Proud of its past and committed to its future, Guatemala is a time machine that will take its visitors on a journey of magical folklore, colonial heritage and living-ancient cultures. With a history that begins four thousand years ago when the Maya Civilization emerged, Guatemala is the heart of the Mayan World and proudly shows its legacy in the traditions and culture of its inhabitants. With Mayan ruins that are unmatched for their splendor, colorful handcrafts markets, quaint Spanish Colonial cities, world class museums, verdant jungles, a spring-like weather all year round, and friendly people, the temptations that Guatemala has to offer are limitless and we invite you to be our guest, and explore this historic, colorful and exotic country.
Our Guatemala & Tikal, a Quick Look Around Expedition features guided visits to Colonial Antigua, traditional Chichicastenango, beautiful Lake Atitlan, and to the off-the-beaten-path ancient Maya site of Yaxha. Spend an overnight stay in the Flores area before an exploration of the Tikal Archeological Park in the jungles of the Petén....
Main Destinations / Attractions
Guatemala City is an urban center with cultural diversity, cosmopolitan as well as traditional, in which traditional and folkloric abundance stands out, with legends such as El Cadejo or La Llorona. The city offers the tourist all the services and commodities and is normally the center of operations to set out to any of the other destinations in the country.
This colonial city preserves buildings from the XVI Century. La Antigua Guatemala can be visited by foot, walking along its ancestral stoned roads. It is worth the effort to visit its old convents, such as Capuchinas and Santa Clara, Catedral de San Jose, Compania de Jesus, La Recoleccion, church and convent La Merced, Convent and Arco de Santa Catarina, among other treasures from the past. La Antigua Guatemala is known as the “City of the Perpetual Roses”, and in addition to colonial badges, honorable titles and prizes it has received throughout history, it was acknowledged by UNESCO as Cultural Patrimony of Humanity in 1979.
In this area, several churches may be visited, as well as the archaeological site of Utatlan, also known as Gumarcaj. In Chichicastenango, you can visit a colonial church built in 1540 by Dominican priests. The “Popol Vuh”, sacred book of the Quiches was found in its convent. Another of its most visited attractions is Cerro Turcaj (hill), where the God World is worshiped, in a stone deity called Pascual Abaj. Chichicastenango is one of the few towns where you can appreciate the meaning of faith of the Indians that descend from the ancient Maya.
Lake Atitlan lies in the territorial division of Solola, which is believed to be “the most beautiful lake in the world”, according to writer Aldous Huxley. The most developed town at the lake is Panajachel, while several colorful villages that have been able to preserve their millenary traditions lie on its shores; among them, Santiago Atitlan, San Lucas Toliman, San Pedro La Laguna, and San Antonio Palopo.
Its climate is warm and has an opening into the Caribbean sea, which allows many water sports to be practiced, as well as ecotourism and adventure. The area offers nature attractions such as Lago Izabal (lake), which is the largest lake in the country, with an approximate area of 589 square kms, having many affluents, especially the Polochic River. This lake’s natural flow is Rio Dulce (river), which is believed to be one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Guatemala. Another important river is Sarstun, which divides Belize, Peten and Izabal. You can also visit Castillo de San Felipe de Lara (fortress), the borough of Livingstone, and the archaeological site of Quirigua.
The area is characterized especially by its garifuna population, which enhances Guatemalan culture with its Afro-Caribbean roots, allowing the visitor to enjoy its music, color and gastronomy.
There are several protected zones, such as the Reserve of Biosfera Maya, which consist in more than a million hectares of humid subtropical jungle, Biotopo Cerro Cahui (for the protection of the ocellate peacock) and the Natural Reserve of San Miguel La Palotada (for the conservation of the bat). It has a rich vegetation variety of tropical jungle and approximately 250 animal species.
Peten is one of the most significant territories where the Mayan culture was located during the Classic Period. Its main attraction is Tikal National Park, which lodges the famous city of Tikal, where two museums are found: the Stellae (with replicas of these carved stones) and the Sylvanus Morley, which exhibits artifacts made of pottery, bone, stone, conch, and jade.
Given its significance in the Mayan Civilization, several important archaeological sites are found in Peten, among others, Naachtun, Chochkitam, Xultun, Xmakabatun, Holmul, Uaxactun, Piedras Negras, Tikal, Yaxha, Topoxte, Nakum, El Naranjo, San Clemente, Itzimte, Tayasal, Popol, Ucana, Altar de Sacrificios, La Amelia, Ixhun, Ceibal, Poptun, and Cancuen.