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Antigua

History:

"Antigua Guatemala was once the most important seat of Spanish colonial government between Mexico City and Lima, Peru. Founded as Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala in 1527, it was destroyed by an eruption that swept down from the slopes of Volcán de Agua (“Volcano of Water”)."

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Gain More Background About the Country

History:

"The dominance of an Indian culture within its interior uplands distinguishes Guatemala from its Central American neighbours. The origin of the name Guatemala is Indian, but its derivation and meaning are undetermined. Some hold that the original form was Quauhtemallan (indicating an Aztec rather than a Mayan origin), meaning “land of trees,” and others hold that it is derived from Guhatezmalha, meaning “mountain of vomiting water”— referring no doubt to such volcanic eruptions as the one that destroyed Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala (modern-day Antigua Guatemala), the first permanent Spanish capital of the region’s captaincy general."

Fun Facts and Trivia:

"Do you like chocolate bars? The first ever chocolate bar was also invented in Guatemala during the Mayan times."

Customs and Culture:

"Many Mayan women, regardless of wealth, education, or residence, continue to wear their distinctive clothing: a wraparound or gathered, nearly ankle-length skirt woven with tie-dyed threads that produce interesting designs, topped with a cotton or rayon blouse embroidered with flower motifs about the neck, or a more traditional huipil. Shoes or sandals are almost universal, especially in towns and cities. Earrings, necklaces, and rings are their only jewelry. Indian men are more likely to dress in a Western style. Today's fashions dictate "cowboy" hats, boots, and shirts for them and for lower-class rural Ladinos. The revitalization movement has reinforced the use of traditional clothing as a means of asserting one's identity."

​Start Preparing for Your Trip

   Vaccinations: Routine vaccinations, Hepatitis A, Typhoid

Visas: No visa is required for U.S. citizens for a stay up to 90 days

What to Pack: "Essentials include light-colored pants and shirts (leave your shorts at home), swimwear, sarong, and a light raincoat or windbreaker."

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Resources

Tourist Information Site: Plan Your Trip

Traveling ideas. Useful information.

Enjoy a Little Guatemala from Home

When You Arrive

Water Safety: Drink bottled water

Money: Currency: Guatemalan quetzal Exchange Rate

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Panajachel

History:

"In the 16th century, during the period of the Spanish conquest of Guatemala, the shore of the lake was the scene of a battle in which the Spanish and their Kaqchikel allies defeated the Tz'utujils. After the Spanish conquest of Guatemala, the Franciscans set up a church and monastery in Panajachel soon afterward, and used the town as a centre to convert the indigenous people of the region to the Roman Catholic faith."

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