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Travel Notes: Latin America: Guatemala Travel Notes

Guatemala Travel Notes

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Guatemala Travel and Tourism on Travel Notes


Guatemala Travel and Tourist Information with links to official travel and tourism websites and state resources for visitors to Guatemala.

About Guatemala

Over half the population of Guatemala today is pure Indian; descendants from the great Maya Civilisation.

Guatemala Markets and Volcanoes

Guatemala in Pictures.

Guatemala Background

Countries neighbouring Guatemala are: Mexico, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador.

Map of Guatemala

The capital of Guatemala is in the south-central part of the country; in a valley in the volcanic highlands.

Guatemala was discovered by Cortes' lieutenant, Alvarado, in 1523; while seeking precious metals to finance the Spanish war effort in Europe.

Some silver was found at Huehetenango, but little else, so few conquistadors stayed and the indigenous people survived in larger numbers than elsewhere.

Weather in South America:
Local weather forecasts for destinations around Latin  America.

Guatemala City

Guatemala City became the country's third capital in 1776, after Antigua was almost completely destroyed by the 1773 earthquake.

Guatemala City also suffered a series of devastating earthquakes in 1917-1918 and much of the city was rebuilt. Another serious earthquake, in 1976, severely damaged northern parts of the city.

Places of interest include the National Palace and the cathedral (partially reconstructed after damage in 1976). There's also a relief map of Guatemala in Minerva Park.

Mayan Ruins

Noteworthy Mayan ruins near Guatemala City can be found at Lake Amatitlan.


In the lowlands of northern Guatemala, Tikal is a major attraction as many Mayan ruins of the 3rd and 4th centuries have been excavated.

The area is one of the largest Mayan ceremonial centres and is believed to have sustained a population of 50,000 until it was abandoned, for unknown reasons, in the 10th century.

Interactive discovery of lost civilisations in the rainforest.

Mayan Traditions:
Written by the school children of Lo de en Medio, and other villages in the Rio Dulce region of Guatemala, this short article covers: The Planting of the Maize; Making of the Tamal, a food made from maize; Typical Costumes; and The Dance of the Deer.

Modern Mayan Lives:
Offers a brief history to the Mayans, and an insight into the situation today.


By the sixteenth century, Antigua was a major centre. The Spaniards set about building churches, and converting the Indians to Catholicism.

Antigua became the second capital of Guatemala after Ciudad Vieja was destroyed by flood and volcanic activity in 1541.

Antigua itself was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1773, and the capital was moved to Guatemala City.

Study Abroad:
Antigua is one of the primary locations for learning Spanish in Central America. The colonial architecture and clear mountain air are a perfect environment  for study.


2-3 hours drive north-west of Guatemala City, Chichicastenango is one of the most authentic of places in the Americas.

Tourists head for the markets on Sundays and Thursdays, but on nowhere near the same scale as Otavalo, in Ecuador.

Flying to Guatemala

Airlines and Airports:
The Guatemalan airline, Aviateca, provides domestic and international services, and several other airlines provide international flights.

Guatemala Tours

Seven, twelve and twenty-one day tours to Guatemala and Honduras; traditional tours, adventure tours and budget tours.

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Guatemala Travel Guides

Belize, Guatemala & Southern Mexico (Footprint Handbook) Lonely Planet Guatemala (Travel Guide)

Guatemala Travel Guides - Guatemala Maps.

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Travel Notes Index: Latin America: Guatemala Travel Guide - Travel Apps