"Land of the Maya" Guatemala by skullcrusher
Guatemala Travel Guide: 2,955 reviews and 8,464 photos
Guatemala City - is far from being the nicest place in the world. I´d say that it´s one of the ugliest of all the capital cities that I've ever had the pleasure of visiting. It´s reputation for crime didn't bother me so mush as the fact that there isn´t really much to see or do there. The Museo de Arqueologia y Etnologia was pretty nice ..... not especially big, but it had some nice relics on display. There are other museums close by but they didn´t hold any appeal for me. In the historic part of town you can visit the Parque Central and the old buildings around it such as the Palacio Nacional de Cultura. Overall the Zona 1 area is a jumbled, ugly mess. The zones to the south (ie. 13, 9, and 10) are nicer and less dangerous, but no one should ever make the mistake of calling this town picturesque.
Antigua - it's as if the city of Antigua stole all the beauty that it´s bigger neighbor might have had and kept it all for itself. Visually appealing; this is one of those nice towns that you want to live in (despite all of the foreigners running about). There are quite a few outdoor activity options, especially if you like hiking or biking, and the tourist infrastructure is very good. This is also a great place to learn Spanish, in fact there seems to be a language school on almost every other corner.
Panajachel - located on the shores of Lago de Atitlan, it's hard to beat the views with a beautiful blue lake and a handful of volcanoes visible in the distance. Unfortunately I found the touristy overtones of the town more than a little annoying. It's one of those places where someone is constantly hassling you to buy one item or another. I even had little kids offering me ganja & women ..... too much! Despite these issues, Pana is still a nice destination to visit if only for a day. You can take boat tours to other lakeside villages as well as bike or even climb a volcano or two. I visited the Reserva Natural de Atitlan (a bit of a walk from Panajachel) and though it wasn't all that large of an area it was fun to hike a bit and view the wildlife. The Reserva has a nice waterfall you can hike up to and traversing the suspension bridges was very cool.
Flores - is in the northern part of the country known as El Peten and is actually made up of three seperate towns: Flores, Santa Elena, and San Benito. However Flores is the only place out of the three that will be of interest to most travelers because the other two places are dusty backwaters. Flores town is on a small island in a lake. The towns of Santa Elena & San Benito are on land with Santa Elena connected to Flores via a bridge. The main reason why most people visit this part of the country is to visit the awesome Mayan ruins that are a major tourist magnet (most noteably: the ruins of Tikal). Many people only stay in the Flores area long enough to hop on the nearest shuttle to Tikal, Yaxhá, or El Zotz (for example), but if you decide to spend more than a day in Flores then there are other nice activities such as biking, boat tours, visiting nearby caves, parks, etc.
What do you think I'm going to say ...... if you're a history/archeology buff then you'll obviously want to make a trip... more travel advice
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