Mountains, lakes, oceans. Big cities, small villages. Guatemala has so many different ways to entice, you will not be bored. The only downside to travel here is the distances. It is not a large country, but road conditions mean it takes a long time to get from one part to another.
Definitely, the highlight of any trip to Guatemala.
even the name says this beautiful colonial town is old.
Tikal is quintessential Guatemala. An amazing and expansive set of Mayan ruins in the jungle. It is a 4 hour drive west of Belize City or a 10 hour drive north of Guatemala City. Despite the remoteness, it attracts 200,000 visitors per year. But, when you compare it to a place like Chichen Itza in Mexico that receives 2 million visitors, Tikal gives you an entirely different experience.
Plus, Tikal's central area covers approximately 1 sq mile, so there is plenty of space to enjoy the ruins.
Built between the 1st and 9th centuries, Tikal once housed approximately 10,000 people.
Today, we can enjoy the numerous structures including 5 temples that reach between 148 and 213 feet high. You can enjoy a bit of wildlife that wanders the complex.
Located about 50 miles west of Guatemala City, it will still take about 3 hours to drive to Lake Atitlan. The roads are winding and crowded.
When you arrive, you are rewarded with volcanic lakes in the valley.
I took this opportunity to scuba dive in a high altitude lake (5125 feet), which I had never done before.
located just west of Guatemala City, it is one of the prettier colonial era towns in Central America. it served as the capital from the 16th to the 18th century until it was damaged by an earthquake in 1773.
In the central highlands, the elevation of the town is just over 5000 feet, and is surrounded by volcanoes.
I can tell you after driving in this town, that it does not need speed limits. The rough cobblestones will have you going slow...really slow.
Santa Catalina Arch
Pretty arch over 5a Avenue North highlighting the colorful street. The arch was bult in the 17th century, topped by a clock in the 19th.
Hill of the Cross
walk up the hill to enjoy the view of the city wiht volcano in the background.
Enjoy this open plaza and stop by the Antigua Cathedral next door, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1773. But, is interesting to walk around the ruins.
Iglesia de la Merced
ornate, yellow church dating to 1767