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Travelers who stay in hotels in Guatemala quickly see that this country, the most populous in Central America, is a place full of contrasts. The capital, Guatemala City, or Guate as it is known, is situated in a high central valley almost 1,500 meters above sea level. It combines a cool mountain climate and flat terrain that allows pleasant walks through its streets, full of fascinating historical monuments. Looking to the horizon, travelers will see a ring of jagged peaks that includes four volcanoes. From time to time these volcanoes spew some lava, to the delight of local guides and hotel guests in Guatemala, who will be impressed by the beautiful spectacle of burning fire.
Guatemala experienced a horrible war and now celebrates a peace that took a long time to achieve. The country suffered a brutal 36-year civil conflict, in which a series of dictators ruthlessly eliminated opposition fighters and dissident citizens. Many were "disappeared", so their fate remains unknown. The war ended with a peace agreement in 1996, an achievement commemorated each morning with a ceremony at the National Palace of Culture, in Guatemala City's central plaza, where a guard removes a white rose from a sculpture of hands. raised and hands it to a visitor; instead place a fresh rose to celebrate another day of peace.
Travelers staying at Guatemala resorts have a wide variety of options for visiting a volcano. One of the best and most accessible is El Pacaya. A three kilometer hike allows you to see three other volcanic peaks: Agua, Fuego and Acatenango. It is also possible to contemplate the interior of the Pacaya crater, with columns of boiling steam and, on occasions, lava. A great day trip without as much climbing is to Lake Atitlán, a crater filled with brilliant blue water that reflects the surrounding mountains and fields of wildflowers. Small Mayan towns abound on its shores, each with its own character and style. The town of Panajachel is the most valued by tourists among the resorts in Guatemala, since it has great shops selling locally made textiles, ceramics, jewelry and leather goods. Watching the sunset on the brilliant blue water of the lake is an unforgettable experience. Other nearby and essential places are El Tzala Waterfalls, the viewpoint of La Piedra del Sape and the San Buenaventura Nature Reserve, very popular among bird watchers.
Anyone who wants to know what life was like centuries ago will have their wish fulfilled when they visit Antigua Guatemala. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the city has excellent examples of architecture from the 17th and 18th centuries, in a unique style that uses stucco for ornamentation, both inside and outside the buildings. The structures are robust and low in height, as the area is prone to earthquakes. It has huge arches and deep niches that are especially beautiful when illuminated at night. Coffee plantations spread around the old town. Guatemala is the main producer of beans in all of Central America.