Guatemala Nature and Wildlife
The name “Guatemala” comes from the Nahuatl language and translates as the “land of trees” and has often been nicknamed “the land of the eternal spring”. Both names are very accurate in describing this incredible country. The nature and wildlife found in Guatemala are incredibly diverse hosting nineteen different ecosystems. These ecosystems include jungles, forests, beaches, mountains and more. Home to more than 8,000 higher plant species, Guatemala also provides habitats for around 250 mammal species, 200 reptile and amphibian species and 800 types of birds.
Elusive cat species like jaguars, ocelots, pumas and jaguarundi can be found in the country but are hard to spot. Monkey species like howler and spider monkeys are more common and are often heard before being seen. Many of the animals in Guatemala are nocturnal and so when they are stirring during the daytime, they are very alert and on the lookout for predators. Birds are by far the easiest species to see and the majority of them inhabit the country’s lowlands. The national bird is the colourful Quetzal with a red breast and bright green feathers while other common birds include parrots, toucans, motmots, hummingbirds, warblers and more.
Regarding nature conservation, Guatemala has more than thirty national parks and protected areas, many of which encompass both cultural and natural treasures. These parks and protected areas are massive tourist attractions and some of the most popular include Lake Atitlan National Park, Sierra del Lacandón National Park and Tikal National Park. The area surrounding Lake Atitlan became a national park in 1955 in an attempt to attract tourists. The landscapes in the park are breathtaking, with the lake itself often being described as one of the most beautiful in the world. The lake’s southern shore is dominated by three volcanoes and the waters are filled with wildlife that helps to support the local indigenous populations.
Sierra del Lacandón National Park is a very important area in Guatemala because of its incredible biodiversity. Located in the tropical rainforest in northwestern Guatemala, it is part of the Maya Biosphere Reserve, connecting with areas of southern Mexico. The park hosts several endangered species including jaguars and the Morelet crocodile (which is unique to this part of Central America). Sierra del Lacandón also contains several Mayan ruins.
The most popular national park in the country is Tikal National Park. It may be familiar to Star Wars fans as George Lucas used it as a location for Episode IV: A New Hope. The park consists of 57,600 hectares of jungle and is considered one of the easiest places to see wildlife in the country including gray foxes, jaguars, spider and howler monkeys and more. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tikal was once an integral part of the Maya kingdom and is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world.
Guatemala Travel Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy-to-navigate travel information section dedicated to Guatemala.
Learn about the history and culture of Guatemala, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Guatemala's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information, will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Guatemala for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our Guatemala tours today!
Extend Your Trip
After your Guatemala Tour, why not consider another of Goway's Latin America tours. These include a large selection of other exciting countries in Central and South America. We offer Chile vacation packages and Easter Island tours, Ecuador vacation packages which include Galapagos cruises, Peru vacation packages which include Machu Picchu tours and Brazil tours including Iguassu Falls tours among many others.
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LATIN AMERICA by Goway is an exclusive division that specializes in planning and organizing Guatemala tours and experiences. Choose from one of our independent stopover modules and more, We want to be your first choice when next you go globetrotting to Guatemala.
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