Guatemala City Travel Guide & Information

Guatemala City is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Guatemala. Located in a mountain valley called Valle de la Ermita, Guatemala City is the economic, governmental and cultural capital of the Republic, considered by many to be an economic capital of Central America. Guatemala City offers modern amenities paired with important historic sites travelers expect from a world class city. Fast paced and vibrant, Guatemala City is a wonderful blend of old and new, and possesses a distinct Latin charm.

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Travel to Guatemala, a city known for its active cultural life throughout the year. Sprawling across a sweeping highland basin, surrounded on three sides by low hills and volcanic cones, the city has an unparalleled intensity and vibrancy. Flights to Guatemala gives you an opportunity to witness a city that stands as a perfect example of this wonderful combination, as well as the harmony between ancient and modern times. Within the confines of modern Guatemala City, is the ancient Maya city of Kaminaljuyu - America's most notable archaeological sites.

In addition to a wide variety of restaurants, hotels and shops, the city has lots of art galleries, theaters, sports venues and museums, as well as an increasing amount of cultural activities. Founded in 1773, a trip to Guatemala City is an unforgettable experience and well worth booking flights to.

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Things to do in Guatemala City

Museums:

Guatemala City is home to many world class museums that host a variety of exhibits.

Museo Popol Vuh: is home to one of the major collections of Mayan civilization art, in the world. Located on the campus of the Universidad Francisco Marroquin, the museum is known for its extensive collection of pre-Columbian and colonial. The exhibit galleries are organized chronologically, beginning with the Paleoindian, Archaic, Preclassic, Early Classic, Late Classic and Postclassic periods of the ancient Mayans and ending with Colonial Art.

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Museo Ixchel Del Traje Indigena: The museum explores the Guatemalan traditions of dress throughout the country, as well as notable ceramics, textiles, jewelry and book collections. The museum’s work encompasses the acquisition, conservation and exhibition of indigenous clothing as well as extensive research and publications. The Ixchel Museum of Indigenous Dress is a permanent tribute to a tradition that is more than 25 centuries old.

Museo Nacional de Historia: opened in 1950, today boasts a large range of species, including birds and mammals, as well as mineral and paleontological specimens. The museum also features a butterfly house, a botanical garden and an ecological library for children. The museum is divided into 20 areas, from the Origin of the Universe to an area dedicated to mammals.

Prominent Attractions:

Guatemala City has many prominent attractions for visitors of all types and ages.

Catedral Metropolitana: translated, Metropolitan Cathedral is a twin towered structure in the heart of Guatemala City. The cathedral was designed by the Spanish architect, Marcos Ibanezand and was built in the neo-classical style, completed in 1815. The cathedral is home to many works of art that were originally in the Cathedral of Antigua Guatemala, which was the nation's first capital. The Cathedral also contains the first pipe organ in the country, installed in 1937.

Kaminaljuyu: Kaminaljuyu is a Pre-Columbian site of the Mayan civilization. Over the past 100 years, more than fifty archaeological projects, large and small, have been on display at Kaminaljuyu. Kaminaljuyu has been described as one of the greatest of all archaeological sites in the New World. The ruins of Kaminaljuyu are an important Mayan archeological site of Late Pre-classic or Early Classic period, containing outstanding ceramic sculptures and architecture.

Plaza Mayor: is Guatemala City's fast paced center near the retail district. The plaza is the busiest on the weekends with live music, street vendors and locals. The Plaza Mayor is a good starting point for a walk through the city. The square is surrounded by architectural landmarks, such as the Palacio Nacional and the Catedral Metropolitana. Crowds gather here to celebrate holidays and sell their goods. The makeshift market is busiest on Sundays, when vendors offer a wide variety of crafts at reasonable prices.

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Where to Stay in Guatemala City:

Guatemala offers visitors a great variety of accommodation choices, ranging from cheap hotels or 4-Star Hotels Under $99, to notable hotel chains, extended stay hotels, youth hostels and more.

Zone I: is the center of the city and offers lodgings for all tastes and budgets. Budget accommodations feature comfortable rooms with private bathrooms and lots of parking. Visitors can find elegant hotels in this zone as well. Zone 1 is home to several prominent landmarks like, Museos de Guatemala, Centro Historico, National Palace of Culture and Metropolitan Cathedral, to name a few.

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Zone II: is a commercial district. In this zone visitors can find large and luxurious hotels, as well as being close to some world class attractions.

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Passport & Visa Requirements

For US Citizens:

As per the latest travel information available to Guatemala City, here are the following passport and visa guidelines to assist you further.

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* A valid U.S. passport is required for all U.S. citizens, regardless of age, to enter Guatemala and to depart Guatemala for return to the U.S.

* While in Guatemala City, U.S. citizens should carry their passports, or a photocopy of their passports, with them at all times.

* For further information regarding entry, exit and customs requirements, travelers should contact the Guatemalan Embassy.

For Canadian Citizens:

* Under the Central America Border Control Agreement, Canadian tourists may travel within any of the C-4 countries for a 90 day period without completing entry and exit formalities at border Immigration checkpoints.

* Fines are applied for travelers who exceed this 90 day limit, although a request for an extension can be made for up to 30 days by paying a fee before the 90 days limit expires.

* Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required for all travelers over the age of one if arriving from an infected area.

This requirement applies to all travelers, regardless of age, including children.

We recommend that you check the latest travel alerts, various airlines baggage policies and travel safety tips, so that you do not miss out on any of the fun while visiting Guatemala City.

*Kindly note that we take the utmost care in providing you with correct information at all times. However, the passport and visa regulations are subject to change and we strongly urge you to check the requirements directly with the US passport office and, or the Canadian Passport Office before traveling.

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When to visit Guatemala City

Guatemala City's climate is lovely year round and makes this a year round travel destination. However, the best time to travel is December through spring. The summer months, June through August see an increase in travelers.

Budget travelers might want to visit during winter, flights and hotels are cheaper.

Planning your Visit:

High season: (November to May)

Low season: (June to October)

Guatemala City Weather

Guatemala City enjoys a subtropical highland climate. The weather is generally mild; almost spring like, throughout the course of the year.

* Occasionally, Guatemala gets warm during the dry season, but it is nowhere near as hot as other sea-level cities located in the tropics.

* The rainy season extends from May to October, while the dry season covers the remainder of the year.

Currency and Language:

Currency:

The local currency is the Quetzal, named for the national bird.

The US dollar is now accepted as legal currency. Exchange rates fluctuate, so check with your hotel for the current exchange rate.

Languages:

* Spanish is the official language.

* A lot of people do speak English in tourist centric areas.