Breathtaking scenery, active volcanoes, lakes, virgin forest, high lands… this country, small but no less extraordinary, has struggled to grow within the twists and turns of a capricious nature that has made it what it is. Natural and manmade treasures have mixed to give birth to one of the jewels of Latin America.
Guatemala shares with Honduras and Mexico the vestiges of one of the most impressive civilisations of this continent. Birthplace of the Mayan culture that mysteriously disappeared after nearly three millennia, Guatemala offers the presence of an American Indian past, often decimated elsewhere. Tikal, El Mirador, Yaxha, and Piedras Negras in Petén, in the north, Quirigua in the east or Copan on the Honduras border: plenty of opportunities to reach out and touch this civilisation that invented its own mathematical and writing systems. The ancestral customs and craftmaking of the Mayan descendants make each village and market an enchanting whirlpool of colours, sounds, smells and fabrics: multicoloured huipils with motifs that vary according to ethnicity, black beans, papayas, cochineals, firecrackers, incantations, incense, wood, jade… Between towns engulfed in tropical forest and lively cities, between Mayan customs that are still omnipresent and an unplanned modernity, Guatemala has been able to open its heart to the present while still maintaining vivid memories of the past.