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Guatemala

Guatemala offers an unspoilt view of Central America. It has tried hard and succeeded in shedding its somewhat suspect past. The Mayan communities who live in the highlands still wear traditional weavings and follow arcane religious rituals where idol worship is a main theme.

Nature though is the key to this beautiful country and here it is possible to take in volcanic peaks, archaeological sites and traditional Maya fiestas.

Guatemala City has a multitude of sites to visit and one of the best is Parque Central with its floodlit fountain, open air concert area and Sunday market which sells a number of textile products. Near to the park is the cathedral that was built in classical style and is notable for its blue cupolas and dome. The Museo Nacional de Historia houses historical documents and objects from the Independence giving a real insight into the country’s past.

Antigua is one of Guatemala’s principal destinations with its colonial architecture, tropical gardens, plazas and cobbled streets. Here you will find the cultural epicentre of Guatemala where the arts flourish and its traditions and folklore are still very much alive. The late afternoon light is truly inspiring and it is then that you see the true beauty of Antigua with buildings such as Las Capuchinas and the cathedral wonderfully illuminated.

The Mayan communities who live in the highlands still wear traditional weavings and follow arcane religious rituals where idol worship is a main theme.

The still active Pacaya Volcano is a marvellous place to hike and rewards climbers with some spectacular lava flows. This is only possible when the volcano is stable.

Lake Atitlan is a wondrous place to appreciate scenery and admire the deepest lake in Central America or, as Aldous Huxley put it, “the most beautiful lake in the world”. Along the lake it is still possible to see how the Mayas live today. The lake basin supports coffee growth and a variety of farm crops including corn and avocados. Attractive villages flank the shores and towns such as Chichicastenango play host to weekly markets that cater for both the tourists and the locals.

Santiago Atitlan is a town where locals dress in colourful embroidery and over Easter the celebrations here rival Antigua’s for colour and interest.

Tikal National Park offers a multitude of sights to keep one transfixed including Maya skyscrapers pushing up through the jungle canopy and steep-sided temples that bear the inscriptions of powerful rulers and their noble deeds. This World Heritage site is well worth visiting and is just one of the amazing sites that Guatemala has to offer.