Main Attractions in Guatemala
The famous Lake Atitlan that Aldous Huxley once called "the most beautiful in the world" is located in the mountainous Department of Solola, in the Guatemalan highlands about 150km from the capital. Lake Peten Itza is set within the Maya forest which constitutes the largest continuous expanse of tropical forest remaining in Central America. Lake Izabal is the largest of Guatemala's lakes. Lake Izabal is a gentle expanse of water hemmed in by the Sierra de las Minas to the south and the Santa Cruz mountain range to the north.Lake Amatitlan is located 17 miles south of Guatemala City. Along the northwestern shore is Amatitlan from where a road with a panoramic view stretches out to the southeast along the lake and close to the sides of Volcano Pacaya.
Mayan Culture, Guatemala
The Maya civilization was one of the grandest in the history of the world and the reason for its collapse is still shrouded in mystery. During the Classical Period which lasted from the third to the ninth century, Maya civilization built awe-inspiring temples, pyramids and cities and formed a complex social and political order. Their present culture is vibrant and thriving, best shown by the many traditionally dressed woman and children seen along the streets in the entire country. Today descendants of the old Maya account for more than 50% of the Guatemalan population.
Nature in Guatemala
Guatemala is home to a fantastic number of diverse species, which dwell in habitats ranging from rain and cloud forest to arid valleys to swamps and ocean shores. Tikal National Park is one of Guatemala's principal tourist attractions, this park within the larger Maya Biosphere Reserve contains the magnificent Tikal archaeological site as well as 57,600 hectares of pristine jungle. The national bird, the resplendent Quetzal can be seen in several parts of the country. Referred to as "the land of eternal spring", Guatemala provides the perfect climatic conditions for many species.
With 33 volcanoes spread throughout its highlands, Guatemala is one of those rear destinations that rewards even the most jaded world traveler with revelatory experiences. Agua, Fuego & Acatenango, perhaps the most frequently photographed volcanoes in Guatemala, these three peaks watch over the sleepy, colonial town of Antigua Guatemala. Pacaya, an active, unpredictable volcano. Toliman, Atitlan & San Pedro, these three majestic volcanoes towering above Lake Atitlan form the natural dam that contains the lake. Santa Maria is perhaps the most beautiful volcano.
Colonial History Guatemala
The Colonial History of Guatemala begins with the arrival of the conquistador Pedro de Alvarado in 1524 and ends with the Guatemala's declaration of independence in 1821. "La Antigua Guatemala", the colonial capital of Central America was founded with the name of Santiago de Guatemala in 1543. It was the cultural, economic, religious, political and educational center for the entire region until the capital was moved to present day Guatemala City after the damaging earthquakes of 1773. More than 30 monastic orders called Antigua home and built stunning monasteries, convents and cathedrals in the town.
Mayan Ruins in Guatemala
The Great Plaza is the most spectacular structure in Tikal and is surrounded by stella and sculpted altars, ceremonial buildings, residential and administrative palaces, and a ball court. At each end of the plaza loom the temple of the Great Jaguar and the Temple II. The ancient city of Copan is one of the most outstanding Mayan achievements ranking among Tikal. Quirigua is one of the smallest Mayan cities but one of the most notable due to its splendid series of monuments. Aguateca is an other archaeological site that flourished in the region of Peten during the Classic Period.