La Antigua Guatemala
With its beautifully renovated Colonial architecture, tranquil town squares, charming cobblestone avenues and majestic ruins of centuries’ old churches and cathedrals, La Antigua is the historic gem of Guatemala. And yet visitors will find a surprising host of modern pleasures, ranging from chic boutiques, colorful local markets and fashionable restaurants to exhilarating eco adventures in the mountains surrounding the city. In 1944, the Government of Guatemala designated La Antigua Guatemala as a National Monument and UNESCO named it a World Heritage Site in 1979.
As the largest city in Central America and Guatemala’s cosmopolitan capital, Guatemala City, or “Guate” as it’s called, offers an extraordinarily diverse range of restaurants, nightlife and museums that has earned it the nickname the “Jewel of Latin America." The cozy avenues of the Old City offer a bustling mix of shops and cafés, while the trendier yet tranquil New City displays a mix of modern restaurants, museums, art galleries and theaters. Once the sun sets, the nightlife scenes in Zona Viva and Cuatro Grados Norte are considered to be the best in the country.
Lake Atitlan, Panajachel Sololá
A favorite weekend escape for Guatemalans, Panajachel, or “Pana” to locals and those who want to sound local, rewards all who visit with spectacular panoramic views of three volcanoes — San Pedro, Toliman, and Atitlán — access to the beautiful and mystical Lake Atitlán, fabulous cuisine and pulsating nightlife. When it comes to shopping Panajachel's rustic streets, visitors have their pick of shops and booths run by Ladinos (people of mixed indigenous and European heritage) and gringos (typically expatriates and former backpackers), while the Kaqchiquel and Tz'utujil Maya often visit from nearby villages to sell their wares and handicrafts.