Instituto Guatemalteco de
or weaver makes one of the country's famous textiles
12 reasons to visit Guatemala this year
Special to A.M. Guatemala from the
Instituto Guatemalteco de Turismo
The start of the New Year always beckons new adventures, and Central
America's little hidden gem, Guatemala, should definitely be on the
list this year.
Most recently listed on TravelChannel.com's "Travel's Best for 2015" as
"Most Under the Radar Destination" as well as Fodor's "Go List 2015,"
Guatemala invites travelers to experience its vast terrain that offers
countless unexpected encounters.
Here are just some of the many activities to consider each month of the
year, recommended by the Guatemalan Tourism Board:
for a way to kick-off 2015 wellness goals? Villa Sumaya Wellness
Center, located on Lake Atitlan, is just the place to do it. A retreat
center offering a variety of spiritual, yoga, meditation, adventure and
spa treatments, Villa Sumaya is the ideal place to disconnect and
re-energize for the New Year. Offering both group and individual
packages, Villa Sumaya invites travelers to take in the surrounding
natural beauty, while focusing on themselves.
February is all
about love, and in Guatemala, locals celebrate Valentine's Day as El
Día del Cariño. Lovebirds, friends and family who want to
show their affection by escaping to one of the country's many romantic,
intimate properties should consider the mystical Petén region,
known for its many ancient Mayan sites. For charming accommodations
that blend nature and passion consider Coppola's 10-room La Lancha
abode, located on Lago Petén or La Lagunas Hotel, set on Quexil
Lagoon, both in close proximity to the area's impressive Mayan ruins
such as Tikal, Uaxactun and Yaxha
March: It's never
too early to get ready for the summer and in Coatepeque, a city located
in the department of Quetzaltenango, these festivities begin in March.
Enjoy La Feria de Verano, or summer fair, that boasts a parade with
music and dances. Even horses participate in this one. While in the
area, visitors should be sure to visit Xela, Guatemala's second largest
city located less than an hour away. Here, travelers can see numerous
impressive monuments such as the Espiritu Santo Cathedral or try new
things like salsa dancing classes or volcano trekking.
April: While the
Easter holiday is widely celebrated throughout the country, Guatemala
is also big on ecotourism, a perfect way to celebrate Earth Day on
April 22. Consider visiting a coffee plantation, such as Maria del
Pintado, an organic coffee farm located in Antigua, to learn how to
roast coffee the old fashion way. Another way to connect with nature is
with Arcas Guatemala, a non-profit organization that focuses on
rescuing and conserving Guatemala's wildlife.
May: Mother's Day
on May 10 is the perfect reason to consider a bonding trip to Guatemala
with mom. Whether it's learning something new together like making
local meals at Restaurante La Peña in Antigua or meeting
generations of Mayans near Lake Atitlan, Guatemala presents memorable
experiences that are cherished forever. Consider Maya traditions to
coordinate a day tour to see a unique Mayan custom like a shaman ritual
or textile weaving.
June: For Father's
Day June 17, dads will surely enjoy a trip to the heart of the Mayan
world and choose to be as active or as laid-back as they'd like. From
scenic golf courses with breathtaking volcanic backdrops to outdoor
trekking to discover the country's pristine fauna and flora, as well as
world-renowned fishing, Guatemala presents something for dads of all
celebrating Independence Day on July 4th, head down to Antigua to
celebrate the city's patron saint San Santiago. On July 24 and 25,
travelers can enjoy the numerous activities taking place throughout
Antigua's colorful streets including parades, music and other
celebrations. While there, be sure to take-in the stunning colonial
architecture, galleries and restaurants.
August: Enjoy the
last month of summer by exploring Guatemala's Caribbean coast in the
region of Izabal. Here, visitors can enjoy the country's largest lake,
Izabal, either on its beach shores or by boat. Among other attractions
in the area are the San Felipe Castle, an old Spanish fortress at the
entrance of the lake; Los Siete Altares, a protected natural area with
freshwater falls and pools; and Quirigua Archeological Park, one of the
country's sites boasting intricate Mayan ruins.
Guatemala's Independence Day takes place on Sept. 15, yet celebrations
take place all month long. In September, be prepared to experience a
festive atmosphere with people displaying continuous patriotism through
song, dance, parades, parties and more. Enjoy Guatemala's traditional
cuisine such as dobladas, rellenitos or tamales, while partaking in the
festivities, including spectacular firework displays in the evening.
season officially begins this month, with ships embarking on both the
Pacific and Caribbean coasts. Royal Caribbean or Regent Seven Seas are
among the cruise lines that offer routes to the destination. When on
the ground, travelers should visit to the Mayan ruins, hike a volcano
and definitely try local rum.
two major activities in Guatemala: the start of fishing season and Dia
de Todos Santos Nov. 1. A festive way to commemorate the dead,
Guatemala's Dia de Todos Santos, or All Saints Day, can be witnesses
throughout the country but in Santiago and Sumpango,
Sacatepéquez it's at its most extravagant with impressive kite
festivals, each large, and brightly hand-painted. For fishing
enthusiasts, head to the Pacific coast to see why Guatemala was named
the Billfish Capital of the World where catching sailfish is
December: Get ready
for the holidays and gift-giving with a trip to Chichicastenango, or
Chichi, Guatemala's famed market that has just about everything. On
display Thursdays and Sundays, this market transforms the city center
with countless handcrafts, food, textiles, flowers and knickknacks.
Travelers will surely find a special gift here for loved ones.
For more reasons to visit Guatemala any time of the year, visit
— Jan. 25, 2015