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Ten Essential Things To Do When Visiting Guatemala

Feb 17, 2008
Guatemala is famous for its numerous eco-regions and is a favorite destination of tourists. Found in Central America, this country is home to thousands of plant species, numerous bodies of water and a very interesting mix of fauna that is uniquely Guatemalan. Whether you're visiting it for the first time or you're just coming back because you can't get enough, don't miss out on a few of its most fascinating sites to visit as well as activities you will surely enjoy more only in Guatemala.

1.) Water sports

Being surrounded by bodies of water, you naturally wouldn't want to miss out on your favorite water sports when in Guatemala. You can go rapid shooting in the swift flowing waters of the river El Chiquibil or La Pasion. Of course, you have your usual scuba diving and snorkeling.

2.) Boat rides

The best way to experience all of Guatemala's lagoons, mangroves and the beauty of its waters is to take a boat ride down Rio Dulce. Here, you might be lucky enough to see the manatees as this is their home. People say these manatees look like mermaids from afar.

3.) Semana Santa Processions

To truly get the feel of how much religion is important in the lives of the people of Guatemala, you should visit Guatemala in time for the culmination of the Holy Week. There will be a procession of religious icons, and people dressed in purple frocks walk the streets as a testament of their faith. This will surely give you a taste of Guatemalan culture.

4.) Dead-ly festivities

If the rest of the world celebrates spookiness during Halloween, Guatemalan's hold festivities for their dead on the anniversary for the dead, November 1. They flock to cemeteries with flowers and candles, donning skeleton costumes, presents and even skulls. As such, this has also become an event that a visitor must see.

5.) Antigua

Perhaps due to the numerous earthquakes and natural calamities that this city has withstood, these natural events only ended up adding to the quaintness and beauty of Antigua. Don't miss out its beautiful ruins, old churches, cobble-stoned streets, horse-drawn carriages, and a whole list of beautiful architectural structures. Pictures taken here are postcard perfect.

6.) Mayan regions

Seeing the imposing pyramids, you will not help but stare in amazement at the perfect structure of these triangular temples. There are also ruins that show off their once great architecture. This is a great way to know of the history and culture of the country.

7.) Shopping

Guatemalan ingenuity in arts and crafts is evident in their colorful cloths. Each craft is carefully woven by hand. There are also silver crafts and the famous ponchos that you can take home as souvenirs.

8.) Museums

The best part about museums here in Guatemala is that they have a showcase of some of the world's greatest and oldest archeological finds in the region. They also have on display Guatemalan art pieces that depict the country's culture and history. These museums are a must-visit for any visitor.

9.) Lake Atitlan

People who have sailed its waters all agree that this is one of most amazing and breathtaking lakes they have ever sailed on. Here, you will experience the serenity of its neighboring Mayan settlements. So, you will definitely want to include this in your itinerary.

10.) Town of Santiago

One good reason to visit this small Mayan town is the legend that precedes it. After hearing about the god Maximon and how he came to be worshipped by the villagers, you will definitely want to see where the legend started. Also, this is the best place to see and purchase paintings in oil by the locals.
About the Author
Jonathan Williams is the travel writer for Destination Guide TV - the place to share travel videos. Visit http://www.destinationguide.tv/guatemala to view or share Guatemala travel videos.
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