Among tourists, the dizzying pyramids of Tikal in Guatemala are the country’s most well-known attraction. And what’s not to love about this huge monument to Central America’s most important culture and history? The Maya villages in the highlands, where people still wear traditional clothes, are the best way to show that this culture has been around for a long time. But if you look closely when you visit an archaeological site, you’ll see altars with modern offerings to the spirits of the past.
The architecture of Guatemala is one of the most obvious ways that the Spanish left their mark on the country when they ruled it. It’s the old capital of Guatemala, with its neat plazas and crumbling buildings. Every town in Guatemala looks like a city built by Europeans, from Quetzaltenango to Guatemala City to even the smallest towns. Brick and tile show that Guatemala was ruled by Europeans for hundreds of years.
It’s no surprise that Guatemala has some of the best natural scenery in the world, given that only 2% of its landmass is inhabited. The Ro Dulce’s lush canyons make for an unforgettable boat ride, particularly in the Petén region, where there are few national parks. In the Cuchumatanes mountains or in the Verapaces caves, you can experience the volcano-ringed Lago de Atitlán’s breathtaking natural beauty. When it comes to Semuc Champey, the swimming hole that inspired a thousand postcards, you’ll have to see it to believe it.