Guatemala City

While 20th Century urban sprawl has ensured that few consider Guatemala City a highlight in conventional terms, it is well worth spending a day exploring the capital’s bustling markets and excellent museums.

Why visit Guatemala City ?

The city became the capital after the destruction of nearby Antigua in the catastrophic earthquake of 1773, and was built close to the ruins of Kaminaljuyú, once the most important highland Maya city. Although there is little left to see of this ancient civilisation, the dramatic structure of the Museum Ixchel del Traje Indigena houses an exceptional display of Mayan culture, especially of textiles. The Museum Popol Vuh de Arquelogía is another museum not to be missed, displaying fascinating archaeological artefacts and some very impressive funerary urns.

The Parque Central is considered the heart of the city and the nation, and dominating its eastern side is the city cathedral. Built between 1782 and 1809, it presents a sturdy example of baroque and neo-classical styles adapting to meet the more practical requirements of withstanding frequent tremors.

Near the cathedral is the Central Market, and while Guatemala’s highland markets are undoubtedly more picturesque, it is worth noting that the city market stocks the same textiles, leather goods, basketry and other handicrafts which are often very good value.

For those exploring Guatemala in depth, a quick visit to the 1:1000 scale relief map, in Parque Minerva, is a great way to get your bearings. The 2,000 sq m map is an extraordinary feat of engineering, and shows the detailed topography of the country, complete with rivers, lakes and oceans.

LOCATION

GUATEMALA INFO

Visa

No visa is required for UK passport holders.

Health Requirements

No mandatory vaccinations are required.

Time Difference

GMT + 6 Hours

Flight Time

14 hours with one stop

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