Guatemala Vacation | They Told Me Not To Go Panajachel, Guatemala, September 12th 2016. Guatemala Vacation | Everyone told me not to go. Guatemala is often misrepresented by the journalists covering travel destinations. An article I recently read is an example of very poor journalism and representation of the facts about Guatemala. I have to comment. Everyone told me not to go. Even a friend who lived in Guatemala for six months advised me against going.
Guatemala has an alarming rate of homicides. Newspaper front pages often show images of covered dead bodies with police hovering nearby. But most of those crimes happen in the capital, Guatemala City. With that in mind, and the fact that Guatemala City has few tourist attractions, I skipped it altogether.
This is my two cents. Seriously? He couldn’t find any attractions in Guatemala worth seeing? Here are just a few of the many attractions in Guatemala City worth seeing.
Paseo Cayala is a nice place to visit, enjoy the city views, the restaurants, the stores. It really does not matter if you only do window shopping still a nice place to visit with friends, take photos. Night time is also good to come by and enjoy a nice cup of great Guatemalan coffee!! along with a good piece of cake. This is a place for family reunion as well as with friends so enjoy a visit to Paseo Cayala and you will be surprised!!
Located in the heart of the historic center, the Cathedral is well kept, I have not seen is such good splendor as now. Under the new Archdiocese the cathedral has gone under an excellent care that surprises one that has not been there for a few years. If you want to seat and have a peaceful moment to meditate go ahead and visit the Cathedral, some pieces date back to the colonial days so you will be surprised to see the surroundings inside the cathedral!
Guatemala’s National Palance is just wonderful. Is an attraction you cannot miss when in Guatemala city. It will take around 45~75 minutes to visit and if you are lucky, you’ll get to see the flag ceremony inside the palace. There are constant exposition and art displays (and some cultural activities) going on which can make the place a little crowded. On the bright side, after taking a look there, it is very easy to get anywhere in the city. I’ll recommend to have lunch somewhere nearby because there are a lot of good traditional guatemalan cuisine and not expensive at all.
Museo Ixchel del Traje Indigena
You can view some short information films before entering the exhibition, which I recommend. I found the exhibition almost overwhelming, there was just so much to take in, but the work is glorious. It was great getting a sense of how the different styles and patterns are meaningful culturally, historically and geographically. Also keep an eye out for the gorgeous watercolour exhibition at the end.
You get into this and the Popol Vuh for about 50q, I recommend to do both.
They’re on the university camps and you have to show ID to the gate guard to get on campus so take that with you.
Irtra Mundo Petapa Theme Park
The pick up from your hotel in Guatemala City will be at 9am, from here we’ll go directly to Irtra Mundo Petapa Theme Park. Upon your arrival you will enjoy of “Plaza de las Estrellas” (Stars Plaza) where you will find a theater as main point. Then continue to “Plaza del Arcoiris” (Rainbow Plaza), the Castle is the central image of the square. In it you will find two kiosks where you can enjoy a variety of snacks. Around the castle you can enjoy restaurants, kiosks, souvenir shop, photographic shop, arcade games and 14 electromagnetic games for children.
Visit the wonderful Zoo La Aurora where you can observe wildlife from Guatemala, Africa, Asia and Patagonia. Ideal for walking, relaxing and having contact with different wildlife in the world.
So back to the article written by Amir Bibawya’s.
Guatemala Vacation Other Quotes from Amir Bibawya’s Article
Another decision that my travel companion and I made was to stick to trusted methods of transportation. This meant no “chicken buses”. These colourfully painted former US school buses, which sometimes carry farmers and their chickens, are notorious for being the target of road bandits.
My thoughts on that.
While living in Antigua and now Lake Atitlan I found the use of Chicken Buses as an incredibly reliable and safe form of transportation. In Antigua I would grab a Chicken Bus to Guatemala City for shopping and yes sight seeing.
I now live at Lake Atitlan and regularly take the chicken bus from Panajachel to Guatemala City. It’s faster and much cheaper than private shuttles. Never once have I ever had an issue riding on a Chicken Bus. And to be clear I have been on hundreds of chicken buses.
Back to the article written by Amir Bibawya’s.
“Another highlight of Antigua was climbing the active Pacaya volcano, a steep but easy two-hour hike. We went on a half-day trip with about 12 other tourists and a guide. Do not attempt the hike without a guide as muggings there are common. After the hike, your reward will be roasting marshmallows in a blistering hole on the side of the volcano.”
My take on that.
We have taken and sent a number of our guests to Pacaya with our local guides from Antigua, muggings have not been an issue or a point to even discuss in an article. Again we have never encountered a problem when climbing Pacaya and as tour guides we have climbed it so many time that we have lost count.
Then Amir Bibawya states in his article that “no visit to any country is complete without experiencing the local food. Although the variety isn’t huge, don’t leave Guatemala without trying pepian, a spicy brown-sauce chicken stew that is a national dish.”
For all those who have not visited Guatemala, just to be clear AGAIN, Guatemala has incredible variety of food and dining experiences. Guatemala City offers some of the most incredible dining experiences with an International variety of restaurants and bistros to serve travelers. In regards to Antigua it also has an incredible array of food. Lake Atitlan too has it’s variety of food and has some hidden gem restaurants that can found throughout the villages surrounding the lake.
In many places in Guatemala, tourism is the lifeblood of the area. Articles like the one that Amir Bibawya wrote do such an injustice to the beautiful country of Guatemala and its incredibly friendly population.
This specific article happened to annoy me as many of these negative points could have been eliminated from the article and the beauty of Guatemala, the people and the tourism services offered highlighted rather then stating, “ Guatemala City has few tourist attractions”.
Guatemala has diversity unmatched by few regions in the world. The natural, historic, and cultural heritage can been seen throughout Guatemala. It is a region of the world that offers the perfect combination of natural beauties, stunning mountain landscapes, spectacular ancient Mayan temples and ruins, outdoor markets, rainforests, and rich and distinctive traditions of a living Mayan culture. It’s a country that offers so much to those willing to open their mind, their heart, and to step off the beaten track for a little while.