When Giants Roamed The Land

Octavio Alvarado (rt.) has become the enthusiastic caretaker of the  Chivacabé Mammoth site, near Huehuetenango, which now has a small museum.

FIFTY THOUSAND YEARS AGO We were in the middle of one of the Earth’s cool periods. Ice and snow covered much of the land. Massive glaciers grew to blanket vast expanses of South and North America. The highlands of Central America were a winter wonderland, where mastodon and megatherium frolicked. So much water was locked up in the ice that […]

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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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The Rabin Ajau 2012

This incredible pageant will take place in Cobán, Alta Verapaz on Saturday July 28 – 4pm The annual Rabin Ajau pageant exalts the purity and essence of the indigenous cultures from the four cardinal points of Guatemala and brings together in a harmonic convergence all the Maya ethnicities of the Land of the Quetzal and the Jaguar. The Rabin Ajau […]

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Alternative Energy & Healing in Guatemala

Solar panels

Living off grid launches you into a world of self-responsibility and independence. We have learned firsthand that these qualities are not for the faint of heart. As shared in this column a month ago, living off grid requires taking an honest inventory of your true needs. An honest review of electrical devices that will require solar panels and batteries is […]

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Chirimoya Edible Fruits

he Mayan name is tsalmuy, and the Nahual name is poshte.

Edible Fruits of the Mayan Diet As people around the world expand their health consciousness, they are eager to learn more about the vast array of fruits and vegetables available to them. And, especially for local people, living in rural areas with limited incomes, it is possible to eat healthy foods, in particular fruits and vegetables. One aspect of FLAAR’s […]

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Guatemala´s Exotic Pacific Coast

Stone carving at  Tak’alik Ab’aj

Tak’alik Ab’aj and Retalhuleu As we find ourselves right in the midst of this important year for the Mayan cosmovision 2012, one of the most intriguing Mayan archeological sites that can’t be missed is Tak’alik Ab’aj, recently nominated to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013. This amazing historical treasure, situated not far from the coastal town of Retalhuleu, […]

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A Perfect Combination Of A Cultural And Natural Experience

Site of the  Royal Palace

Aguateca Written by. Helana Oswald If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-track destination where you can visit an ancient Mayan city and experience nature, Aguateca, “the Sun-Faced Mountain,” might be the place. Located in the jungle atop a low limestone hill on the banks of Lake Petexbatún, it is well preserved and features an impressive natural chasm that is a must […]

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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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Helping Hooves

by Anna-Claire Bevan (annaclairebevan.wordpress.com)  photos: César Tián

Local organization helps Antigua’s carriage horses When an accident forced her to stop riding five years ago, California-raised Suzanne Divoff was determined to keep working with horses, and on the streets of La Antigua Guatemala she saw an opportunity; Helping Hooves (HH) was born. Made up of three women, Helping Hooves started working with Antigua’s horse and carriage drivers with […]

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Piper auritum cordoncillo, high safrol content

Piper species — “Pepper” (as in “salt & pepper”) and Chili “Peppers” Written by. Dr. Nicholas M. Hellmuth Our salt-and-pepper pepper is Piper nigrum, which originated in India. There are actually three completely different kinds of native plants in Guatemala named “pepper” (or pimienta): pepper leaf (flavoring from leaf, seed or flower stick), pepper vegetables and pepper spice (flavoring from […]

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Shamans, Witches And Maya Priests

As the end of the Mayan long count calendar, 2012 has received much recent media attention. Is it receiving the same degree of attention from today’s Maya priests? An emphatic “no” is the answer from Krystyna Deuss, author of Shamans, Witches and Maya Priests. Deuss has spent much of the past 30 years observing and befriending today’s practitioners of Mayan […]

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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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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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Refugio del Quetzal

A birder’s delight, this Highlands sanctuary is home to an avian roster of more than 70 species A hidden gem of the Western Highlands, the Refugio del Quetzal (Quetzal Refuge) is an 8,000-square-kilometer sea of green that’s one of the few remaining habitats for Guatemala’s national symbol. Owned and managed by the nearby municipality of San Rafael Pie de la […]

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The Chajul Basket

Tradition and Souvenir Baskets are important utilitarian, decorative and potential income items found around the world, including Guatemala, where many locations are known for specific basket styles. Among them is the community of Chajul, located in “the Ixil Triangle,” a region in the department of Quiché that encompasses the municipalities of Santa María Nebaj, San Juan Cotzal and San Gaspar […]

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Franklin Contreras

From building houses out of cardboard boxes in his parents’ electrical store when he was a child, to designing candy stores at the university, Franklin Contreras was always destined to be an architect. The talented Guatemalan now owns his own firm, which employs over 200 people, and their designs stand out as pieces of art, especially along the streets of […]

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The Night Before Navidad

Santa Claus

‘‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the casa,
Not a creature was stirring ¡Caramba! ¿Qué pasa? Los niños were tucked away in their camas,
Some in long underwear, some in pijamas, 
While hanging the stockings with mucho cuidado,
In hopes that old Santa would feel obligado, 
To bring all children, both buenos and malos,
A nice batch of dulces and other regalos. […]

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