Guatemala Travel Planner - (Page 10)

inGuat inGuat la s v er a p a ces con t in ued ee sea fishing on the Pacific Coast. I x il Triangle I x il Triangle is a name given to the area comprising the villages of Santa Maria Nebaj, San Juan Cotzal and San Gaspar Chajul. Set in the foothills of the lush Cuchumatanes range, this region perhaps suffered the most during the country’s civil war. Peace has returned, and visitors are drawn to some of the country’s best hiking, traditional Maya culture (including the brilliant weavings made by its I x il-speaking people), and absolutely spectacular scenery. On a day trip from Coban, travelers take to drier territory just across the border of the El Peten department at the Maya site of Cancuen, a little-known ancient city with a name meaning “place of the serpents.” Rediscovered in 2000, archaeologists have uncovered one of the largest and most splendid palaces of Maya kings ever found: Its 170 high-ceiling rooms were built around 11 courtyards and spread over an area greater than two soccer fields. Closeby is the Parque Nacional Cuevas de Candelaria, with its 36-mile-long cave system dug out by the subterranean Rio C a n d ela r ia . It boasts some extravagant proportions: the main chamber is almost 100 ft. high, 660 ft. wide and has stalagmites measuring to 90 ft. in length. The caves were used by the K’ekchi Maya, and you can see some of their platforms and ladders carved into the stone. El Mico is considered to be the most easily accessible and most spectacular of the various cave tours, and in the company of a guide, the most adventurous cave enthusiast can also walk, tube and spelunk the entire underground passage in about two days. Of course, white-water rafters won’t soon forget their run on the Rio Cahabon (class II and IV), another important sporting attraction in the area. Another major natural attraction, Lachua National Park, is set deep within the jungle and consists of an almost circular pristine turquoise crater lake, perfect for swimming, with sandy shores surrounded by lush vegetation and varied wildlife. Activities here include jungle walks, kayaking on the crystal waters and on the river, sleeping in tents or hammocks, and savoring spectacular sunsets and star-filled skies. C arib b ean L o w lands: Waterw ay Adv entu res The Guatemalan experience is incomplete without a visit to its quietly exotic Caribbean coast. Livingston, the main coastal town and accessible only by water or air, sits at the mouth of the Rio Dulce— “sweet river”—on the shores of Amatique Bay, just a few miles from the Belize border. The town is made up of brightly painted wooden houses, home to an interesting mix of Maya descendents, Latinos and Garifuna people—descendants of the indigenous Caribs and slaves from Nigeria who are known for their rich culture, music and dance. By day, the choice excursion is to Siete Altares, a series of seven waterfalls joined by a jungle creek; there’s a fabulous pool by the final waterfall. An evening here offers a truly different experience: dining on the best seafood (try t a p a d o, the local stew of spiny lobster, prawns, fish, crab, coconut, plantain and coriander), enjoying the local cocktails and dancing the Afro-rhythms of reggae or punta. Livingston is the departure point for boat trips in small motor launches or canoe-like p ir og ues along the roughly 20-mile-long Rio Dulce, which flows through a region well known for its exotic birds and tropical flora and fauna. Travelers glide through a changing landscape of flat rainforest to an impressive canyon whose vertical walls are hung with dense vegetation. Next, while cruising along the river, passengers see farmers tending manioc plantations, fishermen casting nets from tiny craft and the Castillo de San Felipe, a fortress built in 1652 in honor 10 5-12 Cities .indd 10 6/20/13 12:00 PM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Guatemala Travel Planner

Editor's Notes
Hotel Desk: Eleven Experience
Tour Talk: DuVine Cycling Adventure
Expedition Cruising: Explore the Unexplored
Eleven Experience's Chalet Pelerin
Brazil Travel Planner
Grand Solmar Land's End Resort & Spa
Guatemala Travel Planner
Latin America Specialist Courses
The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs
5 Ways to Adventure in North America
Swain Tours Shines in the Land Down Under
Seeing African Wonders Through a Viewfinder
Trinidad & Tobago
Soaring to New Heights in Saint Lucia

Guatemala Travel Planner