Recommend April 2018 - 4



uatemala is a country of superlatives: its archaeological sites are the
most extensive in Central America, its dramatic volcanoes are the
region's highest, and its cultural heritage is the most vibrant. Simply
said: Guatemala surpasses expectations.
And speaking of superlatives! Stop the presses: Archaeologists
have made a discovery they call a "game changer" in knowledge about
the Maya civilization: It was much vaster than known, a conclusion
reached following airplane-based lidar mapping tools that illuminated
tens of thousands of structures constructed in the lowlands of the
Petén region of Guatemala. Findings range from houses to industrialsize agricultural fields and even new pyramids. Researchers now believe
that as many as 20 million people may have lived in the area known as
the Maya Lowlands in Petén north region-two or three times as many
as previously thought.
In welcoming visitors to our unique, Tennessee-size country, we are
opening the door to the magical land of the ancient Maya, of pictureperfect colonial towns, of nature reserves brilliant with flora and fauna,
of irresistible handicrafts shopping, and adventures that stretch from
the Caribbean to the Atlantic. Accessible and exciting, Guatemala is
just the ticket to...
EXPERIENCE CULTURE: Guatemala embraces all the historical
highlights of the Americas, with an awesome inventory of temples
and pyramids built by the ancient Maya, whose descendants guard
their traditions in dozens of festivals; a picture-perfect architectural
patrimony from a once-elegant colonial era; and a modern

Kayaking in Lake Atitlan.

society whose contemporary outlook remains gracefully rooted
in a colorful yesteryear.
EXPERIENCE NATURE: Mother Nature has been generous
with Guatemala, a natural beauty whose diverse ecosystems come
with 720 species of endemic and migratory birds-toucans and
macaws, parrots and quetzals; five species of sea turtles and a myriad
of butterflies; and some 250 species of animals-easy-to-view
monkeys, agoutis, and armadillos, as well as hard-to-spot jaguars,
pumas, tapirs and manatees.
EXPERIENCE ADVENTURE: Along and off the beaten path,
visitors hike to the summits of volcanoes, explore subterranean
caves, trek through the dense El Petén rainforest, helicopter to
remote Maya ceremonial cities, catch a wave on a Pacific beach,
and join in with villagers honoring ancient gods and modern saints
in fiestas of feasting, music and dancing.
MAGICAL-HOLIDAY: Stay in historic mansions, now
elegant boutique hotels. Swing in a hammock in a jungle lodge.
Sample a tasty chuchito (small corn tamale) or pepian (a hearty
stew). Photograph the visual delights of technicolor country
markets. Shop 'till you drop for creative arts and crafts in a bevy of
artisan boutiques and modern galleries. Have a shaman read your
nahual (or Mayan sign), which is based on your birth date. Meet
our welcoming people wherever you go in Guatemala. ◆


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recommend April 2018

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