El Mirador

This place called El Mirador is a wonderful place stuck in the middle of the jungle in the northern part of Guatemala. Stuck in the upper north regions of the Petén department of Guatemala, near the border of Mexico, rests the ruins that some scholars believe to be the original "cradle of Mayan civilization". El Mirador is an expansive pre-Classic Mayan city that until 1926, remained unknown.It is truly a jewel in the jungle in an area called the "Mayan Biosphere Reserve". The Guatemala section of the Maya Forest forms the six million acre Maya Biosphere Reserve and is the largest protected area within the Maya Forest. In fact, it contains over ten percent of Guatemala's total land area. The Guatemalan government and UNESCO established the Maya Biosphere Reserve in 1990 to safeguard the region’s outstanding biological and cultural diversity. Within the internationally recognized World Biosphere Reserve are eight core protected areas, including the famous Tikal National Park which was declared a Natural and Cultural World Heritage site in 1979. 

The Mirador ruins are very valuable and interesting because the city of EL Mirador was the oldest and the biggest Mayan city of the whole Mayan empire. El Mirador is the largest known site of the preclassic era. Dating from 300 BC to 200 AD this city is one of the most important and monumental sites ever build in mayan history. The largest architectural works of the entire pre-classic period are found here. The biggest temple at the site ¨La Danta¨ is one of the worlds biggest temples and only it`s base is measured at 600 meters wide.

El Mirador is over 2,000 years old and it is believed that it thrived between 150 B.C. and 150 A.D. Believed to have been a major Mayan trade center with an impressive "urban" configuration, it is larger in size than other sites in the surrounding area. Together with the Mayan ruins at Tikal, El Mirador is one of the best examples of the accomplishments of the once great Mayan civilization. Civic buildings and complexes constructed for religious purposes comprise the center of this ancient city, and besides being a trading center, it is also believed that El Mirador was also a strong political and economic power in its time. The two main structures at El Mirador are the large "El Tigre" complex and the "La Danta" complex. El Tigre rises to about 180 feet tall, while La Danta tops out at around 230 feet high, making it one of the loftiest of all Mayan civilization structures. El Tigre's base alone spreads over 14 acres, while the base of La Danta comprises an area the size of around 35 football fields.  

Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo

Pico De Gallo also called salsa fresca, is a fresh, uncooked condiment made from chopped tomato, onion, and sometimes chili’s.

Like any recipe using raw ingredients, care should be taken in the preparation and storage of salsa, since many raw-served varieties can act as a growth medium for potentially dangerous bacteria, especially when un-refrigerated.

Pico De Gallo Recipe

 6 medium Tomatoes diced
1 medium Onion diced
1/4 cup fresh Cilantro chopped.
2 to 4 Fresh serrano or jalapeño seeded and minced
 garlic powder just a pinch * Salt to taste
Put all ingredients in a bowl add 1/2 cup of cold water, mix well. Let set a few minutes. You will find a lot of recipes in this site, where we can use the pico de gallo for cooking and a garnish.


3 large tomatoes or 6 Roma tomatoes
2 large white onions
1 bunch green onions
1 bunch cilantro
2 Serrano peppers
2 to 3 lemons or limes (whichever is your preference)

Cut tomatoes and white onion into the smallest pieces possible (or chop in the Cuisinart). Chop green onion and cilantro. Cut peppers as small as possible but make sure to taste after adding to mix for heat factor. Juice lemons (or limes) and pour into bowl with rest of mixture. Add a generous helping of salt and pepper, then taste.
Let sit for 4 to 5 hours in refrigerator to marinate.


• 1 large tomato, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped
• 1 white onion, coarsely chopped
• 2 limes, juiced
• 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix ingredients together and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Tres Leches Cake

Tres Leches Cake

Tres Leches cake is popular in Latin America and gaining popularity in the US. The origins of the tres leches are disputed, and are usually attributed to Mexico or Ecuador, the two places where it appeared earliest. Mexico does, however, appear to have had recipes very similar to that of the tres leches, which probably led to the now famous dessert being created there, which then possibly migrated to Nicaragua.

A Tres leches cake, or Pastel de Tres leches (Spanish, "Three milk cake"), is a sponge cake,-in some recipes, a butter cake-soaked in three kinds of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and either whole milk or cream. When butter is not used, the tres leches is a very light cake, with many air bubbles. This distinct texture is why it does not have a soggy consistency, despite being soaked in a mixture of three types of milk.

Following the same recipe for the cake, but soaking it in a mixture of water, rum or brandy, and sugar, it is called "pastel borracho" (drunken cake). It is popular throughout Central America in this form.

In the Caribbean, cream of coconut is occasionally used instead of condensed milk. As in the pastel borracho, rum is sometimes added.

In addition, fruit or nuts are added in some recipes, as well as many other kinds of alcohol. Cherries are most commonly used as decoration, but other fruits or berries are sometimes used instead.

At some restaurants in Texas and Florida, the addition of cajeta creates what is known as a cuatro leches cake.

Tres Leches Cake   

By Ingrid Hoffman From the Food Network


  • 1 pound cake, loaf-style
  • 6 ounces evaporated milk
  • 8 ounces heavy whipping cream
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Chocolate covered candies, all in 1 color (recommended: M&M's)
  • 1/2 cup crushed skittles


With a fork, punch some holes in the cake still in its loaf pan.

In a medium saucepan, mix the 3 milks and heat over low heat. When the milk mixture is hot, remove it from the stove.

Pour the milk mixture slowly over the cake, being sure to fill all the holes. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Whip the heavy cream slowly adding sugar until soft peaks form. When the cake chilled, cover the cake with whipped cream. Using the chocolate covered candies and skittles, craft out a design of your own.

 For some wonderful information and recipes for Tres Leches check out my Squidoo Page for Tres Leches

Forgotten Promises Leave Indigenous Peoples Poorer and Hungrier - IPS ipsnews.net

Forgotten Promises Leave Indigenous Peoples Poorer and Hungrier
By Danilo Valladares

GUATEMALA CITY, Dec 12, 2010 (IPS) - Nearly three years into President Álvaro Colom's four-year term, Guatemala's indigenous people have seen little improvement in their lives -- and they represent approximately half the country's population.

"The situation of the native peoples may be even worse than before. Poverty has increased, the quality of education is very poor, and there is no intercultural perspective in health services," Eduardo Sacayón, director of the Interethnic Studies Institute at Guatemala's University of San Carlos, told IPS.

The social-democratic President Colom promised when he was sworn in, Jan. 14, 2008, that he would govern "with a Maya face," in favour of the poor and excluded. "Today is the beginning of privileges for the poor, today is the beginning of privileges for those without opportunities," he said at the time.

But Sacayón says the reality is quite different: "It is a structural and historic issue of always seeing what is indigenous as something that is not worth the effort, that has no value, or is a burden to the country."

According to official statistics, 40 percent of the Guatemalan population is indigenous, and include Maya, Garífuna and Xinca peoples. Though they themselves claim that more than 60 percent of Guatemala's 14 million inhabitants are indigenous......

GUATEMALA: Forgotten Promises Leave Indigenous Peoples Poorer and Hungrier - IPS ipsnews.net

Guatemala jailbreak: Prisoner freed by armed gang

Malacatan, Guatemala 

Gunmen in Guatemala have stormed a prison near the Mexican border and freed a suspected murderer. 

About 20 men with assault rifles and grenade-launchers attacked the jail in the town of Malacatan and then escaped in a convoy of vehicles pursued by the Guatemalan army and police.
A police officer and a passer-by were killed in the gun battle, police said.
The prisoner who escaped was accused of the kidnap and murder of a local footballer last month.
There was an intense firefight in the streets of Malacatan as the security forces tried to stop the raiders from getting away. As well as the two fatalities, four soldiers and several bystanders were wounded, police said.
Roadblocks have been set up and a helicopter has been searching the area in San Marcos Province in western Guatemala.
Dismembered The rescued prisoner, Elmer Aroldo Zelada Galdamez, was arrested last week for alleged involvement in the kidnap and murder last month of footballer Carlos Mercedes Vasquez, who played for the local first division team Malacatecos.
The football star's dismembered body was found 28 November, dumped in five plastic bags with a note accusing him of "messing with the women of others".
Mr Zelada is also suspected of involvement in several other murders.
Guatemala has one of the highest murder rates in the world, with many of the killings blamed on organized criminal gangs that have links to Mexico's violent drugs cartels.

Guatemala oil exploration

GUATEMALA CITY Dec 1 (Reuters) - Guatemala on Wednesday began seeking bids from foreign oil companies interested in exploring four possible oil patches in the northern part of the country.
Guatemala published the details of the tender rules on Wednesday in the official gazette but did not speculate about what kind of reserves might be found in the areas up for bid.


Guatemala HIV

MEXICO CITY, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Guatemala's HIV infection rate is 0.8 percent of the population, and the country has seen 10,900 new HIV infections in the last four years, a senior Health Ministry official said Wednesday.

A total of 22,260 HIV infections have been registered since the first case was detected in 1984, and more than half have been contracted since 2006, Claudia Samayoa, coordinator of the Guatemalan Health Ministry's national AIDS program, said after Guatemala signed an agreement to receive 4 million U.S. dollars in anti-HIV assistance from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

About 95 percent of the cases were sexually transmitted, and among high risk groups such as homosexuals and sex workers, infection rates were closer to 5 percent, Samayoa told reporters at the signing ceremony, one of the nation's events to mark International AIDS Day.

USAID project officer Lucrecia Castillo noted that some of the increase comes from better testing, as in the past, many people did not know they were infected.

Castillo warned that homophobia is an obstacle in fighting the spread of the disease, as "communities that identify as homosexual are being reached, but not those who do not wish to be identified."
The United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS says that Belize has the highest HIV prevalence rate in Central America, at 2.3 percent. Panama is in second place with 0.9 percent, and Guatemala and El Salvador are tied for third place with 0.8 percent.