Guatemala holidays : introduction
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With one of the largest indigenous populations in the Americas, Guatemala is a strikingly beautiful country where traditional ways of life thrive. Not only that, but it has some of the finest ancient Maya sites in the world: the lost city of Tikal emerging from the jungle is an unforgettable scene, accompanied by the echoing calls of macaws and monkeys.
The former capital of Antigua, with its elegant squares and Spanish baroque architecture - has some spectacular ruins, the legacy of several devastating earthquakes in the eighteenth century. The country is never more vibrant and alive than during a festival, whether at Easter, when giant floats depicting Christ’s passion process through cobbled streets strewn with pine needles, or on the Day of the Dead, when huge and intricately patterned kites are flown to honour their ancestors.
In the highlands volcanoes gently rumble, and occasionally spew lava, whilst in the valleys below authentic street markets sell produce of every kind - stalls piled high with exotic fruit and vegetables and bright, hand-woven textiles. Home to twelve Maya communities each with their own unique and colourful dress, magical Lake Atitlán’s calm waters reflect three towering volcanoes. Further east are limestone caves and verdant cloud forest, haunt of the resplendent and elusive quetzal.
Climate and when to go
Dry season is early October to May, but even in the rainy season showers generally fall only in the afternoons, except for September which can be very wet. There is usually a 6 week Indian summer (canícula) in mid July. It is coolest in December and January, especially in the highlands. In the Petén March and April are the hottest months and temperatures of 36ºC and 85% humidity are not uncommon.
“You put together such a fabulous itinerary for us where we had just the right amount of exploring the culture and landscapes as well as the right amount of R & R in the beautiful guesthouses. We enjoyed ourselves immensely.” - JW
“We had a great time in Mexico and Guatemala and you will be glad to hear that all the Last Frontiers arrangements worked like clockwork!” - MC
“I had a wonderful time in Guatemala. I had high expectations for my trip, but the reality far exceeded those expectations. Thank you so much for organising it for me. I did a boat trip along the Rio Dulce, climbed both Pacaya and San Pedro volcanoes, visited the Quetzal biotope reserve near Coban (in pouring rain, and therefore no quetzals to be seen or heard), went swimming at Semuc Champey, visited markets in Solola, Chichi and Coban and was shown round Mayan ruins by expert guides at Aguateca, El Ceibal, Quirigua and Copan. All the ViaVenture staff were very efficient and knowledgeable and a pleasure to travel with.” - DP
“Just a word to tell you that we had a fab trip and all went according to plan. We loved every bit of it. Thank you again for all your help and for arranging the trip. It was an amazing experience all round.” - NPS