GUATEMALA TRAVEL GUIDE
Mysterious Mayas, volatile volcanoes, classic colonial structures, placid lakes - Guatemala offers you a slice of each. If the mysteries of the Mayas intrigue you, visit the ancient sites that reveal just enough to stoke your interest. Or stroll through the museums and monuments in the cities and be transported back in time. The uneven terrain of Guatemala conceals many a volcano (some active) that are a network of trails perfect for hiking. Canoe, swim or just relax by the Lago de Atitlan sipping a drink.
Wild and untamed, Guatemala offers you more than you can imagine. Unfortunately, the political instability of the country has had adverse effects on tourism.
Guatemala, a Central American country south of Mexico, is home to volcanoes, rainforests and ancient Mayan sites. The capital, Guatemala City, features the stately National Palace of Culture and the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Antigua, west of the capital, contains preserved Spanish colonial buildings. Lake Atitlán, formed in a massive volcanic crater, is surrounded by coffee fields and villages.
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GUATEMALA QUICK FACTS
- Capital: Guatemala City
- Currency: quetzal (GTQ)
- Area: 108,890km²
- Population: 17,293,545 (July 2006 estimate)
- Language: Spanish 60%, Amerindian languages 40% (23 officially recognised Amerindian languages)
- Religion: Roman Catholic, Protestant, indigenous Mayan beliefs and none.
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GUATEMALA PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
- 1 May, Labor Day
- 30 June, Army Day
- 1 July, Banker’s Day (bank holiday)
- 15 August, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (in Guatemala City only)
- 15 September, Independence Day
- 20 October, Revolution Day
- 1 November, All Saints Day
- 24 December, Christmas Eve (afternoon only)
- 31 December, New Year’s Eve (afternoon only)
Also, Semana Santa (Holy Week) from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.
GUATEMALA WEATHER SYNOPSIS
Guatemala’s climate varies according to its diverse topography, ranging from cool highlands, tropical semi-dry savannah, tropical jungle in the northern lowlands, and humid coastal areas. The average annual temperature for the coast ranges from 25°C to 30°C; for the central highlands the average temperature is 20°C, and drops to 15°C for the higher mountains. The rainy season in Guatemala extends from May to October in the inland areas and from May to December along the coast, while the dry season extends from either November or January to April. Rainfall fluctuates between 1000 and 1200 mm annually in most of the country, whereas the Atlantic coastal area receives about 4000 mm annually.
SPORT & ACTIVITIES
HIKING & CYCLING IN GUATEMALA
The best time for outdoor activities in Guatemala is from November to April when the weather is dry and temperatures moderate.
BEACH OPTIONS IN GUATEMALA
The best time to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Guatemala is from November to April when the weather is dry and temperatures moderate.
SURFING IN GUATEMALA
Guatemala is a pretty good all year round surfing destination. From March to June is usually the best time for good waves and weather. July to February is the rainy season which brings bigger waves with the best swell from June through October.
KITESURF IN GUATEMALA
Guatemala’s main kitesurfing spots are on the lakes of Lago de Atitlan and Lago de Amatitlan where it is common to require a boat start. The windy season is from September to February.
For more details on kite surfing in Guatemala expand this section!
HEALTH RISKS IN GUATEMALA
Be aware of possible health risks in
Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.
WHERE TO STAY IN GUATEMALA