Guatemala or officially the Republic of Guatemala is a state in the Central America. The eastern part is washed by the Caribbean Sea and the south-western part is washed by the Pacific Ocean. It borders Mexico, Belize, Salvador and Honduras. The capital is Guatemala City.
Guatemala has a tropical climate. In the wet season from May to October the floods can occur. The best time for traveling to Guatemala is from November to May.
The majority of the population are the Protestants and the Catholics. The official language is Spanish but people also speak local dialects.
In Guatemala, the tourists can have lazy time on the beaches in San Jose, Puerto Barrios, the Antigua Islands or Monterrico. The resorts have everything you need for diving, yachting, snorkeling and kitesurfing.
Those who prefer extreme tourism and speleology will like the excursions to the caves in Flores and Coban. The Atitlan lake attracts the tourists with its amazing nature, the splendor of the volcanoes and the settlements of Maya where one can literary touch the history and learn about the life of this mystical civilization.
For a good shopping go to the market in a small city Chichicastenango. In this city, the people also preserved Maya rituals.
The lovers of a wellness tourism come to Quetzaltenango and its thermal sources.
Jacaltenango is a destination for ecological tourism. The city is surrounded by the Sierra Madre Mountains and the tourists can go trekking in this place.
Various excursions are arranged for the tourists to the cultural and historical monuments, reserves and national parks and other interesting sights of Guatemala.
There are no direct flights between CIS countries and Guatemala. Iberia, Lufthansa and Aeroflot offer transit flights from Russia to Guatemala with a stop in Madrid, Frankfurt or Amsterdam. The citizens from Ukraine can take transit flights with a stop in Paris or Miami. KML, COPA, Air France and IUA fly from Kiev. Austrian, Iberia and Vueling offer flights to Guatemala from Belarus.
Iberia offers direct flights from Madrid to Guatemala City. The citizens of other EU countries have to take transit flights.
You can to Guatemala by train only from Mexico.
The tourists can get to Guatemala by ship from Belize.
There are regular buses to Guatemala from Salvador, Honduras, Belize and Mexico.
The citizens from EU, the Russian Federation and Ukraine can travel and stay in Guatemala visa-free for 90 days. To extend your stay in Guatemala as a visitor, it's necessary to apply to the Guatemala Immigration Service.
The residents of other CIS countries must obtain a visa and submit the documents to the Consulate or the Embassy of Guatemala.
Typically, the time for processing the documents is 5 working days. The visa is valid for 3 months.
The customs legislation of Guatemala does not limit the import and export of foreign currency. However, any amount of money must be declared as well as valuable things. Import and export of national currency is prohibited.
The tourists can import in Guatemala duty-free the following goods:
- clothes, shoes and accessories for personal use;
- a limited amount of alcohol;
- a limited amount of tobacco.
It is prohibited to import:
- medications without a special permit or a doctor's prescription;
- pets without a permit and a vet certificate.
The tourists are not allowed to export rare birds and animals, their skins and stuffed bird and animals.
A simple cuisine which embodied the Indian, Spanish and Mexican cooking traditions. The traditional cuisine of Guatemala attracts the foodies from all over the world. The staple foods are corn, beans, rice, meat and poultry. A characteristic feature of cuisine in Guatemala is the use of a great amount the greens and spices.
If you are hungry, then try substantial dishes such as poultry and vegetable casserole (Arroz Con Pollo Chapina), chicken Escabeche cooked in the pot, meat and vegetables Fajitas or Guatemalan chicken Jocon with green sauce.
If you stay on the coast, you should try curry shrimps, a fish dish Pescado Frito con tajadas with fried potatoes and Ceviche with fish, scallops, shrimps and snails.
Vegeterians should treat themselves to Fiambre from pickled vegetables, stuffed squashes Guicoyitos rellenos and a dish from the heart of plum Chilantra.
If you can't imagine your diet without a soup, try a soup with seafood and green banana Tapado, beef and vegetable soup Caldo de res or chicken soup Caldo de gallina.
At the end of the meal, in Guatemala they serve sweet corn Atol de elote, banana bread Pastel de banano, rice pudding Arroz con leche and banana balls coated in sugar Rellenitos de platano.
Traditionally, the people in Guatemala drink coffee or tea Mate, fruit juices and refreshing drinks.
Try the local rum and a rum drink with milk and eggs Rompolo. We also recommend the local beer Gallo Dark Lager.
The official currency in Guatemala is quetzal (GTQ) which is equal to 100 centavos. The Central Bank of Guatemala issues the bank notes from 5 to 100 quetzals and coins from 5 to 50 centavos and 1 quetzal.
The tourists will have no problems with paying for services and goods as US dollars are freely and willingly excepted in Guatemala.
You can exchange currency at banks, in exchange offices, hotels, on the markets and in the stores. Banks and certified exchange offices offer the best exchange rate. It is much easier to exchange US dollars and Euro.
In the Guatemalan resorts, international credit cards are accepted almost everywhere though you may face difficulties paying with Dinners Club or MasterCard. In some areas, these cards are not accepted at all.
The tourists can cash traveler's checks at banks and in international hotels. To avoid additional costs, we recommend bringing the checks in US dollars.
The criminal situation in Guatemala City is not favorable, so try not to travel alone and do not take with you valuable things and large amounts of cash. According to the local laws, the tourists must have a passport with them.
Details of interest
Sightseeing in Guatemala
Those who love excursions and interesting monuments, will have a chance to visit three sites from the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- The Tikal National Park in the El Peten Province. This is one of the largest Maya settlements. It was populated around the 7th century B.C. and its buildings covered near 60 km2 of the territory. Currently, only part of the stone buildings and 6 pyramids have been dug out in Tikal. On the top of the pyramids, there are the temples. Also, on the territory of the park, the palaces of the rulers, sanctuaries and a prison have been discovered.
- The ancient capital Antigua Guatemala has a particular historical and architectural value. It is located in the Panchoy Valley. The city was founded in 1524 during the rule of the Spanish Empire. The tourists can see a mansion in the Colonial style Casa Popenoe House, the Union park, San Pedro Church, San Fransisco Church and Santa Clara Church.
- The Archaeological Park and Ruins of Quirigua attract the tourists who are interested in archeology and the history of Maya. The Park is located in Izabal Department. The tour includes an excursion to the stone steles, calendar sculptures and sculptures of myth beings.
In Guatemala, there are 21 UNESCO candidate site. Among them is Cultural Triangle Yaxha-Nakum-Naranjo National Park and El Mirador location, Heart of the Mayan World and Route of The Rivers. The tourists will see famous Caves of Naj Tunich, Castle of San Felipe de Lara and the National Park Sierra del Lacandon. We also recommend visiting the Protected area of the Lake Atitlan, Painted Murals of San Bartolo and Manglares Route of Pacific Coast of Guatemala.
To make your holidays useful and informative, visit the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Museum of Colonial Art, Mayan Music Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art and Guatemalan National Natural History Museum.
These souvenirs will remind you of your time in Guatemala.
- figurines in the style of Maya people;
- jade souvenirs;
- ritual attributes and amulets;
- tableware with depicted myth beings and tribal rituals;
- woven bags with national embroidery.