You’d better take your sunglasses out straight away when you walk out of the airplane on arrival in this country. Because everywhere you look the colors will come splashing in your face! Guatemala will probably be the most colorful country you will ever visit. But where does this come from?
First of all, nature here really shows its true colors. The deep green of the tropical forests blends in easily withthe clear blue waters of for example the beautiful Lake Atitlán and the blood-red volcanoes, which makes the sights and views better than any Bob Ross-painting you have ever seen (not that that’s really hard but you get the point).
Secondly, and most important, the Guatemalans still respect their original roots and traditions. Yes, the Mayans left some things for the next generations. All the woman you see wear traditional dresses and skirts with patterns originating straight out of one of the thousands little villages on the Guatemalan countryside.
Although for us it’s hard to see the differences between all these weavings and the special details in it, for the Guatemalan people it’s like wearing a sign around their neck with the village of origin written on it. For us outsiders the fact that these traditions are so well rooted in Guatemalan society makes it a very interesting place to explore while trying to discover what distinguishes the different clothing-patterns.In addition, people decorate everything they have, especially the chicken busses, which are also referred to as guaguas.
These are the normal city and regional busses, and a trip on one of these you will remember for a long time. Although the ride is doable with one or two people on a bench you will see that the Guatemalans will push you aside to end up with four people on the same bench. When you realize that the roof is packed with boxes of chicken or other noisy animals the picture is complete and you’ll understand where the name comes from. However, the decorations and yellow, pink or green outsides of the busses are a taste for the eye and will make your ride a bit more enjoyable. In the end it’s all part of the experience and hey, it’s cheap.
In essence, Guatemala will touch your senses in many different ways. As Guatemala is relatively small and transport is effective you can see quite a lot of the country in 1 or 2 weeks. 10 days is just the right time to see all the good stuff.
Try learning some Español since the locals don’t understand any English… at all. Other than that, people are remarkably friendly and will try to help you where they can so don’t worry. A fantastic destination and experience.This travel guide to Guatemala is written by travelers for travelers. Please share your experiences by contributing your favorite highlight or travel route in Guatemala.