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Guatemala – The great ancient Mayan kingdom with 60,000 uncharted structural sites

Guatemala Tikal Maya Sacrifice Pyramid Ruins

Travel guide for Guatemala travelers!

 

If you are interested in traveling to Central America, safety maybe your top concern. Most people I met were curious about what the area had to offer but stayed away due to fear of violence and crime. The area has a recent history of conflict and violence. It is also a place of violence full of murderers and drug dealers. But the civil war is over, and if you pay attention, you will notice that 99% of travelers and foreigners are not targeted by gangs.

If you stop being paranoid and give it a fair chance, you will notice that most countries in Central America are safer than ever. Indeed, some countries are safer than others. Some parts of each country are safer (and less) than others.

Although various Central American travel guides, American consulates, and the term “street” are often different, they all believe that a certain level of street intelligence is the key to maintaining Central America’s security. Most of it comes down to common sense. If you avoid situations that might put you in obvious danger-such as walking alone in a cunning neighborhood late at night-this possibility is definitely in your favor.

     It’s hard to imagine someone going to Guatemala and staying the same. The mountainous landscape is no less magical, and the people-40% indigenous Maya-are warm and kind. There may be nothing to sing about on the beaches of Guatemala. But the country offers a lot of inland attractions, and it can be said to be the favorite destination of Central American travelers-me included!

 Where should I go?

buildings church city clear sky
Photo by Saulo Zayas on Pexels.com

    In Central America, Guatemala City is one of the most dangerous cities. Most Guatemalan travelers head straight to Antigua. Antigua Guatemala or the “Old Guatemala City” attracts most of the country’s tourists every year, with its cobblestone streets, eye-catching colonial buildings, and fireworks background. Apart from Quetzaltenango or “Xela”, Antigua is one of Spain’s most popular destinations for studying Spanish in the Americas.

      The huge Mayan ruins in Tikal in the northern province of Petén are Guatemala’s biggest draw. The outer walls of the ancient temples of Tikal are unforgettable, just like walking from the temple through the tangled rainforest-this often echoes the call of the howler monkey. Livingston, a coastal town in the Caribbean, is another interesting destination if you just take a rainforest motorboat along the way in Dulce, Rio de Janeiro.

ancient stone construction of ruined city
Photo by Spencer Davis on Pexels.com

        The most amazing natural asset in Guatemala is Lago de Atitlan or Lake Atitlan. Surrounded by hazy blue volcanoes, the lake is also surrounded by dozens of Mayan villages. The most visited are Panajachel, San Pedro La Laguna, and Santiago, all of which have glorious (unique) lake views. Be sure to take a day trip to the nearby village of Chichicastenango in the highlands on Market Day (Thursday and Sunday).You will find the best places to shop in Central America-just to make sure to practice your Guatemala bargaining skills.

Life in Guatemala

The vast majority of travelers to Guatemala have worry-free holidays, In Guatemala City crime is indeed increasing, especially. Theft in public transportation is common, especially between major cities. Armed robbery and rape are also increasing.Many foreigners live in this country without problems. People who are truly dangerous often notice that only locals have the business.

       What you need is some common sense, not walking alone or in a lonely place at night.  In short, yes, there are crimes and gangs, but it is the same all over the world. Just don’t show off your expensive jewelry, wallet, and professional camera, you will be fine.

Areas you should avoid

    If you are in Guatemala City, I would advise against going to District 1. This is where most of the bus terminals, historical sites, and cheap hotels are located. However, this is also a particularly poor and dangerous area of   the capital. The goal of the central market goes beyond theft. In it, you really have a chance to be robbed by a gun.

volcano erupting at night under starry sky
Photo by Clive Kim on Pexels.com

       If you want to go out and admire nature, you can explore the forest, hike volcanoes, or look for waterfalls, always as part of a group tour. It is also better to avoid individual travel or travel alone.

Travel companies usually know where they need police escorts and have contact with local residents so they will not be robbed. In the end, this may be something you should at least do all over Latin America to avoid lonely areas at night.

Security and police

    In Guatemala, the police force is young and underfunded, and the judicial system is overcrowded and inefficient. Just in case, you should always be vigilant just in case. But be polite. Because there are some corruption stories, but most of them are good and helpful. If you meet a good person who doesn’t ask for anything while helping, you can buy them soda or snacks (don’t give them money). By doing this, you encourage them to stay in good shape.

Some more tips on staying safe

       In Guatemala City and Antigua, avoid night travel at all costs. Even if your destination is only a few blocks away, you can take a taxi or tut-tut.

Don’t flash any signs of wealth. Leave your jewelry, camera, and possible wallet at home. Instead, put your cash or cards in your pants (trousers with zipper pockets).

woman in red shirt and black pants walking on stairs
Photo by Mike van Schoonderwalt on Pexels.com

Don’t resist robbery-this is why most victims are injured or killed. If you are blocked, please cooperate fully. Chances are, this robber will be more nervous than you, so give him what he asks and move on.

Don’t be paranoid. Not everyone wants your money. Plus the bandits can tell people when someone is afraid and paranoid, so they treat them as their targets, thinking they have a lot of things they want to keep.

Don’t leave things unattended when you go to the restaurant.

What can I see in guatemala?

     The amazing natural beauty of Guatemala is everywhere, even on the edge of smoky Guatemala City. The Mayan ruins of Tikal are one of the best places to experience the glory of Guatemala-its temples are built on a dense forest background, and it is common to find troops of giant butterflies, monkeys, and other wild animals.

For some of the best bird watching activities in the country, book a motorboat trip between Rio Dulce and Livingston on the Caribbean coast. The impenetrable rainforest towers on both sides of the strait and lucky travelers may see the elusive manatee. For another unique experience, head to Semuc Champey, a limestone bridge over a swift river, inlaid with emerald green swimming pools.

 How to get there and around?

    Passenger traffic in Guatemala is dominated by a legendary creature: the flock of chickens. The dick is claustrophobic, uncomfortable, and often smelly. But if you never ride once-at at least once! -You have not really experienced travel in Guatemala. In addition, they are very cheap, and they are definitely wherever you want to go.

photo of mountain under cloudy sky
Photo by Evgeny Tchebotarev on Pexels.com

     For long-distance travel, if you want to book a van, minibus or taxi, this is understandable. First-class buses can be reserved for travel between Guatemala City or Antigua and Flores, the gateway to Tikal. You can also fly. Among countries, Ticabus is your best choice. If you travel to Belize, you can cross the eastern border into San Ignacio, or take a boat from Puerto Barrios on the Caribbean coast to Punta Gorda.

How much do I pay?

    Traveling in Guatemala is still very cheap. It’s easy to find air-conditioned accommodations with private bathrooms, hot water, and even less than $10 per night. Of course, tourist cities like Antigua are more expensive. Except for Quetzal, the U.S. dollar is legal tender in Guatemala, and many ATMs provide both types of bills.

 What will I eat?

 Food and beverages in Guatemala.

The food and beverages of Guatemala are mainly influenced by the Mayan and Spanish cultures of the country. However, it has also been influenced by African and Caribbean culture.

Ready to taste Guatemalan cuisine? Be sure to follow the links to Guatemalan recipes and other information about Guatemalan food and beverages.

food and beverages of Guatemala
food and beverages of Guatemala

Breakfast in Guatemala

      Breakfast in Guatemala is very simple and usually includes a variety of eggs, tortillas, beans, and plantains. Some also come with some cheese or cream. Many breakfasts in Guatemala make use of the country’s rich tropical fruits such as bananas, papaya, mangoes, and avocados. In some places, you might even eat oats. Of course, without a cup of world-class Guatemalan coffee, breakfast is complete without Guatemala.

Guatemalan meal

     Corn, beans, rice, pork, beef, chicken, cheese, and tortillas are the backbone of most Guatemalan dishes. Meat stews ( caldos ) and soups ( sopas ) are easily the favorite dishes of the locals. If you order grilled chicken, if you’re Guatemalan meal comes with feet (rare, but not unknown), don’t be scared.

By looking at the menu, you will find that many meals in Guatemala are similar to neighbors in northern Guatemala, Mexico.

 Nachos, tamales, and enchiladas are delicious as you find in your favorite Mexican restaurants in Guatemalan food as well as much cheaper. Chinese restaurants, pizzerias, and fried chicken stalls are also common in towns in Guatemala.

Fiambre Guatemala Food Colorful Gastronomy
Fiambre Guatemala Food Colorful Gastronomy

Three major cuisines in Guatemala:

Chiles Rellenos: Chile peppers are stuffed with rice, cheese, meat, and vegetables. They are served with tortillas and tomato sauce.

Chicken slices: spicy pumpkin and chicken with tahini sauce. This is the national dish of Guatemala.

Kak’ik: Traditional Mayan Turkish soup with spices such as coriander, Aquino, and chili. Must try.

Snacks and in El Guatemala

Guacamole: Served with French fries, or as a topping on other Guatemalan foods.

Spiced Mango: seasoned sliced green mango, with chili and lime. Sold from street carts.

Tortillas: Crispy flat corn tortillas, a staple food in Guatemalan food. Five cents are cheaper on the street.

Nachos: They include a variety of delicious toppings such as cheese, butter beans, meat, cream, avocado, and chili, and they almost always include fresh hot chips. Delicious!

Elotes: grilled corn with cheese, lime, chili, butter, or mayonnaise.

Guatemala Candys Colorful Candy Eat Sweets Tasty
Guatemala Candys Colorful Candy Eat Sweets Tasty

Guatemalan desserts

Tres Leches cake (Pasel de Tres Leches): This is a cold desert, a cake soaked in three types of milk, including evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and cream.Flan: A wobbly golden caramel custard with some more liquid caramel on top.

Where to eat and what will you pay?

Guatemala is one of the cheapest countries in Central America, so food in Guatemala is cheap.

You can only find U.S. prices in the most visited destinations such as Flores and Antigua Guatemala; even there, lower-priced options are extensive. Small restaurants offer the best and cheaper options.

     International restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops are common in good places. However, local restaurants and street vendors are the best places to try authentic Guatemalan food (less authentic, such as fried chicken and French fries). Remember the mantra of travelers: wash, peel, cook, or forget it.

When should I go?

Holy Week in Antigua Guatemala

       A very important religious holiday in Mexico is the week before Easter. Santa Claus Weekly (Holy Week in English).  Religious celebrations are at the forefront, but because Mexican schools currently have two weeks of holidays (Semana Santa is one week, the following week is called Semana de Pascua, meaning “Easter Week”), so it is also a Mexican family going to Beaches and tourist attractions.

Date of Semana Santa:

    Semana Santa runs from Palm Sunday ( Domingo de Ramos ) to Easter ( Domingo de Pascua ), but because students (and some workers) enjoy a two-week break at this time, the whole week before Easter and the Semana Santa holiday the next week. The date of Easter changes every year. The date is calculated based on the cycle of the moon and the vernal equinox. Easter falls on the first week after the vernal or the first full moon after the vernal equinox. For convenience, here are the dates for Easter in the coming years:

2018-March 26 to April 1

April 14-21, 2019

2020-April 5-12

2021-March 29 to April 4

April 10-17, 2022

Travel during Holy Week:

   Since Mexican schools currently have two weeks of vacation, this is actually spring break for Mexicans. This is often the hottest and driest time in most parts of the country, making this beach a magnet for those who want to escape the popular city streets. Therefore, if you plan to travel to Mexico during this period, be prepared for the crowds at the beaches and tourist attractions, and make hotel and travel reservations in advance.

Religious celebrations:

However, Semana Santa’s religious ceremony did not allow the back seat to enjoy the beach fun. There are parades and passion games all over the country, although different regions celebrate in different ways, and some communities have more enthusiastic celebrations. Holy Week celebrations include Taxco, Pátzcuaro, Oaxaca, and San Cristobal de las Casas.

The last days of Jesus were caused in the ceremony held this week.

Palm Sunday- Domingo de la Moss

The Sunday before Easter, called Palm Sunday, commemorates Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem. According to the Bible, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, and people on the street laid down palm branches on the road. On this day, many towns and villages in Mexico have parades repeating the triumphal entry of Jesus, and woven palm trees are sold outside the church.

Thursday M Fish – Jervis

Santo The Thursday of Holy Week is called Thursday Holy Week or Holy Thursday. This day is to commemorate the apostle’s foot washing, the Last Supper, and Jesus’ arrest in Gethsemane. Some Mexican traditions on Thursday in Mexico include visiting seven churches, recalling the vigil they kept in the garden when Jesus prayed before his arrest, the foot-washing ceremony, and of course the Holy Communion.

Good Friday- Viernes Santo

Good Friday recalls the crucifixion of Christ. There are some solemn religious processions on this day, and the statues of Christ and the Virgin Mary go through the town.

Participants in these parades usually wear costumes to evoke Jesus’ time. Passionate drama, dramatic entertainment of the crucifixion of Christ, is presented in many communities. The biggest event is held in Iztapalapa, south of Mexico City, where more than one million people gather in Via Cruces every year.

Holy Saturday- Sabado de Gloria

In some places, because of his betrayal of Jesus, the burning custom of Judas appears in the portrait, which has now become a holiday. Build cardboard or paper figures, sometimes with firecrackers, and then burn. The images of Judah often look like Satan, but sometimes they are made to resemble political figures.

Easter Sunday- Domingo de Pascua

On Easter Sunday in Mexico, you won’t encounter any mention of the Easter Bunny or Chocolate Egg.

This is usually a day when people go to mass and celebrate quietly with their families, but in some places, there are fireworks celebrations, joyous parades, music, and dancing.

The best places to celebrate Easter in Mexico:

Easter is celebrated all over the country, but if you want to see some interesting and unique Mexican celebrations, here are some good destinations to witness local traditions:

Cholula, State of Puebla: In this small town on the outskirts of Puebla, the grounds of the town square are decorated with elaborate tapestries of sand and petals. A large procession with religious figures walked around the square, walked in the corridors, and destroyed it.

Oaxaca: On Good Friday, a silent procession passed through the streets of the city. Many participants brought religious figures and some wearing pointed hats. These hoods may remind you of the Klan, but they actually predate Klan and their origin is in Spain. The hood represents the wearer’s repentance of his sins.

San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato: On Good Friday, locals wrap a string of firecrackers around a paper book called Judas, but they often represent political figures or other important and controversial figures. Fireworks are detonated, and many people like the spectacle of burning pulp figures.

Mexico City: The town of Iztapalapa , located on the outskirts of Mexico City, is one of the most refined and passionate passion scenes. Participants attach great importance to drama and spend several months preparing to take on the roles of Jesus, Virgin Mary, Roman soldiers, etc. In the city itself, the traffic flow is reduced, and in the two weeks of Semana Christmas, the atmosphere is more laid-back More than any other time of the year, because many city dwellers have given up traveling in this city, which makes this city an ideal city without crowds.

        Holy Week in Antigua Guatemala, or Holy Week, is the most colorful festival in the country. If you want to visit, then book in advance. When it rains in Guatemala, it does not flow back. The thunder broke the sky, the ground became dimmed, and the scenery was eliminated by the solid water surface. However, even in the rainy season (May-October), heavy rains occur at night and burn out in the morning. Although the lowlands can become very humid, the highlands of Guatemala enjoy an excellent climate all year round.

Important contact

Security escort and emergency services are provided through the INGUAT Travel Assistance Office; you can dial 1500 to set up a police escort team or get your questions answered.

To keep up with all the latest developments regarding safety and security in Guatemala, you can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 elsewhere.

To contact the US Embassy in Guatemala City, you can use the following phone numbers after getting off work: (502) 2-326-4000 or (502) 2-331-2354.

The main tip is to enjoy time in Guatemala. The chance of being robbed, let alone being killed is very low.

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