Monterrico listed among world’s “10 Best Beach Destinations”

Monterrico listed among world’s 10 Best Beach Destinations (photo by Mario Meaulieu - JohnnysPlaceHotel.com)

With its black-sand beaches, powerful waves and sea turtle nesting grounds, Monterrico has been ranked among the 10 Best Beach Destinations in the World by Yahoo Travel. Guatemala’s quaint, south coast community joins the ranks of Ka’anapali, Maui, Hawaii; Hahei Beach, New Zealand; and Sanur Beach, Bali, in Yahoo’s global hit list of beaches to visit in 2011. “When it […]

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Trogon Hunting in the Cucurucho Cloud Forest

Birdwatching and hiking at El Pilar, Antigua’s little-known nature reserve written by Kate Witt photos: Thor Janson We hop out of the 4×4 truck to finish our ascent, cool in the luscious cover of the mountain vegetation until we reach the peak, a refreshing 10-minute hike. The view was incredible—I was astounded to see Lake Amatitlán with a spread of […]

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Discovering the Mermaids

Author Janson makes friends with a young manatee

Once seen in the hundreds and even thousands, manatees are now only found in isolated enclaves along American coasts. text and photos by Thor Janson Three months after Columbus’ arrival in the Caribbean, on Jan. 9, 1493, the ship’s log recorded: “On the previous day when the Admiral went to the Rio del Oro he saw three mermaids which rose […]

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Lake Atitlán: Up Close and Cozy

I did not pick the name “Lake Views” for this column, but it stuck nonetheless. So I should probably make the lake my topic at least once. There is no counting the number of times—it is too many—that I have read that Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) called Atitlán the world’s most beautiful lake. He would know, being one of the best-traveled […]

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An Exercise in Futility

Cerro de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross)

The cardio high and other pleasures of climbing Cerro de la Cruz My body is a temple—a temple of doom. Some of the erosion—hair, hearing, back, knee—is beyond my control now that I’m a 50-something. Weight is another story. A good 5-10 pounds would melt away if I simply dropped my beer habit, but in a town with noon-to-7 happy […]

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Celebrating the Sea Turtle

Celebrating the Sea Turtle

Weekend festival aims to preserve a natural treasure With a goal of protecting the endangered sea turtle, an environmental group is planning a weekend festival Nov. 26-28 with events centered around the Monterrico-Hawaii Natural Preserve on Guatemala’s Pacific coast. Coinciding with peak turtle-nesting season, the Festival de la Tortuga 2010 (Turtle Festival 2010) will feature turtle releases, nature tours, concerts, […]

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In Search of Almolonga

Church and plaza of San Miguel Escobar, facing west; probable vicinity of the second Santiago and possible site of its cathedral.

Exactly where was the center of old Santiago? Traditionally the honor has been assumed to belong to the urban center of Ciudad Vieja, the Old City. But was it? Tropical storm Agatha raged throughout Guatemala in May, déjà vu of 9/11/1541 for the hard-hit area east of Ciudad Vieja. Weeks later, the church of San Miguel Escobar still sheltered people […]

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Up the Carretera a El Salvador in a Gullwing

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe

written by Eduardo Linares Batres More than a quarter of a century ago, a pal of mine lucked into acquiring a Mercedes-Benz classic, a used-but-babied 300SL “Gullwing.” To say that this is one of the all-time, absolute greatest cars ever made is, in my opinion, an understatement. When it was introduced around 1952-3, it was as an all-out race car […]

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Guatemala in 90 Hours

Lake Atitlán

Turning a short visit into a long-lasting memory Volcanoes. Lakes. Archeology and architecture. History and culture. Ziplines. Coffee plantations. UNESCO World Heritage sites. Plus, of course, shopping. Guatemala has all these attractions for tourism. But what about the tourist who has only a few days and less than $300? Yes, with planning and time management, that tourist can have a […]

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Playa El Tunco

written by Roxana Revolone photos: Lena Johannessen No longer in the shadow of its more-famous neighbors Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua, El Salvador is now positioning itself on the tourist map as a more-than-attractive destination. The internationally recognized Lonely Planet list of “10 Best Tourist Destinations in the Word of 2010” includes, for the first time, this tiny Central American country […]

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A Walking Tour of “Old” Panajachel

Panajachel is firstly a walking city. If you drive in it, you soon tire of the paucity of two-way streets. And every rocky contour of those streets registers on the pant-seat of every chicken-bus rider. Tuktuks look fun, until you actually ride in one. And much of Pana is not overly bike-friendly. So, unless pogo sticks catch on, feet remain the preferred vehicle.

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Exploring a Hidden Gem in Guatemala

A visitor to the El Pilar garden specially designed for hummingbirds (Thor Janson)

El Pilar is a unique, natural habitat located just 3.5 km from La Antigua’s central park. A little-known natural sanctuary is located just outside of La Antigua Guatemala where pools are brimming with fresh, mountain spring water every day and where multi-colored hummingbirds buzz around in sporadic sprints by the dozens.

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Oaxaca

The colonial heritage of Oaxaca, Mexico is reflected in grand stone buildings and churches, wide avenues and beautiful plazas. The capital of Oaxaca State, the most highly indigenous state in Mexico, Oaxaca city, with a population of approximately 265,000, is cosmopolitan yet manageable. Many of the grand colonial buildings in its center have been converted into museums. These include the former […]

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Monument to Christopher Columbus

Monument to Christopher Columbus

text and photo by C. Ibarra In bygone days, Guatemala’s rulers presented distinctive landmarks to the capital city in praise of their own ideals: reform, modernism, development and patriotism. This has made the city an eclectic mixture of architectural styles and monuments. Among the most interesting and charismatic monuments in the city is the statue of Christopher Columbus. Its history […]

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Cloud Nine: The Tzantizotz Nature Reserve, Guatemala

The swirling mist dusts Volcán San Pedro in a muted dove gray, catching dawn’s sunrays and washing it in an ethereal glow. The steely-mirrored waters of Lake Atitlán are quiet, rippled only by the wake of a distant boat that slides across its surface. The air is still, cool and refreshing. This awe-inspiring view is the reason that Lake Atitlán is undisputedly one of the world’s most beautiful lakes. It is here, in the moment and in the quiet that one can touch the magnificence of God’s creation.

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Chilascó’s Hidden Treasure, Guatemala

text and photos by Anthony Brindisi At 133 meters, the majestic Salto de Chilascó is Central America’s tallest waterfall Guatemala is a country brimming with cultural diversity and natural beauty. It is proudly referred to as “The Soul of the Earth,” and every year between one and two million tourists flock to this multicultural, remarkably topographic, fascinatingly biodiverse land to […]

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Kilometer Zero at the National Palace, Guatemala

text and photos by Michael Sherer Set at the northern end of the enormous Plaza Mayor, Guatemala’s National Palace is the origin of all the roads in the Republic with a spot known as Kilómetro Cero. Two and half miles north of the gleaming chrome-and-glass towers that line the Avenida La Reforma, the edifice is flanked by the Biblioteca Nacional […]

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Tune In and Enjoy

Metropolitan Cathedral in the center of Guatemala City (photo: Jordan Banks)

First, find a comfortable bench right in the middle of things, in front of the old National Palace and the Metropolitan Cathedral in the center of Guatemala City. Close your eyes. Don’t look at the rich palette of colors around you. (Maybe it’s best to have dark glasses on, so passers-by don’t think you’re asleep.) Don’t sniff. Don’t breathe in the delicious odors of […]

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Night of the Fire Balls

written by Brent Holmes photos: Winston Scott Festival of the Patron Saint San Antonio Senahú, Alta Verapaz Pretty wild stuff it was that December night of fireballs at the festival of the Patron Saint San Antonio, Senahú. The game is kind of like “dodge ball” except the balls are on fire, like a couple of street gangs facing off, throwing […]

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