Guatemala: a beginner’s guide
Guatemala was once a major block of New Spain, the viceroyalty that spread from Central America up into Texas and California, across to Florida and the Caribbean, down to Nicaragua and eastwards to the Philippines.
Top five attractions
- The Mayan ruins of Tikal and the surrounding Petén jungle.
- Lago Atitlán, a beautiful highland lake ringed by volcanoes.
- The twice-weekly market at Chichicastenango in the Maya-dominated western highlands.
- The natural limestone pools of Semuc Champey.
- The Cuchumatanes mountain range for hiking.
Antigua, the old capital, a global centre of Spanish language-learning, which is also a delightful, low-slung colonial city with some great coffee shops and restaurants.
Souvenir to buy
Hand-woven textiles from the highland markets.
All Saints Day is celebrated with an alcohol-fuelled horse race in the village of Todos Santos Cuchumatán. The festival runs from October 31 to November 2, with the race on November 1.
‘Mr President’, by the Nobel literature prize-winner Miguel Angel Asturias, about a Latin American dictator.
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Real Latin America Experts
Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert
Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.
Ben Line - Travel Expert
Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.
Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert
Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.
Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert
Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.
Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.
Sophie Barber - Travel Expert
Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.