It’s the “Center of the Mayan World” and center of the American continents, with a lingering landscape from the two great kingdoms—Mayan and Spanish—and a vibrant indigenous population comprising nearly half the population. But Guatemala is also known as the “Country of Eternal Spring” because of its year-round temperate climate, making visiting there as cool as a spring breeze.
You can experience this one-of-a-kind destination on a 5-day Sunny Land Tours itinerary starting at $499/adult. The adventure starts in the capital with an overnight at the Barcelo Guatemala City, then ventures to Antigua Guatemala, whose blend of ruins and restored colonial buildings earned its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.
Founded by the Spanish in 1543, Antigua was the country’s original capital, but once that was moved to Guatemala City in 1773, Antigua remained suspended in time, its cobblestone streets and walled courtyard gardens surrounded by volcanoes, keeping the modern world at bay.
Chichicastenango: A Buyer’s Market
The tour moves on to the town of Chichicastenango, a Mayan cultural center and home to the country’s most colorful and picturesque open-air market, selling handicrafts, food, flowers, pottery, candles and brilliantly woven textiles. Next door, the 400-year-old church of St. Thomas seems to hover in a cloud, which upon further inspection, turns out to be continually burning incense, creating a mystical aura and aroma that permeates the town square.
From there, you’ll visit Lake Atitlan, a crater lake in the Guatemalan highlands, one of the region’s deepest lakes and considered the most beautiful by many a traveler, including famed author Aldous Huxley (“Brave New World”).
Atitlan is the ideal place to explore Guatemalan folklore. Twelve indigenous villages surround the lake, their inhabitants descended from the Quiche, Cakchiquel and Tzutuhil nations.