Top Ten Guatemalan Attractions

Top Ten Guatemalan Attractions

        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, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast. Its area is 108,890 km² (42,043 mi²) with an estimated population of 13,276,517. A representative democracy, its capital is Guatemala de la Asunción, also known as Guatemala City. Guatemala’s abundance of biologically significant and unique ecosystems contributes to Mesoamerica’s designation as a biodiversity hotspot. The Mayans lived in Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, the southern part of Mexico and northern parts of El Salvador before European settlers arrived.

  1. Tik’al National Park

    Tik’al is one of the largest archaeological sites and urban centers of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. It is located in the archaeological region of the Petén Basin in what is now northern Guatemala. Tikal was the capital of a conquest state that became one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya. Though monumental architecture at the site dates back as far as the 4th century BC, Tikal reached its apogee during the Classic Period (200 to 900 AD). During this time, the city dominated much of the Maya region politically, economically and militarily, while interacting with areas throughout Mesoamerica such as the great metropolis of Teotihuacan in the distant Valley of Mexico. There is evidence that Tikal was conquered by Teotihuacan in the 4th century AD. Following the end of the Late Classic Period, no new major monuments were built at Tikal and there is evidence that elite palaces were burned. These events were coupled with a gradual population decline, culminating with the site’s abandonment by the end of the 10th century. Tikal is the best understood of any of the large lowland Maya cities, with a long dynastic ruler list, the discovery of the tombs of many of the rulers on this list and the investigation of their monuments, temples and palaces.
    Links: Pyramids, National Parks, Top Ten South American National Parks, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tikal_National_Park,
  2. Guatemala City

    Guatemala City is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Guatemala and Central America. It is also the capital city of the local Guatemala Department. The city is located in a mountain valley called Valle de la Ermita in the south central part of the country.
    Links: Cities, Top Ten North American Cities, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guatemala_City,
  3. Antigua Guatemala

    Antigua Guatemala (commonly referred to as just Antigua or la Antigua) is a city in the central highlands of Guatemala famous for its well-preserved Spanish Mudéjar-influenced Baroque architecture as well as a number of spectacular ruins of colonial churches. Antigua Guatemala serves as the municipal seat for the surrounding municipality of the same name. It also serves as the departmental capital of Sacatepéquez Department.
    Links: Top Ten Churches, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antigua_Guatemala,
  4. Archaeological Park and Ruins of Quirigua

    Quiriguá is an ancient Maya archaeological site in the department of Izabal in south-eastern Guatemala. It is a medium-sized site covering approximately 3 square kilometers (1.2 sq mi) along the lower Motagua River, with the ceremonial center about 1 km (0.6 mi) from the north bank. During the Maya Classic Period (200–900 AD), Quiriguá was situated at the juncture of several important trade routes. The site was occupied by 200 AD, with construction on the acropolis beginning by around 550, and an explosion of grander construction started in the 8th century. All construction had halted by about 850, except for a brief period of reoccupation in the Early Post-classic (900–1200). Quiriguá shares its architectural and sculptural styles with the nearby Classic Period city of Copán, with whose history it is closely entwined. Quiriguá’s rapid expansion in the 8th century was tied to king K’ak’ Tiliw Chan Yopaat’s military victory over Copán in 738. When the greatest king of Copán, Uaxaclajuun Ub’aah K’awiil or “18-Rabbit,” was defeated, he was captured and then sacrificed in the Great Plaza at Quiriguá. Before this, Quiriguá had been a vassal state of Copán, but it maintained its independence afterwards. The ceremonial architecture at Quiriguá is quite modest, but the site’s importance lies in its wealth of sculpture, including the tallest stone monuments ever erected in the New World.
    Links: Sculptures, Top 100 North American Sculptures, Top Ten Kings, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quirigua,
  5. Lake Atitlán

    Lake Atitlán is a large lake in the Guatemalan Highlands. While Atitlan is recognized to be the deepest lake in Central America, its bottom has not been completely sounded. Estimates of its maximum depth range up to 340 m. The lake is shaped by deep escarpments which surround it and by three volcanoes on its southern flank. Lake Atitlan is further characterized by towns and villages of the Maya people. Lake Atitlán is about 50 km (31 mi) west-northwest of Antigua. The lake is volcanic in origin, filling an enormous caldera formed in an eruption 84,000 years ago. It is renowned as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, and Aldous Huxley famously wrote of it: “Lake Como, it seems to me, touches on the limit of permissibly picturesque, but Atitlán is Como with additional embellishments of several immense volcanoes. It really is too much of a good thing.” The lake basin supports extensive coffee growth and a variety of farm crops, most notably corn. Other significant agricultural products include onions, beans, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, chile verde, strawberries, avocados and pitahaya fruit. The lake itself is rich in animal life which provides a significant food source for the largely indigenous population.
    Links: Lakes, Top Ten North American Lakes, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Atitl%C3%A1n,
  6. El Mirador

    El Mirador is a large pre-Columbian Mayan settlement, located in the north of the modern department of El Petén, Guatemala.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Mirador,
  7. Links: Top Ten Guatemalan Hotels, Top 100 Monuments, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guatemala,