Recommend April 2018 - 13

All photos: From active to gastronomy and everything in-between, Guatemala offers a vacation for every client on your list.

DESTINATION WEDDINGS in Guatemala will have
memories different from other destinations:
the setting may be lakeside with volcanos for
a backdrop or at the foot of a Mayan pyramidtemple framed by jungle; the couple will be
saying "I do" in a 17th century, candlelit chapel;
wedding party guests will have a menu of
accessible adventures for full-of-fun times. And
more and more couples are choosing Guatemala
because it is beautiful, elegant and colonial,
because there's a solid core of professional and
talented wedding planners, because this "land
of eternal spring" has fine weather and is very
destination wedding affordable. Antigua is
the popular pick, because the wedding venues
are unique.
SPANISH LANGUAGE STUDY Guatemala is a major
destination for folks looking to learn or brush
up on Spanish in two major centers: Antigua
and Quetzaltenango. And there is good reason
to study here for Guatemalan Spanish is
considered one of the most pure-in terms of
clarity and pronunciation-in the Americas,
and it's a 1-to-1 system with one teacher per

one student. Courses come in varying lengths
and intensity-the fully immersive course has
students speaking Spanish in two weeks-and
many include cultural activities and
day excursions. Most Spanish schools can
arrange for homestays with a local family for
total immersion.

BIRD'S-EYE VIEW A wide diversity in ecosystems
makes Guatemala a birding hotspot-more
than 700 species of birds are found here, and
the best bets for birding trips are in the national
parks and reservations. Tops for birders is
the rainforest of El Peten, home to hundreds
of species including the brightly feathered
scarlet macaw and keel-billed toucan; Lake
Peten Itza is the place for water bird watching.
The highlands around Lake Atitlán provide
excellent birding territory, and about an hour
south of Coban is the Biotopo del Quetzal,
a nature reserve dedicated to preserving
Guatemala's national bird, the resplendent
quetzal. Here and in the surrounding Verapaz

cloud forest, trogons, tanagers and toucans
make themselves at home.
northern Peten region, this is Guatemala's
largest protected area. Covering nearly five
million acres of mainly virgin jungle wilderness,
it is a refuge for jaguar and tapir; other
wildlife includes howler and spider monkeys,
armadillos, kinkajous, coati, raccoons, peccaries
and deer, as well as more than 400 bird species.
(Incidentally, Tikal National Park, declared a
UNESCO World Heritage site, falls within the
reserve's boundaries.)
park in the Baja Alto Verpaz, which serves as a
refuge for the resplendent quetzal, is a protected
cloud forest located 95 miles from Guatemala
City. Visitors explore the park via a short trail
with an easy 1-hour ascent or take a half-day
trek with some steep climbing required.
coast was designated to protect the sea turtles
that come to lay their eggs on its black-sand
beaches. The park also protects important ➤


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