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Guatemala ...Mayan world and nature

Three different traditions come together in today's Guatemala: a pre-Columbian world of the Maya, a Spanish colonial heritage, a modern, forward-looking society. This diversity is central to the country's great appeal as a tourist destination. Guatemala City, for instance, is a cosmopolitan capital in every way. Yet, there are remembrances from the 17th century and even Mayan ruins just at the edge of the city.

In La Antigua Guatemala, visitors stroll the same cobblestone streets, enjoy many of the same buildings and monuments that stood when this was regarded as one of the most beautiful capitals in Spanish America. In Antigua and Guatemala City, the celebrations for Lent and Holy Week are still spectacular and attract people from all over the world.

It is still possible to experience the clamor and color of an outdoor Indian market where handicrafts are made and sold in the same manner as in days gone by.

Early inhabitants of Guatemala's Caribbean coast required stern fortitude and bravery to defend themselves from the pirates which sailed those waters. These traits, as well as unfailing good humor, are part of the rhythms of the traditional dances of the Garifuna who inhabit the region today.

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