The name of this country comes from the word "Cuauhtēmallān", which from Aztec means "the place of many trees". Guatemala is full of mysteries and ancient rituals of the legendary people who once created a mystical and amazing civilization in the middle of the humid jungles of Central America. Going to Guatemala, you can take part in the pagan festivals, dive into the life of Mayan descendants and watch the sinister rituals of harsh witchcraft shamans in bizarre costumes.
Attractions of Guatemala
The climate in Guatemala is highly dependent on the region. The coasts of the Pacific and the Caribbean are located in a tropical zone. The average daily temperature here ranges around +27 C. Highlands have cooler weather, and it can be freezing in some areas. The negative temperature at night is quite frequent here.
The rainy season starts in mid-May and lasts until October. A lot of tourists choose July-August for their trip to Guatemala. But it is worth considering that Peten lowlands and the Caribbean coast usually have a stormy summer. The most favorable time for a trip is from November to the end of April.
Guatemala has quite a few lakes, the largest are Atitlán, Izabal, Amatitlán and Peten Itza.
Guatemala is divided into 22 departments, which vary significantly in size and the density of its population. Petén, for example, occupies about one-third of the country but is very poorly populated. But a relatively small department of Guatemala is home to more than 20% of the country's total population. The main administrative units, in turn, are divided into municipalities.
Where to go and what to see in Guatemala?
Quetzaltenango (Xelajú) is the second-largest city in Guatemala. Tourists come here to visit the hot springs in its neighborhood and take a stroll to the nearby villages. There you can buy national costumes and even see how the local wool they are produced from is made. There is almost nothing exciting in the town itself, except for the beautiful park in the central part. From here, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the volcanoes that surround Quetzaltenango from all sides.
The city of Antigua Guatemala was the capital during the colonial period, and now it has become a huge museum. It has preserved many Spanish buildings and monuments in the Baroque style. If you like a leisurely holiday without noise and extremes, then this is the right place. There are many ancient buildings, cozy restaurants, and almost no crime in the city. It is also worth noting the beautiful climate of Antigua Guatemala — the eternal spring reigns here.
Monterrico (the Pacific coast) and Playa Blanca (the Caribbean Sea) are considered the most attractive beach resorts. Another one of the most beautiful beaches in the country is called Punta de Palma. It is located in the southern part of the Caribbean — in the city of Puerto Barrios. The beaches of Guatemala are not very well adapted for recreation — many of them do not even have sun loungers and basic facilities.
Things to consider when going to Guatemala
- The country has a rather tense criminal situation, but this does not apply to all cities. Walking around the capital of Guatemala, try to control the situation all the time — street gangs or cartel members can arrange a shooting with the police even during the day. Small towns are much calmer. But it would help if you did not go out for a walk at night or wander deep into poor neighborhoods. Traveling to the villages is absolutely safe, you won't even encounter theft there unless the locals can be a little tricky in their calculations.
- In Guatemala, it's easy to face racism. This mostly applies to white girls dressed too bright and provocative. In general, locals don't like gringos unless they can make money from them.
- You may have problems paying with MasterCard and Diners Club. Other payment systems are freely accepted in large hotels, shops, and entertainment facilities.
- The local power grid operates with a voltage of 120 V. Sockets are of four types: A, B, G, I. Therefore, it is better to bring the necessary adapters. But if you stay in a large hotel, you can rent everything you need.
- Shops of Guatemala sell very high-quality leather goods. Tourists tend to choose national clothes, ritual attributes, various knickknacks made of semiprecious stones as souvenirs.