Guatemala, 7 regions that amaze the world
The historic, natural, and cultural heritage of Guatemala may be discovered throughout the whole territory. The magic and mystery of the Mayan world subsist in the millenary cities such as Tikal, Yaxhá, Aguateca, and Quiriguá among others. The faces, the colorful regional costumes, and the kindness of the people from the highlands are like an echo of an impressive colonial past that may be heard in the churches and convents of Antigua Guatemala. Such resonance is also the contact with an exuberant nature which is the origin and destination of a unique biodiversity in the world.
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.
Highlands, living Mayan culture
It is a region that offers the perfect combination of natural beauties, spectacular mountain landscapes, and traditions of a living Mayan culture.
The most rooted indigenous culture can be found in the highlands. The pine forests and active volcanoes allow visitors to practice hiking, canopying and, ecotourism. The Western region provides a folkloric display that unifies the pre-Columbian cosmogony and the customs of the conquerors. Such region is a perfect combination of the natural beauties, like Lago de Atitlán and the traditions, like the market of Chichicastenango, famous for its colorfulness and extension.
A representation of the millenary traditions and the experiences of the Mayans are reflected in every ambit of the historical, ancestral diversity of the region where the sacred book of Mayans, The Popol Vuh, was born. This region also offers numerous options of personal encounters with its communities. It is the ideal space to enjoy the cultural diversity, to learn languages, and to live the traditions. This region promises visitors a unique experience.
Petén, adventure in the Mayan world
Petén is the biggest department of Guatemala. Its territorial extension is of 35,854 squared kilometers. The municipality is the island of the city of Flores and it is also the starting point for different tourist attractions.
This department holds a unique historic value for its archeological richness, its fauna, and its biosphere reserve. Its numerous archeological sites make this region the most important one of the Mayan world.
Also, all the legends about one of the most amazing cultures of the world are born here. Its fascinating archeological sites are surrounded by jungle. One of such sites is Tikal, which was declared Cultural Heritage of Humanity Site by UNESCO in 1979. Besides, there may be found Yaxhá, Ceibal, Aguateca, San Bartolo and El Mirador where the biggest pyramid, for the size of its base, of the Mayan world is found. Another interesting site is Uaxactún that had an astrologic observatory in one of the most important buildings of the area. These places were the scenery of the Mayan culture development.
Flores City has an international airport called Mundo Maya, a bus terminal, and independent companies of collective transportation, express transportation, taxis, and motorcycle taxis.
In the island of Flores it is located the lake Petén Itzá which is the second, largest lake of Guatemala. The natural park, the zoo of Petencito, and the Mirador of King Kanek are very close by.
To visit these places and the shores of the lake, there is a service of motor boats well-conditioned for tourists.
Close to Flores there is the city of Santa Elena, where the Actún Kan Caves and most of the commerce centers are located.
The region of Petén is like an archeological Mayan museum for its numerous sites from the pre-classic, classic, and post-classic periods of a great civilization found around the jungle.
Additionally, this region offers other attractions for tourists such as recreational centers in rivers, beaches, canopying, aquatic parks, natural reserves, customs, and traditions.
For its natural reserves, Petén is known as the lung of the region. It shelters hundreds of species of animals and vegetables. Such richness and forest diversity is perfect for adventure tourism, birdwatching and ecotourism.
Izabal, a green Caribbean
With an original charm, rich ecosystems, and the happiness of the Garifuna culture, Izabal offers an encounter with a Caribbean of exuberant, natural beauty.
The diversity representation is greatly reflected in the green Caribbean for its rich ecosystems that are habitat for different species. Among its natural reserves are: Río Dulce, Bocas del Polochic, Punta de Manabique, and Biotopo Chocón Machacas. This region also owns Quiriguá, an archeological site declared Heritage of Humanity Site by UNESCO, where the famous “Estela E”, the biggest Mayan stela, of 10.5 meters high is found. Besides, the experience of visiting Castillo de San Felipe, built in the colonial era to avoid English pirates attacks, is offered to visitors.
The stunning Lago de Izabal, the largest in the country, the contrast among jungle, rivers and sea, and the mixture of the Garifuna and Mayan cultures make this a magic and fantastic paradise.
The Verapaces, natural paradise
This region is characterized for its caves, its leafy forests, singular waterfalls, natural pools, and a variety of flora and fauna.
Its territory is ideal for those who like extreme sports, outdoor recreation, and communitarian tourism. From the hiking of the humid forest in the mountains; the visit to the Biotopo del Quetzal routes, in which one may participate in a photographic safari to capture the national bird, the Quetzal; the excursion to each of its extensive and long caves, among them Lanquín or Candelaria; to the practice of extreme sports like rafting in Cahabón River and Semuc Champey, one of the main attractions for its waterfalls of 40 feet high and a natural limestone bridge of great ecologic richness since more than 100 bird species have been identified. All these and more make this region one of the favorite destinations for adventure and ecotourism. It would be a unique experience inside the leafy forests with a varied fauna and flora that includes more than 800 orchid species.
The Pacific Coast, exotic and diverse
Extensive coasts of volcanic sand will welcome visitors to a beautiful place of natural reserves.
Its splendid 300- kilometer- long beaches allow visitors to practice surfing and sport fishing, especially sailfish, sport that has been recognized as number one in the region and second in the world. The habitats of this region are great for the development of turtle hatcheries and mangroves, and facilitate the subsistence of the ecosystems for diverse species.
In this region it is also possible to climb volcanoes, to practice birdwatching, to visit important archeological sites like Takalik Abaj in Retalhuleu and El Baúl in Escuintla. In Retalhuleu the whole family may also enjoy important recreational and theme parks that allow the experiencing of harmony and entertainment.
The East, mystical and natural
This is one of the religious centers of most importance for its spiritual awareness and mysticism.
Sierra de las Minas is home of more than 885 species of mammals, reptiles, and birds being 20 of them endemic bird species that live in the cloud forest reserve, the most extensive of Central America.
Esquipulas is an important destination for religious meetings and its icon is the well-recognized Basilica Menor del Cristo Negro.
This region also offers trips around natural treasures like the Ipala Volcano and Lagoon and the Güija Lagoon. Its visitors are delighted with the ecologic excursions and the enjoyment of the parks and history of the Paleontology and Archeology Museum Ing. Roberto Woofolk Saravia in Estanzuela. Such museum keeps skeletons of mastodons and whales that are 50 thousand –years-old. Besides, this region possesses colonial churches and artistic treasures worthy of visiting.