Tips for enjoying Semana Santa

Procession, Semana Santa photos by Leonel -Nelo- Mijangos (

Lent and Holy Week celebrations in La Antigua Guatemala can be a bit overwhelming at best. Over the years, I have learned some great tips to enjoy the more than 50 activities during this time of year. Some of them are: Plan ahead and allow plenty of time. Know the times and locations of the velaciones and processions. City Hall […]

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The Butterfly Watchers

text and photos by Thor Janson.   Bird watching is big business. It’s been reported that there are more than 20 million aficionados who are serious about watching these feathered friends in their natural habitat. Birds are often very beautiful and as a group they display a great diversity of color, shapes and behavior. But there is another group of […]

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Explore More and Go Deeper [part 2]

Explore More and Go Deeper [part 2] photos by Julia Harriman

Welcome back to my final five recommendations for deep travel adventures. Take advantage of the dry season and sunny skies to get out and explore. The reward for seeing and experiencing incredible locations that most will miss will be worth it!

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Carnival at Sugar City and It’s Raining Ash

Carnival at Sugar City and It’s Raining Ash by Thor Janson

Mazatenango is affectionately referred to by locals as “Sugar City,” as it is surrounded by cane fields and sugar refineries. The growing public antipathy toward everything sweetened and flavored with genetically modified corn syrup has led to a real boom for Guatemala’s south coast producers of real, natural, cane sugar. This current economic upsurge is reflected by the prosperity of […]

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Flying at the top of a mountain

Canopy photo

What is the best place for a bird’s eye view of La Antigua Guatemala? Many people think it’s from the Cerro de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross), situated on a mountain north of the city. Even higher than the Cerro de la Cruz is the Santo Domingo del Cerro. Add an incredible zipline adventure (Circo del Aire) and there […]

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It Really is Worth it

The amazing view from El Mirador

Turquoise pools and mysterious caves are just two reasons why Semuc Champey is a must-visit destination. When traveling, you often find yourself evaluating the many destinations, and here in Guatemala the variety is astounding. One of the must-visit attractions is Semuc Champey. You may have seen pictures of the shimmering turquoise pools, cascading through the jungle. The water is so […]

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Postcards from American Kitchens

Delicious freshly made burgers

I recently returned from a long-overdue, 20-day journey to the United States. I spent the first 10 days in my hometown of Los Angeles and the remainder of time at a family reunion at our family lakeside home in Priest Lake, Idaho. Los Angeles has changed immensely since I last lived there. I found it astonishing at the amount of […]

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Just Say Hello!

A tourist group in Parque Central in Antigua Guatemala (image by

Hola! Ciao! Guten Tag! Bonjour! Hello! The universal greeting of meeting another offers a unique and special introduction to Guatemala. La Antigua is such a wondrous and diverse place. You can sit on the square, enjoy an extraordinary cup of coffee and hear languages from around the globe as you enjoy the beauty of the Parque Central and the stunning […]

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Mmm… Macadamia Pancakes

Macadamia pancakes with macadamia butter and fresh blueberry jam

A trip to the Valhalla Macadamia Farm Just minutes from La Antigua Guatemala is an amazing agricultural project, quietly doing a load of good for the planet and indigenous communities in Guatemala. Situated just outside of San Miguel Dueñas, is the Valhalla Macadamia Farm. The farm produces wonderful organic macadamia nuts, makes/produces an exceptional line of skin care products, serves […]

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Tour guide Gloria shows how it’s done

Stop and smell the coffee… and the cardamom Cobán, the capital of the department of Alta Verapaz and seat of some of the best coffee-growing terrain in Guatemala, often gets overlooked as visitors buzz right through on their way to Semuc Champey or in search of the quetzal in the nearby cloud forests. However, the city is worth a closer […]

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The Cloud Forest Biological Corridor

Old travel mates Brenda and Brian were flying in from Vancouver for a three-day weekend and asked me to show their young daughter, Sophia, some tropical wildlife. Sophia, age nine, was already an avid naturalist and bird-watcher. She made it clear via our Skype chitchatting, that she was dying to see what the cloud forest was really like. Her curiosity had […]

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Ecosystems of the Mayan Rain Forest

An incredible diversity of life exists in the Mayan Rain Forest, the biological crossroads of the Americas For centuries the land of the Mayan rain forest has been of particular interest to biologists because of its unique location. It is at the crossroads of two of Earth’s major life zones: the Nearctic Realm (North America) and the Neotropical Realm (South […]

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Time Capsule: 2013 – 2065

A sealed container to be opened in 52 years A time capsule that was inspired by the ancient Maya has been installed by cultural officials in Guatemala City to show the country’s future generations what life was like in 2013. Messages, cards, articles from the present day and predictions for tomorrow were deposited into the container, which will be opened […]

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Getting to Roatan

Bay Islands, Honduras by Monish Welcome Thousands of tourists from around the world travel to Roatan each year to enjoy the island’s relaxed lifestyle, beautiful sea, spectacular diving and snorkeling, mild climate and friendly people. As the largest of the Bay Islands in Honduras, Roatan is quickly becoming one of the Caribbean’s fastest-developing destinations. Surrounded by a coral reef brimming […]

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Canal Clamming

The most fun you can have with your feet! “Vamos!” My friend Doña Irma was excited as she told me that clamming season was here on the Pacific Coast of Guatemala. Clams (almejas) exist in Guatemala? I hadn’t heard of anyone clam digging in Guatemala; however, I had seen them served every now and then in the famous caldo de […]

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The Road To Nakum

The plan was to rendezvous with friends at Yaxhá Lagoon then drive north to the remote site of Nakum. I met up with Belizean Alfonso Galvez and American biologist Harry Drexler for breakfast by the shore of magnificent Yaxhá. A bit of camp-stove magic, and I was serving up steaming plates of black beans, fried mol a’catch (turkey eggs) and […]

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Pueblo Hopping

Planning an overnight in Santa Cruz La Laguna, Lake Atitlán If you were hoping to go by car to Santa Cruz La Laguna, you will be disappointed. This quaint pueblo, separated into the lakeshore property and the Mayan village on higher ground, can only be accessed by boat. But don’t fret. This is what gives Santa Cruz its relatively untouched […]

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Guatemala Transformations!

Ever notice how your home environment feels different after returning from a vacation? Perhaps you note changes in your perspectives and feelings after completing a project. We notice this often after teaching workshops and being with so many amazing world travelers at Lake Atitlán. These transformations in our perceptual field are courtesy of the reticular-activating system. Its role is to […]

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Yellow Beard and other slithering surprises!

On a recent expedition to the El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve, one of the region’s premier protected areas, located just over the border in Chiapas, Mexico, I was walking up a remote river valley when I saw a slight movement on the path. As I approached I made out the form of a large serpent lying, perhaps sunning, squarely in my […]

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The Roatan Reef

by Monish Welcome A glistening island treasure of the Caribbean, Roatan offers numerous activities such as boating, fishing and undersea exploration of the Mesoamerican Reef. The reef, a main attraction for divers and snorkelers, is divided into a north side and south side in Roatan, as well as its island neighbors, Utila and Guanaja. In the north side of Roatan, […]

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Islands in the Sky

Lake Tziscao and the Islands in the Sky The most endangered of Earth’s forests are without question tropical cloud forests, which make up little more than one percent of the planet’s arboreal habitats. Visionary conservationists like Guatemala’s Professor Mario Dary Rivera and Miguel Álvarez del Toro of Chiapas had the foresight to secure some of these pristine environments before chainsaws […]

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Finca el Zapote

You are invited to the annual charity picnic by Maya Fledderjohn Mark your calendar! On Sunday March 3 (8 a.m.-5 p.m.), visitors will again have the rare opportunity to visit Finca El Zapote. Those familiar with the extraordinary book Maya de Guatemala will recall that El Zapote was where Carmen Pettersen, at age 70 and blind in one eye, undertook […]

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Flowering of the National Tree

The ceiba tree is the national tree of Guatemala and was the sacred World Tree of the Mayan civilization. There are two species of ceiba tree in Guatemala; Ceiba pentandra is the national tree. The primary feature of the ceiba tree that the Maya noticed and copied was the conical spines. It is known by most Mayanists that the decorative […]

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Motorcycle Diary

There is something undeniably cool about motorbikes, cobbled streets and rock and roll. Combine all three and you have one of the most exhilarating ways to explore La Antigua Guatemala: driving through the pueblos of Sacatepéquez, on the back of a trike, with the Rolling Stones blaring from the speakers. CATours has been specializing in creating tailor-made motorbike tours of […]

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Paradise within a Paradise

Roatan’s Blue Harbor Tropical Arboretum by Monish Welcome Blue Harbor Tropical Arboretum is a paradise within a paradise, a tropical Eden located on 160+ acres on the island of Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras. It is home to the only tropical botanical conservatory in the Caribbean, and lettuce and herbs from the Blue Harbor Plantation are sold in local supermarkets and […]

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Baskets of Love

Sending holiday cheer and warm wishes this Navidad season with culinary delights The holidays are a time for family and loved ones; it’s a time to take a few moments, sit around a table, preferably sans iPhones, with a glass of wine or hot spirits, chatting about the events of the year past and exciting times for the coming year. […]

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