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This Central American country, the cradle of Maya civilisation, offers truly authentic culture, with Indian folklore and archaeological sites set against a backdrop of tropical volcanic landscapes.
Guatemala is a modestly sized country, bordered by Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Belize, and offers all of the main attractions of Central America. First there is the diversity of its landscapes. Its mountainous jungles in the north stand in counterpoint to the coastal plains of the south, close to the Pacific, which are home to its towns and activities. This country, with its humid tropical climate, has also retained the cultural wealth of the Maya civilisation, which started here amongst other places. Almost half of the population is Indian and of Maya descent. Apart from the coastal areas used for agriculture, the mountain and plateau villages and towns have retained all their traditional rural character with their casetas (houses) and their inhabitants wearing indigenous dress, with the famous brightly coloured cotton huipil. Guatemala boasts extensive Maya ruins. One of the best known is the site of Tikal, in the north. It is close to Lake Itzá, with its island village of Flores, its historic houses and cobbled streets. The other gem of Guatemalan tourism is Lake Atitlán, in the Western Highlands, and surrounded by volcanoes. When you visit the lakeside villages, you can appreciate the diversity and wealth of peasant arts and crafts. There are not many towns in this country. Rather than the capital, Ciudad Guatemala, you really should visit Antigua. It was founded by the conquistadors in 1543, is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and nestles in the shade of the Pacaya volcano. It offers a rich colonial heritage.
Hotel and restaurant on a lake. The unbroken view of Lake Atitlan and the three volcanoes overlooking it is stunning: from the infinity pool, the terraces or simply through the large bay windows. Built on a hillside, Casa Palopó has preserved a unique intimate atmosphere from its past as a private residence. Its decoration is warm, with a mix of intense colours, massive wood, crafted objects and fabrics and spaces designed to live in. You can stay at the library, in the loungers or in the candle light of the dining room, dreaming of the next escape to the magnificent nature or the discovery of the Maya culture. ... Learn moreless