If you’re looking for a chilled out Central American vibe, Antigua – a Guatemalan city famous for it’s Spanish Baroque architecture (and for good reason) – will have you hooked upon arrival.
Rice, beans, plantain, tortillas, quesadilla, guacamole, salsa, tequila…need we go on? Food in Central America is one (very prominent!) reason we love this part of the world so much.
Here, we share some cuisine which may have gone under the radar in the past. Move over Mexico, your neighbours have some pretty sensational tastebud pleasers of their own.
Ok, so we know there’s a heap of amazing places to travel to, so why choose to explore Guatemala over all the others?
8. Really cool ruins
If you’ve ever fantasised about being Indiana Jones for a day or just love old, stone things, Guatemala’s ruins will blow you away. The most famous is coastal Tikal, which will impress even the most jaded traveller. Then you’ve got the remarkable ruins of Yaxha, Uaxactan and Quirigua scattered around the country looking fabulous. And if you’re up for a 5-day hike and a bit of roughing it, then El Mirador lies deep within the jungle and is believed to be the cradle of Maya civilisation.
They are the thriving hub of villages, town or cities. They are where people come from miles around to trade their wares or take home a bargain, and they are where visitors get to see the local community in action. Even if you’re not a shopper, there’s so much to love about markets. Here’s a few favourite places to enjoy the local flavours and hone your haggling skills…
During the day the Marrakech main square is full of touts, performers, snake charmers and more, then at night it transforms into an outdoor food festival. The square is surrounded by souks, otherwise known as local markets, selling everything from brass pots and pans, to linens, antiques, colourful spices, local dresses, leather slippers and delicious Moroccan food.
One of the world’s great shopping experiences is the mayhem of Chichicastenango markets. The prices are way too tempting, so before she could stop herself, Intrepid’s Rachael Harvey was bagging bargains in Guatemala…
“Jostle for space with traditionally dressed locals, haggle to your heart’s content and ponder whether or not the whole Guatemalan population has turned up. Don’t be surprised if you leave with a backpack overflowing with vibrant textiles and handmade jewellery that you won’t find anywhere else.
“Are you happy in your heart?” This typical Guatemalan greeting is a thought-provoking question for Intrepid Express reader Bobbie Jo Traut…
“Tossed by turbulence and feeling a little queasy during my short but intense flight, I futilely try to flip through my book on Guatemalan history. The small, Central American country lacks the eco-cache of some of its neighbors and still faces serious administrative and social challenges in addition to carrying the burden from its devastating civil war that took more than 200,000 civilian lives. I can’t help but ponder the wisdom of my trip to the hinterland of the Polochic to work on infrastructure projects in some of the remotest villages in the country.