Friday, July 29, 2011


(does not include Antigua)

ALTA VERAPAZ (includes Lanquin & Semuc Champey)
Hostal El Portal – Colonia Belen Lanquin (Semuc Champey); 011-502-4091-7878 or 011-502-5319-6848;; has Gilligan’s Island charm; thatched roof cabins with private baths; overlooks Cahabon River, lined on either side by tall trees with dripping vines; meals are provided but minimal; 4 minute walk to Semuc Champey waters.
El Retiro Lodge – Salida a Cahabon (Lanquin); 011-502-4513-6396 or 011-502-4638-3008;; 45 minutes from Semuc Champey.
Zephyr Lodge – Barrio Equipulas (Lanquin); 011-502-5168-2441;

Sights & Sites
Lanquín Caves National Park – Lanquin; among Guatemala’s 1st protected areas; limestone formation complex sacred to many Maya from all over Guatemala.
Semuc Champey Waters – Lanquin; natural monument consisting of 300 m limestone bridge, under which passes Cahabòn River; stepped, turquoise pool series; popular swimming attraction.

Casa Colibri – San Marcos La Laguna (Solola); 011-502-5251-6537;; designed with lake views from every room, descending down mountainside to lake; year-round, spring-like weather; 5 luxurious rooms.
Posada de Santiago – Apto. 1 (Santiago Atitlan); 011-502-7721-7365;; nestled between volcanoes that cradle indigenous, Tzutujil village of Santiago Atitlan; provides base from which to experience Guatemala’s natural beauty and colorful cultures; charming stone cottage lodgings, renowned cuisine, and luxurious lakefront amenities.

Sights & Sites
San Bartolo – Peten; (by appointment only); pre-Columbian Maya archaeological site, northeast of Tikal and roughly 50 miles from nearest settlement; 85-foot pyramid, Temple of “Las Pinturas,” and early royal tomb in “Tigrillo” (Ocelot) Complex, and in “Jabalí” (Wild Boar) group some 500 m to east, from central Plaza.
Sak Nikte’ – Laguna del Tigre National Park (northern portion); by appointment at; perfectly preserved hieroglyphic panel.
Tikal National Park – Hacienda Paso Antonio; 011-502-2367-2837;; towering pyramids; region’s most significant Maya site; UNESCO World Heritage site.

Vista Real Hotel – Carretera Al Salvador; 011-502-2427-0000;; surrounded by sprawling gardens, upscale, all-suite hotel in luxe Colonial-style buildings; 10 km from National Palace & 12 km from La Aurora Zoo; free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, minibars & sitting areas, as well as garden or volcano views; upgraded quarters add living rooms & whirlpool tubs; room service available 24/7; amenities include refined restaurant/bar with volcano-view terrace, plus spa with sauna, hot tub & massage services; outdoor pool & fitness room.
Westin Camino Real Hotel Guatemala City – 14th Street 0-20 (Zone 10); 011-502-2410-5255;; modern building with elegant, conservative rooms; outdoor pool, steam bath & hot tub.
Sights & Sites
National Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology – 6th Street at 7th Avenue, Building #5 (Finca la Aurora); 011-502-2475-4010;; national museum of Guatemala, dedicated to archaeological & ethnological artifacts & research; houses vast collection of exquisite Maya artifacts displayed in different halls: Preclassic Period, Classic Period & Post-Classic; ethnology section shows linguistic Maya groups, textiles & traditions; valuable treasures include Piedras Negras throne & beautifully displayed Tikal lords’ jade, conch, or shell necklaces; stelae.
Parque Arqueológico Kaminaljuyú – corner 11th Street & 24th Avenue (Zone 7); 011-502-2322-5571;; with remnants among 1st important cities in Maya region, this park is about 4km west of city center; at its peak, from about 400 BCE-100 CE, ancient Kaminaljuyú had Ks of inhabitants & scores of temples & probably dominated much of highland Guatemala; large-scale carvings found here among Classic Maya carving’s forerunners & Kaminaljuyú had literate elite before anywhere else in Maya world; city fell into ruin before being reoccupied around 400 CE by invaders from Teotihuacán (central Mexico), who rebuilt it in Teotihuacán’s talud-tablero style, with buildings stepped in alternating vertical (tablero) & sloping (talud) sections; unfortunately, most Kaminaljuyú has been covered by urban sprawl: archaeological park is but small portion ancient city & even here remnants consist chiefly of grassy mounds.

Rancho Corozal – 011-502-5309-1423 or 866-621-4032;; owned by Antigua’s hotel, Quinta Maconda; on Guatemalan Caribbean; ultimate rain forest retreat.

Lomas de Tzununa – on Lake Atitlan;; stunning, beautiful, affordable.

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