Hotels in Guatemala (Guatemala, Guatemala)
Hotels in Guatemala
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A combination of history and modernity in Guatemala City
Guatemala City is the capital and international hub for the Central American nation of Guatemala. A bustling metropolis of over a million inhabitants, the city is a mix of modernity and Spanish influenced culture and architecture. Guatemala has a varied and often troublesome history since independence in the early nineteenth century, but today it is growing as a tourist destination thanks to its abundance of diverse wildlife and blur of Indigenous and Spanish influences. Guatemala City is the gateway to the nation but also holds many highlights and attractions itself.
Getting your bearings in the city
Located reasonably centrally in the country, Guatemala City is inland from the pacific coast by around one hundred kilometres. It is also less than 300 kilometres from the Caribbean Sea, in another small stretch of coastline on the country’s eastern edge. This demonstrates Guatemala’s relatively small size, which as a result ensures that Guatemala City can be reached from any part of the country within a day. Guatemala’s largest and most well-connected airport is also situated in the capital city, with daily connections to the USA and Mexico, as well as most other Central American countries. Indeed, La Aurora International Airport is located to the south of the city centre, but within a short drive of the heart of the city. An array of Guatemala City hotels can be found in the Zona 10 district of the city, adjacent to the airport and thus very convenient for accessing the transport hub. Zona 10 is also within a short drive to the old districts of the city and therefore many international visitors base their trips from this area.
Incredible architecture in the historic centre
The original core of the city is located in what is now referred to as Zona 1, here visitors can witness much of the colonial architecture and significant historical points of interest on offer. The main plaza, known as Plaza de la Constitución is home to Plaza Catedral Metropolitana and the National Palace of Culture, two of the most iconic structures in Guatemala City and prime spots for tourists and locals to gather. Heading in any direction from the square, the immediate surroundings offer many more examples of historic architecture, religious structures and local museums. There are also an assortment of hotels in Guatemala City that are inside Zona 1, particularly in the southern area which merges into Zonas 4 and 5. The Estadio Nacional Mateo Flores multi-purpose national stadium is also located at this point, a well-attended spot when the national football team are in action. The city has an extensive bus network and expanding metro system which ensures getting between zones is reasonably easy on public transport, however sometimes timely during the hectic rush hour periods.
Modern Guatemala City
One of the must-sees in Guatemala City is the Relief Map in Parque Minerva to the north of Zona 1. This enormous open-air scaled map of the entire country was originally constructed in 1905, but was restored at the turn of the twentieth century and is now one of the most visited attractions in the city. Parque Minerva is situated in Zona 2, a largely residential neighbourhood which also contains a university campus and depicts a fine example of modern day middle class Guatemala. For further examples of the modern side of Guatemala City, Zonas 9 and 10 feature much of the newer built facilities such as shopping centres, restaurants and much of the city’s nightlife. Indeed, Zona 10 is an excellent district to head out for a drink amongst the city’s young university crowd and witness the youthful twentieth-first century side of Guatemala. There are also museums and points of interest situated here as well as many of the Guatemala City hotels close to the airport, as previously mentioned. The Popol Vuh Museum in this region houses one of the largest collections of Maya art in the world and as a result is very well-visited by history enthusiasts.
Focus on nature and green suburbs
Although Guatemala City is a busy and crowded city in many places, there are also opportunities to escape the crowds in local parks and a variety of nearby nature outside the city limits. The Jardin Botanico, the city’s botanical gardens, were the first of their kind in Central America and are situated in Zona 10 alongside the Natural History Museum. Further south lies La Aurora Zoo, a reasonably small complex but an interesting attraction for families and zoo enthusiasts nonetheless. There are several large parks in the Guatemala City suburbs which offer a much more peaceful atmosphere than the inner city, for instance the Erick Barrondo Park to the east which also provides excellent panoramic views of the city thanks to its elevated position. Many of these suburban parks also feature sporting complexes and golf courses, allowing for a more active visit to Guatemala City. In terms of accessing districts further from the centre, public transport links are frequent and affordable, ensuring visitors of any hotels in Guatemala City are conveniently connected.