The physical beauty of Guatemala is what strikes travelers the most. A Central American nation, the land of which is mostly protected by volcanoes, is a perfect paradise for travelers.
Sacred and shimmering water bodies, mainly formed by the still-active yet breath-taking volcanoes, join hands with the dense green tropical forests of Central America. Together with native Guatemalans who still identify as Maya or ‘mestizo, ancient cities and temples create a memorable experience for our minds. The nation serves these landscapes with lots of extra-colorful textiles, indigenous dishes, peaceful people, busy markets, and a touch of tropical greenery, including Ceiba, the national tree of Guatemala. So, here are some Guatemala travel tips for you.
7 Reason to visit Guatemala
The main feature of Guatemalan food is its simplicity of flavors. The food is, as locals say, tastefully simple yet heavy. While the Mexicans have their Taco, the Central American nation has Tamal. Tamal is a dish prepared by the locals, adding heavy maize dough wrapped inside a banana leaf. The Tamales can vary; it mainly has many types of fillings. You can go with your choice of chicken, pork, and beef with a pinch of black olives and peppers. Did I mention that there are some sweet Tamales, too? It contains chocolates, nuts, and dried fruit. Located in the eastern pocket of Guatemala and Honduras, the villagers of Garifuna are particularly better off at a dish called Tapado. The Caribbean coast offers Tapado, an African-flavoured soup made from coconut and fish. Therefore, these indigenous dishes are our priority on the list of Guatemala travel tips.
The perfect destination for a family
Guatemala can create the ideal Caribbean beach break that you’ve wanted for your family since forever. There is no shortage of adventures for young explorers, too. Many activities, including trying local food, shopping for Guatemalan rainbow-colored textiles in village markets, kayaking in the sparkling water of the lakes, and the river satisfy your thirst as a traveler. The experience of listening to the howler monkeys of the tropical forest and seeing the epic ruins of Tikal, the Ancient Mayan City of Guatemala, along with the perpetual scenery of still-smoking red-hot volcanoes, takes you on a journey that you would never want to miss.
People of Guatemala
Guatemala has been through a 36-year civil war until 1996, but the people there are genuinely peaceful, and the nation and its people are moving towards improvement. Today, Mayan villages and glassy lakes present a picture of calm. As a result, you are most unlikely to get yourself in trouble as long as you travel sensibly.
Homestays in villages
The villages around Atitlán Lake are some of the best places to experience modern Mayan life. But the best thing you can do if you’re traveling here is to stay in the locals ‘ homes. The rooms they offer are spacious and clean. They are simple, and they also have a shared bathroom option. The host family takes care of you as if you’re their own, plus you get to eat the delicious Guatemalan dishes they cook. Your lifestyle can get hit by their lifestyle and daily routines, which you don’t regret. You just become one of them in that small period.
If you’re traveling to Guatemala, you need to know about their traditional textiles. Across the country, women produce beautifully handcrafted and hand-woven textiles. From blouses and scarves to pillowcases and bags, the variety they offer to outsiders is unique. The profits they make from their small businesses go directly back to the community for their families’ benefit. San Juan La Laguna is a municipality on the southern shore of Lago de Atitlán. The best markets for hand-woven textiles are present there.
The wide variety of crafts or ‘artesanias’ offered by this Central American nation is much localized. They’re different from village to village. The Municipality of San Juan La Laguna promotes the weavers and their craft. The weaving looms used by the weavers are very traditional. They say they’ve been doing this for generations. Their culture also reflects on their work and art. So, if you love shopping and their culture, you should leave a lot of space in your suitcase while you’re in Guatemala.
Perhaps the most beautiful place in the whole country is Antigua. Antigua was also Guatemala’s colonial capital. As the locals conveyed to me, I came to know that Antigua got almost destroyed by a deadly earthquake in 1773. The local government has restored the Spanish Colonial City to its full glory. Situated in the southern part of the nation, the multicolored buildings and square-tiled streets give this city a very distinct look. The site is now a UNESCO site. Notable architectural examples include the baroque church of La Merced. It’s an integral part of the city’s famous Easter Week, a holy week of parades and rituals. Visit to Antigua is a must from our list of Guatemala travel tips.
Although this nation has seen it all through the ages of Mayan Civilizations and later, Spanish Colonialism, there are always a few things that we have to keep in mind in addition to the Guatemala travel tips, such as:
- As the country has one of the highest rates of crime in Latin America, the safest thing to do is to avoid deserted places. In this case, one can opt for the advice of locals.
- Travel insurance is a must to visit this country.
- You should have all the essential documents with you. The country is currently dealing with the problems of illegal immigrants from neighboring countries.
Despite all this, today, this beautiful country remains a great place to visit with your loved ones. The country is finally beginning to forget the scars of the decades-long civil war. Genocide survivors and natives are hoping for a better future in which they will be reborn from ashes of the past to the light of reform. While tourists traveling to the nation are rarely the victims of violence, the Mayan culture, local people, indigenous food, villages, and cities have a very peaceful image for the world to see.