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Guatemala Cruises

Cruising in Guatemala

Cruise ships visiting Guatemala come in to Puerto Quetzal on the Pacific coast. This is the country’s largest port, although it is less a destination than a gateway to exploring this beautiful and fascination country. This stretch of coast has always been popular among families coming on holiday from Guatemala City, with its long stretches of virtually unbroken sandy beaches. It has also become popular for deep sea sport fishing. To taste the thrill of going after marlin or yellowfin tuna, take a taxi from Puerto Quetzal about eight miles east to Iztapa, which draws sport fishermen from around the world. Here you can join a day’s excursion for a fishing trip to remember.

This is the land of the Maya. There are many ancient Mayan ruins to visit throughout Guatemala, in particular the great city of Tikal, whose pyramid temples, palaces, public squares and private dwellings are among the best preserved of all Mayan sites. Tikal can be explored by joining a one-day tour—about an eight hour road trip from Puerto Quetzal deep in the rainforest, in what is now the Tikal National Park, one of the largest unspoiled areas of natural habitat in Central America.

Only an hour’s bus ride inland north of Puerto Quetzal brings you to La Antigua in Guatemala’s Central Highlands. The town is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, famous for its Spanish Baroque architecture and ruined colonial churches, which were destroyed by earthquakes in the 18th century. What remains is an impressively reconstructed city dotted with ancient ruins and dominated by the Cathedral San José, which was also destroyed by the earthquakes but has been party rebuilt around its façade, which remained mostly intact. The landscape surrounding the town is dominated by three active volcanoes.

La Antigua is also famous for its colourful religious celebrations held between Lent and Easter. Each Sunday one of the town’s parishes sponsors a procession, and elaborate carpets made of pine needles, flowers, dyed sawdust, fruits and vegetables decorate their route. Even when there are no celebrations, the streets are a feast for the eye with the heavily embroidered and brightly coloured traditional dress commonly worn by both men and women.

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Cruise lines that visit Guatemala

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