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Guatemala has everything you’re looking for in a vacation destination. From history to culture, ancient ruins and brilliant colonial architecture, natural beauty and adventure, you’ll love traveling to the country – it’s known as the Mayan center of Central America because of the many historical sites.
The landscape is stunning with lush rainforests that are home to iguanas, spider monkeys, and toucans – they hide amongst the mahogany tress. Guatemala has other gems. Antigua, a colonial city, is surrounded by volcanoes. Chichicastenango is a famous market where on Thursdays and Sundays, vendors sell a variety items from crafts to medicinal plants. Want a bite to eat? Dine at one of the eateries (comedores) located in the central part of the market.
Read on to learn the reasons why you’ll want to visit Guatemala. But understand that when you travel to the country you may not return home the same person as when you left. There’s no denying Guatemala’s turbulent past. However, it’s a young, developing democratic country looking toward modernizing its economy and moving beyond the status quo.
Why You’ll Want to Vacation in Guatemala
Before you leave for your Guatemalan vacation, you may want to know some interesting details about the country:
- Guatemala is the size of the state of Ohio.
- Human settlers in Guatemala go back to at least 18,000 BC.
- During the colonial time, Guatemala was an Audiencia and a Captaincy General of Spain, and a part of New Spain (Mexico).
- Since the peace accords in 1996, Guatemala has had consecutive democratic elections.
- Guatemala City is the capital and largest city.
- Has one of the world’s toughest “No Smoking” laws. Do not light up in public places!
Keep in mind that a Guatemala vacation is inexpensive – you can stretch your money and imagination.
For example, if you’re a fashion designer or aspiring to be one, you can buy fabrics and textiles to use in your clothing or accessories (purses, scarves, and hats). You’ll find traditional Mayan blouses and skirts, or huipiles and cortes, perfect for retaining the authenticity of the culture.
Before you explore Mayan ruins, you may want to know more about the ancient civilization by visiting the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology in Guatemala City. You’ll see a vast collection of artifacts, treasures (Piedras Negras’ throne), and a model of Tikal, one of the most notable Mayan ruins.
Located in eastern Guatemala, Río Dulce is popular aquatic excursion. The 25 mile journey takes you from Lago (Lake) Izabal to Livingston at the Caribbean Sea and past canyons, hot springs (stop for a soak) and rainforests. You may want to visit the towns of El Relleno and Fronteras as they offer you the chance to sail and hike around the area.
Hailed by the tourism industry as one of the best spots in Guatemala, Semuc Champey boasts exquisite turquoise limestone pools and waterfalls. It’s worth the trip to Lanquin, near Coban, Alta Verapaz.
Have you thought about taking a volunteer vacation? You’ll find several nonprofits in Quetzaltenango that would welcome your help with social projects. Not only is this a great way to learn about Guatemala and its people, but you can give back and make a difference. You may choose to teach math to children or help with sustainable agriculture.
When you travel to Guatemala, you may be amazed by the diversity, from Catholic churches existing along with Mayan temples to tropical jungles and highlands that give way to a modern Latin American philosophy. Guatemala offers you a travel experience that you may not get in another country.
Take a Vacation to Guatemala
Even though stories about high crimes and tense politics surface; traveling to Guatemala can be an adventure of a lifetime. Most travelers are met with kindness and hospitality from the locals and are charmed by the beautiful scenery.
Imagine vacationing in Guatemala. Perhaps you’ll explore the ancient Yaxha Mayan ruins where you follow the trail through the jungle and arrive at the site. You take your time looking around and examining the drawings and hieroglyphs. You wonder what it was like to live during the time of the Maya.
If you’re ready to book your Guatemala vacation, contact your Travel Planners International Agent today. They’ll help you plan a trip that you won’t soon forget.
by Amandah T. Blackwell, Savvy-Writer