It is the most powerful city in Central America and has experienced sustained growth for several decades. The city center has expanded to absorb towns that were in the surroundings and now take part of the same urban area.
Like the rest of the country, the capital shows the dramatic differences among the same population. Modern structures such as big high-tech buildings and shopping malls, contrast with crowded markets and loaded streets with street vendors.
In Guatemala City the different social classes live between of urban growth and the still unsolved problem of poverty. Five star hotels lie among the city, international conferences are organized every week and transnational corporations have their regional bases in downtown. In addition, there are several meeting places for buyers from all over Central America, which places the capital as the regional shopping center.
Sites to see
The urban landscape of Guatemala City has modern buildings and colonial architecture. This strikes a beautiful contrast to captivate the attention of any visitor.
The City Historic Center enjoys its Cathedral and other ancient buildings such as museums and churches, which have been part of daily life for 200 years.
The ‘Mercado Central’ (‘central market) is a unique experience for visitors. It agglomerates colors, aromas and nuances of locals. It is amazing to arrive as an observer and watch the movements that occur between buyers and sellers within a few minutes.
Another main attraction of the capital is the ‘Mercado de Artesanías’ (craft market). Products are hand-made to offer to the public, who delights in fabrics carefully sewn and awesome crafts.
Places to visit
A popular destination in the capital city is the Popol Vuh Museum, containing works of art from pre-Columbian and colonial periods. Other highlights include La Aurora Zoo and the Centro Cultural Miguel Angel Asturias.
Close to the city, Lake Amatitlan is a must-see to relax the spirit. Nearby is the United Nations Park, a land flavoured by plants and trees. There are food areas and is common to see entire families enjoying nature.
Many miles from Guatemala City is the Pacaya Volcano, landmark of the center part of the country. It is not very high compared to other volcanoes in the country, but has more than 30 years to expel materials spectacularly.
Furthermore, the capital area has an incredible archaeological site: Kaminaljuyu. A tour through the site is both educational and exciting. And if you’re lucky, you could watch a Mayan ceremony in one of the special events.