Guatemala is a small country in Central America. Once there was one of the centers of the Mayan civilization, so the country has preserved a huge number of antiquities and monuments that attract tourists from all over the world. People also come here to see active volcanoes, tropical forests, authentic Indian villages, beaches and shopping - all this can be easily found in Guatemala. The best time to visit the country is from November to May, when the weather is most conducive to tourism. In Guatemala, you should definitely use sunscreen, as well as use only purified or boiled water.
Those wishing to visit Mayan archaeological sites should include places such as Quirigua, Flores, Yashxa, Seibal and Ishimche in their itinerary. Tourists who, among other attractions, appreciate natural sites most of all, will like the Pacaya, Akeitnango, Agua and Fuego volcanoes, the Atitlán and Peten Itza lakes, the Quetzal and Tikal parks. In memory of visiting this colorful country, you can bring jade products, hand-woven items of clothing and household items, or antiques. Tourists should not forget that it is customary to bargain at fairs in Guatemala to bring down the price.
What to see in Guatemala?
The most interesting and beautiful places, photos and a brief description.
Tikal National Park
One of the largest Mayan settlements, which has been considered a national park since 1955. In the 1st - 9th centuries AD, Tikal was one of the most important cities of the Mitul kingdom. Today Tikal is a popular tourist center and a famous archeological monument of Guatemala.
This famous city-museum dates back to the 16th century. Since then, Antigua Guatemala has been hit hard by many earthquakes, but the surviving local monuments of colonial construction still attract many tourists here. The Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Merced and the building of the local town hall are among the most visited places in Antigua Guatemala.
Archaeological park and ruins of Quirigua
In the southeast of Guatemala, the famous Mayan city of Quirigua is located. Currently, there is an archaeological park here, showing tourists many amazing ancient monuments. Among them are sculptural calendars and stone monuments, which are considered the main "written" chronicles of the ancient civilization.
If you move west from the capital of the state, you can get to the famous Lake Atitlan, whose area exceeds 100 km². The beauty of this volcanic reservoir and local colorful Indian settlements attract many tourists here. Here you can also climb three low volcanoes located near the lake.
The famous Chichicastenango market is considered one of the largest trading floors in Central America. During the days of the fairs, many Guatemalan tourists come here for shopping. Souvenirs, a variety of textiles, dishes and household items, as well as fruits and flowers are sold at the Chichicastenango market.
Only in the 20th century was one of the largest Guatemalan metropolises of the preclassical Maya culture discovered. The first traces of human habitation in El Mirador date back to the 1st century BC. To see two large pyramids and a Mayan temple, tourists need to overcome quite a long way through the tropics, so many excursions offer to ride here on horseback.
City of Flores
In the north of Guatemala is the city of Flores, on the territory of which Tayasal, a postclassical Mayan city, was located until the 18th century. Today, people come to Flores to visit the ancient settlements of the Indians and the caves of Actun-kan, as well as enjoy the picturesque views of the Lago de Peten Itza lake, which is regularly used for guided tours.
One of the best beaches in Guatemala attracts tourists with its almost black volcanic sand and many sea turtles that come ashore in Monterrico to lay their eggs. At low tide, tourists should be careful, as the undercurrents are quite strong here.
South of the capital of Guatemala is one of the largest volcanoes on the planet - the active volcano Pacaya. Mostly lovers of mountain climbing come here, the local trails are quite comfortable and not too difficult. Officially, climbing to the very mouth of Pacaya is prohibited, but many extreme climbers do not pay attention to these restrictions.
Quetzaltenango Central Park
Back in the 18th century, they began to design the central square of Quetzaltenango, where the main park of this city is now located. The main attraction of the central park is the rotunda, built in honor of the famous composer Ovalle, who wrote the music for the anthem of Guatemala. Another decoration of the square, a column located in its center, was installed in honor of one of the presidents of this country.
City of Livingston
In the eastern part of the country is the city of Livingston, home to the amazing Garifuna people, which arose as a result of a mixture of Caribbean, European and Guatemalan cultures. Tourists will find comfortable hotels, restaurants and cafes in Livingston, and in addition to a beach holiday, you can also do sea fishing here.
Lake Peten Itza
The second largest lake in the country, Peten Itza, is located in the northern part of Guatemala. Many animals live here, including toucans, jaguars and crocodiles. Tourists are primarily interested in the ancient Mayan settlements located near Lake Peten Itza.
Arch of Saint Catalina
One of the most popular tourist attractions in the city of La Antigua is the arch of St. Catalina, which connects the two parts of the monastery. The date of construction of this arch is the 17th century, but modern decorations in the form of a clock tower appeared on this building already in the 19th century.
The mesmerizing and intricate cave complex of Lankin was once a sacred site for the Maya. The descendants of the ancient civilization still use these caves for their ceremonies. Currently, only about 400 meters of Lankin Cave is open to tourists. Among other entertainments, here you can ride an inflatable boat on an underground cave river.
Fort San Felipe de Lara
The Spanish colonial fort of San Felipe de Lara is considered a very popular tourist attraction in the east of the country. The first human settlements appeared here in the 2nd century BC, and the fort itself was built in 1644 to protect against pirates who robbed the local port.
Lake El Golfete
The extraordinarily beautiful Lake El Golfete is located between the mountains in the eastern part of Guatemala. Amazing manatees, howler monkeys, as well as many birds live here. Lake El Golfete, in the waters of which there are a lot of fish, attracts, first of all, lovers of eco-tourism and fishing.
City of Solola
Tourists usually visit the small town of Solola on their way to Lake Atitlan. A noisy fair takes place every week on the central square of Solola, where residents of local villages in national costumes gather. In addition to "market shopping" in Solol, it is worth taking an excursion to the local historical museum.
Semuk Champey waterfalls
One of the most beautiful places in Guatemala, which is well-deservedly popular with tourists, is the Semuc Champey waterfalls. To view this natural attraction, several tourist routes have been laid, the most difficult of which allows you to see the waterfalls from a bird's eye view.
Quetzal Biosphere Park
In the 20th century, a special biosphere park of the same name was created to protect the Mayan sacred birds of the Quetzal. Two hiking trails - the Path of Ferns (about 2 km) and the Path of Mosses (about 4 km) - will introduce tourists to local animals and birds, and if you are lucky, visitors to the park will be able to admire the bright plumage of 35-cm quetzals with their own eyes.
In the city of Panajachel, located in the southwest of the country, there is the famous Santander Street. It connects the historic center with Lake Atitlán. On this street you can buy almost any product manufactured by the Maya Indians - ceramics, national clothes, household items, various souvenirs. In addition to shops and shops, there are also restaurants, cafes, bars and hotels.
Palace of the Captain-Generals
In the second half of the 18th century, the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales palace was erected in La Antigua, which is also called the residence of the Captain Generals. In addition to administrative services, there were stables, a court, a mint, military barracks and reception halls. Today, the palace is used for urban needs and is one of the most famous tourist sites in La Antigua.
Ruins of Yashkh
The ancient Mayan city, inhabited since 600 BC, is located between two lagoons in the northern part of Guatemala. More than 500 structures have been discovered here, including pyramids, ball stadiums and a whole network of sacred roads connecting different parts of the ancient city. Ceremonial and domestic pottery items found in Yashkha adorn depictions of historical and mythological scenes of Mayan life.
Cerro de la Cruz hill
About half an hour's walk from the center of La Antigua is Cerro de la Cruz hill, which has one of the best viewpoints in the city. Three volcanoes can be seen from the hill, as well as the main sights of La Antigua. On the hill of Cerro de la Cruz, in the first half of the 20th century, a stone Redeemer Cross was erected, which is visited by many believers in Guatemala.
Central square in Guatemala City
In zone 1 in the capital of the state is the Central Plaza of Guatemala City. There is a zero kilometer and an eternal flame dedicated to unknown heroes, and from different sides the square is surrounded by the National Palace, the Cathedral and the National Library of Guatemala. The most important celebrations and concerts are held in the central square, and on weekends a noisy fair unfolds here.
San Juan la Laguna
On the southern shore of Lake Atitlán is one of the municipalities of Solola - San Juan la Laguna. This small town is famous for its art - the walls of many houses are used here as a canvas for paintings. Here you can also profitably purchase various items of traditional Guatemalan art.
Archaeological Park of Seibal
In the northern part of the department of Petén, there is a famous tourist site - the archaeological park of Ceibal. A lot of evidence of the ancient Mayan civilization has been preserved here, among which about 20 stelae and two temples stand out, one of which was used for astronomical observations.
Archaeological zone of Ishimche
Once Ishimche was the capital of one of the Mayan tribes. Today, this archaeological monument of antiquity is divided into six zones, of which only half is open for inspection. Here you can see more than one hundred and fifty Mayan structures, including palaces, temples and fields for ball games.