La Aurora International Airport

The Guatemala City Airport’s official name is La Aurora International Airport. It serves Guatemala City, Guatemala. The Guatemala City airport flies to the United States, Mexico, Cuba, Spain, Central America as well as domestic connections around Guatemala.The international airport code for the Guatemala City airport is GUA. 


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Sports and Recreation

Football (soccer) is Guatemala’s most popular sport. The national team competes internationally, and Guatemalan players figure prominently in clubs in other national leagues, especially those of Mexico and Uruguay. 


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Guatemalan Festivals and Events

January 1: Año Nuevo (New Year’s Day)

January 15: Pilgrimage observed by thousands to the Basilica of the Black Christ at Esquipulas. This event culminates on the 15th after a week long festival.

February 2,4: Coffee Harvest Celebration - Taking place in the Fraijanes, this town comes alive with the arrival of the coffee harvest. On February 2nd, the town celbrates the Virgen de Candelaria, while February 4th is the celebration of El Sagrado Corazón de Jesus. There are many processions with lots of great food music and dance.

March: Pilgrimage to Chajul in the Ixil Triangle on the second Friday in Lent

March/April: Semana Santa (Holy Week, Easter) - Most colorful celebrations are found in the capital and in Antigua, though celebrations exist throughout the country. The celebrations are a mix of Mayan and Christian traditions and include processions through the streets on rugs made of dyed sawdust especially for the occasion.

May 1: Día del Trabajo (Labor Day) - The largest celebration is in Guatemala City, but there are many parties and parades all around the country.

June 30: Día del Ejército (Army Day)

July (Late): Cobán Folkloric Festival - Celebrated in Cobis, this is one of the most impressive cultural festivals in Guatemala. It showcases the Indian traditions that have existed for thousands of years and includes much music and dance.

August 15: Día de la Asunción - Patrona de Guatemala (Day of the Assumption) - Large fiesta and feast in Joyabaj with ceremonies such as the famous palo volador with men swinging upside down attached to a pole.

September 15: Día de la Independencia (Independence Day)

October 12: Columbus Day

October 20: Conmemoración de la Revolución de 1944 - One place to celebrate this event is Guatemala City where thousands take to the streets near Plaza Mayor. You’ll find lots of music, dance, fireworks, and noise.

November 1-2: Día de Todos los Santos (All Saints Day) and Día de Los Mertos (Day of the Dead) - Wild horse race involving much alcohol in Todos Santos Cuchumatán. Flying of giant kites in Santiago Sacatepéquez and Comalapa. Also enjoy the famous Fiambre, a Guatemalan dish eaten only during these two days of the year.

December 7: Burning of the Devil - All over the country Guatemalans take everything burnable, such as waste paper, old household items, etc., outside of their houses and set it afire to cleanse their households for the holy weeks to come.

December 13-21: Tribute to Santo Tomás - Centered around the famous church in Chichicastenango, this celebration mixes Christian and native traditions with an abundance of food, music, and dance. Its culmination is on the 21st with firecrackers and people swinging from a rope around a central pole, known as palo volador.

December 25: Navidad (Christmas)

December 31: Fin del Año (New Year’s Eve) - Guatemala City’s Plaza Mayor is the hotspot for this night of celebration!
Date Uncertain: Mayan New Year Celebration - Because the Mayan calendar has 260 days, the date of their new year changes every year. This is when Mayans celebrate life and renewal in many sacred sites around the country.


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Guatemalan Cuisine

Guatemala food and drink is primarily influenced by the country’s Mayan and Spanish cultures. Nowadays, international influences are found in Guatemala food as well, such as Chinese, American, and the vegetarian movement.

Breakfast in Guatemala:

Guatemala breakfasts are simple, typically including an assortment of eggs, tortillas, beans and plantains. Many breakfasts in Guatemala take advantage of the country’s abundant tropical fruits, like bananas, papaya, mangoes, and avocado. And of course, no Guatemala breakfast is complete without a mug of world-class Guatemalan coffee.

Guatemala Meals:

Corn, beans, rice, cheese and tortillas form the backbone of most Guatemalan meals. Meat stews (caldos) and soups (sopas) are also popular dishes. If you order roast chicken, don’t be startled if your Guatemala meal comes with the feet still attached (rare, but not unknown).

Many meals in Guatemalan have similarities to those of Mexico, Guatemala’s neighbor to the north. Guatemala food such as nachos, tamales and enchiladas are just as delicious as you’ll find in your favorite Mexican restaurant – and much cheaper. Chinese food restaurants and fried chicken stands are also quite common in Guatemala cities.

Other Guatemala meals:

Chiles rellenos: Chile peppers stuffed with rice, cheese, meat and vegetables.

Chicken Pepian: Chicken in spicy pumpkin and sesame sauce.

Kak’ik: A traditional Mayan turkey soup, with spices like coriander, achiote, and chile peppers. A must-try.

Snacks & Sides in Guatemala:

Guacamole: Mashed avocados, mixed with lemon or lime juice and diced veggies like onion, tomato and garlic. Serves with chips, or as a topping to other Guatemalan foods.

Spiced mango: Sliced green mango, seasoned with chili and lime. Sold from street carts.

Tortillas: Thin, flat corn cakes, a staple in Guatemala food. As cheap as five cents on the street.

Nachos: They include toppings like cheese, refried beans, avocado and peppers, and almost always include fresh hot chips. Delicious!

Elotes: Roast ears of corn with cheese, lime, chili and butter or mayonnaise.

Guatemala Desserts:

Tres Leches Cake (Pasel de Tres Leches): A cake soaked in three kinds of milk, including evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and cream.

Flan: A wobbly, golden-colored caramel custard.

Guatemala Drinks: Guatemala’s national beer is Gallo — gallo means rooster, and you’ll see the beer’s rooster-head logo advertised all over Guatemala. Other Guatemala beers include Dorada, Sol and Victoria. Guaro liquor is also popular.

Whether or not you indulge in alcoholic beverages, you can’t leave Guatemala without trying a limonada con soda: fresh-squeezed lemonade made fizzy with soda water. Licuados (fruit shakes) are also delicious. You can order them with water or milk (leche). In Guatemala, the latter is safer, unless you’re certain the restaurant uses purified water. Also avoid ice (hielo) unless it’s purified.

Where to Eat & What You’ll Pay:

Guatemala is once of the most inexpensive Central America countries, and accordingly, Guatemala food is cheap. You’ll only find U.S. prices in the most touristy destinations likeFlores and Antigua Guatemala; and even there, less pricey options are broad.

International restaurants, cafes and coffee shops are common in well-trod areas. However, local eateries and street vendors are the best places to try authentic Guatemala food (and less authentic, like fried chicken and french fries). Just remember the traveler’s mantra: wash it, peel it, cook it or forget it.


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The Marimba Music of Guatemala

In Guatemala, marimba music can be seen and heard everywhere, even in the remotest corners of the country. The marimba is, in fact, the national instrument of Guatemala, and has been an important part of holiday celebrations for hundreds of years. The earliest version of the instrument was probably the arch marimba, which came from West Africa. Afro-Caribbean slaves could have introduced this marimba to Guatemala as early as 1550. This primitave instrument played a simple pentatonic or diatonic scale and had a range of less than two ocataves.


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Guatemalan Clothing

Traditional clothing for women includes a handwoven huipil (blouse), a corte (skirt) made of a piece of cloth 7-10 yards long and wrapped around the body, a tocoyal (head-covering, often very elaborate), and a faja (sash) which is placed around the waste in folds, so as to make pockets. Women usually carry a tzut, or sort of all-purpose cloth, which I have seen used as a pad for the head (when carrying loads on top of their heads) or as a baby sling.

Men wear calzones (trousers) and leather sandles, as well as a woven shirt and sometimes a straw hat.

Each community of Mayan people is said to have their own special weave that is used to identify them. There were perhaps 500 different clothings.


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Guatemalan Culture

Guatemala Culture is the reflection of the Mayan and Spanish influences and the contrast is displayed well between the poor Mayan villagers in the rural areas wheres the wealthy mestizos population resides in the cities and the agricultural plains and Guatemala is located in the most western of the Central American states. The advent of the Spanish had influenced the culture of Guatemala and the power went to the foreigners and their mixed race descendants the “ladino” was now the powerful inhibitors of Guatemala.Guatemala Culture is also seen in the architectural attributes and many Mayan ruins and colonial buildings are the living examples of this.


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Major Ethnic Groups

60% Mestizos (mixed European and Amerindian), 39% Amerindians, 1% other.


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