The Republic of Guatemala is a Central American state with the capital of Guatemala City. Guatemala’s neighbouring countries are Belize, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico. Its shores are washed by the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific. Guatemala is known for its monuments of ancient civilizations, spectacular festivities and marimba music. Half of the Guatemalan population is native. The diversity of nature is huge and there are hidden Mayan temples in the rainforests.
What to see
If you are going to Guatemala, the jungle is one of the places you must see. Here you can find beautiful Mayan pyramids and sacred places such as Tikal, El Mirador and many more. The ruins of Tikal are one of the most popular tourist places in the country. It is a large complex, so it is recommended to take a guide who will explain you about the history, tells interesting things not only about the difference between the areas in Mexico and the areas in Guatemala, which are in the jungle but also that many pyramids are uncovered only from a certain part (approx. 30%). They are the largest ruins of the ancient Mayan world and the whole area is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The nearest town is Flores, which is a centre for visiting Tikal.
The old part of the city lies on an island, which also has the unofficial name Petén Itzá (which means Island Town) and is surrounded by Lake Peten Itza. If you want to escape somewhere, Rio Dulce is the right place. The area around Rio Dulce has something to offer and a cruise on the river Dulce is unforgettable. The protected territory of Chocón Machacas can be found in the east of Guatemala in the village of Livingston. Although the area was declared protected only in 1989, it has been protected since 1981.
Buses are the cheapest form of transportation and they will take you to almost all parts of Guatemala. You can choose cheap, but slow, local buses, which stop at every corner and are quite full. Local bus companies include (Autobuses FDN) or Colectivo but are waiting to be fully filled.
If you dare, you can arrange a bus just for you if you agree on a price that will be acceptable for both sides. The most expensive, but the fastest form of transport, are tourist shuttle buses, minivans or minibuses, which transport tourists from one place to another. You can book shuttle buses at travel agencies.
Guatemala does not have a defined national dish, but they have a lot of food and dishes that have become part of the nutrition. Corn also remained the basics for cooking. The most common food is tortilla (corn pancake). Chicken, turkey and beef are the most popular in the country and are served with beans and rice. There are stalls on the street where you can buy dishes similar as in Mexico: Tacos, Tostadas with various sauces (chimichurri Verde or Rojo), Enchiladas or grilled corn, as well as fresh fruits and juices.
Typical Guatemalan fast-food meals are fried chicken with french fries. As for drinks, you should not forget about Guatemalan rum – it is delicious, in high quality and it definitely needs to be tasted. Guatemala is also a producer of light and dark beer. Among the most famous are – Gallo, Victoria, Brahva and Dorada. Guatemalan coffee is considered one of the best coffees in the world and is exported worldwide. Coffee with a beautiful aroma is commonly found in many tourist areas.