GUATEMALA CITY STOP OVERS
- Antigua Guatemala Stop Over, 3 days
- Mayan Market town of Chichicastenango, 3 days
- Panajachel and Lake Atitlan, 3 days
- Best of Guatemala, 8 days
- Tikal & Belizean Adventure, 9 days
- Tikal Overnight, 2 days
- World of the Maya, 10 days
LATIN AMERICAN DESTINATIONS
- Antarctica (12 trips)
- Argentina (28 trips)
- Belize (6 trips)
- Bolivia (10 trips)
- Brazil (28 trips)
- Chile (30 trips)
- Colombia (9 trips)
- Costa Rica (7 trips)
- Ecuador (14 trips)
- El Salvador (4 trips)
- Falkland Islands (2 trips)
- Galapagos (14 trips)
- Guatemala (7 trips)
- Honduras (2 trips)
- Panama (6 trips)
- Peru (36 trips)
- Uruguay (3 trips)
- Venezuela (2 trips)
HOLIDAYS OF A LIFETIME
- Splendours of South America (2012), 17 days
- Splendours of South America (2013), 15 days
- Magical Ecuador and Peru (2012), 20 days
- Magical Ecuador and Peru plus Bolivia (2013/2014), 23 days
- Best of Ecuador, 11 days
- Cradle of the Incas, 13 days
Trekking, walking, wildlife encounters, cycling, rafting, sailing, cruising, camping, safaris, overland journeys and more.
Country General Information
- Country Facts
- Food & Drinks
- Travel Info
- Passport & Visas
108,889 km² (42,042 sq miles).
13,824,463 (July 2011 est.)
119.4 per km².
Population: 951,000 (UN estimate 2003).
Republic. Gained independence from Spain in 1821.
Guatemala is located in Central America and shares borders to the north and west with Mexico, to the southeast with El Salvador and Honduras, to the northeast with Belize and the Caribbean sea and to the south with the Pacific ocean. The landscape is predominantly mountainous and heavily forested. A string of volcanoes rises above the southern highlands along the Pacific, three of which are still active. Within this volcanic area are basins of varying sizes which hold the majority of the country's population. The region is drained by rivers flowing into both the Pacific and the Caribbean.
One basin west of the capital has no river outlet and thus has formed Lake Atitlán, which is ringed by volcanoes. To the northwest, bordering on Belize and Mexico, lies the low undulating tableland of El Petén, 36,300 km² (14,000 sq miles) of almost inaccessible wilderness covered with dense hardwood forest. This area covers approximately one-third of the national territory, yet contains only 40,000 people.
The official language is Spanish. There are also 22 indigenous languages.
About 60% of the population are Catholic. Most of the remaining population are Protestant. Some indigenous communities hold services combining Catholicism with pre-Columbian rites.
GMT - 6.
Guatemala is the most populated of the Central American republics and is the only one which is predominantly Indian, although the Spanish have had a strong influence on the way of life. Full names should be used when addressing acquaintances, particularly in business. Dress is conservative and casual wear is suitable except in the smartest dining rooms and clubs.
Photography: Locals are often suspicious of foreigners taking photographs, particularly of young children. Before approaching children for photos, or even just to talk to them, you should check with an adult that this is acceptable. However, if you are in any doubt, refrain from doing so. You may be asked to pay a small amount of money to take photographs of both children and adults.
115-125 volts AC, 60Hz. There are some regional variations. Plugs are the flat two-pin American type.
Head of State
Classic period (ad 250–900)
During the Classic period the Maya produced prehispanic America’s most brilliant civilization in an area stretching from Copán, in modern Honduras, through Guatemala and Belize to Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. The great ceremonial and cultural centers included Copán; Quiriguá in southern Guatemala; Kaminaljuyú; Tikal, Uaxactún, Río Azul, El Perú, Yaxhá, Dos Pilas and Piedras Negras, all in El Petén; Caracol in Belize; Yaxchilán and Palenque in Chiapas, Mexico; and Calakmul, Uxmal and Chichén Itzá on the Yucatán Peninsula. All these sites can be visited, with varying degrees of difficulty, today. Around the beginning of the Classic period, Mayan astronomers began using the elaborate Long Count calendar to date all of human history.
While Tikal began to assume a primary role in Guatemalan history around AD 250, El Mirador had been mysteriously abandoned about a century earlier. Some scholars believe a severe drought hastened this great city’s demise.
The Classic Maya were organized into numerous city-states. Each city-state had its noble house, headed by a priestly king who placated the gods by shedding his blood in ceremonies during which he pierced his tongue, penis or ears with sharp objects. As sacred head of his community, the king also had to lead his soldiers into battle against rival cities, capturing prisoners for use in human sacrifices. Many a king perished in a battle because he was too old to fight. A typical Mayan city functioned as the religious, political and market hub for the surrounding farming hamlets. Its ceremonial center focused on plazas surrounded by tall temple pyramids and lower buildings – so-called palaces – with warrens of small rooms. Stelae and altars were carved with dates, histories and elaborate human and divine figures. Stone causeways called sacbeob, probably built for ceremonial use, led out from the plazas.
In the first part of the Classic period, most of the city-states were probably grouped into two loose military alliances centered on Calakmul, in Mexico’s Campeche state, and Tikal. Like Kaminaljuyú and Copán, Tikal had strong connections with the powerful city of Teotihuacán, near modern Mexico City. When Teotihuacán declined, Tikal’s rival Calakmul allied with Caracol to defeat a weakened Tikal in 562. However, Tikal returned to prominence under a resolute and militarily successful king named Moon Double Comb, also known as Ah Cacau (Lord Chocolate), who ruled from 682 to 734. Tikal conquered Calakmul in 695.
In the late 8th century, trade between Mayan states started to shrink and conflict began to grow. By the early 10th century the cities of Tikal, Yaxchilán, Copán, Quiriguá and Piedras Negras had reverted to little more than minor towns or even villages, and much of El Petén was abandoned. Many explanations, including population pressure and ecological damage, have been offered for the Classic Mayan collapse. Current theories point to three droughts, each lasting several years, around 810, 860 and 910, as major culprits.
Postclassic period (900–1524)
Some of the Maya who abandoned El Petén must have moved southwest into the highlands of Guatemala. In the 13th and 14th centuries they were joined by Maya-Toltec migrants or invaders from the Tabasco or Yucatán areas of Mexico (the Toltecs were a militaristic culture from central Mexico with powerful, wide-ranging influence). Groups of these newcomers set up a series of rival states in the Guatemalan highlands: the most prominent were the K’iche’ (or Quiché; capital, K’umarcaaj, near modern Santa Cruz del Quiché), the Kaqchiquels (capital, Iximché, near Tecpán); the Mam (capital, Zaculeu, near Huehuetenango); the Tz’utujil (capital, Chuitinamit, near Santiago Atitlán); and the Poqomam (capital, Mixco Viejo, north of Guatemala City). All these sites can be visited today. Another group from the Yucatán, the Itzáes, wound up at Lago Petén Itzá in the Petén region, settling in part on the island that is today called Flores.
Spaniards under Hernán Cortés defeated the Aztec Empire based at Tenochtitlán (modern Mexico City) in 1521. It only took a couple of years for the conquistadors to turn to Guatemala in their search for wealth. Pedro de Alvarado, one of Cortés’ most brutal lieutenants, entered Guatemala in 1524 with about 600 Spanish and Mexican soldiers and the unanswerable advantages of firearms and horses. Alvarado defeated a small K’iche’ force on the Pacific Slope and then the much larger main K’iche’ army near Xelajú (modern Quetzaltenango) soon afterwards – killing the K’iche’ leader Tecún Umán in hand-to-hand combat, or so legend has it. Alvarado then sacked the K’iche’ capital, K’umarcaaj. The K’iche’ had failed to persuade their traditional local enemies, the Kaqchiquels, to join forces against the invaders. Instead, the Kaqchiquels allied with the Spanish against the K’iche’ and Tz’utujils, and so the Spanish set up their first Guatemalan headquarters next door to the Kaqchiquel capital, Iximché. The name Guatemala is a Spanish corruption of Quauhtlemallan, the name Alvarado’s Mexican allies gave to Iximché (Land of Many Trees).
The romance between the Spanish and the Kaqchiquels soured when the latter couldn’t meet the ever-increasing demands for gold, and Alvarado – not surprisingly – turned on them, burning Iximché to the ground. And so it went throughout Guatemala as the megalomaniacal Alvarado sought fortune and renown by murdering and subjugating the Mayan population. The one notable exception was the Rabinal of present-day Baja Verapaz, who survived with their preconquest identity intact and remain one of Guatemala’s most traditional groups to this day.
Alvarado moved his base from Tecpán to Santiago de los Caballeros (now called Ciudad Vieja) in 1527, but shortly after his death while in Mexico in 1541, Ciudad Vieja was destroyed by a flood. The Spanish capital was relocated under the same name to a new site nearby, known today as Antigua.
Colonial period (1524–1821)
The Spanish effectively enslaved Guatemala’s indigenous people to work what had been their own land for the benefit of the invaders, just as they did throughout the hemisphere. Refusal to work the land meant death. With the most fertile land and a labor force to work it firmly in hand, the colonists believed themselves omnipotent and behaved accordingly. That is to say, badly.
Enter the Catholic Church and Dominican friar Bartolomé de Las Casas. Las Casas had been in the Caribbean and Latin America since 1502 and had witnessed firsthand the near complete genocide of the indigenous populations of Cuba and Hispaniola. Convinced he could catch more flies with honey than vinegar and horrified at what he saw in the Indies, Las Casas appealed to Carlos V of Spain to stop the violence. Las Casas described the fatal treatment of the population in his influential tract A Very Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies. The king agreed with Las Casas that the indigenous people should no longer be regarded as chattels and should be considered vassals of the king (in this way they could also pay taxes). Carlos V immediately enacted the New Laws of 1542, which technically ended the system of forced labor. In reality, forced labor continued, but wanton waste of Mayan lives ceased. Las Casas and other Dominican, Franciscan and Augustinian friars went about converting the Maya to Christianity – a Christianity that became imbued with many aspects of animism and ceremony from the indigenous belief system.
A large portion of the Church’s conversion ‘success’ can be attributed to the pacifism with which it approached Mayan communities, the relative respect it extended to traditional beliefs, and the education it provided in indigenous languages. In short, the Catholic Church became extremely powerful in Guatemala quite quickly. No clearer evidence existed of this than the 38 houses of worship (including a cathedral) built in Antigua, which became the colonial capital of all Central America from Chiapas to Costa Rica. But Antigua was razed by a devastating earthquake on July 29, 1773. The capital was moved 25km east to its present site, Guatemala City.
By the time thoughts of independence from Spain began stirring among Guatemalans, society was already rigidly stratified. At the very top of the colonial hierarchy were the European-born Spaniards; next were the criollos, people born in Guatemala of Spanish blood; below them were the ladinos or mestizos, people of mixed Spanish and Mayan blood; and at the bottom were the Maya and black slaves. Only the European-born Spaniards had any real power, but the criollos lorded it over the ladinos, who in turn exploited the indigenous population who, as you read this, still remain on the bottom rung of the socioeconomic ladder.
Angered at being repeatedly passed over for advancement, Guatemalan criollos took advantage of Spanish weakness following a Napoleonic invasion in 1808, and in 1821 successfully rose in revolt. Unfortunately, independence changed little for Guatemala’s indigenous communities, who remained under the control of the church and the landowning elite. Despite cuddly-sounding democratic institutions and constitutions, Guatemalan politics has continued to this day to be dominated almost without pause by corrupt, brutal strongmen in the Pedro de Alvarado tradition, for the benefit of the commercial, military, landowning and bureaucratic ruling classes. While the niceties of democracy are observed, real government often takes place by means of intimidation and secret military activities.
Mexico, which was recently independent, quickly annexed Guatemala, but in 1823 Guatemala reasserted its independence and led the formation of the United Provinces of Central America (July 1, 1823), along with El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica. Their union, torn by civil strife from the start, lasted only until 1840 before breaking up into its constituent states. This era brought prosperity to the criollos but worsened the lot of the Guatemalan Maya. The end of Spanish rule meant that the crown’s few liberal safeguards, which had afforded the Maya a minimal protection, were abandoned. Mayan claims to ancestral lands were largely ignored and huge tobacco, sugar-cane and henequen (agave rope fiber) plantations were set up. The Maya, though technically and legally free, were enslaved by debt peonage to the big landowners.
The liberals & carrera
The ruling classes of independent Central America split into two camps: the elite conservatives, including the Catholic church and the large landowners, and the liberals, who had been the first to advocate independence and who opposed the vested interests of the conservatives.
During the short existence of the United Provinces of Central America, liberal president Francisco Morazán (1830–39) from Honduras instituted reforms aimed at ending the overwhelming power of the church, the division of society into a criollo upper class and an indigenous lower class, and the region’s impotence in world markets. This liberal program was echoed by Guatemalan chief of state Mariano Gálvez (1831–38).
But unpopular economic policies, heavy taxes and a cholera epidemic led to an indigenous uprising that brought its leader, a conservative ladino pig farmer, Rafael Carrera, to power. Carrera held power from 1844 to 1865 and undid much of what Morazán and Gálvez had achieved. He also naively allowed Britain to take control of Belize in exchange for construction of a road between Guatemala City and Belize City. The road was never built, and Guatemala’s claims for compensation were never resolved, leading to a quarrel that festers to this day.
President de León’s elected successor, Álvaro Arzú of the center-right Partido de Avanzada Nacional (PAN), took office in 1996. Arzú continued negotiations with the URNG and, finally, on December 29, 1996, ‘A Firm and Lasting Peace Agreement’ was signed at the National Palace in Guatemala City. During the 36 years of civil war, an estimated 200, 000 Guatemalans had been killed, a million made homeless, and untold thousands had disappeared. The Peace Accords, as the agreement is known, contained provisions for accountability for the human-rights violations perpetrated by the armed forces during the war and the resettlement of Guatemala’s one million displaced people. They also addressed the rights of indigenous peoples and women, health care, education and other basic social services, and the abolition of obligatory military service. Many of these provisions remain unfulfilled.
Guatemala since the peace accords
Any hopes that Guatemala might become a truly just and democratic society have looked increasingly frayed as the years have passed since 1996. A national referendum in 1999 (in which only 18% of registered voters turned out) voted down constitutional reforms formally legislating the rights of indigenous people, adding checks and balances to the executive office and retooling the national security apparatus.
The single most notorious and tragic flouting of peace, justice and democracy came in 1998 when Bishop Juan Gerardi, coordinator of the Guatemalan Archbishop’s Human Rights Office (Odhag), was beaten to death outside his home. Two days previously, Bishop Gerardi had announced Odhag’s findings that the army was responsible for most of the 200, 000 civil war deaths and many other atrocities.
The 1999 presidential elections were won by Alfonso Portillo of the conservative Frente Republicano Guatemalteco (FRG; colloquially known as the Mano Azul – Blue Hand – for its symbol daubed on lampposts, rocks and trees countrywide). Portillo was just a front man for the FRG leader, ex-president General Efraín Ríos Montt, author of the early 1980s scorched-earth state terror campaign. As one common jibe had it, when the two men discussed important decisions, civilian president Portillo always had the last word – ‘Yes, general.’
President Portillo did pay out $1.8 million in compensation in 2001 to the families of 226 men, women and children killed by soldiers and paramilitaries in the northern village of Las Dos Erres in 1982, but implementation of the Peace Accords stalled and then went into reverse. In 2002 the UN representative for indigenous peoples, after an 11-day Guatemalan tour, stated that 60% of Guatemalan Maya were still marginalized by discrimination and violence. The UN human development index for 2002, comparing countries on criteria such as income, life expectancy, school enrolment and literacy, ranked Guatemala 120th of the world’s 173 countries, the lowest of any North, Central or South American country. Poverty, illiteracy, lack of education and poor medical facilities are all much more common in rural areas, where the Mayan population is concentrated.
International organizations, from the European Parliament to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, queued up to criticize the state of human rights in Guatemala. Those brave souls who tried to protect human rights and expose abuses were being subjected to threats and killings, the perpetrators of which seemed able to act with impunity. The URNG guerrillas had disarmed in compliance with the Peace Accords, but President Portillo failed to carry out a promise to disband the presidential guard (whose soldiers killed Bishop Gerardi and whose chief had ordered the 1990 Myrna Mack killing), and he doubled the defense budget, taking it beyond the maximum level fixed in the Peace Accords.
Lawlessness and violent crime increased horrifyingly. The US ‘decertified’ Guatemala – meaning it no longer considered it an ally in the battle against the drugs trade – in 2002. The same year, Amnesty International reported that criminals were colluding with sectors of the police and military and local affiliates of multinational corporations to flout human rights. According to police figures, 3630 people died violent deaths in 2002. Lynchings were not uncommon as people increasingly took the law into their own hands.
El Periódico newspaper printed an article in 2003 arguing that a ‘parallel power structure’ involving Efraín Ríos Montt had effectively run Guatemala ever since he had been ousted as president 20 years previously. Within days, the paper’s publisher and his family were attacked in their home by an armed gang of 12. Days later, Ríos Montt himself was, incredibly, granted permission by Guatemala’s constitutional court to stand in the elections for Portillo’s successor in late 2003, despite the fact that the constitution banned presidents who had in the past taken power by coup, as Ríos Montt had in 1982. In the end Guatemala’s voters dealt Ríos Montt a resounding defeat, electing Oscar Berger, of the moderately conservative Gran Alianza Nacional, as president till 2008.
The national anticorruption prosecutor, Karen Fischer, fled the country in 2003 in the face of threats received when she investigated Panamanian bank accounts allegedly opened for President Portillo.
The FRG showed its colors fairly blatantly in the run-up to the election by making sizeable ‘compensation’ payments to the former members of the PACs (Civil Defense Patrols), who had carried out many atrocities during the civil war.
Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/guatemala/history#ixzz1nbjyBFvD
Guatemala's climate varies according to altitude. The coastal regions and the northeast are hot throughout the year with an average temperature of 20°C (68°F) sometimes rising to 37°C (99°F).
Generally, nights are clear all year round. In higher climes, near the centre of the country, the rainy season, running from May to September, is characterised by clear skies after abundant rainfall in the afternoons and evenings. Temperatures fall sharply at night.
Lightweight clothing. Jacket or light woollens for the evening.
Quetzal (GTQ; symbol Q) = 100 centavos.
Notes are in denominations of Q100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1, and 50 centavos.
Coins are in denominations of Q1, and 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 centavos.
The US Dollar also became an official currency in 2001.
The Quetzal is extremely difficult to obtain outside Guatemala or exchange after leaving Guatemala, and visitors are strongly advised to exchange local currency before departure. It may be difficult to negotiate notes which are torn. Unused local currency can be exchanged at the bank at the airport.
Credit / Debit Cars
American Express and Visa are accepted, whilst Diners Club and MasterCard have a more limited acceptance. ATMs are common throughout the country.
Accepted by most banks and good hotels, although visitors may experience occasional problems. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars.
Opening times vary, but generally Mon-Fri 0900-1900; Sat 0900-1300.
Food and Drink
There are restaurants and cafes serving a wide selection of cooking styles including American, Argentinean, Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, Mexican and Spanish. There are many fast-food chains and continental-style cafes. Food usually varies in price rather than quality and some of the cheap eateries are amongst the best.
Kaq Ic (soup made from turkey and seasoned with samat (a herb from Alta Verapaz).
Flan de naranja (orange-flavoured flan).
Quetzalteca (an extremely potent raw cane spirit).
10% is normal in restaurants where service has not been included.
In Guatemala City in particular, there are nightclubs with modern music and dance, featuring national and international artists. Guatemala is the home of marimba music, which can be heard at several venues. In the cities, the marimba is a huge elaborate xylophone with large drum sticks played by four to nine players.
In rural areas the sounding boxes are made of different shaped gourds (marimbas de tecomates). There are regular concerts throughout Guatemala. There are also theatres with numerous plays in English and other cultural performances. Films with English and Spanish subtitles are often shown in major towns.
1 Jan New Year's Day;
1-5 Apr Easter;
1 May Labour Day;
30 Jun Army Day;
15 Aug Assumption (Guatemala City only);
15 Sep Independence Day;
20 Oct Revolution Day;
1 Nov All Saints' Day;
24 Dec Christmas Eve (afternoon only);
25 Dec Christmas Day;
31 Dec New Year's Eve (afternoon only)
Things to Do
Climb a volcano. At 4,200m (13,776ft), Tajumulco is Central America's highest volcano but a technically easy climb. More challenging is Tolimán, with a twin peak summit. Alternatively, ascend Agua (or Hunapu) and you can sleep in a refuge inside the crater.
Get wet. Río Dulce and Lakes Izabal and Atitlán are good for windsurfing, with Lake Atitlán also popular for diving. Guatemala's fast-moving rivers, including El Cahabón,El Chiquibul, El Motagua, La PasiónandEl Usamacinta are ideal for boating and shooting rapids.
Catch a whopper. Lakes and rivers good for fishing include El Lago de Izabal, El Petén, Río Dulce and the rivers of Alta Verepaz. The Pacific Coast is a world-class location for sports fishing. Sea fishing is rated highly off San José.
Take a boat trip from Livingston along the Río Dulce, which winds its way through steep cliffs, dense vegetation and lakes to Amatique Bay. Its waterways pass through mangroves and lagoons of the Chocón Machacas Biosphere, home to manatees (sea cows).
In towns like Antigua Guatemala, Easter is when locals and visitors flock to see spectacular processions; huge litters bearing religious icons are carried over carpets of flowers and coloured sawdust.
Drink coffee in either Cobán, capital of the Alta Verapaz Department, or Antigua - both vying for title of the most delicious coffee in Guatemala.
Embark on the adventurous Spanish Rural Tourism Plan; visitors can travel on horseback, by bicycle, on foot or by 4-wheel drive from Quetzaltepeque through San Luis Jiltepeque to the attractive departmental capital of Jalapa, staying in family homes en route.
Take a beautiful drive into the mountains around Huehuetenango. Visit the isolated village of Todos Santos Cuchumatán to see traditionally dressed men wearing high-necked red shirts, red and white-striped trousers, black capes and red fabric tied under straw hats.
Enjoy ghoulish festivities for the Day of the Dead(All Souls' Day) on 1 November, in which Guatemalans celebrate the lives of dead loved ones. Graveyards overflow with flowers and colour, sugar skulls, skeletal fancy dress and gifts.
Visit Totonicapan during the week celebrating the feast days of San Miguel Arcangel (24-30 September) when traditional dances (morerías) are held, with descriptive titles such as Mexicans and The Deer and the Monkey.
Things to See
See the sights of Guatemala City, which include Parque Central, bordered by the National Palace and the Cathedral. Not to be missed is the world's largest Relief Map (of the Republic)in Minerva Park, and the city's wonderful art and archaeology museums.
See one of the world's most ancient lakes, Lake Amatitlan, which is surrounded by archaeological remains dating back to 2000BC. Another lake worth seeing is Lake Atitlán, framed by three volcanoes: Tolimán, Atitlán and San Pedro. Waterskiing, swimming and boating are all available.
Take a trip to former capital, Antigua Guatemala. Despite countless earthquakes, floods and fires, Antigua is a beautiful place of multicoloured, single-storey buildings, tropical gardens, plazas, fountains and cobbled streets.
Marvel at the remains of great stone heads and other carved reliefs dotted around the sugarcane fields of Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa, northwest of Escuintla. Further south is La Democracia archaeological site, with dramatic basalt sculptures of heads with closed eyes and furrowed brows.
Survey superb craftsmanship throughout Guatemala at towns like Jocotenango (for ceramics) and San Antonio Aguascalientes (for beautiful hand-woven textiles). Salamá is a good place to buy silver, clay and leather handicrafts. Momostenango (City of Altars) is recommended for traditional hand-woven ponchos.
Visit Guatemala's major Mayan sites. The spectacular ruins of Tikal encompass vast pyramidal temples, ball courts, causeways, plazas and public buildings. Other impressive sites include: El Mirador, Uaxactún, Ixlú, Yaxhá, Aguateca and Quiriguá, home to the largest Maya-carved stelae yet discovered.
Head for the Tikal National Park for diverse wildlife, including howler monkeys, tropical birds, ocelots, jaguars and brocket deer. There are over 50,587 hectares (125,000 acres) of rare forest and tropical vegetation.
See two of the finest examples of 16th-century baroque architecture in El Progreso: the parish churches of San Agustín Acasaguastlán and San Cristóbal Acasaguastlán.
Visit the town of Esquipulas, home to the sacred Basílica of Esquipulas with its Icon of the Black Christ that dates back to 1594. Pilgrims from across Central America gather here on 15 January. Esquipulas is also the seat of the Central American Parliament.
Explore the unique highlands region of Western Guatemala (known in Spanish as El Altiplano), inhabited by the greatest number of modern day, indigenous Mayan groups - many of whom still speak the languages and uphold the sacred rituals of their ancestors.
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|All travelers will need a passport valid for at least 90 days following your departure date. However, we strongly recommend traveling with 6 months validity on your passport at all times. Citizens of Canada can refer to www.passport.gc.ca for forms and instructions for new passport applications and Canadian passport renewals.||All travelers will need a passport valid for at least 90 days following your departure date. However, we strongly recommend traveling with 6 months validity on your passport at all times.|
3 city stop over(s) and 4 itineraries are available for Guatemala
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