4 Reasons Guatemala Has To Be on Your Travel List
Guatemala is known as the Heart of the Mayan World.
It’s renowned for its volcanoes, rainforests, and of course Mayan Ruins. Today, more than half of Guatemala’s population are direct descendants of the indigenous Mayan people that lived there thousands of years ago.
There’s an endless list of reasons that this wonderful country should be on your bucket list but here are the top 4 Guatemala should be on your radar.
1. Tikal National Park
Let’s start with the big one.
Tikal could very well be the premier destination in Guatemala and with good reason. There are close to 3000 Mayan structures that dating from 600 BC to 900 AD. I’ll give you a second to re-read that sentence.
3000 Mayan structures!
At the height of the Mayan Empire, the city is estimated to have been the home of around 90,000 people.
Tikal National Park covers 220 square miles, which means that unlike most of the popular archeological sites around the world, you won’t run into many crowds here because of the sheer vastness of this park.
The ruins are located in the tropical rainforest of Guatemala so you’ll be surrounded by beautiful & diverse species of plants and animals.
Keep your eyes peeled for the giant Kapok tree (the sacred tree of the Mayan people), jaguars, and monkeys.
2. Nature: Lakes, Volcanoes, Rainforest
When you’re in Guatemala it almost seems like anywhere you look you’ll find a breathtaking view.
At any one moment you can find yourself at the foot of a serene lake surrounded by lush rainforests with volcanoes peeking over the canopy.
If you’re looking to “stand on top of Central America” Guatemala boasts their highest peak. You can hike countless dormant volcanoes in this country and even get up close and personal with some lava.
3. Cheap, Easy, Off the Beaten Path
Guatemala is one of those places where your dollar will go really far. Accommodations, food, transportations and activities are all well within reach for a budget traveler.
Take the delicious meal above. It cost me a grand total of $9 USD and was the most expensive item on the menu!
The cuisines in Guatemala have Mayan influences and you’ll find many meals that blend barbecued meats with chilies, corn, and beans.
Guatemala is also one of those Central American countries that tends to get lost in the popularity of Mexico, Costa Rica, and Panama. Luckily, as a traveler to Guatemala you learn to appreciate that because it keeps prices and crowds to a minimum.
4. World Class Coffee & Chocolate
Did you know that the Mayans thought of chocolate as the “food of the gods”? (The Mayans and I have that in common.)
Guatemala is also one of the world’s leading producers of coffee. They even have an organization dedicated to keeping the country's coffee quality top-notch!
There’s a rich history involving both coffee and chocolate in Guatemala, be sure to give yourself permission to “indulge” in the culture ;)