For travelers who love authentic emotions and unconventional places, Guatemala is definitely a country to visit at least once in a lifetime. Guatemala is the Heart of the Mayan World. Alive, magical, mystical and ancestral. Its history stars over four thousand years ago, when the Mayan civilization emerged, whose legacy lives until today with the traditions and culture of its people. Awaiting you in Guatemala you will find a mixture of history and nature, cultures and traditions, fantastic landscapes and folkloric markets.
A trip to Guatemala will take you to a past where the religious syncretism between the ancient indigenous beliefs and the Christianity brought by the Spanish colonizers, is still alive and strong. Currently 40% inhabited by indigenous populations (mostly autochthonous), Guatemala has Spanish as its official language but more than 23 Mayan languages are spoken throughout the country.
Unmissable during a trip to Guatemala is a visit to the famous Chichicastenango market where indigenous peoples go every Thursday and Sunday to sell their products and where you will be amazed by an explosion of colors and emotions. Arriving near the church of Santo Tomás, located in the main square, surrounded by the scent of incense used by shamans to perform Mayan rituals, you can admire with your own eyes how Christian beliefs still coexist with ancient Mayan traditions.
Maya land par excellence, Guatemala is home of some of the most beautiful archaeological sites in the world. Located in the heart of the tropical forest of the Petén department, Tikal is undoubtedly an unmissable archaeological site for its architectural charm and for the lush vegetation in which it is immersed. Tikal is among the largest and most important cities of the entire Mayan Civilization and it is also the site that has the pre-Columbian structure among the highest in all of America with its 72 meter high pyramid.
Pearls of rare beauty are also its colonial cities among which the wonderful Antigua stands out, the ancient capital of Guatemala (from which it takes its name today), declared a Unesco World Heritage Site as the best preserved colonial city in all of Latin America with its courtyards, its characteristic streets surrounded by churches and the Fuego volcano which is the backdrop to this unique and picturesque city. Equally fascinating is Quetzaltenango, famous for its textile production and the distillation of the prized Rum Zacapa.
Surrounded by Mexico, Belize, El Saldavor and Honduras and bathed by the two oceans (Atlantic and Pacific), Guatemala is defined as the country of eternal spring for its temperate climate throughout the year. “Guatemala” comes from the word "Quauhtemalan" which in Nahuatl means "Land of Trees" or "Place of Forests", a name given to it for the luxuriant vegetation that characterizes this country. Guatemala, in fact, has one of the richest and most varied flora in the world.
The landscape that this fascinating country offers is also very varied.
Famous for being one of the most beautiful lakes in the world and located in a huge volcanic crater in the mountainous area of Guatemala, Lake Atitlán is a real oasis of peace. In addition to the numerous indigenous villages, which arise near the lake and which can be reached by boat, the "3 giants" that surround the lake increase the charm of this suggestive place: the volcanoes of San Pedro, Tolimán and Atitlán.
There are also many underground (and non-underground) rivers, such as the famous Semuc Champey, which literally means “hidden river”, declared a natural monument and protected area of Guatemala. Semuc Champey is truly a paradise of nature: a deep canyon covered with dense tropical vegetation with pools of warm and crystalline water connected to each other by waterfalls of various heights. Taking a bath in one of these pools, surrounded by the magic and silence of nature, is a unique experience.
Or the natural system of Candelaria caves, a place that will surprise you for its natural beauty with underground rivers, stalagmites and stalactites (constituting the largest underground network in all of Latin America), and for its historical importance and cultural. The Candelaria caves are in fact recognized in the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Maya, as the entrance to the “inframudo” and still today they are a sacred place where shamans and priests meet to celebrate Mayan rituals.
Equally fascinating is Rio Dulce, a river inserted in a natural park (which represents the Guatemalan connection to the Caribbean Sea) and refuge for various species of birds, manatees and crocodiles that can be observed during a boat trip. But Guatemala never ceases to surprise and when you reach the mouth of Rio Dulce you come across Livingston: a peculiar village with a population of African origin that jealously preserves its traditions with African gastronomic recipes, dances and beliefs.
In short, if until today the call of the Quetzal (the bird symbol of Guatemala) has not yet arrived to you, we invite you to come with us to discover this surprising country, certain that it will make you live a truly unique and unforgettable experience.
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