The land of many trees and Mayan civilization

In Guatemala, you can see active volcanoes, visit colonial towns and ancient ruins, witness vibrant indigenous cultures on the same day.

Guatemala, the central American country, is a fascinating travel destination. The country is diverse and unique. The Guatemalan people are divided between descendants of European settlers, natives, or a mix. The indigenous people sport some of the best colorful clothes I have seen.

Guatemala main attractions consist of ancient Mayan sites, well preserved Spanish colonial cities, volcanoes, rain forests, and picturesque fields and villages. There are many amazing sites to explore and one needs at least a week to see it at a relatively fast pace. Renting a car is the best option, unless you want to have the chicken bus experience. The country is well traveled and open to tourism, and is a relatively easy country to explore.

The infamous Tikal douchbags.

Attractions: Tikal, Lake Atitlan, Antigua, Flores, and Guatemala City.

Itinerary: There are many amazing sites to explore and one needs at least a week to see it at a relatively fast pace. Renting a car is the best option, unless you want to have the chicken bus experience.

Food: Mainly influenced by Mayan, Mexican, and Spanish cultures.  Often part of the meal are corn tortillas freshly made and served hot. The most known food is maybe Tamales.

Famous people: Erick Barrondo the first Olympic medalist of the country, Rigoberta Menchú the Nobel peace winner of 1998, and the 1967 Nobel prize winner M.Á. Asturias.

Recommended book: “Hombres De Maíz” of Miguel Ángel Asturias.

Recommended Music: Ricardo Arjona a popular singer in Latin America.

Amusing fact: the term “banana republic” was popularized because of the United Fruit Company’s solid control of the Guatemala’s government during the early 1900s years.

Pro tip: Guatemala is one of the best places to buy cheap local crafts and textiles. Items like leather wallets, indigenous wooden wall masks, and textiles of great quality can be had at good prices. Must bargain as usual.

Ranking: ★★★★ Read more

Top 5 Favorites

1. Tikal

The most famous site is Tikal National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a fascinating and mesmerizing place. Walking through the site hidden in the middle of the rainforest jungle is such an experience.

A lot of ruins are still partially or completely covered. Tikal was the capital of one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya. It is inspiring to see how the Mayan lived their life and build all these grand structures.

2. Lake Atitlán

The second site to see in Guatemala is Lake Atitlán, a breath-taking lake, considered by some as the most beautiful lake in the world. The panoramic setting of three volcanic mountains behind the lake making it truly a contestant for such title. The sun sets just behind the mountains and I have found it personally the best sunset I have ever witnessed.

3. Antigua

The 3rd destination is the ancient colonial city of Antigua. The entire architecture dates back to the Spanish colonization. It has a number of spectacular ruins of churches, and structures. It a very well preserved UNESCO World Heritage site and building are only one story.

4. Flores
Flores (Image credit).

Flores is a really charming place. Located in the northern end of Guatemala, it’s relatively easy to reach it. It is close to Tikkal and  Uaxactún Ruins which makes it a great stop. The island isn’t particularly big and you can easily walk round it in less than 30 minutes.

5. Guatemala city
Guatemela city. (Image credit).

Guatemala City is a vibrant city with colorful colonial architecture, good food, and an great locations to discover. The city offers various museums of Mayan history to gourmet restaurants and nightlife.

More Attractions

El Mirador: Another ruins area. needs a 5-6 day hike.

Semuc Champey: A 300m long natural forming limestone water creeks in the midst of the jungle close to Lanquin. 

Quetzaltenango: 2nd largest city in Guatemala.

Volcan de Pacaya. Pretty area full of extinct volcanoes.

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  1. Vadim

    I would like to disagree about Guatemala 😀😀

    1. Hassan

      Why? do you think the food was not spicy enough?

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