Birds in the Mayan civilization: The Owl

Pulsatrix perspicillata or spectacled owl, La Aurora Zoo, Guatemala (Photo by Sofía Monzón)

Written by. Dr.Nicholas M. Hellmuth, Daniela Da’Costa, Ilena García Birds have played an important part in the life and culture of ancient civilizations. Between A.D. 300 and A.D. 600, owls were occasionally featured in the murals and vase paintings of Teotihuacán, Mexico. Some owl eye rings are good replicas of the round “goggles” of the Teotihuacán deity Tlaloc. Mayan art, […]

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Latest Discovery At Xultún

The Xultún find is the first place that all of the cycles have been found tied mathematically together in one place, representing a calendar that stretches more than 7,000 years into the future. —BBC News reports Written by. Annabella Cifuentes. The ancient Mayan megacity of Xultún (200-900 AD) is the site of the latest and greatest discovery by archaeologists—the oldest-known […]

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Star Treatment for Your Eyes

Drs. José and Dalia de Golcher and staff

Written by. Natalie Rose The Centro Visual G&G transforms the eye-care experience with the latest equipment, new services, and a soothing bedside manner. Walking into the new offices of Centro Visual G&G is like walking into a relaxing spa where you would go to be pampered, not to have your eye-care needs met. The distinctive eye-care facility was in the […]

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Gert Rosenthal

Guatemala’s ambassador to the United Nations this month assumes the presidency of the UN Security Council. In 2011, Guatemala was selected for a two-year, rotating term in the Security Council (Jan. 1, 2012 through Dec. 31, 2013). Guatemala was unanimously supported for this role, and many UN officials saw this as recognition of Ambassador Rosenthal as among the most respected […]

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Buying Medical Care vs. Buying Medical Insurance

Written by. Lori Shea Maintaining healthy bodies and minds is a serious responsibility that requires careful consideration in both our daily lifestyle choices and our long-term financial decisions. We exercise and eat well, drive safely and pay for our health insurance every month. But medical expenses are increasing at 8-20 percent per year while our incomes are not, and the […]

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In Search of the Big Pez Vela

Text/photos by Tara Tiedemann

Guatemala holds many secret treasures that aren’t apparent at first sight, and it is always a treat as gem after gem is unveiled with the more time you spend here. One special discovery is the large underwater canyon called “The Pocket,” located just off the Pacific Coast. With strong ever-changing currents and a healthy supply of nutrients, predator fish, such […]

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Parlama Sport Fishing

by Natalie Rose

Written by. Natalie Rose Dennis Wheeler recounts 40+ years of fishing and fleets How Parlama owner Dennis Wheeler came to own his first boat is a once-in-a-lifetime experience not often heard of. He had just returned from a successful fishing trip off the Pacific Coast of Guatemala with a fellow enthusiast, and they were discussing the possibility of Wheeler buying […]

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Dragon Fruit, the Nighttime Fragrance

By Dr. Nicholas M. Hellmuth

Pitayas are one of the climbing cactaceas, named after its habit to use trees as a physical support. Pitaya (pitahaya) is a night-blooming epiphytic cactus, which is common throughout Guatemala and surrounding countries. Many hotels in La Antigua Guatemala and around Lake Atitlán, El Remate and Tikal have pitaya and/or their relatives blooming over the summer. For example, hundreds of […]

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SMILE Dental Care in Guatemala

Dr. Oliva and Lilah’s new smile.

Written By Lori Shea. In recent years, Guatemala has become known as a first-class destination for those seeking high-quality, affordable dental care. In North America and Europe, families are concerned with the high cost of dental procedures. Thanks to instantly accessible internet resources, they can save thousands of dollars by taking advantage of medical and dental options in Central America. […]

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Equal Day Equal Night

From “Maya Roads: One Woman’s Journey Among  the People of the Rainforest” by Mary Jo McConahay

Written By. Mary Jo McConohay IN THE BEGINNING, THE EARTH WE KNOW slept under watery darkness, like the view before dawn from the island of Flores. Standing on the balcony of my hotel, I saw the Petén sky rippling down to the horizon on all sides. The lake slept, however, unmoving as the firmament. Still lake, rippling sky. This brought […]

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A Cangrejear, Let’s Go Crabbing

By Tara Tiedemann

It’s the beginning of the rainy season and I’m relaxing in a hammock at my favorite little beachside haunt on the Pacific Coast of Guatemala. A couple of friends are sitting nearby. We’re just hanging out and talking when someone mentions something about crabs. Crabs being one of my favorite seafood delights, I perk up. “Crabs, where? What kind of […]

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Outdoor Education

text/photos by Axel Aburez  Balambe@balambe.com

Written by. Axel Aburez Antigua’s team-building workshops add fun and adventure To walk on a steel cable strung among treetops 10 meters high was the challenge for the day. The adrenaline, the spirit of “I can” and the stunning view of the Panchoy Valley were elements of the event held by CasaSito and its allied organizations to strengthen relations among […]

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What’s the canícula in Guatemala?

Canícula days around Antigua Guatemala (photo by Rudy A. Giron)

Guatemala’s rainy season is roughly from May 15—Oct. 15 with a break in July/August called the canícula. Beginning with the cabañuelas (the first 12 days of the year – each day representing the weather for that month), predictions are made as to when the canícula will fall. According to the Instituto Nacional de Sismología, Vulcanología, Meterología e Hidrología de Guatemala […]

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Guatemala launches Central America’s first Braille newspaper

Guatemala launches Central America’s first Braille newspaper (photo Anna-Claire Bevan)

“You don’t need to see to be able to read” was the message Publinews Guatemala sent to the world last month when it launched Central America’s first Braille newspaper. Together with the Committee for Blind and Deaf People in Guatemala (Prociegos), Publinews produced 2,500 copies, which were distributed to visually impaired people throughout the country. The project, which is financed […]

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José Alejos Magical Creatures

Photos by Silvia Asturias and Natalie Martín

Written by. Maru Luarca. “These magic creatures are my connection to a meaningful life.” The heat and the orange-colored dust on my windshield were signs that I was getting close to Hacienda El Jabalín, a beautiful property in southern Guatemala. I came to meet José Alejos, the tough but smiling cowboy, who would be demonstrating how he works with young […]

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Becoming a Guatemalan Citizen

Portrait of Elizabeth Bell

During the 43 years that I have lived in Antigua, I have co-founded and participated in many committees, associations and foundations to improve the quality of life for our residents. Ranging today from education to micro-credit and promoting cultural activities, many of these meetings usually relate to finding solutions to problems that we have identified over the years. Four-plus years […]

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Who are some of Guatemala’s most inspiring men?

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I wrote about a similar topic for women for May (Mother’s Day) and thought the gender issue might apply here toward men. Two men—perhaps more than others—have influenced my efforts toward the preservation and positive development of La Antigua Guatemala since 1969. Mario Antonio Sandoval is one of Guatemala’s best-known journalists. He became a great friend in 1978 when we […]

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Studying Spanish In Xela

Luna de Xelajú  (harry díaz, www.flickr.com/ photos/harrydiaz)

My teacher yanked my homework away from me and began furiously marking it up. “This is ugly. You write bad.” Normally, this sort of treatment would lead to a verklempt Skype call to mom. In this case, my “teacher” was 8 years old, and I was welcoming the abuse. During Semana Santa, I became one of the thousands of international […]

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Orthopedic Care in Guatemala

With no conscious effort at all, our bones and joints and muscles engage as one miraculous mechanical unit. They propel us forward, as intended, with perfectly syncopated balance and strength. That is, until the pain starts. Sometimes it’s a dull ache in the hips or a “slippery,” unstable feeling in the knees that gives you concern. Ibuprophen and other anti-inflammatories […]

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Who are some of Guatemala’s most inspiring women?

Luz Méndez de la Vega

With the recent passing of Guatemala literary giant Luz Méndez de la Vega (1919-2012), and with Mother’s Day celebrated on Thursday, May 10th, it brought to mind a reflection of the most extraordinary women who have inspired me since I moved here in 1969. These are women who are famous but also have the incredible quality of commanding attention as […]

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Stingless Bees of the Maya

Written by. Dr. Nicholas M. Hellmuth My first encounter with stingless bees came at age 19, when I spent 12 months at Tikal, doing archaeological field work. You see and experience stingless bees in most of the well-preserved Maya palaces, especially the back rooms of Maler’s Palace. About 47 years later, I revisited stingless bees at Tikal while studying the […]

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What About 2012?

Dr. David Stuart, archeologist and Schele Professor of Mesoamerican Art and Writing at the University of Texas-Austin, speaks out on the subject. Long before Galileo tracked heavenly bodies in the 17th Century, the Maya watched the skies and developed a construction for time. What did they really say about 2012? “Absolutely nothing,” says Dr. David Stuart, archeologist and Schele Professor […]

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The 10th Festival Atitlán

The 10th Festival Atitlán

Once again, it’s springtime—and time for the 10th annual Festival Atitlán! Set for Saturday, March 17, just outside Santiago Atitlán, the festival has become the largest alternative outdoor music and arts event in Guatemala. Featuring a diverse list of performers, the 12-hour festival includes plenty of activities for kids, too. Admission is Q125 (kids under 10, free), and all proceeds […]

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Picnic at Finca El Zapote

Written by. Maya Fledderjohn On Sunday, March 4, the Museo Ixchel will hold its annual picnic. The Leonowens family has again graciously made their farm El Zapote available for the event. Finca El Zapote lies in the shadow of Fuego at about 3,000 feet. The weather at this time of year is near perfect—dry and comfortably warm. It was at […]

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The Continuing Search for Original Mayan Cotton

Written by. Dr. Nicholas M. Hellmuth When you look at the portraits of kings, high priests and other nobles on Mayan stelae, murals or painted ceramics you can see how much attention the Maya dedicated to their clothing. Each ritual, every ceremony, had special clothing. Even peasants wore at least a loincloth. Most of the women of the elite class […]

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Healing Through Love: A Mayan Story

Sri & Kira

Arriving at the dock of TOSA LL, on the shores of Lake Atitlán, our guests, a doctor and his wife, explained that they have dedicated their lives to healing and are allopathic physicians. They first arrived in Guatemala about 10 years ago and donate time at the local hospital to assist the indigenous. The couple have offered medical services worldwide […]

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A Short History of Medicine

2000 B.C. – “Here, eat this root.” 1000 B.C. – “That root is heathen, say this prayer.” 1850 A.D. – “That prayer is superstition, drink this potion.” 1940 A.D. – “That potion is snake oil, swallow this pill.” 1985 A.D. – “That pill is ineffective, take this antibiotic.” 2000 A.D. – “That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root.”

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