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Ciudad de Guatemala holds many sights, sounds, and wonders. The following are the five most visited sights in the area.
Centro Cultural La Azotea
A 3-museum complex is featured at La Azotea. It is located just outside Jocotenanga, a sprawling coffee plantation at which you can enjoy a variety of tropical plants in botanical gardens and nature trails. There are Maya instruments, local crafts, and quality coffee available at the shop. The process of coffee cultivation and its history is covered nicely by the Museo Del Café. Traditional Maya artifacts such as paintings, masks, and musical instruments are housed at the Casa K’ojom. Antigua valley’s crafts and multicolored outfits are featured at Rincon de Sacatepequez.
El Naranjo, Nakum, and Yaxha’ are all classic Maya sites. Together they form a triangle that covers 37,000 hectares and is the basis for a national park. Of the three in the triangle, Yaxha’ is the most popular and is located between two impressive lakes – Lago Sacnab and Lago Yaxha. What makes this area particularly worth visiting is the abundant jungle fauna and flora, the number of superbly restored buildings, and the site’s sheer size.
Of all the Maya sites, El Mirador contains the biggest cluster of buildings. Just 7 kilometers south of the border of Mexico, it is buried within the Petén jungle’s furthest reaches. In addition to the biggest cluster of buildings, it also contains the Maya world’s biggest pyramid ever built. The surface here has only been scratched by ongoing excavations due to the vast number of historical sites still lurking beneath the jungle. Here, the incredible view of the pyramids is unsurpassed. At one time, it is thought that tens of thousands of citizens were spread out over an area measuring 16 square kilometers.
Another archaeological site, this is one of Mya’s most sacred sites. To this day, customarily reenacted, contemporary rituals still take place. Though limited restoration has been done, 12 groups of more than 80 large structures have been identified by archaeologists. The setting for these ruins is fine indeed, surrounded by ravines and tall evergreens. It can get dark with all of those evergreens, so bring a flashlight. Upon visiting, you will be helpfully orientated by the museum at the entrance. One area that has been extensively restored is an L-shaped ball court alongside the central plaza.
Reserva Natural Atitlan
This is the top tourist site of the area. Taken over by natural vegetation, it was once a coffee plantation. It lies on the northern outskirts of town, past the Hotel Atitlan. Whether on bicycle or by foot, it makes an excellent outing. It only takes about one hour to stroll leisurely along the main trail which leads to a waterfall, up over swing bridges. Later on, to view local spider monkeys, you simply stroll further down to a platform. In addition to spider monkeys, don’t be surprised to see a relative of the raccoon – coatis (pisotes) – creatures with furry tales, standing upright, with long snouts. There is also an herb garden and impressive butterfly enclosure.
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