Guatemala, Modern and Colonial

Guatemala City is the most flourishing city in Central America with its modern buildings and business centers that contrast with La Antigua Guatemala, colonial and romantic city, with a combination of ancient buildings and rooted customs and traditions.

Guatemala City is the most modern and cosmopolitan city of the Central American region. It is the ideal place to organize conferences and conventions, play golf, make medical check-ups, and visit shopping centers among other activities. Visiting the Historic Center of more than 200 years of existence is mandatory. Its cathedral, emblematic buildings, churches, and museums are a reflection of the historic evolution of the country.

Entertainment and distraction sites are also present in Guatemala; for example, Zona Viva where its exclusive hotels, restaurants and discotheques enhance the city.

Very close to the capital city is located the picturesque and enchanting City of Antigua Guatemala, main icon of the Hispanic colonial heritage. It is localized in the Panchoy Valley and  is surrounded by three volcanoes, mountains, and coffee plantations. It was declared Cultural Heritage of Humanity Site by UNESCO in 1979. Its cobblestone streets and ancestral buildings conform a scenery where splendorous cultural and religious traditions emerge.  Romanticism floats in every corner of the city; therefore, it is the perfect place to celebrate weddings and special events. Visitors may choose among beautiful, colonial hotels, boutique hotels, and charming hotels with first class facilities for conferences and business meetings in an inspirational environment.

Antigua Guatemala is the ideal destination for religious tourism during Holy Week, especially for its catholic awareness, faith, and the beauty of its processions and colorful rugs.

Guatemala, Modern and Colonial

Destinations in Guatemala, Modern and Colonial

Volcano Pacaya National Park,

To get to the volcano, visitors can take highway CA-9 toward the south coast and turn left at kilometer 37 toward the municipality of San Vicente Pacaya.  Volcano Pacaya is 2,500 meters high and is located between the departments of Guatemala and Escuintla.  It has been throwing out piro-plastic materials, typical of a Strombolian eruption, for more than 30 years. This volcano also has a secondary conduit called Pico Mackenney or Mackenney’s Peak as well as three other peaks, known locally as Cerro Chino (Chinese Hill), Cerro Grande (Big Hill)...

Archeological Site Kaminal Juyú, Guatemala

Kaminal Juyu “Hill of the Dead,” located in the capital city, is an important site because it was occupied from the pre-classic to the late classic period.  The first phase consisted of 200 mounds distributed throughout an area of approximately 5 kilometers squared. At the beginning of the classic period, Kaminal Juyu was reoccupied by groups with teotihuacan influence who controlled the commercial routes of the highlands. Today, only a few mounds have been preserved.  They contain adobe structures covered with burnt clay that supported structures of perishable materials.  The...

Artisan Market, Guatemala

Located on Juan Pablo II Boulevard near La Aurora International Airport in Zone 13 of Guatemala City, the Artisan Market occupies an area of approximately 10,200 meters squared.  It includes 51 spaces where vendors exhibit and sell a range of handicrafts made all over Guatemala including textiles from various regions, leather, wood, ceramics, candles, paintings, antiques, silver and jade jewelry, baskets and clothing.  The Market also offers artisanal workshops, temporary artisan exhibits, special events, gardens, public parking and security as well as a restaurant where visitors can enjoy Guatemalan cuisine....

Meeting Spaces, Guatemala

Modern hotels in the capital are equipped with the installations and infrastructure necessary to accommodate congresses, conventions, conferences and private meetings amid modernity and comfort.  Among these hotels are: Marriott, Westin Camino Real, Holiday Inn, Real Intercontinental, Grand Tikal Futura, Meliá, Viva Clarion Suite, Vista Real, Conquistador Ramada, Atlantis, Coperex, Radisson and Princess. Additionally, there are open-air venues available such as El Campo Marte, El Estadio del Ejército, El Estadio de la Pedrera, el Domo de la zona 13, Mateo Flores Stadium, and Hipódromo del Sur for political, cultural, religious...

Guatemala City,

"La Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción" is the name of the city of the Republic, commercial, religion, and cultural activities center. This metropolis, of about 3 million of population, presents a contrast panorama between the colonial architecture that is combined with modern buildings, which, with its important museums and history monuments, offer to the tourist a unique experience.In addition, it counts with hotel infrastructure, physical space and adequate services to realize big meetings, for that reason it has been constituted in a regional center of congresses and conventions.The modern mall,...

San José Catedral, Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepéquez

Este edificio se construyó entre 1543 y 1680, con una fachada de elaborada factura barroca, realizada en argamasa blanca con el estilo característico de las iglesias antigüeñas. Tiene columnas de fuste liso, un cuerpo y una espadaña que tuvo que reedificarse tras el terremoto de Santa Marta en 1773. La majestuosa construcción de la Catedral justificó la dignidad de “Metropolitana”, que le fuera otorgada en 1743 por el Papa Benedicto XIV. Alrededor de la entrada principal, se admiran espléndidos adornos de estuco que datan de las postimerías del siglo XVII. En la...

Archeological Site Mixco Viejo, Guatemala

Mixco Viejo’s true name is Jilotepeque Viejo.  It is located at the boarder of the departments of Quiché, Chimaltenango and Guatemala.  This site was one of the few cities that was inhabited and functioning at the time of the Spanish Conquest.  What is known about the site appears for the first time in the book “Recordación Florida” (Florid Remembrance) by Captain Fuentes y Guzmán, in which it is described as a military and religious city.   The culture here has its beginnings in 12th or 13th century, and it is possible...

Capuchinas Convent, Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepéquez

Constructed in 1736, Capuchinas was the last female convent in the city.  Its true name was Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragoza (Our Lady of the Pillar of Saragossa). The architectural complex was the work of Diego de Porres, a great architect of Antigua, Guatemala. The interior highlights a circular patio with arches that mark each of the 18 nuns’ cells.  This section is called the “Torre del Retiro” (Tower of Retreat). Additionally, there is a second patio, which made up the principal cloister, with a central fountain and arches formed by Tuscan...

La Aurora National Zoo, Guatemala

The National Zoo is located five minutes from the capital’s “Zona Viva” (Nightlife Sector) and two minutes from the airport.  It occupies an area of approximately 29 acres and includes green spaces and rest areas.  At its center, visitors will find a banquet hall known as Casa de Té (The Tea House) which was constructed in the 1920’s with French architecture, and Italian marble statues at the entrance.  In the mammal area, along with a variety of species, the Zoo features original Mayan stele.  In the African Savannah, Asian and...

Ruins La Recolección, Antigua Guatemala,

This site’s sturdy walls are a tribute to the size of this Order (los Recolectos). In spite of natural disasters and depredation, these historical monuments offer an interesting perspective of convent life of the time.           ...

Museum of the Popol Vuh,

The Museum of the Popol Vuh offers visitors a unique trip through Guatemala’s history, illustrated through one of the best collections of pre-Hispanic and colonial art in the country.  This museum is a private, non-profit scientific institution that makes up part of the University Francisco Marroquín.  Its objectives include the conservation, research and dissemination of the cultural and archeological heritage of Guatemala. Address: University Francisco Marroquín, end of 6th Street, Zone 10 Guatemala 01010 Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00-17:00, Saturday 9:00-13:00, closed Sundays. Admission Prices: Adults Q35.00 Students with ID Q15.00...

Santa Clara Convent, Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepéquez

Constructed during the first years of the 18th century, the interior of Santa Clara features beautiful double arches of excellent proportions that surround the convent’s spacious cloister, which was founded to shelter Clarissa nuns. The façade of the temple, elaborately decorated in stucco, is inside the convent and was designed to be seen by the nuns, who never left. ...

Nightlife Sector, Guatemala

Guatemala’s “Zona Viva” in Zone 10 is the longest running entertainment sector in the city.  The most exclusive hotels, nightclubs, cafes, bars, dance clubs, restaurants and boutiques are located here.  Visitors will also find various art galleries displaying and selling works by up-and-coming Guatemalan artists. ...

La Merced Church and Convent, Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepéquez

The façade of this church is, without a doubt, the best example of the baroque style that was predominant in antique constructions. The delicate “autaurique” work (a relief technique involving detailed vegetation motifs in chalk), is an example of the architectural quality achieved in this city. The Convent’s spectacular fountain, the largest remaining in Antigua, Guatemala, was constructed in the 18th century and partially restored in 1944.  Inside the church, worshipers venerate Jesus of Nazareth, a splendid example of colonial sculpture.   ...

The National Palace of Culture, Guatemala

This construction required a team of engineers and architects as well as several of the greatest exponents of the visual arts in Guatemala.  It is one of the great achievements of Guatemalan architecture.  The eclectic style is a mix of Guatemalan colonial architecture with French and neoclassic influence. It takes up 8,890 square meters and was built with reinforced concrete and brick, which was then covered with green artificial stone.  The construction, mandated by President Rafael Pérez de León in 1939, was finished in 1943.  Within the building, operate the...

The Archbishop’s Palace, Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepéquez

Situated to the North of the Cathedral, the construction of this palace dates back to the beginning of the 18th century.  The ruins, in actuality, are few. However, the splendid architectural quality of the building can still be clearly admired in the remains of the cloister, its enormous door and in the doorframes of solid rock that correspond to the western façade. ...

Miguel Angel Asturias Cultural Center, Guatemala

Also known as the National Theater, this cultural complex, designed by engineer and artist Efraín Recinos, is located in the Civic Center of the city and constructed on the site once occupied by Fort San José. Its shape, which emulates a boat, stands out from the surrounding buildings.  It consists of a the Grand Theater (for opera) with 2,068 seats, the Chamber Theater, the Open Air Theater, small plazas, rehearsal salons, workshops and conference rooms as well as a museum of antique arms.   A variety of shows are presented in...

The Palace of the City Council (Town Hall), Antigua Guatemala,

This construction has maintained its original form since 1743, when it served as the town hall.  The impressive two-level façade displays arches of solid rock and the Eastern wall of the building is one of the few that has been preserved with an overlay of cut rock. Due to its marvelous construction, it was used as a jail during the colonial era.  Currently it serves as the central office for municipal authorities and as the home of the Antique Book Museum. ...

Cerrito del Carmen, Guatemala

Many Catholic churches are located in zone 1 and offer an interesting sample of neoclassic architecture. The works of art of the XVI and XIX century may be admired inside. Outstanding for their sculpture and artistic works are: la Merced, located on 11th avenue and 5th street, zone 1, of the neoclassic style and home to pershaps some of the richest aLtar-pieces and colonial furniture and other assets. Capuchinas, of baroque style, is famous for its altar-pieces, carved figures and paintings. It is located at 10th avenue and 10th street...

Field Marshals’ Palace, Sacatepéquez

Located in front of the central park, this palace consists of two levels and a double arched facade.  During the 16th and 17th centuries, it sheltered representatives of the King.  Now, it houses the departmental government offices. ...

Central Market, Guatemala

Guatemala’s Central Market is located behind the Metropolitan Cathedral, in the basement of the Tabernacle Plaza. There, visitors can buy a variety of art and handicrafts from all over the country; ceramics, textiles, leather, wood, silver, etc., as well as everyday consumer goods. Open every day from 6:00 to 18:00. ...

Raised-Relief Map of the Republic of Guatemala, Guatemala

A one-of-a-kind work, this three-dimensional map was constructed in 1904 by the lieutenant-colonel and engineer Francisco Vela Irrisari. It shows, in detail, the contrasts in elevation in the Republic of Guatemala. Construction of the map began in 1904 and was finished in October of 1905. It occupies an area of approximately 1,809 square meters. Made of concrete and stone, this map has a special hydraulic system that simulates the currents of the various watersheds of Guatemala, distributing the water necessary to rivers, lakes and oceans through lead pipes. The vertical...

National Library, Periodicals Library and General Archive of Central America, Guatemala

These three cultural institutions, located in front of Centennial Park, house valuable information about Guatemala and Central America including documents from the government of the ancient kingdom of Goathemala (1524-1821), the Central American Federation (1821-1848) and the Republic of Guatemala (1848 to present).  These resources are a valuable treasure for researchers.Library Hours: Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 15:00Periodicals Library Hours: Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 17:00General Archive Hours: Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 17:00 ...

United Nations Park, Guatemala

Located to the North of Lake Amatitlán, United Nations Park has recreational areas, forests and panoramic views.  It also features an area with replicas of Guatemala’s architectural monuments; a colonial plaza, the central plaza of Tikal and typical highland dwellings. ...

Amatitlán Lake, Guatemala

The Lake is 27 kilometers away from Guatemala City. it is around 15 square kilometers in surface. It represents one of the favorite destinations of the people who live in Guatemala City. It is widely visited during the weekends. Guatemalan candy from Lake Amatitlan is famous, among them, marzipan, "pepitoria" candy, milk candy and others. Boats are rented and boat tours around the lake are offered. The festivity of the patron saint, The child of Atocha" takes place in May. It has a cable railway that will take you from...

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Instituto Guatemalteco de Turismo -INGUAT-

7 av. 1-17 zona 4, Centro Cívico, Guatemala City.
Phone: (502)24212800
Email: info@inguat.gob.gt