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Location - Central America; Capital - Guatemala City; Population - 14 million; Currency - Quetzal

Travelling west of San Ignacio in Belize, I came to one of my favourite destinations, Guatemala, in August 2001.


guatnoteThe Quetzal is a bird found in Guatemala










guat1Flores is an island in Lake Peten Itza, connected to the town of Santa Elena by a causeway



guat1aLake Peten Itza as seen from Flores



guat3The Mayan ruins at Tikal. This is Temple I, from the 8th century















guat4View of the jungle from Temple IV at Tikal















guat5I was told that this is a 'pocitas' - is there an English name for it? Tikal



guat6Climbing El Mundo Perdido, originally built around 700BC, Tikal

More info on Tikal here



guat6aThe jungle reaches the top of El Mundo Perdido, Tikal
















guat7The view from from El Mundo Perdido, Tikal















guat9The town of Rio Dulce at the eastern tip of Lake Izabal - the building at the end of the jetty is a cheap hotel



guat9aFishing on the Dulce river - boat from Rio Dulce to Livingston















guat10Boat down the Rio Dulce to Livingston















guat12The Garifuna town of Livingston, on the Caribbean coast. The Garifuna are descended from Amerindians and Africans, living along much of the Caribbean coast of Central America



guat14Garifuna band in Livingston



guat15The giant 8th century Mayan stelae at Quirigua















guat17Mayan leader depicted on a sandstone Mayan stela, Quirigua



















guat22Upriver of the main Semuc Champey falls



guat23The National Palace in Guatemala City















guat24 Guatemala City's Metropolitan Cathedral















guat26The market building in Huehuetenango



guat27Huehuetenango's market spills out on to the streets nearby



guat28Greetings from the fruit sellers, Huehuetenango















guat29Parque Centroamerica in Quetzaltenango



guat30Mayan women buy, sell and trade at the market in Almolonga, near Quetzaltenango















guat32The crowds disperse once trade is over, Almolonga market















guat33aFuentes Georginas spa - thermal waters near Quetzaltenango



guat34The quiet streets of Chichicastenango, a day before market day















guat37The shrine of Pascual Abaj, Chichicastenango.
Amongst others, a chicken was sacrificed for a good harvest, and a father spat alcohol at his daughter as part of fertility ritual
Fascinating stuff..














guat38Chichicastenango's market will soon be overflowing with wares..



guat39Market day arrives in Chichicastenango



guat41Selling flowers on the steps of Santo Tomas church, Chichicastenango















guat43Local girl with her brother, Chichicastenango




















guat45Beautiful cloth at Chichicastenango market



guat46Family making a living in Chichicastenango



guat47And I thought a backpack was heavy - Chichicastenango















guat48The bright colours of Guatemala - Chichicastenango















guat51The stunning Lake Atitlan, with San Pedro volcano rising above



guat53Indian Nose mountain as seen from San Pedro village, Lake Atitlan















guat57 Climbing Indian Nose mountain with Vanessa, Annika and Verena (plus a dog) - Lake Atitlan















guat56View of San Pedro village from the top of Indian Nose mountain - Lake Atitlan



guat58The paths of San Marcos, a very laidback village on Lake Atitlan



















guat60Atitlan and Toliman volcanoes, from the lakeshore at San Marcos - Lake Atitlan















guat61The beautiful landscape surrounding Lake Atitlan, from San Marcos



guat62Hanging around for a boat with Vanessa, Annika and Verena - San Marcos, Lake Atitlan



guat63There's great walks around Lake Atitlan - this is on the way back to San Marcos from Santa Cruz















guat71Antigua is a colonial city and the former capital



guat67The ruins of La Recoleccion church, destroyed by an earthquake in 1773, Antigua



guat69Souvenir stalls in Antigua
















guat66At 3766 metres, Agua volcano towers over Antigua















guat70The cobbled streets of Antigua, only 45kms from Guatemala City



guat72Facing Agua volcano from the roof of the 16th century La Merced church, Antigua



guat75Agua volcano pokes through the clouds during the drive to Pacaya volcano















guat75aIt's an easy 45 minute/1 hour walk to this point.
Seeing an active volcano close up is fantastic - Pacaya volcano















guat76About 50 tourists and a security guard climbed Pacaya volcano - safety in numbers due to armed robberies in the area



guat77Steam escapes from the lava slopes of Pacaya volcano, an incredible sight. Agua volcano looms in the background



guat78Taking a rest before the final push to the crater rim.
It's windy and cool near the top, with a sulphurous smell to boot, but the heat escaping from Pacaya volcano warmed me up (it warmed my bum at least)














guat79 Pacaya volcano. It's an amazing feeling to be looking into the crater of an active volcano - and very smelly aswell!
If the wind is blowing in the wrong direction it's not possible to get this close















guat81The smoke billows from Pacaya as Agua volcano looks on behind



guat83One of my favourite photos - the crater and smoke of Pacaya (2552 metres), with volcanoes Agua (3766 metres), Acatenango (3976 metres) and Fuego (3763 metres) towering above the clouds














guat84The sun sets behind Pacaya volcano, with the other 3 still visible.
I'd highly recommend the trek - the views are absolutely stunning
















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LINKS - Guatemala tourist board - info on Lake Atitlan and surrounds


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