Instituto Guatemalteco de Turismo

Guatemala, Heart of the Mayan World

Guatemala is the sacred land of the Maya. It is a country of beautiful landscapes, further enhanced by its impressive past and an exuberant natural environment. The exquisite cultural fusion of the millenary Maya, the colonial Spaniards, and the zestful Afro-Caribbean descendants makes it an extraordinary location. In addition to this cultural wealth, Guatemala has been recognized as a mega-diverse nation, owing to its high degree of biodiversity and numerous endemic species. Its extraordinary cultural treasures, its historical heritage, and particular biodiversity make it a must-see destination for those visitors seeking a unique and authentic experience. It is geographically located at the center of the Americas and it has access to both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans; thus, Guatemala is quite easy to reach from any part of the planet.

Guatemala is the perfect place for the traveller who is looking for a location that is not yet overcrowded with tourists. It is a perfect place to find new adventures and experiences, and to learn new life lessons.

Among the many places in the world that you can visit, come to Guatemala.

7 reasons for visiting Guatemala:

1. To experience the incredible living Mayan culture
2. To visit the impressive Mayan archeological sites
3. To immerse in beautiful landscapes and extraordinary biodiversity
4. To marvel at the exquisite Spanish Colonial architecture
5. To taste delicious traditional Guatemalan fare, prepared according to millenary recipes
6. To purchase colorful textiles delicately embroidered by hand
7. To climb above the clouds, climbing some of the 33 volcanoes with the highest peaks in Central America

Why is Guatemala the true Heart of the Mayan World?

Guatemala is located at the center of the geographical region where this civilization flourished many thousands of years ago. It has now been proven that this civilization was born in the exuberant jungles of the country’s Northern region. This is where the greatest number and concentration of archeological sites of this civilization are located. At these sites, the evolution of Mayan construction can be seen, as there are structures from different periods and construction stages. In addition to this impressive historical heritage, there are still direct Mayan descendants living in Guatemala. Over 50% of the population shares this origin and use more than 20 different Mayan languages to communicate among themselves.

Visitors stand in awe of spectacular Mayan temples protected by an exuberant tropical jungle. They can admire the exquisite architecture of the Classic Mayan Period in all its splendor. The call of howling monkeys, the song of many birds and the comings and goings of spider monkeys welcome visitors to this paradisiac site. One day is not enough to discover all of its magic…plan to stay longer!


Three impressive giants surround the beautiful colonial city. Antigua Guatemala is located in a valley where the best coffee in the world is produced. Its unique atmosphere is an invitation for visitors to stroll along its cobblestone streets amid colonial structures. Its impressive historical value and incomparable beauty has led UNESCO to declare it a World Heritage site. The surroundings of this beautiful city are considered some of the best places in the country for mountain biking and birdwatching of regional endemic species.


Considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, Lake Atitlán is surrounded by three impressive volcanoes and picturesque Mayan villages, such as San Juan La Laguna and Santiago Atitlán. This is an ideal place to experience the amazing fusion of the Mayan conception of the world and the Catholic faith brought by the Conquistadors. Visitors can climb the three volcanoes surrounding the lake (Tolimán, Atitlán, and San Pedro) throughout the year and immerse in the most spectacular views.


Probably the most well-known and most-frequently climbed volcano in Guatemala, Pacaya never ceases to amaze those who visit it. Because it is always active, its shape is constantly changing, so the experience when you visit it will always be different. While climbing it, you will be able to see striking views of other volcanoes, such as Agua, Fuego, and Acatenango. Tours to Pacaya can be easily booked in Antigua Guatemala.


An astounding system of natural pools set amid a dense tropical jungle. The mighty Cahabón River flows underneath a natural limestone bridge spanning approximately 500 meters, and then enters into an underground cave. Surrounding it, there are a number of spectacular calm turquoise-water pools. This amazing natural wonder can be best seen from a look-out point atop a hill, but in the very warm weather of the jungle, the clear water below beckons visitors to take a refreshing swim in these extraordinary pools.

Market day in this small town is the ideal setting to admire the amazing Mayan culture. Considered the largest indigenous market in the whole region, this famous site abounds in colors and the great diversity of products for sale, which include vegetables, flowers, handicrafts, and even farmyard animals. The religious syncretism between the Catholic faith and the Mayan worldview can be experienced inside the Santo Tomás church, located in the town’s center, and in the Pascual Abaj hill, where ancient Mayan ceremonies are performed every day.

Company Instituto Guatemalteco de TurismoHallAmericasStand No.LA350Websitewww.visitguatemala.comContactLourdes MaldonadoE-maillmaldonado@inguat.gob.gtPhone 2290-2800SkypeN/A