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6 reasons to escape to Guatemala

6 reasons to escape to Guatemala

Guatemala is home to a rare natural wealth. It is a green country, with exuberant vegetation and infinite kilometers of coastline.

January 21, 2022

A natural setting in which relics of Mayan heritage and large buildings from the Spanish colonial era also nestle. All this in a Guatemala that seeks, with its business centers and modern buildings, to gain a foothold among the most powerful countries in Central America. Traveling to Guatemala is traveling through its history, following in the footsteps of the gods that still inhabit it, from the depths of the jungle to the vibrant metropolis. A contrast between the old and the new that will awaken your desire to visit it.

1. Old and New Guatemala City

Antigua is the name by which the former capital of Guatemala, the city of Santiago de los Caballeros, is known. It is located to the south and flanked by three large volcanoes. Here in Antigua time stood still on July 29, 1773 when a strong earthquake almost completely destroyed the city. Despite the disaster, Antigua still retains the majesty of a Spanish colonial capital. The beauty of the old town is striking, with its reddish tile roofs, cobbled streets and, above all, the imposing Catholic Cathedral of San José. After the earthquake, the country's capital moved to Guatemala City, a lively area full of museums, restaurants and cafes interspersed with the centuries-old buildings of the historic center, such as the National Palace.

2. A green country

If Guatemala has something, it is a very varied climate that gives rise to a very diverse fauna and flora, from the mangroves and wetlands of the Pacific to the forests of the Biotopo del Quetzal reserve, where the bird symbol of the country that protects and conserves lives. The habitat. Among so much nature it is essential to get lost in the tropical jungle. The months of February to May, before the rainy season begins, is the best time of year to take an excursion through the Guatemalan jungle. The entry point to the jungle will be the town of Cruce Dos Aguadas, from there we will arrive at the ancient Mayan city of Tikal. As you walk through the trees, be aware that you are stepping on the Maya Biosphere Reserve. 18,389 square kilometers of protected tropical forests with their climbing plants, spider monkeys and jaguars.

3. Tikal

This stone city was the cradle of the Mayan culture for more than seven hundred years. Tikal, located in Petén, was a Mayan superpower, however suddenly, and for no reason known to historians, civilization abandoned it. The panoramic view that we get from Tikal is impossible to find anywhere else on the planet: a gap has been made in the jungle for the enormous meadow – what used to be the Great Plaza – surrounded by stone constructions, roads, old houses and majestic temples. Among all the Temple of the Great Jaguar stands out -by size and beauty- above the others. It is a funerary pyramid built with limestone blocks and a giant staircase that reaches 44 meters high. Get up early and take the opportunity to see the sunrise surrounded by these temples, one of the 10 essential experiences you must do in Guatemala.

5. Volcanic landscape

The Guatemalan horizon is full of these beautiful formations. The one in Tajamulco with 4,220 meters is the highest in Central America. Currently the Tajamulco volcano has no activity and is a protected natural area. It is worth visiting this giant that watches over the San Marcos area. Another unique volcano is Ipala. The ascent on foot –quite simple and pleasant– is done through walls covered to the millimeter with leafy nature. After the excursion you will discover its great treasure: a beautiful lagoon in its crater that is supplied with rainwater. The Pacaya volcano is one of the few that is active and from time to time offers a unique spectacle of fumaroles and lava flows.

6. Food and crafts

Guatemalan cuisine is delicious, especially the jocón. This dish is prepared with chicken or hen meat and is accompanied by a tasty green sauce and shallot. Don't forget to try the pepián or marzipan. The culture and tradition have been maintained in Guatemala regardless of the passing of the centuries. Today, Guatemalan women still sit on the narrow steps operating their looms to create, for example, the traditional tocoyal with its characteristic colors. In the craft markets they sell all kinds of hand-dyed fabrics and painted ceramics.




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