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Top Guatemala

Guatemala City

Guatemala City, or Guate to the locals, the sprawling capital is considered by most as simply a place to catch a plane or pass through on the way to a more pleasant part of the country. This is somewhat unfair, as the city – the largest in Central America – does have plenty to offer in it's own right.

The city is divided into zones, which start at the center and radiate outward. The center area, Zone 1, is the colonial part of the city and is home to governmental buildings, cathedrals and several examples of impressive architecture. This part of town is packed with locals during the day, selling affordable goods and produce. Some of the more inexpensive hotels, popular with backpackers and budget travelers, can be found around here.

Another zone of interest to travelers is Zone 4, a commercial zone which also houses the national theater; the Centro Cultural Miguel Angel Asturias, named after one of Guatemala’s greatest writers. Along Avenida de la Reforma are zones 9 and 10, a pleasant area with tree-lined streets, small parks, and the best hotels and restaurants in the city. The area has the nickname “Zona Viva,” or “lively zone” due to its numerous clubs and bars.

Archaeology buffs will appreciate the Museo Nacional de Arqueologia and Etnologia in Zone 13, which displays pre-Columbian artifacts found at Mayan sites throughout Guatemala. The Kaminaljuyu ruins boasts some 100 small structures and is also located close to the center of town.

Telephone code: 502, phone numbers consist of 8 digits.

Altitude: Guatemala City is located 1,600 meters above sea level (5000 ft)

Neighborhoods in Guatemala City: Zona 9, Zona 4, Zona 13, Zona 10, Zona 1,

Other places nearby Guatemala City: Mixco Viejo and Pacaya Volcano National Park.

By Christopher Minster
I am a writer and editor at V!VA Travel guides here in Quito, where I specialize in adding quality content to the site and also in spooky things like...
18 Aug 2010

Top Places in Guatemala City

Zona 1

Zone 1 was the first area to be inhabited when Guatemala City was first built. Most of the city’s government offices and electricity and telephone companies have been based here at one time or ...
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Zona 1, Guatemala City, Guatemala

Zona 4

Situated between the Centro Histórico and Zone 9, Zone 4 is one of the city’s main business and commercial districts. However, you won’t find just offices and shops in Zone 4, there are also ...
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Zona 9

Zone 9 is one of Guatemala City’s more modern districts. Besides banks, office buildings, embassies and government institutions there are also plenty of entertainment options. The area is home to ...
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Zona 10

Zone 10 is a luxury residential area, a commercial centre and one of the city’s best nightlife areas. The district is considered very safe and visitors will frequently see civil police patrolling ...
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Zona 13

Zone 13 has traditionally been an upper class residential neighborhood, however in recent years a number of hotels, shops and restaurants have begun to appear. Many of the larger houses in this ...
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Things to do in Guatemala City

Parque Central

134395Also known as the Plaza de la Constitución, this large (and now quite bland) square was originally laid out as the city’s central focus of power, with the cathedral and important government ...
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Catedral Metropolitana

134408Guatemala City’s cathedral is not particularly attractive, but it was built to survive earthquakes - and it has. Indeed, it is one of the only buildings around the square that survived the city's ...
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Parque Archaeológico Kaminaljuyú

Before Guatemala City was ever built in the Valley of the Hermitage, there existed the ancient Mayan city of Kaminaljuyú. Kaminaljuyú, which means ‘Hill of the Dead’ in Quiché was originally ...
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Museo Nacional De Arte Moderno

The Museum of Modern Art was named after the Maestro Carlos Merida, one of Guatemala’s most infamous contemporary artists. Merida’s work can be found at the heart of the museum and is surrounded ...
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Torre Del Reformador

This 70 meter high tower of galvanized iron was inspired by the iconic Eiffel Tower and is used as a point of reference for those exploring Guatemala City. It was built in honor of General Justo ...
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Plaza Estado De Israel

This small plaza is instantly recognizable thanks to the giant star of David that adorns it. The square is used for Israeli celebrations and symbolizes the sturdy bond that exists between Guatemala ...
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Jardín Botánico

El Jardin Botanico de Guatemala was opened in 1922 and is home to multiple collections of both regional and international plant species. Nearly extinct varieties are carefully preserved here and ...
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Plazuela España

This square is a tribute to the historical, social and cultural bonds that exist between Spain and Guatemala. The main attraction is the central fountain dedicated to King Charles III, who ...
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Avenida La Reforma

Built in 1897, Avenida La Reforma was inspired by the Champs Elysees in Paris, with Guatemala City’s upper classes in mind. It is currently the main access point for zones 9, 10, 13 and 14, and ...
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Zona Viva

Zona Viva is located mainly in Zone 10 but also includes parts of surrounding zones 9, 13 and 14. The area is popular with tourists due to a wide range of restaurants, services and night clubs, ...
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Museo Ixchel

This private museum focuses on one particular aspect of Mayan culture; traditional dress. The museum charters Guatemala’s infamous textile history as reflected in the various traditional costumes ...
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