Guatemala the Land of Eternal Spring
CLIMATE: Guatemala is known as the land of eternal spring for its wonderful climate suitable for travel year round. The climate primarily varies according to elevation.
- Conditions on the Pacific coast are similar in terms of the dry and wet seasons, but rainfall is heavier and there is little relief from the high temperatures at night.
- The northern part of the country is a lowland rain forest, an area of typical hot and humid, tropical climate with rain all the year round
- Guatemala City and Antigua are located in a mountainous part of the country with a very pleasant climate. The rainy season begins around mid-May and lasts until November. On a typical day, there is sunshine in the morning before the clouds begin to appear in the afternoon and it rains for an hour or two. A typical month during the dry season has about three of four rainy days, particularly at the beginning of the dry season. Towards the end of the dry season, in early May, rain showers are few and far between and you may well spend several weeks in Guatemala without seeing a single drop of rain. In December and January, the temperature can drop below zero during the nights.
- The local currency is the quetzal, named after the country’s national bird. For US$10 , you will receive approximately Q75. You can purchase an economical lunch and a bed in a dorm for a night in Antigua.
- Many restaurants, markets, and other service providers will also accept small denominations of US dollars, usually with a low exchange rate and they will generally give you change in quetzal.
- Credit cards are accepted mostly in the larger restaurants and stores. Although it is helpful to bring a credit card along for emergencies, don’t count on using it for most purchases.
- La Unión will gladly accept traveler’s checks. However, few banks in Guatemala will accept traveler’s checks and many people have said they are more trouble than they are worth.
- Don’t change your money at the airport because they don’t offer a favorable exchange rate. Plan ahead or wait to change it in a bank in Antigua.
GENERAL INFORMATIONS ABOUT ANTIGUA:
- Located 45 Km from Guatemala City, in the department of Sacatepéquez.
- Altitud: 1530 m. above the sea.
- Population: 35000 inhabitants.
- Languages: Spanish and 22 natives languages such as kaqchikel, q’eqchi y k’iche’.
- From Antigua you can see 3 volcanoes: El volcán de Agua (“of water”), de “Acatenango” and de “Fuego” (fire). “Fuego” is one of the four active volcanoes remaining in Guatemala, which has 33 volcanos in total.
- Antigua was the third capital of Guatemala, but was destroyed around the year 1800 by the “Santa Marta” earthquake, after which the capital was moved to its current location.
- Antigua is characterized as Colonial with its cobblestone streets, his 19 churches (7 of which are in ruins), museums, a Central Park and many more.