Guatemala is the heart of the Mayan world, a mystic and ancestral country. The legacy of Mayan culture is rooted in the habits and traditions of the native inhabitants,and it can be noticed in every step you take through this beautiful country. Guatemala offers a big variety of attractions which won’t leave us cold, as its coloured native markets, its big and active volcanos, lakes, rivers, caves, jungle, Caribbean coast and, above all, a huge number of Mayan remains scattered all over its geography. In our trip we will soak into these magical places and its people, who are always kind to the visitor.
Guatemala possesses 37 big volcanos which rise as sentinels over the fertile lands, the crystalline lakes and the colonial cities of this riveting country. Even though most of these volcanos are inactive, some of then, as the Pacaya, the Fuego and the Santiaguito, are currently going through an active phase and provide an spectacular geological spectacle to whoever may contemplate or ascend them. In our trips we will be able to go up these giants. Among them, the Tajumulco (4,220 m), will stand out as the highest volcano in the country and the biggest summit in Central America.
Guatemala is the country of the perpetual spring and the best period for a visit depends on the kind of trip we may be planning. It has a pleasant climate, with temperatures which fluctuate between the 18 and the 26ºC at the sea level. Very noticeable climatological seasons don’t really exist, and practically every moment of the year is appropiate for visiting this country. However, it’s important to remember that if we are going to visit the Mayan remains in Petén’s jungle, the period from January to April is reccommended, as it is the less rainy season. If we want to organise an expedition to climb the volcanos, the period in which we will encounter less rain and cloudless skies will range from October to January, although the April-May period will also be fine. Between May and September, the chance of encountering rain and fog in the mountains increase, although this season coincides with the tourist high-season, and every year the climbs are set without any problems during these months.
Places to visit
Ancient Guatemala – The Old capital city, an architectural jewel of colonial style. The impressive Agua and Fuego volcanos can be observed as a backdrop from any part of the city.
Pacaya Volcano – Climbing this volcano at dusk in order to observe the burning lava in the dark night is an spectacle worth seeing.
Atitlán Lake – The most popular lake in the country is surrounded by impressive volcanos. Many communities and villages settle along its shore, where you can enjoy a calm stay full of great landscapes, expeditions and local cuisine.
Chichicastenango – “Chichi” is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Guatemala due to its cultural richness and the coloured native market which is held every week. You can’t miss the religious rituals set up by the shamans of the area.
Semuc Champey – Cerca de Lanquín, sobre el río Cahabón, Semuc Champey es un conjunto de elementos geológicos de naturaleza kárstica donde destacan el espectacular arco de roca, las cuevas subterráneas y las plataformas escalonadas, decoradas con piscinas de agua turquesa ideales para el baño. El entorno está rodeado por un bosque subtropical cálido, con numerosa biodiversidad.
Río Dulce – The natural reserves which extend itself along this river are a home for the manatee. During the aquatic expeditions in the river you will be able to observe the flora and fauna who lives in the tropical forest that surrounds the fluvial course.
The Caribbean Guatemala -The big Izabal lake, the biggest of Guatemala with 590 km, is a huge water mirror surrounded by mango, avocado and pineapple gardens. Río Dulce is born from its deep waters, which lead into the town of Livingston, where you can enjoy a peaceful stay and make interesting expeditions to places like Siete Altares waterfall.
Flores – The island and the town of Flores, located over Petén Itzá lake, are a redoubt of peace and tranquillity to rest and prepare the expeditions to Petén’s jungle.
Tikal – A Mayan treasure hidden in Petén’s jungle, it was one of the most prosperous comercial centres in the pre-Columbian era. Declared World’s Cultural Heritage, this location is a compulsory visit for any traveller who comes to the country. Its pyramidal temples and palaces tidied around a central square stand out. The value of Tikal not only comes from its landscapes, but also from its ecological footprints, as it is located into a biosphere reserve and during your visit you will be able to observe animals as the monkey, the coati, the guinea pig and exotic birds.
Mayan sites – There are hundreds of Mayan sites scattered all over Guatemala’s geography. Places as Ceibal, Iximché, Quiriguá, Aguateca or Yaxhá are highly recommended spots to include in any cultural trip in the country.
Volcano climbing – Maybe the most spectacular and recommended volcano climbs in Guatemala are the ones made in the Acatenango, the Pacaya, the Santiaguito and the Tajumulco.
Adventure sports – Guatemala is progressively preparing itself for offering the visitor some beautiful alternatives as adventure sports. Rafting descents, canopy routes, canyon descents, zip-line, bungee jumping, speleology and other methods are being developed in the heart of the country.