Information about Guatemala: Guatemala officially the Republic of Guatemala (Spanish: República de Guatemala), is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, Honduras to the east and El Salvador to the southeast. Guatemala City the capital and the largest city with a population of 995.000 (2020). Read More...

Regions of Guatemala

Posted 4 years ago

Caribbean Lowlands

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The Caribbean Lowlands are unlike the rest of Guatemala. The regional landscape is composed of jungle coastland, a river valley, and Guatemala’s largest lake. The Caribbean town of Lívingston is an enclave for the Garífuna people and is culturally distinct from the rest of Guatemala. What’s more, some of the finest Mayan stelae can be seen at the site of Quirigua.

The Caribbean Lowlands offer travelers the opportunity to experience large swaths of rainforests, a unique coastal culture, and even some nice beaches. In a country not especially known for its coastline, the white-sand beaches of the Caribbean Lowlands are an anomaly. The region stretches from Lake Izabal all the way to the Caribbean Sea and the border with Honduras.

 

Central Highlands

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The Central Highlands of Guatemala are far-reaching and diverse. A continuation of the Western Highlands, this region stretches all the way to the border with Honduras and meets the Pacific Slope at a chain of volcanoes that extend from north to south. This region includes the capital of Guatemala City and the charming town of La Antigua. Outside the cities are some remote and beautiful mountainous areas—places that are sparsely populated and that receive fewer visitors than other parts of Guatemala. That said, the environmental and cultural attractions of the remote Central Highlands are impressive and seem on the verge of wider discovery.

As the capital of Guatemala and home to a major international airport, Guatemala City will likely be your point of entry and departure. The city is a sprawling and colorful metropolis that spreads into a forested valley. In comparison to some of Guatemala’s quainter and more cultural destinations, Guatemala City is unattractive. Even so, the city does have some interesting museums and historical sites, as well as excellent restaurants and shopping opportunities.

 

Pacific Slope

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The Pacific Slope has long been passed over by travelers for other Guatemalan destinations, as it lacks the pristine white-sand beaches that border other Central American countries. In recent years, however, interest in this region has been building. Puerto Quetzal now sees regular arrivals of cruise ships (the passengers dock and take day-trips inland), and the coastal town of Iztapa is becoming known as the sailfishing capital of the world.

Guatemala’s Pacific coast is separated from the mountainous highlands to the north by a chain of volcanoes—these same volcanoes give the beaches here their characteristic dark color. The Pacific coast is approximately 185 miles (300 km) long and 30 miles (50 km) wide. Temperatures hang around 85°F year-round, but a fairly consistent ocean breeze keeps things cool near the coast.

 

Petén

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Petén is the northernmost department of Guatemala. About the size of Ohio, Petén covers a third of the country but has only 3 percent of the population. This vast expanse is populated with rainforests, savannas, and incredible Mayan ruins.

Petén is believed to be the birthplace of Mayan civilization, as some of the oldest Mayan sites are found here. The most impressive of these is Tikal, which was once one of the largest Mayan cities and is an absolute must-see for travelers in the area. The ruins, composed of huge temples and limestone pyramids, are utterly incredible. Aside from the ruins, Tikal is also an awesome place for birders and wildlife enthusiasts.

 

Western Highlands 

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The Western Highlands are one of Guatemala’s most beautiful and enchanting areas. The landscape – composed of mountains and high alpine lakes – is stunning and the cultural offerings are some of Guatemala’s best.

The Western Highlands stretch from the area outside Antigua to the border with Mexico. A volcanic chain hems in the southern side, while the northern end is dominated by the Cuchumatanes mountain range. Amidst all of this is some seriously beautiful scenery—lakes, streams, valleys, and forests. Lake Atitlán, which was formed from the crater of an extinct volcano, is undoubtedly one of the region’s most beautiful attractions.

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