The one minute summary on

This is it: one minute to the best info on Guatemala. This info alone will put you ahead of 99% of foreigners visiting Guatemala, garner the admiration of the locals who will instantly want to be your friends, and the envy of your fellow travelers. Read on. You’ll make friends faster that way, become a traveler instead of simply being a tourist, and also enjoy your travels a lot more.

 

The Maya civilization flourished in Guatemala and surrounding regions during the first millennium A.D. After almost three centuries as a Spanish colony, Guatemala won its independence in 1821. During the second half of the 20th century, it experienced a variety of military and civilian governments, as well as a 36-year guerrilla war.

In 1996, the government signed a peace agreement formally ending the internal conflict, which had left more than 200,000 people dead and had created, by some estimates, about 1 million refugees.

That was it. I promised one minute.

For other condensed info check also my other posts on local culture (don’t make the mistakes I made), local food or local drinks. And when you call your friends to tell them you were by far the most knowledgeable at the party, do that with confidence that you’ll not get hit with a 6.99 per minute bill. You’ll also pick the local food from the tray, and order a local drink with confidence.

  1. Cultural Mistakes To Avoid in  Guatemala
  2. Does my current phone work in  Guatemala ? Tips to cell phone usage in  Guatemala
  3. Local food you should try in  Guatemala and No miss drinks in  Guatemala

Now, cheers to the most Guatemala aware person at the cocktail party.

What are the key history moments for Guatemala?

Pre-Columbian The first evidence of human settlers in Guatemala goes back to at least 12,000 BC. Sites dating back to 6500 BC have been found in Quiché in the Central Highlands and Sipacate, Escuintla on the central Pacific coast. Archaeologists divide the pre-Columbian history of Mesoamerica into the Pre-Classic period (2000 BC to 250 AD). El Mirador was by far the most populated city in pre-Columbian America. Both the El Tigre and Monos pyramids encompass a volume greater than 250,000 cubic meters.

Guatemala photo

Photo by TausP.

Mirador was the first politically organized state in America. The Classic period of Mesoamerican civilization corresponds to the height of the Maya civilization, and is represented by countless sites throughout Guatemala, although the largest concentration is in Petén. This period is characterized by heavy city-building, the development of independent city-states, and contact with other Mesoamerican cultures.

This lasted until around 900 AD, when the Classic Maya civilization collapsed. The Maya abandoned many of the cities of the central lowlands or were killed off by a drought-induced famine. The Post-Classic period is represented by regional kingdoms such as the Itzá and Ko’woj in the lakes area in Petén, and the Mam, Ki’ch’es, Kack’chiquel, Tz’utuh’il, Pokom’chí, Kek’chi and Chortí in the Highlands. These cities preserved many aspects of Mayan culture, but would never equal the size or power of the Classic cities.

The one minute summary for Guatemala geography

Best places to see in Guatemala

Maya ruins are the key attractions in the country and the most notable are El Mirador, perhaps the cradle of Maya civilisation, and Tikal. Volcanoes Guatemala has a lot of volcanoes, many of them over 3,000 metres high. Volcán de Pacaya (2500m) – this is an active volcano about 30 minutes outside of Antigua. Some days it will not be accessible as the volcano may be too active to observe safely. Bring a jacket since it will be windy and cold at the top (although the ground will feel warm) and wear long pants as the volcanic rock can easily give you a nice cut.

Tour guides can be organised from Antigua. Up until its most recent significant eruption in late May of 2010, you were able to walk right up to see real lava and even roast hot dogs and marshmallows over it. Although trips are still common and travel agencies still boast this possibility with pictures of tourist doing so in the past, this is no longer possible. If you decide to travel to Pacaya alone the prices are quite reasonable. About Q50 ($6) entrance to the park itself. At the entrance to Pacaya National Park you will be required to have a local guide, licensed by the park to take you to the top of the volcano.

There are two separate entrances to the park, the first located in the town of El Cedro and the second in the town of San Francisco. The El Cedro route is an easier climb, around 2 hours up & 1 hour down the volcano. The San Francisco entrance is a few miles further past El Cedro. It’s a bit of a steeper climb. The entire park is patrolled by local police as well as soldiers…it is quite safe. Locals also offer horses to bring you for around Q125 ($15) which if you’re not into hiking is a great alternative. These are offered to you when you begin your ascent. There are restrooms & snacks/drinks available for sale at both entrances as well.

Secure parking is available for those traveling without a tour group. Many companies offer this travel like: Adrenalina Tours This service is equipped with its own vehicles, bilingual drivers, and certified guides. Caminando Guatemala Specialized tour operator for treks and hikes in Guatemala, This tour operator organizes daily hikes to the local volcanoes. Geologists and experts also have the opportunity to explore the volcanoes in multi-day expions.