Thanks to its ecological and cultural diversity, Guatemala is one of the most popular tourist areas in the region. It has a variety of landscapes and different climates which promote a rich and abundant flora and fauna. Approximately 2/3 of Guatemala’s territory is formed by mountains, many of which are of volcanic origin.
Description of the area
One of Guatemala City’s main attractions is the diversity of its cultural activities, entertainment and nightlife; of particular interest are its religious festivals and celebrations. In addition, the city is the point of reference to reach any other destination in the country.
The historic center houses an endless number of buildings of great cultural value. The railway cafe-bridge serves as a dividing point between the cultural district of “Cuatro Grados Norte”, that is a meeting point for all ages, tastes and trends and the “Centro Cívico” that houses the government buildings.
Guatemalan cuisine is characterized by the variety of its flavors, aromas and the color of its dishes. Its cuisine is based on the use of spices, which give a particular flavor to its dishes. The use of products such as maize, beans, a wide variety of fruits (pitaya, avocado, melon, dates, papaya, plantains, etc), rice, beef and chicken are also characteristic of this cuisine.
The typical food in each region and each dish will guarantee your palate is satisfied. Lobsters caught off the Caribbean coast and Pacific shrimp are one of the delicacies that you can sample for a very good price. The hot dish tapado, which is a national version of bouillabaisse (Provençal fish stew) is also found here, and includes unusual ingredients such as plantains.
Old Guatemala (45 minutes from the capital). Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. The valley has top quality coffee plantations. As well as this you will find carpentry workshops, pastry makers, craftsmen and masons working from stone, as well as wax and candle making, rocketry and glassware, that is considered Majolica by some historians. The area is also famous for its owls. It is also famous for its jade workshops.
Chichicastenango An open air market is renowned and offers a wide range of typical goods. This indigenous market is the most important and impressive in the country, and has hardly changed in centuries.
Panajachel: Among its natural attractions are Atitlán Lake, Panajachel River, El Tzala Waterfalls and La Piedra del Sape lookout. The activities that you can take part in around Panajachel include kayaking on the shores of the lake, bird-watching, zip-lining through the canopies of San Buenaventura nature reserve, eco-tourism and shopping for handmade crafts in Calle Santander.
Pacaya Volcano: A volcano located between the Departamentos (administrative regions) of Guatemala and Escuintla. It is 2,552 m high. Its highly explosive activity resulted in the formation of huge craters.
Guatemala is the largest and most cosmopolitan city in Central America. New shopping centers have developed as entertainment centers with restaurants, cinemas, exclusive boutiques and other attractions. In addition, Guatemala has very low customs duties, and therefore prices are much more accessible than in the United States.
Local markets are also a good alternative for tourists who are looking for typical souvenirs.