Guatemala has so much to offer that it is almost an embarrassment! From the splendor of the Ancient Mayas to the Spanish colonial era; the breathtaking scenery of mountains and lakes; the thriving and colorful culture of the actual indigenous peoples with their markets and unique lifestyle; the awe-inspiring monuments of the mysterious Maya civilization; there is no country in the world to our knowledge that has so much to offer the visitor in so small an area. You can go from the depths of steaming tropical jungles to cool frigid mountain peaks, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific in just a matter of hours.
And as if this were not enough, combine an ideal climate of eternal spring and the mountains different heights generating many ecological areas and more biodiversity than Costa Rica with a welcoming, hospitable authentic Mayan population with their friendliness and traditions, and you have the perfect exotic vacation equation.
Guatemala is the northernmost country in Central America. It borders to the north and west with Mexico; to the East with Belize, Honduras, El Salvador and the Caribbean with the second biggest coral reef in the world and to South with the Pacific Ocean with their volcanic sand beaches. Administratively it is divided into 22 departments, which are equivalent to States or Provinces (except that they do not have independence or their own laws and constitution) and it has a territory of 108,889 square kilometers ( 42,042 square miles).
The country enjoys a moderated climate throughout the year in most of its territory, with an average temperature of 20C (75F). Guatemala’s total estimated population is 11 million inhabitants, and the official language is Spanish but 23 indigenous Languages are spoken through the land, English is taught in all the education system of Guatemala so many people speak some.
It should be highlighted that Guatemala’s nature is extensive a unique 8 ecosystems form part of it. This makes it a natural paradise with a wide variety of landscapes and microclimates, from the tropical low rainforest or Petén, through the mountain cloud forests, volcanoes and lakes of the highlands, to the tropical volcanic beaches of the Pacific Ocean and the Coral Beaches of the Caribbean Sea and desserts in the Oriental part. Therefore it has a vast amount of flora and fauna that makes Guatemala rank very high in biological diversity in Central America much higher then Costa Rica plus the legacy of the Mayan civilization and the Colonial period as well as real living cultures and people (friendliness is free here, unique customs and Traditions) represents the main attractions of the country.
The Mayans developed a very complex social, political, scientific, religious and artistic organization. They developed a calendar more accurate than the Gregorian calendar or any other used by any civilization in mankind’s history. They Domesticate the Corn, discovered the mathematical concept of the ZERO before any other human civilization and discover to humanity the Vanilla beans, frijoles (beans), Bubble gum, tobacco and Chocolate among other not so well known products and medicines. Its architecture is based on pyramidal shaped-scaled bodies with huge staircases and superb use of the open spaces mixed with astronomical observations. They were the creators of highly artistic Hieroglyphic writing that has made it possible to interpret their legacy through the passing of time and a superb bi-decimal numerical system based on the number 20 inspired in the sum of all the fingers. In our actual civilization, we are slaves of the time, the Mayas in fact made from time observation a true religion making them a very special and unique civilization, with a different approach to the universe probably due to the lost custom of skull deformation that seems to increase their intelligence and their way they see this world similar to the third eye vision of the Himalayans.
My personal experience with the Maya and the extensive study of write chronicles make me believe that the ruler class and their fantastic knowledge did “mysteriously” disappear from Guatemala due to various causes which include wars, revolutions, overpopulation, Mexican immigration, and religion changes but especially the change from ceremonial wars to total war system imposed by the barbarian Mexican Toltecs, so the actual Indians are a mix of Mexican immigrants with the descendants of remaining agricultural class Maya inhabitants. So you see remains of Olmec, Mayan, Toltec, Pipil, Xinca, Cotzumalhuapan and many other cultures in such a small territory. The Mormons also think that Kaminal Juyu in Guatemala city and other Maya centers are the places where Jesus Christ (Kukulkan?) walked among ancient Americans making this a Holy Land too.
Please enjoy Guatemala our very “small” but VERY complex country, you will be welcome every time you want to visit us trying to see all that is available just to find out that there is something else you haven’t seen, the Country of The Eternal Spring and heart of the Mayan World is a magical place too, most visitors just fell in love with Guatemala immediately during their first visit. I bet you will too.
WHAT IT TAKES TO TRAVEL GUATEMALA
1. A GOOD ADVENTURE SPIRIT
Guatemala is an adventure land and everywhere you go is like being an ancient explorer discovering a new civilization, traveling in Guatemala can be as hard or easy as your money can take you, you can go by the almost free chicken buses, first-class buses, shuttles, escorted tours planes or helicopters or by our hassle-free $599 P.P. package way. Any way you choose will need a positive attitude do not expect perfection, the paved roads are in very good condition but driving is a bit difficult for those who do not have experience driving in Latin America or Adventure Spirit. And surprisingly and incredible at it sounds it is VERY easy for non-Spanish speaking travelers to enjoy Guatemala.
2. A POSITIVE ATTITUDE
Ahorit means that it may take a little longer then what you expected to get there or the time concept of punctuality is maybe not like yours, definitely practicality and celerity are not exactly a religion down here in Guatemala, so take this metaphysics advice in count while traveling worldwide under the actual circumstances: If you can solve the problem…donīt worry,,,, and if you canīt solve the problem…donīt worry. Travel Now and Live your Life
3. BE A LEARNER
Guatemalans are very friendly with visitors and will enjoy teaching you our language and way of life, Guatemala is the perfect place for those culturally oriented travelers, We are not the typical beach destination for just do nothing, yes we have beaches and lots of sun but we have a lot more interesting live cultural gifts for you that like to learn and understand more of our planet history.
This captivating exotic world, so different from yours, is only 2 hours by air from either Miami or Houston or 12 hours from Europe.