Aldous Huxley described it as "the most beautiful lake in the world". It has an area of 128 km2 and a depth of approximately 350 meters. Surrounded by a landscape of mountains covered with thick vegetation, is guarded by three volcanoes: The Atitlán, Tolimán and St. Peterof altitudes between 3000 and 3500 meters. Around the lake there are about 12 small Mayan villages. Since Panajachal (the most touristic and known of them all) to the east is Maya area Quiche west are the peoples of the Maya Cakchiquel and opposite the Maya tzutuhiles. Each ethnic group has its own dialect and their own clothes. The lake never looks the same twice. Every hour of the day gives a different look. The clouds usually cover the tops of three volcanoes (actually seems that land on them to rest), causing incredible shadows and reflections. Its waters, quiet and clean-looking, are buffeted by a wind midday own area, the Xocomil, which in Mayan means "the wind picks up sins." The Sunset Café, at the end of the street Santander, in Panajachel, is the perfect place to enjoy the amazing spectacle of the lake.
El Arco de Santa Catalina is the symbol of Antigua. Constructed in the year 1649 for the nuns of the Convent of Mercy Nuetra, it was reconstructed along with the clock tower in the 19th century after the earthquakes before. One can not leave Antigua without going through this Arc many times without photograph as many. Its charm lies in something indescribable: the mixture of red ocher and the backdrop-2 volcanoes-the lights at night, the cobblestone street. It is a symbol of the city of Antigua: you can have a thousand reasons to like Antigua, but the magic is in the background of all of them.
There is much mystery surrounding the development and disappearance of this civilization. During my trip to Guatemala I did not want to miss out on getting lost in the mantle of green sea of trees and listening to nature with abundant fauna and flora of this wonderful place. It is situated in the Petén region, north of present-day Guatemala and is part of the Tikal National Park, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 1979. Although it is still a mystery because the disappearance of this civilization that was so powerful and yet so advanced in their studies of Arithmetic, architecture and astrology, what is certain is that they left a great legacy, so I encourage you to visit.
The natural pools of Semuc Champey are one of the most popular places to visit in Verapaz, Guatemala. To get there from Cobán, you need to take a shared minibus until Lanquín or a direct minibus to Semuc. From Lanquín, you can easily find transportation on the street or via your hotel which will surely offer to arrange a trip for only 20 Quetzals or so for only transportation or around 120-160 Queztals for a full tour including visits to the caves and tubing.
The entrance fee to the park is 50 Queztals (a bit over $5.00) and the park is open until 4:00pm. If you go with a tour, you probably won't have too much time to enjoy the pools, but if you go on your own you can spend all day enjoying the amazing lookout post and splashing around in the pools.
There are also some hikes in the area you can do like the trail to the "sumidero", an area where the Cahabón River goes underground only to appear again after the pools area. The pools themselves are paradise...really, total peace. You can swim in almost all the pools and the water is cool and refreshing. At the entrance, there are bathrooms and some places selling food and drinks (but it's best to just pack a sandwich).
The Pacaya volcano is a really interesting place to visit. The ascent is easy and the volcano is active, so there are small eruptions sometimes, leading to rivers of lava. Although ¡it is situated in San Vicente Pacaya, you can go on guided tours from Antigua or from Guatemala City. The views are spectacular climb, with other volcanoes in the surrounding areas and Pacaya coughing up smoke and ash from its crater.
The views are taken from this mound are impressive, especially if the day is clear, with the volcano on the Water front. Although it is not a good idea to climb by yourself, they organize group trips and I went up 2 times. It does not take more than half an hour to reach the top.
Flores Guatemala is a city located at a distance of a hundred miles from the Guatemala border - Mexico. This city is surrounded by water on all sides, and lined with small restaurants serving seafood. This city is very colorful and has many souvenir shops (for tourists like us) seling typical gifts of the area.
Saying Chichicastenango is the exact same as saying MARKET. With capital letters. Many years ago, the people of the villages undertook long walks around with the goods on their backs, tireless, heading to Chichicastenango. It was-and is-one of the largest indigenous markets throughout Guatemala and certainly the most famous. Some came casting a blanket on the floor, preparing something to eat and waiting for market day. On Thursdays and Sundays, early in the morning, all sellers arrange their vegetables, fruits, blankets, food utensils, handicrafts, ceramics ... Anything can be sold here ... Yes, you should haggle a lot. Prices can fall incredibly with a little patience and good humor. In the afternoon, the market is losing life slowly, but it is the best time to get good prices, as traders prefer to get rid of their goods before returning up the slopes with them. Without doubt, the best thing of all, is the noise, the smell of food, the market cross-talk ... One can not leave Guatemala without going to Chichi market.
The Central Market in Guatemala's Zone 1 is next to the central park, a few minutes walk from the National Palace and the Cathedral. You should go down the street coming out of Central Park by the side of the cathedral. Central Market now refers to the whole five block area where the shops sell everything, shoes, clothes, CDs, real shops. There are more stalls on the street, but the food more than anything else is in the market itself, which is in a basement. There are all kinds of fruits, vegetables, but also a lot of flowers and tropical plants very beautiful, and now more and more Guatemalan crafts. Wooden objects, candles, precious stones, gold and silver can be found in the market. One thing that people really like are the "chapines", as they call the Guatemalans, they are sweets. Typical Guatemala sweets are very good, there's candied fruit, such as pumpkins, egg chimbo, fritters, fried milk, milk newsboys, curls, chilacayote, and coconut candies and delicious coconut cakes.
They call Panajachel "Gringotenango" as it's a favorite of tourists and travelers. In the 1970s it was a haven for hippies and there are still some who refuse leave, but most left after the earthquake of 1978. The place could be described as a large permanent market with craft stalls for tourism, especially on the road leading to the small harbor. The village is very busy, the lake is worth it and is one of the major tourist attractions in Guatemala.
The Guatemala City officially recognized its Historic Center in 1998 and began to restore this important part of the city that had been neglected over the years. Today, it's a beautiful meeting point for local Guatemalans to eat, shop, and enjoy their days off. Most of the buildings in the historic center were built in the late nineteenth century and today historic colonial buildings stand side by side with modern establishments like galleries and cultural centers. You can't miss when you're in town!
For a couple of bucks, a "Chicken Bus" (also known as "parrilleras") will take you to any remote site throughout Guatemala. From the Pacific coast to the Caribbean, through Atitlan or Quiche, the only routes that this colorful method of transportation doesn't cover are those from Guatemala City to Peten. However, the trek is over 8 hours so you can see why they don't cover it.
The Chicken Buses are yellow American school buses we all saw during your childhoods. Once they get too old for service, they are sent to retire in Guatemala where they're painted in cheerful colors and the name of the company that owns them. Typically, the driver manages the bus and decides where it goes and at what time. The schedules tend to change depending on the driver's mood, alertness, and, well, willingness to work that day!
That being said, there are always plenty of buses for any given destination. To catch one, you need to wait on the side of the road and board almost running as the drivers don't want to bring the buses to a full stop. The buses are full of smiling Guatemalans, chattering children, and, you guessed it, chickens! It's actually surprisingly welcoming. You can't depend on them for arriving on time (in other words, not the ideal mode of transportation for those on a strict schedule), but they're a fun way to travel and generally safe.
Best moments: when you reach the open road and the driver puts on religious music and begins to sing. Unforgettable!
This happened for Easter ... I had fun watching the procession in the colonial city and I loved seeing the different types of carpet on which the procession took place. In the court there are photographers who capture photos of the event and the church's extraordinary baroque stucco work. There are many detailed embellishments around the entrance...a single picture is not enough to capture the image.
This bright and spacious square is one of the most beautiful ones in all of Guatemala. It is the true focal point of the city, and is always filled with tourists. Tourists, natives, musicians, craftsmen ... All come to this place both day and nighttime. If you are lucky, you can enjoy both the music or sample some delicious "tamales" (dish made of corn dough with chicken, spices, vegetables ... all wrapped in palm leaves) . You will also see shoeshiners, students, groups of strikers .... It was one of the most vibrant places I've ever seen in all my travels.
The Cathedral of Guatemala City was founded on July 27, 1524 and is located in Central Park. At that time, the city was called Santiago de los Caballeros and the country's capital was Antigua Guatemala. But after several earthquakes, the decision was made to move the capital and religious center to the city of Guatemala. The cathedral barely lasted 20 years and was destroyed by a mudslide. Bishop Francisco Marroquín, who also founded the Cathedral of Quetzaltenango, wrote about how beautiful it was, but it was a temporary beauty. Guatemala City's patron saint is the Virgin of the Assumption, and the city festival on the 15th of August features beautiful processions. It was built in 1782 and inaugurated in 1815. Has three naves and two bell towers and works of art were brought from Antigua. It's located in Central Park, a key place to the city, where many people meet on the weekend to eat, talk and walk.
More often called Central Park,Plaza Mayor is the place where they started building "Guate", Guatemala City, after the earthquake that destroyed the old capital of Guatemala. It is the heart of zone 1, next to a lively market, and the place where people gather at the weekend to go for a walk, many people come from far away to see the capital for first time wearing colored suits, and usually are very impressed. In the Plaza is the Cathedral, with its main celebration being held on August 15, and it is also very busy during Holy Week. Then there is the City Hall, an unattractive green building outside, but very nice inside. The Bakery Arcade is on the opposite side of th square. There, there are people selling traditional Guatemalan food such as, pupusas, corn gruel, and the famous shucos, a type of hot dog with guacamole and very spicy, worth 5Q. The neighborhood was abandoned by wealthy families looking for more peace and greenery, but now are returning back to restore homes, and it is getting to be a safer neighborhood, but it is not recommended going there and walking alone after 8 pm. Buses 82 and 40 take you there from the live areas.
Livingston is a special place in Guatemala, because it is in the mouth of the Rio Dulce on the Caribbean coast, and can only be reached by boat from Rio Dulce or Puerto Barrios. While living in the Rio Dulce Maya populations in Livingston is Garifuna people, an ethnic group of black and Caribbean origin. They speak a creole with English, French and Spanish. The cuisine is based on fish, also different from other traditional cuisine in Guatemala. The Garifuna is a mixture of fish with sweet potatoes, cooked in coconut milk. People like to party, carnival and party September 15 (reserve accommodation long beforehand!), There are always people dancing and singing in the street on weekends. The town now lives on tourism, and because many men emigrated to America, the ratio of women is much higher than that of men! The beach can be disappointing, as river mouth, no waters, but the soul of the inhabitants is what makes the stay unique. For taking a dip, I'd rather go to the pools of 7 Altars, a half hour away, or take a boat to Playa Blanca. From Rio Dulce, the boats that are only going to Livingston tourist stop to see the many sights of Rio, as the natives live, animals and birds, and it takes longer but for one of the one-way paths it is great. You can come back to Puerto Barrios and take a bus to Guatemala City. The tourist boats cost 10 euros.