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
Jamie Swan - Travel Consultant
Jamie backpacked across Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil before joining us; he has a degree in politics and is also a keen sportsman..
Evie Oswald - Travel Consultant
It’s hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.
Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Consultant
After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.
Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Consultant
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.
Carrie Gallagher - Travel Consultant
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Escorted Groups team.
Lina Fuller - Travel Consultant
Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.