Guatemala: a beginner’s guide
Guatemala was once a major block of New Spain, the viceroyalty that spread from Central America up into Texas and California, across to Florida and the Caribbean, down to Nicaragua and eastwards to the Philippines.
Top five attractions
- The Mayan ruins of Tikal and the surrounding Petén jungle.
- Lago Atitlán, a beautiful highland lake ringed by volcanoes.
- The twice-weekly market at Chichicastenango in the Maya-dominated western highlands.
- The natural limestone pools of Semuc Champey.
- The Cuchumatanes mountain range for hiking.
Antigua, the old capital, a global centre of Spanish language-learning, which is also a delightful, low-slung colonial city with some great coffee shops and restaurants.
Souvenir to buy
Hand-woven textiles from the highland markets.
All Saints Day is celebrated with an alcohol-fuelled horse race in the village of Todos Santos Cuchumatán. The festival runs from October 31 to November 2, with the race on November 1.
‘Mr President’, by the Nobel literature prize-winner Miguel Angel Asturias, about a Latin American dictator.
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Real Latin America Experts
Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert
After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.
Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert
Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.
Lina Fuller - Travel Expert
Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.
Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert
Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.
Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert
Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.
Ben Line - Travel Expert
Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.