Guatemala (náhuatl: Quauhtlemallan, ‘place where are a lot of trees’) oficially, República de Guatemala.
The extraordinary beauty of the Guatemalan territory and the warm spirit of its people make Guatemala a unique destination in the world – a perfect balance of beauty and soul. Guatemala is a country that opens its doors to visitors to share the greatness of its history, the beauty of its landscapes, the mystery of their ancestors, the spirit of their culture and the hearts of its people.
Unique Climate and culture
Located in the center of the Americas, Guatemala has become a major business center and a perfect tourist destination.
With a territory slightly larger than 108.800 km ² (a little bit larger than Portugal), Guatemala is divided into 22 departments and has 12 million inhabitants. The population has a unique culture from the mix of 22
Maya ethnic groups, Ladino and Garinagu. The official language is Spanish, but also there are 23 other languages, 21 Maya, Garifuna and Xinca.
The warm climate of the coast of Guatemala is perfectly balanced with the mild climate of the plateau, which has led to Guatemala to be considered as one of the best and healthiest climates in the world, “Country of Eternal Spring.”
Taking into account the richness and diversity of the tourism product of Guatemala, the area is promoted through seven tourism systems: Altiplano; Viva Maya Culture; The Pacific, exotic and diverse; Guatemala, Modern and Colonial (Antigua Guatemala); Izabal, a Caribbean Green; The Verapaces, Natural Paradise; East, Mystic, Natural; and Petén, Mayan Adventure World.
Guatemala offers a great variety of tourism activities for the enjoyment of visitors. Its varied geography and climate allows for a wide variety of opportunities to enjoy a holiday.
- Archaeology – Guatemala is the heart of mysticism, of Maya archeology. The country has countless archaeological sites of prehistoric periods. Tikal’s majestic city is the ultimate symbol of the Mayan culture. In the last decades have discovered other spectacular places as San Bartolo, with its magnificent murals; Yaxhá with referrals to the city beautiful and incredible lagoon; El Mirador, where the largest pyramid in the world, by volume; Takalik Abaj in Retalhuleu, south of the country, with ten terraces that rise 1,500 meters above the Pacific and that is the transition from the Olmec civilization to the Mayan and Mayan botanical gardens, such as Pilar near the border with Belize, which have begun to recreate as archaeologists learn more the way that the Maya were able to live harmoniously and sustainably with nature.
- Living Cultures – One of the elements that make it unique to Guatemala, is the living culture of the indigenous population. It is experienced every day in every corner of the country, especially in the western region. The colors, traditions, languages, rituals and customs of the country have their origin in the 23 ethnic gr
oups living in Guatemala. Each clings to its ancestral roots, distinguished by their outfits, each peculiar to each population.
- Religious tourism – The religion of Guatemalans is breathed in every moment that lives in Guatemala. For its part, the Holy Week is a surprising mixture of symbols, sounds and aromas. Colorful carpets made of fresh pine leaves, dyed sawdust and flower petals under the perfume of incense, are leading the way, in cities and towns, the typical processions of the time. Holy Week has become one of the religious sites and most memorable and sought after by tourists from around the world.
- Crafts – Guatemalan handicrafts are famous, exotic and diverse. Guatemala is the center of production of these crafts and are found throughout the course of the country. The distinctive designs of textiles, especially the highlands, and the various utensils for daily use can be works of art in your home. The textile and wooden masks are some of the materials found in tourist destinations, samples of the mixture of indigenous and Christian cultures.
- Folk Festivals – 23 different ethnic groups with different languages and a rich colonial past, have created an explosion of folk festivals: religious traditions or anything else of the imagination. Such is the case of Rabin Ajaw national folklore festival in Coban, Alta Verapaz, on July. On November 1st, All Saints’ Day, held two of the most important folk festivals: the horse races in Todos Santos and the flight of the giant kites in Santiago Sacatepequez and Sumpango.
Parks and Reserves – Guatemala has one of the most important biological treasures of the world. It is the habitat for 10% of all recorded species on the planet. This includes 19 ecosystems, 300 micro climates and 33volcanoes, of which five are active. The tourists who visit Guatemala travel from a cloud forest to the beaches of black sand on the Pacific coast within minutes.
- Caving – Explore and study caves is one of the most extraordinary adventures that nature offers. A weekend or a day, inside a cave is a journey into another world as remote as the ocean or even the phase of another planet. For the Maya civilization, caves were the secret entrance to the underworld. Thanks to the abundance of limestone, Guatemala has caves of various sizes, shapes, lengths and depths. These caves can be visited on foot, swimming, canoes or boats. Candelaria Caves of Rey Marcos and Lankin are in the Verapaz region, while Peten is home to the cave Actun Kan.
- Canopy – What began as a study object for forests, became one of the most attractive tourist activities in the country. The Guatemalan jungle can be seen from more than 30 meters high, zigzagging from tree to tree and then landing on underlying platforms while advancing to the next tree: the combination of these actions will ensure a dose of adrenaline along the entire journey. To complete your adventure, if you decide to visit the park Ixpanpajul in Petén, you can cross the hanging bridges.
- Rafting – Guatemala is a country with many natural resources, where there are mountains and rivers. So it’s no wonder that in recent years the popularity of rafting is increasing. The variety of rivers in Guatemala to river rafting, kayaking, going from level two to level five, and they even found during the dry season from December to May. The rivers for rafting in the Caribbean side are not only spectacular in themselves, for their incredible blue water or green, but because along the way, on his way to lead the Atlantic, you can find monkeys, toucans and macaws.
- Lakes and Beaches – The Pacific coast of Guatemala is characterized by black volcanic sand that gives it a very exotic difference. In addition, the Guatemalan territory is characterized by many lakes and ponds that have many of them volcanic origin. The most spectacular is Lake Atitlan, which was formed 85.000 years ago, when one of the volcanoes of the zone erupted. Volcanoes Toliman, Atitlan and San Pedro, which remain inactive, surround the lake and hide like if they were his guards. Another example is Lake Amatitlán, which is fed by waterfalls that contain sulfur, and the Boiler Lagoon, located on the slopes of the volcano Pacaya. Ipala Lagoon, in the department of Jutiapa, has an emerald, while the Lake Izabal, the country’s Atlantic coast, is the largest lake freshwater. The city of this region is Livingston, home of the Garifuna ethnic group and a place that should definitely visit.