Guatemala city Travel Guide

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Lago de Atitlan

Lago de Atitlan

Jaime Ventura

Guatemala City the country’s capital, is by far the largest town in the country. The city is located in a large valley dominated by the Agua Volcano. Guatemala city is rapidly becoming the biggest town of Central America, excluding Mexico of course, with a population of more than 2 million inhabitants. When you are there you do not have the impression that it is such a big place. It is split in about 20 Zonas,  but they do not run in an orderly fashion.  A local Guatemalan mentioned that their city is like a broken dish, as the 20 pieces just fell randomly everywhere, so don't be surprised if you are riding in Zona 3 and suddenly you are in Zona 9, there is no logical order.  Taxis are pretty inexpensive, though traffic can be hectic at times. There are only a few high rise buildings, in Zona 10, mostly, sort of their "Wall St".   The city is packed with interesting sights and museums.The main downtown square, in Zona 1, has a very nice fountain, and near it you will see the Palacio Nacional,  you need to prebook a tour if you want to see it.  On the other side of the plaza you will see the Catedral.

..a very nice one...sort of like european style (as opposed to the more simple styles in Antigua). There is a museum shop right there for mementos.   1 1/2 blocks behind the cathedral is the market.   You have to go down these steps... it is a neat place to take a walk, and to pick up any last minute souvenirs you did not get at Chichicastenango or any of the other destinations.

At Zona 10, there is  a University, Francisco Marroquin, which 2 excellent museums.  The best one is the Museo Popol monday  to friday until 5pm.  It is very well laid out, and it gives a nice introduction to those of you heading out to Tikal.  Zona 13, near the airport, has also a couple interesting museums as well.

In terms of nightlife,  Zona 10  has very nice restaurants to suit all tastes, and there are also some clubs and bars in the area. Some foreign embassies are along located around here. 

Guatemala City is sort of like the country's hub. The international airport is there (Flores is not starting to get international flights) and from here you can get transportation to  virtually anywhere in the country.   There are the so called "chicken buses", which are recycled school buses from the USA, they are privately owned, but they cover many different routes.   Another option are the "shuttles", they cost a bit more, but not real expensive...  they run in a fixed schedule, and they are very reliable....easier on some of us tourists logging our backpacks and stuff.

Very close to the modern Guatemala City lies Antigua Guatemala- the place that has kept its historical center and is very popular with travelers. Don’t miss it.  Check out this section for more information.


July 25, 2005 change by worldtraveler19

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