Guatemala: Introduction

Land of Eternal Spring

Guatemala Introduction

Like its neighbouring Central American countries, Guatemala is a mixture of Latin (Ladino) and indigenous (Mayan) cultures. The local people are known for their shyness towards foreigners, but do not confuse this with a lack of friendliness. This land of beautiful contrasts, from its volcanoes to its rainforests, from its colonial cities to its intriguing Mayan ruins and Pacific beaches, is there for you to explore and enjoy.

Travel in Guatemala is simple, cheap but usually basic, especially if you want to travel by the numerous buses, or use a tourist mini-bus. A more expensive option is to hire a car, as long as you feel comfortable driving on roads with few signposts and with unfamiliar rules. Whatever your choice of transport, there are many fascinating and varied places to visit and different experiences to enjoy, from relaxation to adventure! The cuisine of Guatemala is as varied as its landscape and attractions. In each of Guatemala’s 22 regions, you will find food that reflects the local culture. Although some consider Guatemalan cuisine basic, the larger cities provide many restaurant options for every budget and taste.

Guatemala City, the country’s capital, has restaurants that specialise in every regional cuisine, as well as those with a more international flavour. You can enjoy up-market eating and US style restaurant chains, or you can still find food that reflects the varied traditions of Guatemala’s regions and past. When it comes to nightlife, Guatemala City has nightclubs and there are discotheques and bars in all of the larger towns too. If you want a different shopping experience, then Guatemala is the place for you! Wander through Antigua’s (Guatemala) vibrant Craft Market and take in its sights and sounds, especially the colourful tapestries and superb leather goods. Other towns such as Panajachel and Chichicastenango offer wonderful, and cheaper, choices in handicrafts. Perhaps you would like to take home some of Guatemala’s excellent coffee, considered by many connoisseurs to be the best in the world. All in all, if you enjoy variety and would like to experience a very different culture, then Guatemala is for you.