volcanos nearby; final descent into Guatemala City
When flying in to Guatemala City, try to get a window seat--the views over the nearby Agua, Fuego, and Acatenango volcanos (about 25 miles from the capital) are stunning.
Guatemala City is located where it is precisely because of these volcanos. The Spanish built their first colonial capital at what is now Ciudad Vieja, on the slopes of the Agua volcano; a lahar destroyed that site in 1541...They then relocated a few miles away to what is now Antigua, surrounded by these three volcanos. By 1776, after repeated earthquakes, the Spanish decided to move the capital away from the mountains to what is now Guatemala City--alas, still earthquake-prone, but a reasonable distance from the volcanos themselves.
(In this photo, Agua (12,336ft/3,760 m) is the nearest, on the left, but in the center you can see the steam rising from the more distant summit of Fuego (12,346ft/3,763 m). As of mid-May 2012, Fuego has been in a constant state of eruption; check local conditions before heading nearby...)