Guatemala is high on the list of places in Central America to visit because of its active volcanoes, its impressive Mayan ruins and the striking culture that seems to be the heart of Central America. There are isolated villages and some of the most impressive natural wonders of the world in this country. The dry season, from November to May, is the best time to visit, but it is also the busiest because it is the tourist season. With great hiking and climbing opportunities as well as birdwatching, this country offers tourists a chance to have a real adventure.

 Attractions

There are many Mayan ceremonial centers to visit where you will get a glimpse of what this ancient society was like. Ruins include temples, plazas and museums where there is an impressive array of artifacts.

Guatemala City

The capital city of the country covers an entire mountain plain and is the epitome of the Latin American culture. Plaza Mayor is the ceremonial center of the city where you can visit the Palacio Nacional is a national history museum where you can learn about the history of the country and the city. There is a superb collection of Mayan and Spanish colonial art at the Museo Popol Vuh and the Museo Ixchel has an impressive collection of costumes from the highlands of Guatemala.

Antigua Guatemala

This is one of the oldest and prettiest cities in the country and is right in the middle of three volcanoes. Here you will see colonial buildings that have lasted through the centuries. There are several impressive churches and at the Casa K?ojom you will learn about Mayan music and ceremonies. On Sundays, everyone turns out to visit the market in Parque Central.

Travel to Guatemala Major international flights land at the airport in Guatemala City and at Flores. You can take the bus or the train, but it will mean an exceptionally long trip from Mexico. However, there are regular buses from Honduras. You can also take a boat from Belize or Honduras.

Travel Within Guatemala

There are domestic flights linking all of the smaller airports and buses link almost all of the major centers. However there are only dirt roads that get quite muddy and often impassable during the rainy season. Minibuses operate between the major tourist destinations and some of the national parks are only accessible by boat.

Language

Spanish is the official language as well as dialects of the Mayan language. English is spoken in the larger cities.

Visa

You only need a passport valid for six months to be able to enter Guatemala.

Safety

Crime is very high and human rights conditions are very poor. The police are corrupt here and you may need to have a little extra cash to bribe them if you run into trouble. The traffic is also dangerous as most of the roads are only one lane.

Food and Drink

You can get almost any cuisine you wish in the main tourist centers. However, if you wish to sample traditional Guatemalan cuisine, the main foods are beans, rice, and tortillas. Gallo is the name of the popular local beer.

Shopping

The items that tourists like to shop for in Guatemala include jade carvings, leather goods, baskets, woven garments and ceramics. The markets often offer the largest selection, although there are department stores and specialty boutiques. If you shop at the market, you are expected to bargain.

Entertainment

Guatemala is the home of the marimba music and there are many nightclubs and bars in the towns and cities. There are also many concerts that you can attend as well as theatres with plays and productions in English.

 

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