Joseph Cyr's Guatemala
Collected by Joseph Cyr, AFAR Local Expert
Perhaps the most photogenic country in Central America...the reserved nature of the people hides friendly warmth that has survived a troubled past...Volcanoes! Jungle! Mayan ruins! Colonial cities! Screaming monkeys! You'll come away with multiple exclamation marks...
1a Calle Poniente & 6a Avenida Norte, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala
With a façade like a fondant wedding cake, the Iglesia de la Merced in Antigua Guatemala is a baroque fantasy from the mid-18th century. The first time my wife and I went to Antigua, we stayed for a week. Linguistically, it was a reboot for me and...
9 Av 14-75, Zona 13, Guatemala 01013, Guatemala
Guatemala City was developed in the valley between three ancient volcanos: Agua, Fuego, and Acatenango. When flying in to the area try to get a window seat because the view of these giants will be stunning. The Spanish built their first colonial...
Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala
With its colorful landscapes and traditional clothing, it's no surprise that Guatemala's folk-paintings are so vibrant. A wonderful place to see and purchase these works of art is in Santiago Atitlán, on the southern shore of Lake Atitlán. Between...
5a Avenida Norte, Antigua Guatemala 03-001, Guatemala
Few cities in Central America can rival Antigua Guatemala for its setting: a mile high, surrounded by volcanoes, with a spring-like climate all year round. The first time we visited Antigua, we spent a week here, taking intensive Spanish classes...
From one temple-top to another: on top of the world in Tikal National Park in northeastern Guatemala. These Maya pyramids (8th century) were the tallest structures built in the Americas until twentieth century skyscrapers arose in New York City....
San Vicente Pacaya, Guatemala
On our first trip to Central America, my wife and I had lugged bulky hiking boots with us, just for this--a hike to the top of a volcano. But, as you can see in the photo, my wife is wearing sandals at the summit...huh? Dealing with...
Zona 2 de Mixco, Guatemala
When U.S. school buses are decommissioned, they are reincarnated in Central America and given new life. Repainted and rechristened, they become tropical intercity transport worth taking. For travelers, a journey on one of these is an immersive...
The Volcán Pacaya, (2552 m/8373 ft) one of Central America's most active volcanoes, steaming at sunset... A couple of years before taking this photo, my wife and I had hiked up to the top of Pacaya, to the SW of Guatemala City. A couple of years...
Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala
At the end of a week-long stay in Antigua, attending intensive language classes, my brain was full of newly acquired verb-tenses and vocabulary lists--pleasantly full, but tired. I let my wife sleep in as I went for an early morning walk around...
On our first trip to Guatemala, (pre-digital era), my wife spoke rudimentary Spanish and I was far from fluent. In return for our fledgling language skills, this girl gave us a warm smile...and perfectly smoky tortillas as well. A few years later,...
Tecpán Guatemala, Guatemala
Near the town of Tecpán in the western highlands of Guatemala are the ruins of Iximché. Perched on a hill some 7000 feet above sea level, this was the cool capital of the Kaqchikel Maya in the 15th and 16th centuries, at the time of the Spanish...
Zona 1 de Villa Nueva, Villa Nueva, Guatemala
The "Volcán de Agua," just west of Guatemala City, at sunset... Going 'up north' to visit Guatemala, where an old family friend has lived for years, was our vacation during the year we lived in Nicaragua. Her neighborhood is in the hills above...
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