Central America: Endless Vistas in Guatemala

Guatemala City: Surprises are in store for visitors to the capital, once a sleepy colonial town and now a modern urban center with an up-to-date hotel infrastructure. Among its major attractions are the ornate National Palace, the grand Cathedral and museums such as the National Museum of Arts and Popular Crafts, the Museum of Natural History and the Ixchel Textile Museum.

Antigua: This beautifully restored colonial city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, contains some of the finest examples of Spanish colonial art and architecture, cathedrals, convents and old mansions in the Americas.

Lake Atitlan: Guatemala's most majestic natural wonder is a mile high and framed by three volcanoes -- Atitlan, Toliman and San Pedro. Lake excursions include visits to picturesque Indian villages and markets.

Chichicastenango: This market town of the Quiche Indians is also a colonial outpost of churches and inns. Market days are Thursday and Sunday and the Santo Tomas festival is held here Dec. 13 to 21.

Tikal: Located in the El Peten rain forest and considered the greatest of Maya cities, Tikal flourished in the Classic period from 300 to 900 A.D. and was declared a World Heritage Monument by UNESCO.

Guatemala Fast Facts
  • Capital City: Guatemala City
  • Area: 50,885 square miles (approximate size of state of Tennessee)
  • Country population: 11 million
  • Language: Spanish
  • Entry requirements: Valid passport, tourist card issued on arrival ($5)
  • Currency: Quetzal
  • Local time: Central Standard (Greenwich Mean Time -6)
  • International phone code: 502
  • Recommended guidebook: Mexico & Central America Handbook, Footprint Handbooks
  • Information: Guatemala Tourist Commission: (888) INGUAT1; Web site: www.guatemala.travel.com.gt
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