Holiday Shopping in Antigua

text and photos by Jennifer Rowe If you are new to Guatemala, on a budget, or just having trouble coming up with unique ideas for gifts this holiday season, do not fret! Here are a few suggestions of what is available to you from some of the merchants in Antigua. If there’s someone on your shopping list that enjoys setting […]

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What is your favorite fiesta this month?

The Dance of the 24 Devils, dedicated to the Virgen de Concepción

The celebration of La Concepción in Ciudad Vieja, near La Antigua Guatemala, is incredible! Everyone enjoys beginning the Christmas cycle by “burning the devil” on Dec. 7. Many will gather at La Concepción in Antigua at 6 p.m. to burn an effigy of the devil enhanced with a sign notating local gossip. After the reading of his “will,” the image […]

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Messengers in the Wind

Kids flying kites  (photo: Iván Castro/ivancastroguatemala.com)

Written by Ignacio Ochoa The history of kite making in Santiago Sacatepéquez On November 1 and 2, a powerful force stirs in all the towns of Guatemala. Traditional markets are filled with flowers of sempa (orange marigolds), chrysanthemums, wild daisies and the smell of copal—a pre-Columbian incense made from pine resin. People clean family graves and adorn them with cut-out […]

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Mayan Royal Tomb Unearthed

Fragmented lid of a vessel, with the head and painting of a peccary.

In the dense jungle of Guatemala, in the Petén Basin region which is home to the ancient Mayan city of Tikal, looming pyramids, looted tombs and overgrown paths that once served as Mayan superhighways speak of an era of ancient kingdoms and powerful warring dynasties. It’s easy to die and be forgotten here for thousands of years amid the thick […]

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Farming Organically

written by Dianne Carofino photos: George Carofino What makes a farm “organic,” one that grows organic produce? We put that question to Alex Kronick as we tour Caoba Farms, his five-acre organic farm on the outskirts of La Antigua Guatemala. Alex began his business six years ago, originally selling organic produce to one restaurant, and then quickly adding a second. […]

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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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The Art of the Gourd

The women show their latest creations (the author is in the front on the right)

Mayan Hands is a small, fair-trade organization that has been working with Mayan artists since 1989. It works with approximately 200 weavers, organized in groups of 12 to 50 women in 11 western and northern Guatemalan highland communities. Its mission is to assist these women by providing the skills and markets necessary to earn a regular income, enabling them to provide for their families and gain control over their lives.

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Protecting the Past for the Future

Dr. Hansen with mask on excavated structure

Threatened by years of abuse and neglect, the Mirador Basin needs help and it needs it now. The 400-year sliver of history between the biblical Old and New Testaments, sometimes erroneously called the ‘silent years’, packed Planet Earth with progress. Alexander the Great studied at the feet of Aristotle and, zealous to unite the world under Greek culture, conquered his […]

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How well do you know Chapín Spanish?

(Ser) Pura lata:

I certainly didn’t expect to get a free lesson of what I call Chapiñol, it is maybe 50 percent Spanish and 50 percent Chapinismos. His name was Miguel and he started throwing phrases like: tengo un gran clavo or me echan el muerto. I simply replied yes and/or no, but in truth I had no idea what he was talking about, “I have a big nail” What ???

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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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70 plus 30 Years of Mayan Culture

Photographs by Jeffrey Jay Foxx

written by J. Claire Odland Curating a double show like this is a double joy: Here are glimpses of two great, archival collections on view through April in the Gallery at Indigo Artes. This show, 70 plus 30 Years of Mayan Culture, represents selections from 70 years of Mayan textiles and 30 years of Mayan photographs from the hands of […]

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Coyol Bouquets

Coyol leaves have been part of the Palm Sunday tradition since 1547

Coconut palm…royal palm… date palm…coyol palm…uh, coyol palm? WordWeb Online calls it a tropical American palm with edible nuts and yielding useful fiber. In some countries of Central America, especially Costa Rica and Honduras, it is known for the sweet liquid that flows inside its trunk and is extracted to drink as a 100 per cent natural liquor. Be careful, […]

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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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First Vintage

Chateau DeFay

A rewarding excursion to Guatemala’s first winery to produce wine from locally-grown grapes since colonial times text and photos by Ira Lewis Hidden behind a coffee finca on the lower slopes of volcano El Agua is the first winery to produce wine from Guatemalan-grown grapes since colonial times: Chateau DeFay. Jacques and Angie DeFay recently presented their first vintage after […]

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