|La Antigua Guatemala, originally called Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala, is located in the department of Sacatepequez in the central region of Guatemala. It was the capital of Guatemala until 1773, when it was destroyed by an earthquake. It was then decided that the city had to be rebuilt in a safer area, named Nueva Guatemala de la Asuncion or what is now Guatemala City. This city is famous for its cobblestone streets, restored ruins and churches. It is now considered a humanity cultural patrimony since 1979.|
Sites of interest are:
• Central park in front of San Jose Cathedral
• Cultural Center La Azotea
• Antique weapon museum
• Santo Domingo Museum
• Jade Museum
• Indigenous clothing museum
• San Carlos University Museum
• Churches: San Francisco, La Merced and San Pedro Hospital amongst others.
|Chichicastenango is located in the department of Quiche surrounded by valleys and mountains. The city’s name comes from a plant that is abundant in that region, called Chichicaste. This city is well known for its hand crafted wooden masks, colorful clothing, bags and cloths, ceramic and jade jewelry. With these hand crafted masks, Chichicastenango offers traditional dances and religious rituals with colorful clothing and beautiful scenery that represent a Mayan village. This city has conserved much of its traditional culture, well respected and passed down from generation to generation.|
A popular touristic attraction is Church Santo Tomas, which was built over 460 years ago. The stairs up to the church symbolize the sacred Mayan calendar, which has 18 months with 20 days each month. Chichicastenango celebrates its most important fair on December 21st, honoring Apostle Santo Tomas. During the fair, the religious society walk in a procession through the streets carrying an image of their saints with colorful clothes, drums and fire works. Popular traditional dances such as El Torrito and El Palo Volador are performed during the festivities.
|Panajachel is located southwest of Guatemala City in the department of Solola. Panajachel, with its main attraction being Lake Atitlán, has many hotels, small restaurants and night life parties across its main street called Avenida Santander. Many tourists take a small boat ride across the lake from Panajachel to the nearby villages for local activities.|
The city has its 16th century fully restored catholic church, Francisco de Assis, which was established to Christianize the indigenous people. On the outer part of town you will also find The San Buenaventura Nature Reserve as is ecological attraction.
|• National Parks:|
|Tikal is the largest excavated archeological site in the American continent and the Mayan civilization, being the most famous natural and cultural reserve in Guatemala. It took the University of Pennsylvania about 13 years to excavate some 16 square kilometers and some of its temples, since most of the city is still underground. This archeological jewel covers an area of about 575 square kilometers of forest that remained a mistery for centuries due to the relentless jungle. A legend existed amongst the indigenous people about a lost city, that had been passed on by their ancestors that had obtained high cultural knowledge. In 1848, the legend began to diminish giving birth to the largest discovery in Guatemala.|
|Uaxactún, meaning “Rock of the eight cycles of time”, including its population and archeological sites form this protected area. Uaxactún is located 23 kilometers north of Tikal in the department of El Peten and is know for being the astronomical and ceremonial center for the Mayan Civilization. This city has a plaza with a pyramid in the center and 3 temples aligned to the east in such a way that they serve as indicators to the exact point where the sun rises on the equinox and solstice every year.|
|Yaxhá which means green water, is a mixture of archeology, natural sceneries and ecotourism. From its main temple, up 37 meters from ground level, you will have a great view of the Yaxhá lagoon, the neighboring city of Topoxte and some of its 500 monuments. Yaxhá with its medium to large size temples is characterized as a religious ceremonial site that can be appreciated in little time. The Yaxhá lagoon, due to its calcareous nature, has white sand shores with the presence of nearby crocodiles. Early in the morning, if staying overnight, you will most probably me awakened by monkeys or birds singing and chirping.|
|Naciones Unidas National Park is located 20 kilometers south of Guatemala City, with a forested area of almost 5 square kilometers.|
|Auto Safari Chapin|
|Auto Safari Chapin is an animal park located at kilometer 118 on the CA-2 road. The main attraction of the park is the drive-through road that takes you around the different areas to see the animals in their natural habitat. There is also an area to park your car and walk around the smaller areas of the park, wich include restaurants and a swimming pool.|
|Lanquin and Semuc Champey|
|Lanquin is a small municipality that belongs to the department of Alta Verapaz located at 380 meters above sea level. A popular attraction are the Grutas de Lanquin, which are located about 1 kilometer west of the municipality. Grutas de Lanquin is well known for its limestone formations, chambers and rooms that served as a sacred site for the Mayas who believed the cave to be the “Heart of Heaven”. Inside the cave complex, which serves as a natural habitat for thousands of bats, you will find names of animals and many other figures.|
About 11 kilometers south of Lanquin you will find Semuc Champey in a valley with steep walls surrounded by a humid tropical forest. In Semuc Champey you will find a natural 300 meter limestone bridge over the Cahabon River followed by a series of natural turquoise pools filled with mountain spring water that fall into the river, forming a 14 meter waterfall. The interesting detail about Champey is that the color of the water changes depending on the season of the year, sun reflection and other natural factors providing a unique experience for tourists.
|Grutas del Rey Marcos|
|The town of San Juan Chamelco is located about 8 kilometers (5 miles) south of Cobán, home to a colonial-era church and passageway to the local popular attractions. One of them are the Grutas del Rey Marcos, which are a small cave system with beautiful stalagmite and stalactite formations. The Grutas del Rey Marcos were discovered in 1998 and opened for tourism in 1999. In pre-Columbian times the caves were a ceremonial center and up until today some rituals are performed because it is assumed that large energy concentrations still remain in this place.|
|Lachuá lake is a small circular Karstic lake located in the middle of a national park, covered by a lush tropical rain forest. It is located northwest of Coban near the border of the department of El Quiché. The lake is 173 meters above sea level and 220 meters deep, it is thought to be a meteor crater or the remains of a former salt diapir due to its circular shape. The lake has high concentrations of sulphur that results from the petroleum that sits beneath the lake. In Q'eqchi' language, Li chu ha means “fetid water”, which also contains a high degree of calcite where dead tree branches that fall into the lake are quickly covered with a white calcite layer.|
|Lake Atitlán, known to be the deepest lake in Central America is estimated in the depth range of up to 340 meters, since its bottom has not been completely sounded. Lake Atitlán is characterized by its people, its villages such as Panajachel and Santiago Atitlán and 3 volvanoes (Atitlán, San Pedro and Tolimán) that sit on its southern flank.|
|Volcan de Agua, which translates to “Volcano of Water”, receives this name because a long time ago the crater was filled with water. This is an extinct volcano elevated 3,765m (12,352 ft) above sea level, located in the departments of Guatemala, Escuintla and Sacatepequez. This volcano has been inactive since the 16th century and has been declared a protected area since 1956.|
|Volcan de fuego or “Volcano of Fire” is an active volcano near the city of Antigua Guatemala, known for its constant volcanic activity and daily smoke from its crater.|
|Volcan de Pacaya is one of Central America’s most active volcanoes and has an elevation of 2,552 meters (8,373 ft) located in the department of Escuintla. The volcano erupted violently in 1965 after being dormant for a century, and is well known for it continuous eruptions showering the city of Antigua Guatemala with ash. Several lava rivers that slowly flow down its slope have formed, making it a common touristic location due to its constant activity.|
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