Tikal National Park
It takes at least two days to see all the ruins of the huge temples and Mayan buildings in Tikal. From Sayaxche it is easy to roam El Petén, either in the footsteps of the Maya or to explore the animal and plant world. The ruins at Ceibal, Dos Pilas, Yaxhá and Uaxactún are particularly impressive.
Totonicapan pottery is nationally known. The market is one of the cheapest in Guatemala. Blankets are woven in Momostenango. Quezaltenango is the largest city in western Guatemala and is surrounded by high mountains and volcanoes. It is a modern city with narrow colonial streets, wide avenues, beautiful public buildings and a grand plaza. The interesting Casa de la Cultura (museum complex) is located on the south side of the central park. Flores is located on an island in the picturesque Petén Itzá Lake in the heart of extensive forest areas.
- Searchforpublicschools: Offers schooling information of Guatemala in each level – compulsory, technical and higher education programs.
On the road to Guatemala City
The sights from the old Maya empire in Quirigua are well known. In Zacapa, Chiquimula and Esquipulas one can see some of the finest Spanish colonial churches. San José
is the second largest port city. Also interesting is the boat trip on the Chiquimulilla Canal to the old Spanish port city of Iztapa (now a seaside resort). Lake Atitlán is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world surrounded by purple highlands and olive green mountains. Several villages lie on its banks.
The Caribbean Coast
Near the port city of Puerto Barrias is Escobar Beach. Not far from here, inland, is Lake Izabal with the Spanish Fort San Felipe and a nature reserve that is home to some of the world’s rarest mammals.
Guatemala City and Surroundings
The capital lies on a plateau that is traversed by deep mountain gorges. The old quarter with the colonial buildings is in the north of the city. The Parque Central square in the city center is home to the National Palace, the Cathedral, the National Library and a shopping arcade. The Parque Aurora with the zoo, the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Applied Arts is located in the south of the city. The cathedral and the churches of Cerro de Carmen, La Merced, Santo Domingo, Santuario Expiatorio, Las Capuchinas, Santa Rosa and Capilla de Yurrita are worth visiting.
Outside of Guatemala City is La Antigua Guatemala. The beautifully situated city had the reputation of being the most beautiful city in Central America before it was destroyed by an earthquake. Some of the sights that have survived are the Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral, the University of San Carlos and the San Francisco Church. From the volcanoes Volcan de Agua, Volcan de Acatenango and Volcan de Fuego you have an incomparable view of the city and its surroundings.
Colorful textiles, handicrafts, silver and jade jewellery, masks, leather goods, ceramics and wicker are particularly recommended. The best local products can be found in the markets. Trading is common. Silver can be bought in Coban, while the markets of Villa de Chinautla, San Luis Jilotepeque and Rabinal are known for their ceramics and earthenware. There are many shopping centers in Guatemala City. Shop opening hours: Mon-Sat 9.30am-7.30pm; Shopping centers are usually also open on Sundays.
Discotheques and nightclubs are mainly found in Guatemala City. Marimba music, which is played by four to nine musicians on a giant xylophone, comes from Guatemala – in the countryside, gourds of different sizes (marimbas de tecomates) are used for this. There are also theater performances and other cultural events in English. In the larger cities, films are shown with Spanish or English subtitles.
Numerous restaurants and cafes offer a wide range of dishes from American, Argentinian, Chinese, German, Italian, Mexican and Spanish cuisine. In addition, there are many European-style cafes and fast-food restaurants. Even with the same quality, prices can vary depending on the restaurant.
There are numerous hotels in all price ranges in Guatemala. There is also plenty to choose from in La Antigua Guatemala, the former capital. In Puerto Barrios, Chichicastenango, Quetzaltenango, Panajachel (on Lake Atitlán) and Cobán the choice is also quite large. In the other parts of the country, the range of hotels is limited. First-class hotels offer numerous facilities, e.g. E.g. restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Registered hotels must post a list of room rates. The Tourist Office in Guatemala City handles any complaints.
Simple campsites are common. At Lake Atitlán, camping is only allowed in the campsites.
The constitution grants freedom of religion. The majority of the population is Roman Catholic; there is also a Protestant minority and some followers of indigenous religions.
Social Rules of Conduct
Social etiquette: Next to El Salvador, Guatemala is the most densely populated country in Central America. Around half the population is of Native American descent, although the Spanish influence is unmistakable. Many Guatemalans have two surnames, in conversation or in letters one should use either the first surname or both. Attire: Casual wear is often appropriate, with a smarter wardrobe expected only in upscale restaurants and clubs. Photographing: Photographing the native Mayan population, especially in rural areas, should be avoided. Children should also not be photographed. Tipping: Unless included in the bill, 10%.
Best travel time
Varies according to altitude (average annual temperature: 20°C). Coastal and north-east warm all year round (average 37°C); cooler at higher altitudes. Rainy season inland from May to September, otherwise relatively dry. Cool nights all year round.
Area (sq km)
17,915,568 (Source: homosociety)
Population density (per square km)
Population statistics year
Main emergency number