Guatemala, the land of volcanoes and of eternal spring. Last May I visited this country, located in Central America, and I loved it. In this blog I will tell you what I love about Guatemala.
The first thing that struck me when I arrived in Guatemala was the friendly people. Salesmen, drivers, guides and people you just meet on the street. Everyone is helpful and friendly. My first evening in Antigua I walked around through the streets and ended up at the central square. There were a lot of people on the square and it looked nice, so I decided to sit down on a bench and watch this spectacle go on. Two hours later I left the square. In the meantime, I had been addressed by several people who were curious what I came to do and what I thought of their country. And at the end of the evening I listened together with others on the square to a performance of a young band. This evening made me feel immediately welcome in Guatemala.
Every Guatemalan has a smartphone in his pocket, WIFI is available everywhere and they play the same music as the Netherlands. Although the population is also going along with the new technologies you can still see a lot of their traditions of which they are very proud of and that's very beautiful to see. They are very proud of their origins and still find their culture very important. During my trip through Guatemala I was able to see a lot of the rich culture. Women in traditional clothing, the local markets where special handicrafts are sold, we visited a weaving mill and saw a local coffee plantation. We were even allowed to go to the home of the owners of the plantation to see how the process of the coffee beans continues.
Together with the countries of Mexico, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras, Guatemala was the heart of the Mayan world. Scattered over the country you will find impressive archaeological sites. The most famous site is Tikal. A beautiful and impressive place, but there is even more. Not far from Tikal, in the middle of the jungle, you will find the Maya village Uaxactún. The inhabitants here still live from the jungle and their village is surrounded by impressive Maya buildings. During my trip I visited this place, we were invited to eat at people's homes, and I spent the night on a luxurious camping or 'glamping'. We were received very hospitably and while enjoying dinner between dozens of candles, not far from a Mayan temple, we were told impressive stories about the past.
In the southwest of the country you have the high mountains where a soft sun shines and where it is around 15 degrees. Volcanoes dominate the landscape and at the lake of Atitlán it seems as if you end up in a fairy tale. The lake shines in the morning sun and the small villages climb the surrounding hills. From Guatemala City you fly in less than an hour to the north where the mountainous landscape has made way for a green jungle, the sun shining brightly and a temperature that can reach up to 35 degrees. Howler monkeys are your natural alarm clock and a toucan regularly passes by. Two totally different worlds in one and the same country and both special.
Not only the nature of Guatemala is special, but also the accommodations where I stayed. Enjoying a well-groomed breakfast with my face in the sun and my gaze on the lake of Atitlán, waking up on the shore of a lagoon in the jungle and sleeping a few steps away from the Arco of Antigua. The staff will make sure you won't lack anything during your stay and in between the busy days you can relax in the hotel's spa. Lovely.
Would you like to make a trip through Guatemala yourself and are you curious about the possibilities? Then take a look at the travel itineraries that we have put together for inspiration. You can book these trips directly, but we are also happy to create a personal programme based on your wishes and ideas.
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