Guatemala, is a Central American country located to the south of Mexico. It is a nation of volcanoes, rainforests and ancient Maya sites. Guatemala City, the capital, is the home to the stately National Palace of Culture and the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Antigua, west of the capital, has many preserved Spanish colonial buildings. Lake Atitlán, formed in a enormous volcanic crater, with coffee fields and villages all around it.
Guatemala heralds a rich Maya culture. It was home to the ancient civilisation of the Maya. This was a powerful and advanced civilisation that built many pyramids that still stand majestically. The Maya civilisation was most prominent from around 250 AD to 900 AD and during the Classic Period. In the 14th century, the Europeans arrived and the Mayan civilisation was already declining. In 1524, the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Alvarado defeated the Maya and the area became a Spanish colony.
Guatemala has wonderful colonial towns full of charm and vibrant rainforests brimming with life. There are ancient ruins, stunning lakes and volcanoes. If you like adventure or the pure gratification of traveling off the regular path, Guatemala is worth a visit.
UK: Not required for a stay of up to 90 days in duration.
USA: Not required for a stay of up to 90 days in duration.
Dress in Guatemala is casual. Anticipate t-shirts, shorts, loose-fitting trousers, and shirts. It has a hot climate, so dress to stay cool and comfortable. In some towns, only the women continue to wear traditional Indian dress. The men sometimes wear their traditional trajes.
The culture of Guatemala reflects strong Maya and Spanish influences, and continues to be defined as a contrast between Maya villagers in the rural highlands, and the urbanised and relatively wealthy mestizos population (known in Guatemala as ladinos), who occupy the cities and surrounding agricultural plains. Guatemala’s religious mosaic primarily includes traditional Maya spirituality, Catholicism and Evangelical Christianity. There are small Muslim and Jewish populations in Guatemala City as well. Many of the country's holidays and festivals are related to religion. Football (soccer) is Guatemala’s most popular sport.
In Guatemala, tipping is a question of rewarding good service rather than an obligation, but it is becoming more North American in its attitude towards tips. As restaurant bills don't normally include gratuities, adding 10% is customary. Andante Travels will take care of gratuities to restaurant staff, local guides and drivers.