Guatemala Off The Beaten Path

  • Monkey
    Monkey
    by Twan
  • Monkey
    Monkey
    by Twan
  • Monkey
    Monkey
    by Twan

Guatemala Off The Beaten Path

  • Outskirts of Antigua

    Antigua Guatemala Off The Beaten Path

    From San Pedro we drove through the old (that is the second) capital of Guatemala, Ciudad Vieja to this, the final village on our route. It was interesting to see that the abandoned capital was still a lively place, but with little of the grand architecture that makes its successor so special. On the outskirts some new, rather affluent-looking...

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  • Valhalla Experimental Station

    Antigua Guatemala Off The Beaten Path

    The Valhalla Macadamia Nut Plantation is an organic farm. The nuts fall to the ground when ripe, and they are harvested by hand. They have an outer husk as well as a hard shell. These guys built a husking machine that can process 1 ton per hour, and an old tire is one of the main parts. The nuts are dried and then go to a gravity-fed sizing...

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  • Jocotenango

    Antigua Guatemala Off The Beaten Path

    the Casa de Azotea contains a coffee museum, a small costume museum,and Casa Kojom, a music museum. (Kojom means music in some Maya languages.) I especially liked the Music Museum. The woman working there not only explained the early instruments, she demonstrated most of them. A turtle shell struck with a deer antler makes a good rhythm...

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  • GIANT HEADS IN LA DEMOCRACIA

    This is an imposing collection of massive stone heads- each one a stone portrait of a king or priest. The heads are now conveniently arranged around the town plaza (moved from the site of Monte Alto- an important city in the Late Formative Period that traded in southern Mexico and with Copan in Honduras). La Democracia is 40 KM from Esquintla off...

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  • HIKE UP SAN PEDRO AT LAGO ATITLAN

    LOOKING across the lake from Panajachel (5200'), you will see San Pedro (9920') standing off to the right of Volcan Atitlan. You can cross, climb, descend and return in one day. The trees at the top sport numerous orchids and bromiliads. The views are panoramic (See photo).Parts of the ascent are steep and muddy; but there is only one short part...

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  • More interesting than seeing another...

    We found this tour fascinating. Our own children could benefit by seeing how much these children appreciate their chance at getting an education.

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  • IXIMCHE IS A PICNIC DAYTRIP FROM LAKE...

    Iximche is a soon to be restored Quiche hill top fortress in the pine clad mountains surrounding Solola and Tecpan. It shows significant Mexican (Teotihuacan) influence. You'll find some more information and pictures as a travelogue on my GUATEMALA page.You can get here by bus (CA-1 Pan American Highway). The side road is signed and then a mile and...

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  • Castillo de San Felipe

    El Castillo de San Felipe is a fortress built in 1652 to protect Izabal from pirate raids, but pirates actually overrran the fort and burned it 1686. It was later rebuilt and used as a prison.It stands on Lake Izabal, 3km west of Flores, and boat trips between Flores and Livingston take you past it. As you can see from the photos, it has a...

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  • Quiriguá

    Quirigua is one of the least visited of the Mayan sites. It is best known for its elaborately-carved stelae, which are the first things you will see as you enter the site (see photo 3). At the back is a partially-excavated temple complex, which looks as though it will eventually reveal a large pyramid.Quirigua was settled during the Mayan classic...

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  • HUGE HIGHLAND MARKET WITH NO TOURISTS

    The market day at San Francisco el Alto is huge and varied and visited by few tourists. It's easy to get to. It lies just off the Pan American Highway along the turnoff for Momostenango. There is a large sign at the Y shaped junction. - so it's not likely you'll miss the stop. The market starts early and gets crowded by 10 (see photo) and runs into...

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  • A Far Away Ruin

    Most people when visiting Guatemala head straight to Tikal, the largest and most developed ruins of the region. And the splendor is not without warrant. But if you're looking to try something a bit different, I suggest heading a bit south, towards Sayaxche. There are a couple of ruins in the area which are beautiful and inviting, and not heavily...

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  • Puerto Barrios and the Garifuna

    No one stays in Puerto Barrios, and that's a shame. It is a rough and tumble port, yet if you're not inclined to rush off to the Rio Dulce, or you miss the last ferry service of the day, no worries, you are in for a real adventure. The Hotel Del Norte is a bygone relic of the days of the Banana moguls, and though it is a shambles, it's a romantic...

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  • the ruins at Iximche

    The ruins were on a mountain top between Antigua and Pana. The structures were fairly low and the park was being expanded. We were treated to a Mayan ceremony of purification I think. The whole family and a priest started a small fire with lots of smoke and performed a ritual waving of the smoke to each member of the family. We stayed away and...

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  • Panajachel, Guatemala

    After finding a place to sleep in Panajachel,Guatemala, I decided to take a stroll down the main street to try to get a feel for the place. I was enjoying casual conversations with several merchants of the town when I noticed three Europeans walking down the middle of the street. The girl in the middle took our her cell phone and loudly said, "I...

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  • Momocastenango - great market

    Momocastenango is further into the highlands of Guatemala, and has a captivating market. The draw here is animals, primarily livestock. Not really a shopping mecca for travelers, but a great place to embrace the local color and atmosphere of rural Guatemala.

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  • GO TO ZACAPA

    WELL, ZACAPA IS ABOUT 3 HOURS AWAY IN BUS FROM THE CAPITAL. THERE IS A GREAT RIVER CAMPING PLACE CALLED PASABIEN. ON WEEKENDS THERE ARE MORE PPL. THAT GO THERE. PPL. SELL FOOD LIKE FRUITS, BREADS, & TACO TYPE FOODS. ALSO, YOU CAN GO ANYTIME OF YEAR B/C IT'S ONE OF THE HOTEST YEAR ROUND STATES IN GUATE.

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  • Santiago Atitlan-San Antonio

    2 Villages on the Lago Atitlan. Nothing really exciting, but probably the way to see the soul of Guatemala. Can take a boat from Panajachel, or take a tour 3 villages (San Pedro de la Laguna also included) (ca 80 Q, 6 hours)

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  • La Cordillera de Los...

    La Cordillera de Los Cuchumatanes, con un tipo de paisaje totalmente diferente. El Pueblo Todos Los Santos Cuchuman, es especialmente interesante, el 1 de Noviembre, festividad del D?a de los Santos...The Cuchumatanes mountains, a totally diferent landscape...the Todos Los Santos Village, with special interest the 1th of November.El rio La...

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  • laguna chicabal

    so gorgeous! something i highly recomend seeing. this lake is in a crater of a volcano, named chicabal volcano. i can't remember exactly how i got there, but after driving from xela and a hike of maybe an hour, then a decent on over 600 stairs, you get to see this....

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  • Take the "chicken bus" through the Mayan...

    From Flores through to Coban, the highway is new and easy to travel by mini-van. Travel in Guatemala is about $1- per hour by minivan, and I like the thrill to mixing with the locals. At Coban, buses leave for Uspatan at least once a day. We found them very crowded on the holidays, and so that added to the adventure of watching the driver navigate...

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  • See Sayaxche before they build the...

    When we visited Sayaxche, word was around town that a bridge would be built within the next few years. This is a shame because we rather liked watching the ferry and launch activity from the balcony of our hotel. Sayaxche is a true frontier town where wild game meat is found on the restaurant menu. Hire a launch for a great ride up river to El...

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  • Skip the flight to dirty Guatemala City

    Rather than flying to Guatemala City, fly to Tuxla or Villhermosa and take land transportation into Guatemala. If you fly to Villahermosa, visit Pelenque and then cross the Usumacinta River at Frontera Corozal by launch. Catch the afternoon bus in Bethel and you'll arrive around 8pm in Flores. There's plenty of hotels in Flores, so there's no need...

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  • National Museum, often missed.

    The national museum of anthropology is only blocks away from the Guatemala International Airport in Guatemala City. It is well worth a visit and would be a great way to spend a couple hours between plane flights. I walked, but had to ask directions repeatedly to find it. It is on a main road, but what can I say? I found getting there a little...

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  • Lots of Off the Beaten Path

    Ballets, Villages, Spas, Graveyards - lots of off the beaten path activities. Read my What to Do section

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  • Nebaj

    From Chichi a several hour ride on busses an pickup can end in Nebaj, a remote village in the mountains. Some travel-guidebooks call the scenery "breathtakin" which I found a bit exaggerated.It is a nice little town where there is nothing special to do except experience every-day-life of the lokals and have a chat at the market sqare - for me a...

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  • San Juan Ixcoy (Huehuetenango)...

    San Juan de Ixcoy is deep within the Sierra de Los Cuchumatances with bus service (70K) from the provincial capital Huehuetenango. San Juan is way off the beaten path; but for those interested in animals, birds, scenery and spectacular waterfalls (and particularly mindful as well of local sensitivities about photography ie. churches and children)...

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  • Semuc Champey

    Semuc Champey is in Alta Verapaz. It is a place where the Rio Cahabon plumments underground before your eyes, where there are huge crystal clear pools of water, waterfalls, and underground caves. Semuc Champey is just beginnning to get hit by tourists, but I still think its off the beaten path. Its quite a drive from Coban but it is certainly worth...

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  • Coffee Plantation

    An interesting side trip you can do from Antigua is the Filadelfia coffee plantation.You get a guided tour to see the coffee trees, picking drying and sorting the beans and the packing and grinding.You can also have a coffee tasting and learn about different types of bean and how they grade the coffee.Antiguan coffee is one of the best coffees in...

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  • A Mayan site without crowds

    It takes just a little extra effort or some luck to get beyond the crowds you may find at Tikal and Copan to visit a Mayan site you can enjoy in solitude. There are many sites where this can happen. I enjoyed Uaxactun and Ceibal, and to my surprise, even had two hours on an early morning visit to Copan alone with the birds and site staff.

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  • El Remate, The End of the Road

    El Remate is a small town of few buildings right on Lago de Peten Itza. It is the last town on route to Tikal and makes for a great place to relax for a few days and enjoy the lake and the nearby Biotopo Cerro Cahui. The lake is great for swimming and is very popular for locals to swim. It is very clear and warm.There is some basic pensions in town...

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  • Climb San Pedro Volcano and See Lago...

    You must get up early in the morning from San Pedro to climb the 5000 foot vertical of the Volcano San Pedro. You first switch back through coffee groves and corn fields before the terrain gives way to a lush cloud forest environment. Then you must battle the trees, vines and very slippery mud that seems to go on indefinitely. The journey is half...

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  • The greatest place in Guatemala

    The greatest place in Guatemala is Livingston, a small village on the caribbean coast. The locals are a mix of Blacks, Maya and Ladinos. The "ambiante" in Livingston is different from other places in Guatemala, and is closely related to that of Jamaica. All you need to do is relax.

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  • Enjoy the day at xocomil

    We went to the aquatic/amusement park called Xocomil. It is about 4 hours drive away from the city but well worth the trip. It is near quetzaltenango and I highly recommend Xocomil if you have some extra time.

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  • Chaipas is best accessed from Guatemala

    It's pretty easy to cross the border either way between Guatemala and Mexico, and in a way, the Chaipas region has more in common with Guatemala than with regions of Mexico to the north. San Cristobal de las Casas is a very safe town despite Lonely Planet warnings. The capitol of the Zapatistas movement is very good at marketing dolls of the...

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  • Voodoo ceremonial ground

    For those that appreciate the voodoo vestiges in the Catholic religion, outside Antigua, a mile walk perhaps, up the mountain.

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  • Tikal-view the treetops

    If you like archaeology and/or beautiful architecture and wildlife, then this is a great spot for you. However, it's not close to any other hot tourist spot. I believe it is a worthy sidetrip and a day or few should be set asaid for it if possible. I was able to fly from G-city on a small plane and made it to and fro in a very long day trip. Many...

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  • Tikal-view the treetops

    Tikal is definitely a tourist destination, but you're not going to stumble over it on the way to the mercado. It is such a beautiful archaeological site it is definitely worth a side trip of a day or few. I flew from G-City on a small plane to the nearby airport. People use ground transportation as well, but this was the fastest route and I didn't...

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  • Chiminos Island

    In the middle of the jungle. Just great if you do not mind all kind of wildlife (incl. mosquitos, snakes and tarantulas)

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  • Go to visit a finishing mill

    In Antigua, we visited a mill that created lovely doors and windows from imported temperate and tropical hardwoods. It was quite interesting.

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  • Go to a conference

    The picture is from the conference I was in Guatemala City to attend. It was an interesting conference and we were treated very well.

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  • President of Belén

    Domingo's story tears your heart out. As a young man he experienced some horrific events that have scarred him deeply. The Army would round up young men, give them weapons and send them on "Civil Defense Patrols." The patrols would go to remote areas, surround villages and the officers would command the patrolers to fire into the village and kill...

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  • Some of my favorite people

    This Ixil woman was persuaded to have her picture taken. There is a real sense of peace and gentleness that exists in the Ixil. They don't seem to be harboring bitterness inspite of the tragic lifes that they experienced during the civil war.

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  • An Ixil Family

    The Ixil men speak Spanish as a second language. Some children who have been to school will also. Women speak only Ixil, a language that was only put into written form this last year after 20 years of work by Wycliffe translators living in San Juan Cotzal.

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  • The Radiant Smile of the Ixil

    Inspite of all that has happened to the Ixil, they seem to radiate joy when you meet them. This delightful lady is wearing the traditional dress with headpiece. Indigenous women most always wear a specific blouse and a wrap around skirt and a shawl that you see in this picture. The pattern and the color identify their village. All women in the same...

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  • Working in the Ixil Triangle

    My purpose in being in Guatemala was to help a community build homes in the Western Highlands about 180 miles north of Guatemala City. The area is called the Ixil Triangle, an area of land bordered by three towns, San Juan Cotzal, Chajul and Nebaj. The inhabitants of this area are mostly indigenous descendents of the Mayas called Ixil. The Ixil...

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Guatemala Off The Beaten Path

Reviews and photos of Guatemala off the beaten path posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Guatemala sightseeing.
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