The Central Market in Guatemala's Zone 1 is next to the central park, a few minutes walk from the National Palace and the Cathedral. You should go down the street coming out of Central Park by the side of the cathedral. Central Market now refers to the whole five block area where the shops sell everything, shoes, clothes, CDs, real shops. There are more stalls on the street, but the food more than anything else is in the market itself, which is in a basement. There are all kinds of fruits, vegetables, but also a lot of flowers and tropical plants very beautiful, and now more and more Guatemalan crafts. Wooden objects, candles, precious stones, gold and silver can be found in the market. One thing that people really like are the "chapines", as they call the Guatemalans, they are sweets. Typical Guatemala sweets are very good, there's candied fruit, such as pumpkins, egg chimbo, fritters, fried milk, milk newsboys, curls, chilacayote, and coconut candies and delicious coconut cakes.
The Guatemala City officially recognized its Historic Center in 1998 and began to restore this important part of the city that had been neglected over the years. Today, it's a beautiful meeting point for local Guatemalans to eat, shop, and enjoy their days off. Most of the buildings in the historic center were built in the late nineteenth century and today historic colonial buildings stand side by side with modern establishments like galleries and cultural centers. You can't miss when you're in town!
For a couple of bucks, a "Chicken Bus" (also known as "parrilleras") will take you to any remote site throughout Guatemala. From the Pacific coast to the Caribbean, through Atitlan or Quiche, the only routes that this colorful method of transportation doesn't cover are those from Guatemala City to Peten. However, the trek is over 8 hours so you can see why they don't cover it.
The Chicken Buses are yellow American school buses we all saw during your childhoods. Once they get too old for service, they are sent to retire in Guatemala where they're painted in cheerful colors and the name of the company that owns them. Typically, the driver manages the bus and decides where it goes and at what time. The schedules tend to change depending on the driver's mood, alertness, and, well, willingness to work that day!
That being said, there are always plenty of buses for any given destination. To catch one, you need to wait on the side of the road and board almost running as the drivers don't want to bring the buses to a full stop. The buses are full of smiling Guatemalans, chattering children, and, you guessed it, chickens! It's actually surprisingly welcoming. You can't depend on them for arriving on time (in other words, not the ideal mode of transportation for those on a strict schedule), but they're a fun way to travel and generally safe.
Best moments: when you reach the open road and the driver puts on religious music and begins to sing. Unforgettable!
The Cathedral of Guatemala City was founded on July 27, 1524 and is located in Central Park. At that time, the city was called Santiago de los Caballeros and the country's capital was Antigua Guatemala. But after several earthquakes, the decision was made to move the capital and religious center to the city of Guatemala. The cathedral barely lasted 20 years and was destroyed by a mudslide. Bishop Francisco Marroquín, who also founded the Cathedral of Quetzaltenango, wrote about how beautiful it was, but it was a temporary beauty. Guatemala City's patron saint is the Virgin of the Assumption, and the city festival on the 15th of August features beautiful processions. It was built in 1782 and inaugurated in 1815. Has three naves and two bell towers and works of art were brought from Antigua. It's located in Central Park, a key place to the city, where many people meet on the weekend to eat, talk and walk.
More often called Central Park,Plaza Mayor is the place where they started building "Guate", Guatemala City, after the earthquake that destroyed the old capital of Guatemala. It is the heart of zone 1, next to a lively market, and the place where people gather at the weekend to go for a walk, many people come from far away to see the capital for first time wearing colored suits, and usually are very impressed. In the Plaza is the Cathedral, with its main celebration being held on August 15, and it is also very busy during Holy Week. Then there is the City Hall, an unattractive green building outside, but very nice inside. The Bakery Arcade is on the opposite side of th square. There, there are people selling traditional Guatemalan food such as, pupusas, corn gruel, and the famous shucos, a type of hot dog with guacamole and very spicy, worth 5Q. The neighborhood was abandoned by wealthy families looking for more peace and greenery, but now are returning back to restore homes, and it is getting to be a safer neighborhood, but it is not recommended going there and walking alone after 8 pm. Buses 82 and 40 take you there from the live areas.
Amatitlán Lake is a half hour from the Guatemala city. It's a lake that used to be a perfect place for city people to come over for the weekend to rest and bathe. Today, because of a few factories put harmful products to the lake, there is no more swimming. But there are many attractions, for children there are games, you can rent a boat and cruise around the lake, eat fish ( from the sea) and Golosinas (sweets from Guatemala) .. In Amatitlán you can bathe in the hot springs. They are like saunas, powered by heat from the nearby volcano. You go there and sweat, a lady brings laurel(bay leaf) and hot water for you to wash. Around Amatitlan, there is a beautiful road that goes around the lake. It's in bad shape, but on a motorcycle or bike, you'll be fine. There are few elite places where people have their home with direct lake access, but normally, you are near the water.
El Cerrito del Carmen is located on 1st Street and 12th Avenue of area 1. This is the city's oldest church and it was built by an Italian hermit in 1620, named Juan Corzo. The hill is located in the valley of the cows, or the Ermita Valley. The city is currently renovating the church, and is leaving it as a family place, with gardens and playgrounds. The entire hill is guarded by the town's police. I also visited Tecpan, the first capital of Guatemala, where there are the Iximche ruins of the ethnic Kaqchiquel. It is located 86 kilometres from Guatemala and the indigenous people still make religious offerings. I recommend visiting Guatemala because of its many tourist attractions.
For fashion victims looking for a day of shopping, you're in for a treat. This area has been heavily influenced by the US, and you'll find several huge malls, as big as those you've seen in American movies. The main ones are Tikal Futura and Miraflores. In Miraflores you'll find cinemas, and in both you'll find everything you'd expect from these temples of consumerism: clothes, phones, appliances, food (McDonalds, Taco Bell, Japanese, sandwiches, salads, etc ...).
Oh, and there's a luxury hotel, too! There are newer centres elsewhere - the Oakland Mall, in the Diagonal 6, and the smaller Plaza Fontabella. If you're looking for good books, then the only bookstore I've managed to find in the capital is Sophos, where you can find great novels, history books, volumes on sociology, a children's section, and a cafe. Avenida 12-59 Zona 10, Cheaper, more popular: Plaza Zone 4. More expensive, posh: Pradera Concepción downtown. If you want to see what Guatemalan high society is like, it can be a good option!
This private museum belongs to Francisco Marroquin University. It's located a bit out of the city centre, but in a very nice area. The museum has one of the best collections of existing Mayan pottery. If you want to take photos, you have to pay the supplementary fee (I don't remember the price, but it wasn't much). The hours are Mon to Fri from 9:00 to 17:00, and Saturday until 13:00.
Sixth Avenue in Zone 1 - the historical center was renovated in 2010. Honestly, it was a radical transformation! Before, there were dozens of vendors, with stalls selling cheap clothing and pirated DVDs on the pavement. It was hard to move among the vendors, customers and pedestrians, but it had its charm ... Now 6th Avenue has become a pedestrian street, and have removed the multiple sales, with trees and no cars. It is another world! Depending on where you get off the bus or taxi, there are a couple of parks (but nothing special). Going down the sixth with its many shops, going by the 12th you will see the Arch Street Post Office building. There's an area of trees and you can walk to the park where the National Palace and the Cathedral are. Nearby is the Passage Aycinena (9th street, between 6th and 7th Avenue), an excellent place to go for a few drinks in the evening as it has several bars. A 19 Century building, it recalls the passage Rubio giving it the 6th Avenue. Throughout this walk there are several restaurants and shops to buy or eat cheaply.
Great experience hiking up this volcano, which requires being in good condition. Totally recommended if you want to have an amazing experience and a great view, but be aware that it requires a lot of effort and you have to carry your stuff up, unless you pay a local guide about 30 bucks because the experience of volcano Acatenango requires camping so you need to take plenty of food and water and of course camping supplies.
I have considered visiting all beauty centers of the countries I visit to see if I'm treated with love and I like to do treatments every month and I need my protocols, and with this beauty centre I visitd in the city of Guatemala. Here's 2 photos I took of the place.
1st part of a 1500km trip through Guatemala, to the Yucatan, in 3 weeks, by bike. 100km per day on bike, and a break about every 4 days, to give the body a rest. The first day, We left Guatemala and I cheated a little by doing the first 20km on a bus. There's a lot of heavy traffic on this road, and it is best to really start out of town, the road to the Atlantic. For now it is pretty easy, the city is 1600m above sea level and we're heading for the sea. In general it's not that easy, there are times when your morale is down and it's normally after a 10km climb in tough heat and fast traffic. But there is no other choice, it's the only road. Arriving in El Progreso, the road splits, one going to Coban, which is a big city, and traffic follows. I continue straight, the road becomes flatter, the landscape changes. Mountainous desert I saw mines, we went to the vegetable, palm trees, tropical moisture. The first major stop is Morales, on the Rio Dulce, and we spent one day off at a Backpackers hostel on the edge of the lake.
The viewpoint of the Americas is a place that is located at the end of the Avenue of the Americas, in Zone 14 of Guatemala City. The Americas is the avenue by far the prettiest avenue citywide. It Separates Reform Zone 9 and Zone 10, while separating Americas Zone 13 and Zone 14. Zone 14 is the area of all foreign expatriates, you can find the best schools, the most beautiful buildings, and I believe in America, Guatemala is not the post! They are all modern buildings and people drive in huge, new cars. So it's a quiet neighborhood where you can enjoy a walk. Across the Avenue of the Americas, there are monuments in honor of each country of the Americas. At the end, just before the gazebo, is the Plaza Colon, with a statue of the man ve conquered the Americas. Then, reaching the lookout, the city ends. Everything is green, you can see in the distance the volcano Pacaya, Agua and Fuego in the direction of Antigua Guatemala, and Lake Amatitlán, it could be beautiful if it was cleaned of all the industrial pollution that it has. In the viewpoint there are stalls serving drinks and beer.
The Iglesia de Santo Domingo is a beautiful church run by the Dominicans. If you can, try to visit in October, the month of the Virgin of the Rosary, when pilgrims from around Guatemala come to visit the church and where you can sample lots of tasty Guatemalan foods in the area surrounding the church.
Aycinena Passage, 10 years ago it became a passage of bars and cultural activity of the historic center of Guatemala City. Also known locally as "The Hundred Gates", named after the 1st bar that reopened in this historic building, but outside of this bar will find a dozen alternative places with the same cheap prices and alternative settings. A downtown artists, volunteers of NGOs are pushing for some months youth some more money that they want to give the alternative, but still remains a simple place with concerts and interesting people with whom to talk!
I took some friends for a beer at Rattle and Hum, Area 10, I told them it was a really lively area, but it wasn't really when we went (but it was Tuesday, hopefully at the weekend it's more cheerful! ). I liked the atmosphere at the Rattle and Hum. There's good rock music, and even live music the night we went. Pub-like, it's a happy place, with tourists and Guatemalans, good drinks, and also a space half facing the street outside, to enjoy a caña while smoking a cigarette! Oh and the last thing I liked: peanuts for free! (They also sell pizzas, burgers, etc.)