Known as the land of the eternal spring, Guatemala offers ancient Mayan culture, fascinating folklore and spectacular natural beauty with its mountains, volcanoes, jungle, tropical rain forests, rivers, lakes and spring-like weather year round.
Traditional foods in Guatemalan cuisine are based on Maya cuisine and often feature corn, chillies and beans as the key ingredients, and also seafood along the Caribbean coast. International restaurants as well as the usual fast-food chains can be found in the larger towns.
Hotels range from international-standard hotels in the cities to elegant colonial boutique hotels as well as tropical deluxe retreats set in the heart of the Petén jungle.
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Where to go in Guatemala
Capital: Guatemala City
Official language: Spanish
Currency: Guatemalan Quetzal (GTQ)
Time zone: GMT −6 hours
International dialling code: +502
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A UNESCO World Heritage site, the colonial town of Antigua features colonial architecture, cobbled stone streets, bougainvillea bursting from crumbling ruins and pastel façades under terracotta rooftops, lovely parks with fountains, and a dramatic setting surrounded by three volcanoes.
Visit Chichicastenango market, the most colourful and picturesque outdoor market in Guatemala. An often chaotic affair, it attracts the Quiché Maya and other vendors from around the country who come to sell their immaculate hand-made products. Enjoy watching locals gather to buy and sell fruits, vegetables, flowers, grains, animals, textiles and handicrafts.
A colourful and relaxed fishermen’s village, home of Garífuna culture, located where the Río Dulce and Caribbean Sea merge together. Take a boat trip on Rio Dulce and explore the charming, old fishermen’s villages.
The Mayan Ruins of Tikal
Explore the Mayan ruins of Tikal in the wild northern Petén region of Guatemala. Set deep in lush jungle, Tikal is the most impressive archaeological site in the Mayan World, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site for Humankind.
Volcanoes, Lakes, Rainforest, Wildlife
There are plenty of opportunities to visit the jungle and rainforest to see the wildlife and nature in Guatemala.
Climb Pacaya volcano - close to Antigua and with an altitude of 2552 metres, the Pacaya volcano has been continually active since 1965. Or visit Lake Atitlán, one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, surrounded by three impressive volcanoes and Mayan villages.
When to go
The best time to visit is during Guatemala’s dry season from November until May. The average annual temperature is around 20°C.
In the coastal regions the temperatures can reach 37°C, whilst in the highlands it can drop to freezing point at night.
In general, nights are quite cool at any time of the year. In the central highlands the rainy season lasts from June to October and is characterised by clear skies before and after the showers. The rain comes in brief showers usually in the afternoon or evening so you will still have plenty of sunshine.
Where to go next
A particularly nice combination is Guatemala with Belize and Mexico’s Riviera. It is easy to transfer overland to the Riviera for a wonderful Caribbean beach holiday with the opportunity to visit the Mayan site of Chichen Itza situated inland and Tulum situated right by the turquoise water of the Caribbean in Mexico.
Map of Guatemala
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