Located between Mexico and El Salvador in Central America, Guatemala is a country that is quickly becoming one of the most popular destinations for those looking for good weather and an interesting culture to explore. The country has an interesting blend of colonial history laid down by the Spanish conquerors when they arrived in Guatemala, and also a much longer history of Pre-Columbian civilisation. From sun-kissed beaches on the beautiful coastline to the ruined Mayan temples deep in the jungles, Guatemala is a country that has a lot to offer those who are thinking of taking a break away from the cold winters of the Northern Hemisphere.

The climate of Guatemala

The climate in Guatemala is one that is generally tropical, although it is worth noting that the temperatures on both the Pacific and the Caribbean coast are generally hotter than the interior of the country, where the altitude of the mountains does tend to cool the atmosphere. The Pacific Coast is a particularly popular area during the winter because it rains very infrequently between December and March, and the average temperatures are around ninety degrees Fahrenheit. The Caribbean coast is generally slightly cooler than the Pacific Coast, and will usually experience some rain on around five days per month between December and March.

Sunset (Credit: _fidelio_, Flikr)
Sunset (Credit: fidelio, Flikr)

The cultural heritage of Guatemala

Some of the most popular attractions in Guatemala are located in the highland areas of the country, and winter is a great time to visit as rain is at a minimum and the temperatures are still very pleasant. Those who visit the city of Flores in the north of the country will be able to visit the impressive Mayan ruins of Tikal, which would have been one of the most important Mayan cities during the height of the Mayan civilization. The spectacular Jaguar Temple is situated on a plinth on top of an impressive pyramid at the heart of the city, while it is still an active archeological site where visitors can still see the history of the site being painstakingly restored.

Those willing to venture further into the remote areas of the country will be rewarded with remarkable Mayan sites that are peaceful and almost untouched by tourism. Aguateca is another impressive Mayan city located on a limestone bluff offering excellent views of the surrounding countries along with the impressive ruins of a developed city, while El Mirador in the north of the country has some spectacular ruins and a large Mayan pyramid.

The best beaches in Guatemala

The beaches of Guatemala are generally much quieter than some of the big beaches in other countries, with most international visitors coming to explore the historic sights in the interior of the country. Surfing is a popular sport on many beaches throughout the year, and one of the most popular spots for those travelling from Guatemala City is Monterrico, a beautiful black sand beach fringed with palm trees. Another nearby beach is Puerto San Jose which also offers some wonderful fishing off the coast. For those wanting to explore the Caribbean coast of Guatemala, Livingston is a popular place to visit, while the larger Puerto Barrios is within easy reach of some attractive beaches.

Off the beach in Guatemala (Credit: steve conry, Flikr)
Off the beach in Guatemala (Credit: steve conry, Flikr)