Organic Living in Guatemala

Guatemala: a diverse country that produces a wide variety of agriculture. Visitors are delighted at the taste of a “real fruit” or the sweetness of local tomatoes. At our Lake Atitlán hotel some of our guests have even accused us of putting sugar into a smoothie because the fruit is so naturally sweet. Many are now paying attention to the […]

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Pumpkin

No frost on the pumpkin in Guatemala. No frost anywhere in this springtime-all-year land, except atop the highest mountain chains. Not many pumpkins, either, though the plant is native to Central America, and many are grown on the south coast and lowlands. Pumpkins are cooked and eaten here like other squash, as a vegetable, but rarely in pies or sweets. […]

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An Urban Healing Oasis

The goal at the new Avesa Oasis Holistic Center is to remove stress, one layer at a time, by offering a plethora of services designed to help you find your inner OM. Kira Raa, the visionary founder of Avesa and Hotel TOSA La Laguna Spa and Retreat Center, Lake Atitlán, explains the goal of Avesa is simply to help you […]

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Guatemala’s First Organic Market

What is normally a fairly toxic section of Avenida las Americas was converted into a haven of health last month as Guatemala’s first Organic Farmers’ Market came to town. The event, held at Plaza Mexico during the capital’s popular Sunday activity Pasos y Pedales, showcased a diverse selection of natural and organically grown Guatemalan produce and opened with a short […]

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Fiambre

A History of Guatemalan Family and Tradition To appreciate fiambre, you need a brief history lesson. It is the middle of the eighth century. Until this time, All Saints Day was celebrated on May 13 and experts believed that rituals were deeply rooted in a similar pagan celebration, Feast of the Lemures, a day when evil spirits were mollified by […]

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Guatemala and the Water of Life!

Most people believe that water is just “wet”—it’s water! Not true! There are different qualities to the water we ingest. Some water is contaminated or acidic, even after being purified. Some water is enlivened and carries a different molecular structure. Some water is micro-clustered and easier for the body to assimilate. Some water is “flat” and is slow to hydrate […]

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Human rights activists to be honored for work in Guatemala, Latin America

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Two human rights defenders who have worked extensively in Guatemala and elsewhere in Latin America will be honored this month in New York with one of the largest human rights awards in the world. The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) and the Puffin Foundation have selected Fredy Peccerelli, executive director of the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation, and Kate Doyle, senior […]

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Face to Face with El Cristo Negro

The 1595 original now stands behind glass

The most important day at the Basilica of Esquipulas is January 15, when many thousands of pilgrims flock from all over Latin America. Ask most Guatemaltecos what is in Chiquimula and you will invariably receive the reply: “El Cristo Negro,” often followed by, “That is all there is in Chiquimula …” Undaunted by such disparaging remarks and the prospect of […]

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What Will I Do with the Gold?

by Jack and Joy Houston “My name is Thompson because da Vinci was already taken,” Al quips in his typical, quick humor. In fact, there are similarities between the 15th century artist and Al Thompson, born in 1928. Both justly claim a diversity of talents: painting, sculpting, inventing, writing, to name a few. An exhibition of Al’s most recent creations […]

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Weaving a History

The weaving tradition expresses that past and the world view, full of symbolism which connects the Maya to all of creation. (photo by Rudy A. Girón)

At the beginning of time, according to ancient Mayan legend, the gods from their center spun out the cosmos, setting in place the universe. The corn god laid out the four corners and erected the World Tree in the center, from whose branches grew one of everything to come. When they became too full, the ‘fruit’ fell, scattering seeds. The […]

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Guatemala noisily celebrates its 190th birthday

Celebration in La Antigua Guatemala

Celebrating their nation’s 190th Independence Day, Guatemalans streamed into streets and central squares across the country on Thursday, Sept. 15, to enjoy parades, music, food and fireworks. Communities large and small marked the occasion with torch-bearing runners, drumbeats of school bands, concerts and speeches. Food vendors served a mouth-watering variety of dishes as locals and tourists alike joined the annual […]

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Guatemalan Bananas

by Kevin García There are many varieties of bananas in Guatemala. Bananas are very tasty, complete fruits; they are easy to digest and have many nutrients, such as vitamins A, B, C, E, calcium, magnesium, silicon, phosphorus, sulfur, iron and sodium. They are particularly rich in vitamin B6, folic acid and potassium. The bananas most commonly found in Guatemala are Cavendish […]

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Red-letter Days

Guatemala's flag

This month is doubly patriotic Brace for a double dose of patriotic fervor this month in Guatemala. In addition to the Sept. 11 national elections (see page 54), Guatemala celebrates its 190th Independence Day on Sept. 15 with ear-shattering fireworks, resounding drumbeats from marching bands, festive concerts and more. Guatemala is hardly alone in its jubilation this day—also celebrating their […]

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A Museum for Kids

Supervised exhibits include paper making, recycling, giant bubbles and even a micro city.

El Museo de los Niños, Zone 13, Guatemala City If the motto of most museums seems to be: “Look but don’t touch,” el Museo de los Niños in Guatemala City is the other extreme. Located in Zone 13, the center opened in February 2000 and has since welcomed more than 1.5 million schoolchildren from all over Guatemala. Through an assortment […]

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Fotokids Anniversary

Fotokis 20th Anniversary

Twenty years of tackling poverty through photography Surrounded by 40 acres of toxic garbage, in the middle of Central America’s largest and most dangerous landfill, isn’t exactly where most people gain inspiration. However, for ex-Reuters photojournalist Nancy McGirr, the smell of burning plastic, combined with the sight of cardboard houses and gardens of sewage, is where Fotokids first began. Originally […]

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Carnelian

Color-chart people say carnelian is a reddish-brown somewhere between cardinal and cerise. OK, if you say so. Painters in oil say carnelian is a perfect shade as a skin tone in painting handsome Mesoamerican natives. Jewelry makers and rock hounds say carnelian is a form of quartz, found worldwide, soft and easy to carve. Crafts makers say it’s onyx, which […]

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Guatemala in scale

Relief Map is a 3-D wonder in the capital Once upon a time a man made a map. Accompanied by a donkey, he traveled around Guatemala, took measurements of the country and then returned to the capital to scale up. That man was engineer Francisco Vela, and with the help of his assistant, Claudio Urrutia, in 1905 he designed a […]

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Where Food Meets Fashion

There was a time when food was just food. Saucepans were saucepans, cutlery was cutlery and kitchens were just … well … kitchens. But things are changing. Guatemala City’s popular household and garden store House & Green is fast turning local cocinas into catwalks where trashcans and wooden spoons deserve their place on the culinary runway. Since its opening nearly […]

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Esperanza Juvenil

Innovative program rescues kids, prepares them for success A shoeshine boy until last fall, Gregorio wants to be a doctor when he grows up. Thanks to an unlikely encounter on the streets of Guatemala City, he actually has a chance. “I was going to school in the morning but working, shining shoes, in the afternoons. I met a man whose […]

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The Power of Guatemalan Roses

In May, the fancy for mothers turns to roses—which have more than meets the eye or nose. Not all plants sport flowers, but those that do use them to mate with others of their species. Appropriately, we use them to hail and express love, especially in February and May. Roses in particular are favored: red and burgundy roses in the […]

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Peace Corps volunteers honored at 50th anniversary celebration

50 new Peace Corps volunteers were sworn in as part of the anniversary celebration

Finishing two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Totonicopán, Samra Brouk summarized her experience in three words: “challenging, surprising, satisfying.” “It was probably the two hardest years of my life but at no point did I think there was anyplace else I should be,” said Brouk, 24, a native of Rochester, N.Y., who plans to go to law school […]

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Delightful Desserts

And the winners—in the order of the panel’s preference—are: 1. New York Style Cheesecake: the real thing, with the taste of the Big Apple, made with 100% cream cheese and sour cream. No flour fillers here, and you can taste the difference. 2. Blackberry Cobbler: warm, with fresh blackberries, and—at least for me—vanilla ice cream. Yummm. 3. Crème Brûlée: with […]

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Taking it to the Streets

by Martin Leadbitter Sunday, January 30, 2011, saw the first-ever public demonstration in Guatemala claiming respect, rights and legislation for all animals. The marchers gathered early at the assembly point on Guatemala City’s Avenida La Reforma, making new friends and mingling with old ones, admiring the costumed dogs and painted people, and the various banners and placards requesting redress of […]

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Action Speaks Louder

Asociación Hombres y Mujeres en Acción (Men and Women in Action) was founded in 2009 to address the most basic needs of people and to improve their quality of life. In just two years it has built 34 houses, installed over 250 vented stoves and treated over 2,000 patients in its remote medical clinics. Working mostly in San Martín Jilotepeque, […]

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Winged Wonders on “Solid Stance” Street

One day last August, I drove down Avenida Hincapié in Guatemala City with my sons Ike (almost 12 by then) and JayJay (8). This odd street—you may know it—begins as soon as you pass under an aqueduct arch that seems to date from the reign of Marcus Aurelius. It is one of the few structures in town surviving from the […]

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Medical Tourism

As more U.S. residents are going abroad for medical treatment, an Antigua company guides medical tourists to doctors in Guatemala Frustrated with the rising costs and maddening bureaucracy of the U.S. medical system, more patients are looking overseas to get treatment of the same or better quality at a fraction of the cost. This year, well over 1 million North […]

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Sensuous Guatemala: Enjoy Your Valentine

Ignore the deep sky-blue, the forested green Highlands, the foamy ocean surf, the coffee browns, the rich oranges and yellow lemons stacked high in market stalls. This month, drink in Guatemala’s Valentine colors—bright reds, soft pinks, pure whites. Valentine reds are long-stemmed roses in the markets, bougainvillea spilling over walls, poinsettias still in bloom from the holidays, brilliant scarlet huipiles […]

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Build a stove — affect the future

by Liz Ballantyne-Jackson Exposure to smoke from cooking fire kills approximately two million people worldwide every year. Globally, nearly three billion people use polluting, inefficient stoves or open flames to cook their food. The result is deforestation, carbon emissions and often-fatal illness. Inhaling the toxic fumes while preparing tortillas and frijoles puts rural Guatemalan women and children at risk of […]

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Karate Kids in Church

People go to church for many reasons: to worship, to study scripture, to sing hymns, to seek healing, to earn a black belt in karate. Wait a minute—to earn a black belt? Now you have heard it all. Churches do some unchurchy things to help bring in money, like holding aerobics classes, bake sales and bingo nights. But karate? First […]

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Nacimientos

While Santa Claus and Christmas trees may be symbols of the Christmas season, nacimientos (nativity scenes) are a Christmas custom the world over. Saint Francis of Assisi built the first one in 1223 after returning from a trip to Bethlehem. It quickly became a tradition and spread throughout the Catholic world, including Spain. The Spanish brought the custom to Guatemala. […]

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