Set against the sharp cones of Guatemala’s volcanoes, Guatemala City sits at the intersection of Mayan heritage and fledgling metropolis. From its iconic chicken buses to its concentration of artists and artifacts, Guate, as it’s known to locals, is a fascinating representation of the disparities of urban dwelling. For a taste of cosmopolitan luxury, head for the hotels in Zone 10, also known as Zona Viva. Lower-budget lodging can be easily found in Zone 13.
The Best Shopping In Guatemala City
- For colorful textiles, leather goods or simply a gawk at Guatemalan flea market culture, Mercado Central is a one-stop shop of potential souvenir items. Visitors can also pick up everyday goods and sample authentic cuisine in the food court section.
- On the other end of the spectrum, Paseo Cayalá is a beautiful outdoor pedestrian mall comprising a campus of Spanish neo-colonial-style buildings and cobblestone streets. Stacked with nice restaurants -- the gelateria is quite popular -- and specialty stores, it’s a relaxing venue to take a break from the rest of the city.
Museums To Pique Your Interest
- Museo Popol Vuh is a natural history museum specializing in Mayan artifacts, of which it has plenty and in good condition, many of which are from sites off-limit to visitors. The well-organized displays give an in-depth look into Guatemalan and Mayan history from a native perspective.
- Named after the Mayan goddess of fertility and weaving, Museo Ixchel del Traje Indigena is dedicated to the textiles of Guatemala’s indigenous communities. More than simply a display of clothing, the museum tells the country’s rich history through the art of cloth.