forest and rainforest.  The country offers a unique cultural experience as well as access to some stunning scenery and the world’s most important Maya archaeology sites.
 
Guatemala has a unique culture with a large indigenous Maya population still living much as they have for hundreds of years and with many traditions & beliefs dating back to ancient times. There are 23 different Maya languages spoken in Guatemala and every village has its own distinctive textile using colors and symbols particular to their region.
 
Guatemala was conquered and ruled by the Spanish for over 200 years and you can still see the interesting mix of cultures that has emerged from the Spanish conquest and the materials and religions that they brought here.
 
The capital city is Guatemala City which is also the country’s main international airport and the main tourist areas centre around the Spanish colonial town of Antigua, Lake Atitlan, the market town of Chichicastenango and the rainforest area surrounding the town of Flores and the famous Maya Site of Tikal.
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The beautiful colonial city of Antigua is located close to the capital making it an ideal first point of call.  A dramatic setting in a valley with looming volcanoes adds to the atmosphere. Lake Atitlan lies in the central highlands, set in an enormous caldera and dominated by three volcanoes.  It is one of the most enchanting places of natural beauty in the Americas.
 
Chichicastenango is a well known Indian market town and where Guatemalan handicrafts are renowned worldwide.  This is one of the best places to see the intricate textiles and carved masks and test your haggling skills!
 
The Peten region is a vast, jungle-clad plateau in the north, where many of the impressive ancient cities and temples of the Mayans are now hidden amid the rich and diverse flora and fauna.  Tikal is the most impressive Mayan site in Guatemala and perhaps in the whole Mayan world.
 
The tropical Caribbean coast contrasts greatly with the highlands and makes an ideal stopping off point as you head to the temples of the north.  This once important port is now a backwater but retains its charm and a strong character.

Tikal is probably the most impressive of the ancient Mayan cities and is an absolute must. it is encroached by tropical forest, home to the howler monkey and  with huge, steep pyramid temples that pierce the jungle canopy.

Set in an impressive fertile valley and surrounded by giant volcanoes, Antigua is the best that Guatemala has to offer.  The cobbled streets are lined with superb Spanish colonial architecture and give a feeling of travelling back in time. 
LakeAtitlan is one of the most enchanting places of natural beauty in the Americas.  It lies in an enormous caldera, dominated by three volcanoes and surrounded by numerous Mayan villages.  Atitlan has long been a spiritual place for the locals
The famous market of Chichicastenango is steeped in tradition and atmosphere.  High quality handicrafts such as colourful masks and hand woven textiles line the stalls. Many rural people travel to town on market day and it is fascinating
Livingston is Guatemala’s taste of the Caribbean with bright sunshine, rainforest and reggae beats.  The road stops here, most places are only accessible by boat and life takes a more relaxed pace