Set amongst breathtaking mountain scenery, Guatemala has a colourful history and people. The designs and colours seen in the artwork and clothes of Guatemalans, reflect their friendly, easygoing nature. Certain designs on clothing items represent the wearer’s village region, and can also represent religious or magical meanings.
For those interested in learning about the Mayan history, Guatemala is a fantastic destination to see first hand the works of the ancient Mayans. With a history stretching back over 4000 years, the Mayans and their predecessors left behind many ruins, one of the most famous being Tikal. Set in the jungle, the spectacular pyramids of Tikal are a sight to behold. Towering pyramids rise out of the jungle’s green canopy, while below the abundant wildlife emits sounds of the jungle as you trek through this amazing site.
If it is lakes and mountains you are interested in, then a few days on the shores of Lake Atitlan will be perfect. This large lake, with three large extinct volcanoes towering above, gives you the chance to soak in thermal springs, visit the local villages and their markets, trek in the surrounds, or even get your scuba-diving certificate diving in Lake Atitlan!
No visit to Guatemala is complete without a visit to the colourful market of Chichicastenango. This amazing market blends traditional Indian life and their ancient beliefs with selling beautifully embroidered blouses and skirts, table cloths and blankets. A day at the market is usually dotted with parades by the locals honouring their ancient Mayan rituals and Catholic rites.
For those wishing to work on their Spanish skills, Guatemala is the perfect destination to do this. Guatemalan Spanish is very clear and easy to understand, so a short course in Spanish in one of the beautiful cities, such as Antigua, will be a wonderful experience. You can choose to have a homestay with a Guatemalan family, or stay in a hotel. Either way you will learn Spanish in one of the certified schools and enjoy your Guatemalan experience all the more with your newly acquired Spanish!
Markets, mountains, jungles and ancient ruins give the visitor to Guatemala a chance to experience the delights of this small Central American country.
108,430 sq km (41,865 sq miles)
Spanish (official), Amerindian, others
Guatemala City, Mixco, Villa Nueva
Volcán Tajumulco (4,211 meters)
Roman Catholic, Protestant, indigenous Mayan beliefs
Office hours are Monday - Friday 0800 - 1800, Saturday 0800 - 1200.
Guatemala’s weather is eternally comfortable: neither too hot nor too cold. Its seasons tend to be divided into the dry season and the wet season and the temperature, which averages 22°C across the country. The tropical lowlands are more hot and humid, while it is cooler in the highlands.
Most public phone booths accept phone cards, and internet cafes are offer the best value international calls. Roaming agreements exist with some international mobile phone companies. It is possible to buy cheap pay-as-you-go phones from local companies.
This colourful land with its proud ethnic cultures, lush, exotic jungles, towering volcanic peaks and colonial architecture is a nature lover’s paradise. It is a country of contrasts where Catholic churches exists alongside Mayan traditions, where the rugged highlands give way to the undulating tropical jungles and where the legacy of its ancient civilisations is as evident as its modern, Latin culture. Guatemala is home to many spectacular Mayan archaeological sites and monuments. Visitors can explore caves, go scuba diving, fishing or kayaking, experience elaborate religious celebrations and parades or shop in the colourful markets of the Mayan mountaintop towns. The current in Guatemala is 115-125V, 60Hz. The flat two pin plug is the same as used in U.S.
The majority of travel within Guatemala is by road and major highways connect the main cities. Most travel is by bus which are cheap and efficient and cycling is common. Driving conditions are not for the faint hearted as many rural roads can be poorly maintained.