Mayan Children

Mayan Children

Here are a few photo's that are hard to come by and you will probably not see on many blogs. One of the reasons is that these photo's were taken in the highlands of Guatemala. Not many people travel to these places to visit with or offer humanitarian help to these people. We are talking about the Mayan farmers in the Chimaltenango department of Guatemala, most of these pictures were taken in Chuchucá a small little village outside of Patzun.

Map of Chuchuca
This photo I love. the vibrant colors of the huipil on the women and 
children which are all handmade. As you can see in the background
farming is what keeps these people alive.

.No body is afraid of a camera at this age. These children seem so
happy and they just love getting their picture taken. Again see all the 
hard work this little girls mother went through to make this huipil.

Look at these big bright eyes on this innocent little girl. We were sitting
in a daily church service when I got this picture. 

This poor little Mayan girl was tired and just wanted to go home 
and go to sleep. Again this photo was taken at a church service 
in Chuchuca.

Guatemala Tamales

Now this is not a picture that you will see in most sites from Guatemala. This was taken in the highlands of Guatemala, not many travel to these high remote villages like I do. I love going up and visiting the people that live in these areas of the country. When I take teams up to do humanitarian work in these villages we are always welcomed to a delicious meal. Every time we are greeted with home made tamales. Tamales can be plain or filled with vegetables, cheese, chilies or meats; chicken and pork are the most common. Most of the time these tamales are made of masa (corn dough) and wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. Most of the time tamales are served to us with either Guatemala Pepián or Subanik.  These two dishes are very special to the Mayans that live in the highland areas of the country. Another traditions that you do not see on other web sites or blogs is the laying on pine needles on the mud floors for their guest. This is very special and means a lot to the locals. You see in these areas of the country the local villagers do not have cement floors and most of the homes are made of mud. So when guest come it is tradition to pick bushels of fresh green pine needles and lay them on the floor like carpet. This also brings a fresh aroma to the room.

4th Avenida Sur

This here is a vary familiar scene in Guatemala. This is a very popular color also. I have spent much time painting this color on the schools and churches that I have worked on. Sometimes I wonder if this is the only color this country knows. But just take a look around and yes this is a color used frequently but there is a such a vast color pallet used in Guatemala. 

This picture was taken about a block from Parque Central in Antigua Guatemala.

Related Blog Parque Central


Today we are going to look again at a blog page that I had done several months back on the Quetzal. The Quetzal stands not only for the beautiful bird of Central America but it also stands for the money in Guatemala.
The quetzal was introduced in 1925 during the term of President José María Orellana, whose image appears on the obverse of the one-quetzal bill. It replaced the peso. 
Today the exchange rate for teh Quetzal is:
Monday, January 24, 2011
1 US Dollar = 7.95600 Guatemalan Quetzal
1 Guatemalan Quetzal (GTQ) = 0.12569 US Dollar (USD)

The National Bird for Guatemala is also the Quetzal. This beautiful bird is also on the currency for the country of Guatemala.Unfortunately, these striking birds are threatened in Guatemala and elsewhere throughout their range. They are sometimes trapped for captivity or killed, but their primary threat is the disappearance of their tropical forest homes. In some areas, most notably Costa Rica's cloud forests, protected lands preserve habitat for the birds and provide opportunities for ecotourists and eager bird watchers from around the globe.

Today the Quetzal has become the nation symbol of Guatemala. Images of the Quetzal are everywhere, including the basic unit of currency. None the less, as a result of habitat degradation Quetzals themselves are becoming increasingly scarce. The Quetzal resides within the misty depths of high altitude cloud forest and is known to shy away from the prying presence of visitors.

Subanik, Guatemalan Stew

Subanik Stew

Subanik Stew a beef, pork and chicken dish that has been vapor-cooked with a spicy sauce,  is traditional Kaqchiquel Mayan Indian ceremonial dish. This is a great dish that I just love to eat when I am in Guatemala. This dish is favorite around the time of Semana Santa or Holy Week. Farther down this post I will share one of the recipes that I came across while researching this meal to share. I personally have had this Kaqchiquel ceremonial dish several times on my trips to Guatemala. There are many ways to prepare this dish but for some reason it always taste the same to me. Subanik stew is just one of many variates of stews prepared in Guatemala. This recipe I am sharing is done in English so people in the U.S. can try and make it for themselves.


Serve with white rice or tamales.
8 servings
For the sauce
  • 5 medium red bell peppers, cut in half from top to bottom, then stemmed and seeded
  • 12 roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 white onion, cut into quarters
  • 5 tomatillos, husks removed
  • 1 dried ancho chili pepper, washed inside and out, seeds and stem removed
  • 1 dried red chili pepper, such as chili de arbol
  • 1 to 2 Thai red chili peppers
For the beef and chicken
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup water, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed of excess fat, then cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
For assembly
  • 6 to 8 banana or plantain leaves, for presentation (optional)


For the sauce: Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Place the red bell peppers on a baking sheet (no foil or oil); roast for 20 to 25 minutes, turning them once or twice, until their skins are blistered with black spots all around.

Lightly grease a separate baking sheet, preferably nonstick, with nonstick cooking oil spray. Place the tomatoes and onion cut side down on the sheet, along with the whole tomatillos, dried chili peppers and Thai red chili pepper(s). Roast for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are quite tender, with blistered skins.
(Alternatively, the vegetables can be roasted on a hot griddle.)

Working in several batches, transfer the roasted peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, onion and Thai red chili pepper(s) to a blender; pulse for 1 to 2 minutes for each batch, until a fairly smooth sauce forms. (Do not use a food processor, which can overprocess the mixture). Break off pieces of the dried chili peppers and add them through the top of the blender while the motor is running. Stop to taste, and add more of the dried chili peppers to achieve the desired level of spiciness.

Meanwhile, cook the beef and chicken: Have a large bowl ready.

Heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers.

Working in 2 batches, add the beef and start to brown it; season each batch with about 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste. Sear the meat for about 2 minutes; it will not be cooked through. Use a slotted spatula to transfer the meat to the bowl as you work.

Add the water to deglaze the skillet, using a spatula to scrape up the browned bits, then pour the contents of the skillet over the meat.

Use paper towels to lightly wipe out the skillet, then return it to medium-high heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil. When it is hot enough to shimmer, add the chicken in 2 batches, seasoning each with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Sear for about 1 minute on one side, then turn the chicken over and sear for about 1 minute; the chicken will not be cooked through. Use a slotted spatula to transfer the chicken to the bowl with the beef as you work.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium to medium-low heat. Add the bay leaves and thyme; cook, stirring, for about 1 minute, to flavor the oil. Add the pureed sauce, then the sugar, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt and black pepper to taste; cook for 2 minutes, stirring once or twice, then discard the bay leaves and thyme.

Add the beef and chicken. Increase the heat to medium or medium-high to slowly bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have blended and the beef and chicken are quite tender.

To assemble: When ready to serve, line a large serving dish with the banana or plantain leaves. Transfer the subanik from the Dutch oven to the dish and place at the table. (At this point, subanik cooked the traditional way, in a bundle of mashan leaves, is brought to the table in the pot, untied and served.)

Ladle the subanik from the dish into individual bowls, making sure to include equal amounts of chicken and beef. Serve hot.

Recipe Source:

Adapted from a recipe of the Antigua Cooking School in Antigua, Guatemala.


Guatemala Pepián

Having spent time in the Guatmemala highlands and staying with many Mayan people I have had the opportunity to enjoy one of the most famous dishes in Guatemala called Pepián. Pepián has been a traditional meal for many many years in this extreme poor country. Pepián is served like a American tradtional Thanks Giving meal here in the U.S.

No one  should come to Guatemala without trying Pepián, one of its most typical dishes.I have had the opportunity to savor many of the ways that Pepián is cooked while being in the highlands. The most economical method of preparing Pepián is by using Chicken and beans or guisquil and served with a side of rice.

In the highlands Pepián is prepared in a large pot filled with water and brought to a boil over a open fire. Cut up chicken and the vegetables are then put in the pot and left to boil (cook) for hours. After it has cooked for many hours on a roaring fire then it is served like a stew along with homemade tamalitos. Another Guatemala specialty.

RECIPE for Guatemala Pepián using pork and beef

  • 3 pounds of tomatoes
  • 8 red bell peppers
  • 1 pound green beans
  • güisquil (chayote)
  • 4 chiles
  • 8 chiles
  • 2 onions
  • 1 garlic
  • 4 ounces squash seeds
  • 4 ounces sesame seeds
  • 1 pound ribs
  • 3 pounds pork leg, ham, and beef fillet
  • 2 pounds of potatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 pounds of rice
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 6 tortillas burnt
  1. Cut potatoes, carrots, green beans, and güisquil
  2. Cook the meats in a clay pot with a little water, 1 quartered onion, 4 cloves of garlic. Let simmer until the water is reduced by half. Add carrots, potatoes, green beans, and güisquil
  3. Grill tomatoes, peppers, remaining garlic, onion, chile , squash seeds, sesame seeds, and tortillas until burnt. Blend ingredients and add to pot and simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  4. Cook white rice. Serve pepian with white rice and tamalitos.

Former Guatemalan President Portillo on Trial

Former Guatemalan President Portillo on Trial

Guatemala - Former Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo is due in court Wednesday to face charges for embezzling millions of dollars in public funds during his 2000-2004 mandate.

He is accused of having transferred some 120 million quetzales (about 15 million USD) from the Defense Ministry to personal bank accounts and those of close relatives.

This is a historic case in Guatemala, as he is the only former president who has ever been arrested and charged.

When his term was over, Portillo fled to Mexico, where he spent four years until he was extradited to Guatemala.

Upon his arrival in Guatemala in 2008, he paid a high fine and avoided jail. He remained free until January 2010, when a U.S. court sent an extradition request on charges that Portillo laundered at least 70 million USD from public coffers.

After going missing for a few days, he was arrested at a tourist resort in northwest Guatemala, where he had allegedly planned to flee to Belize.

Guatemala army fighting drugs

Guatemala army no match for Mexican drug gangs 

By Tom Johnson

COBAN, Guatemala (Reuters) - Guatemalan soldiers tasked with sweeping out Mexican drug cartels are finding they are outgunned and ill-equipped, raising fears of a power vacuum in parts of the country even after a 30-day military siege.

Hundreds of troops poured into the remote state of Alta Verapaz last month to attack traffickers, a surprise move by President Alvaro Colom to remobilize the army known for massacring civilians during Guatemala's 1960-1996 civil war.

The 'state of siege' declared by the president ends on Wednesday but soldiers have already begun to return to their barracks and few army patrols are still operating in small towns terrorized by Mexico's feared Zetas drug gang.

As Mexico's escalating drug war spills over into Central America, Guatemala is struggling to block hugely powerful cartels from destabilizing areas of the country, a poor but democratic U.S. trading partner and a major coffee and sugar exporter.

"Organized crime is not just infiltrating us, it pains me to say it but drug traffickers have us cornered," Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom told Congress last week. "Just the weapons seized in Alta Verapaz are more than those of some army brigades."
Before Colom ordered the military operation, the Zetas were operating with impunity in Guatemala, undermining Mexico's battle against drug cartels. Officials worry Central America's weak governments are unable to contain the spreading threat of cartels in the region.

The United States is pumping $1.4 billion into the region to help governments attack drug gangs, but most of the funds are earmarked for Mexico. There, turf wars between gangs and attacks on cartels by the government have killed more than 34,000 people in the four years since President Felipe Calderon launched his own military-backed war on cartels. Less than a fifth of U.S. funds go to Central America and the Caribbean.

Patrolling in Alta Verapaz with armored cars, Guatemalan soldiers have found tortured bodies, luxury cars, assault weapons and an air strip used by drug gangs in the mountainous, coffee-growing state north of the Guatemalan capital.

They arrested at least 22 men accused of working for the Zetas, who officials say are operating in three-quarters of Guatemala's territory, a smuggling corridor for South American cocaine. Criminals have long collaborated with Mexican gangs but during the past few years the cartels have begun to move in more permanently, extorting businesses and corrupting locals.


The army says it made important progress in Alta Verapaz, after dozens of drug-related killings late last year. "But there's still a latent threat," Colonel Marco Tulio Vasquez, head of anti-drug operations in the state, told Reuters in the town of Coban.

While the siege could be extended or troops sent elsewhere, Guatemala's army remains weak and underfunded, limiting its ability to echo Mexico's war on traffickers.
Peace accords in 1996 that ended 36 years of fighting between leftist rebels and government forces ordered the army be slashed in size, dwindling from a 50,000-strong force to just 17,000 soldiers today. Dozens of military bases, including one in Alta Verapaz, were closed.

Soldiers earn as little as $150 a month and are hired on a temporary basis. Troops often switch sides, swayed by high salaries offered by the drug cartels. The Zetas, originally formed by Mexican army deserters, have been known to recruit elite Guatemalan troops known as Kaibils who are trained in jungle warfare and infamous for brutal civil war-era abuses.

The army is more trusted than Guatemala's notoriously corrupt police, but many people are highly suspicious of men in uniform as the military struggles to shake its dark past.
Nearly a quarter of a million people, mostly native Mayans, died during the civil war, and a U.N.-backed Truth Commission report found the army committed 85 percent of the killings.
"The army still provokes bad memories," said Carmen Rosa de Leon, a human rights leader in Guatemala City.

(Writing by Robin Emmott; editing by Mica Rosenberg)
© Copyright 2011, Reuters

WXEL: Guatemala army no match for Mexican drug gangs (2011-01-18)

Cafe Condesa and Tres Leches Desert

If you have ever been to Antigua Guatemala then you probably have had breakfast or lunch at Cafe Condesa. Cafe Condesa does not look like much from the outside but when you walk through the doors it is breath taking. Besides the beauty of this restaurant the food is out of this world also.Every visit to Guatemala I have to come and eat or have desert at the this wonderful place.

The one desert I have to have each time when I dine at Cafe Condesa is their famous Tres Leches. My mouth waters just sitting here in the States thinking about the wonderful deserts that Cafe Condesa offers. But at the top of my list is Pastel Tres Leches. This is of course my favorite desert in the world. There are several variations to this wonderful desert, but I have never found one that I do not like. But the most favorite of mine is the one that is offered at Cafe Condesa.

Pastel Tres Leches
Cafe Condesa exterior

Fountain inside of Cafe Condesa

Inside of one of the halls at Cafe Condesa

For some great information and recipes on Tres Leches Cake check out my Squidoo Page for Tres Leches

For a wonderful recipe for my favorite desert "Tres Leches Cake" 
follow this link to 

Some Faces of Guatemala

Here is some faces from Guatemala. I love taking pictures of children sine they love to see their picture in the camera after you have taken their picture. It is such a thrill to catch one of these children off guard and see their face lite up after you have caught that candid shot.

This picture was taken while working in Chuchuca
This little girl and boy were from the village and I just love 
the colors of the clothes that females wear. This hupil was hand made 
from the mother of this child.

This picture was taken in the park in the center of Antigua 
Guatemala. Shoe shine children are very popular all over Guatemala.
It was hard to get this photo since a lot of these kids do not like getting 
their picture taken.

This photo was taken while attending church outside of Patzun. It took
several attempts to get this picture since she was playing and hiding behind
her mother. Again look at the beautiful colors of hupil.

Guatemalan Vice President Goes to Cuba

Guatemalan Vice President Arrived in Cuba 

Guatemalan Vice President Rafael Espada arrived in Havana Sunday afternoon at the official request of the Cuban government. He was welcomed by Cuban Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Rogelio Sierraat the Jose Marti international airport.
 The Guatemalan vice president extolled the friendship bonds between Cuba and his country and in particular the Cuban solidarity with Guatemala expressed through collaboration programs. He highlihgted the possibility granted to a large number of people from his country to study medicine at the Havana-based Latin American Medical School.
 Espada added that he is interested in learning about Cuban programs for the disabled. He said he hopes his country will benefit from the Cuban experience on the field through projects similar to those implemented by Cuban specialists in Ecuador.
 During his stay in Cuba, Espada will meet with government officials from the health and
sports sectors, as his government is interested in expanding sports collaboration. He will also visit places of economic, historical and cultural interests.


Overlooking Antigua Guatemala

Overlooking Antigua Guatemala

Not to much news to report on from the weekend. I thought I would share a couple pictures overlooking Antigua Guatemala. Antigua being a very city that has so much to offer especially a shutter bug like myself. Over the next several weeks I will be putting on the blog here some of my favorite pictures from Guatemala.

Both these pictures were taken at the same time. 
I was sitting on the Cerro de la Cruz Hill of the cross which is right outside of Antigua. 
I will be sharing more from this location in days and weeks to come.

 Related blog post Santa Clara Arch

Related blog Post Plaza Del Apolstol

Gang's terror felt far from drug war on US border

IXTEPEC, Mexico (AP) — A priest who shelters stranded migrants needs police protection. A chopped-up body turns up with a threatening message. Beheadings are on the rise. The local press is too frightened to write about any of it.

This is not northern Mexico, where drug gangs fight for turf along the U.S. border and the Mexican government wages an open battle against them. This is the south, where the brutal Zetas cartel is quietly spreading a reign of terror virtually unchallenged, all the way to the border with Guatemala — and across it.
Just as they have done in the north, groups claiming to be Zetas have set up criminal networks to control transit routes for drugs, migrants and contraband such as pirated DVDS, intimidating the populace and committing gruesome murders as an example to the uncooperative.

Four years ago they started preying on the south, Mexico's poorest region. They moved into Oaxaca, Chiapas and other southern states and then northern Guatemala, where attacks on townspeople became so commonplace that the government last month sent in 300 troops to regain control of the border province of Alta Verapaz.
In towns on the Oaxacan isthmus and the center of Oaxaca city, the capital, the wealthy as well as street vendors and migrants have been kidnapped and subjected to extortion.
Then last month, the gang blamed for massacring 72 migrants in the summer in the northern state of Tamaulipas became suspects in the disappearance of more than 40 Central American migrants in Oaxaca. The abduction drew international attention when the El Salvadoran foreign ministry reported the crime, but the Mexican government initially denied it happened......


Volcano Triggers Yellow Alert in 3 Guatemalan Departments

Volcano Triggers Yellow Alert in 3 Guatemalan Departments

GUATEMALA -  Three Guatemalan departments are under yellow alert, as a preventive measure in the face of the sustained activity of Fuego Volcano.

Sacatepequez, Chimaltenango, and Escuintla keep a wary eye on the evolution in coming days of the colossal, volcano, 3,763 meters above sea level.

The volcano is being monitored by the National Coordinating Office for Disaster Reduction, and the National Institute of Seismology, Vulcanology, Meteorology, and Hydrology.

The Institute has recently registered weak and moderate explosions, with thick grey ashes spewing forth from the volcano, some as high as 500 to 800 meters.

Such explosions are generating shock waves felt as far as seven kilometres (about 4.3 miles) from the crater, as well as constant moderate avalanches.


Guatemalan firms threaten 6,000 layoffs over wage hike

The organization representing Guatemala's textile and clothing manufacturers said firms plan to lay off 6,000 workers this month in response to the hike in the minimum wage decreed by President Alvaro Colom.
Companies "will reduce their payrolls by 10 percent in the month of January to be able to cover their costs," Vestex chief Carlos Arias told a press conference.

He said the layoffs are a consequence of Colom's decision to increase the daily minimum wage by 96 cents.
Textiles and clothing constitute "the country's most important export sector, which supports some 70,000 families and contributes 6 percent of gross domestic product," Arias said.

To avert layoffs, Vestex asked the president to "gauge the negative consequences" of his decision and "substantially reduce" the wage increase.

As Guatemalan clothing and textile manufacturers are unable to raise prices in the current international environment, "no other alternative is left to our sector than to eliminate jobs to survive in this market," Arias said.
Colom imposed the increase after the National Salary Commission, comprising representatives of the employers, workers and the Labor Ministry, failed to reach agreement on the 2011 minimum wage.

The president said the hike he ordered will allow the earnings of low-paid workers to almost keep pace with inflation, which was 5.39 percent last year.

More than half of Guatemala's 14.4 million people live below the official poverty line and upwards of 2,000 Guatemalan children died last year of causes related to malnutrition.

Read more: Fox News

Antigua Guatemala Parque Central

Antigua Guatemala Parque Central

Come and sit on a quiet bench in Antigua Guatemala Parque Central and take in the sights and sounds of this ancient city in the heart of Central America.

One can sit and listen to a young musician play his favorite instrument or one can sit and enjoy a cup of fresh brewed coffee from one of the wonderful coffee shops that are around the down town square. Some of the best coffee in the world comes from this region.

Or one can have their shoes shined from one of the local youngsters that are out in the parque trying to earn a quetzal for their family. Unfortuentely these young people should be in school but many of them cannot afford to go to school or they may be homeless and they are trying to survive by shining shoes.

Antigua Guatemala Horse and Buggy Rides

 There are many ways to see the beauty of Antigua Guatemala. View the breath taking colonial architecture on a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride is just one way to enjoy the sites and sounds of Antigua Guatemala.

Sit back and listen to the horses hoofs as they trot across the cobble stone streets of this ancient city of Antigua Guatemala in the middle of Central America.

Chorizo Sausage

First what is Chorizo Sausage, 

It's basically a cured pork sausage flavored with a few particular herbs and spices, most importantly 'pimenton' (smoked Spanish paprika) which gives it its distinctive flavor. If it's made with spicy pimenton then the result is obviously a spicy chorizo.

Chorizo is great for breakfast. Thaw out a package, fry it up lightly while breaking it up, and when fried, scramble in a few eggs. This is wonderful by itself, or with tortillas.

Chorizo can be simmered in beverage, fried or barbecued and eaten with bread or any other addition.

In Guatemala I ran into this wonderful tasting sausage everywhere I would eat. At first my taste buds were not ready for the flavor of this sausage because I was so use to breakfast sausage here in the States. But it did not take long for my taste buds to get use to the wonderful flavor of this delicious meat.

If you are willing to try new things and love sausage this delicious sausage will change you for ever.

Here is a recipe that I found that I totally love;

Warm yourself with a bowl of delicious chorizo sausage stew with baby potatoes and cannellini beans.


  • 5 chorizo sausages (10.5 oz. or 300gm)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 8 baby potatoes, halved
  • 1 (28 oz) can Italian tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 (16 oz) can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup water
  • A handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • French bread for mopping up sauce (optional)


  1. Par-boil the potatoes for 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Use a fork to poke some holes in the sausages. This allows the fat to run out. Fry the sausages in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over a medium-heat until they're cooked. Cooking time is dependent on the size of the sausage. Set aside to cool and then cut into 1 inch slices.
  3. In a large saucepan, saute the onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over a medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic, salt and chili flakes and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the chopped canned tomatoes and juice from the can, stir well and gently simmer for 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and cannellini beans and stir again.
  5. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cover the pot. Simmer for 25 minutes. After this time, add the sausage slices and stir well. Add the parsley and stir again.
  6. Simmer for another 5 minutes and taste. Add a little more salt if necessary.
  7. Serve in bowls with a crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

Antigua Daily Market

Here are some photos of the Market in Antigua. This is not the artisan market but the daily market next to the artisan market. This is similar to a farmers market like here in the States.

Tourist Arrivals in Guatemala Up 5.6%

Tourist Arrivals in Guatemala Up 5.6%

GUATEMALA CITY – Tourist visits to Guatemala grew 5.6 percent last year compared with 2009, while the country’s tourism revenues increased 6.2 percent, the Guatemalan Tourism Institute said.

The institute’s head of market research, Francisco Chaverri, told a press conference that 1,875,777 tourists visited the country last year compared with 1,776,868 in 2009.

Chaverri said half of the visitors were from Central American countries, 34 percent from North America, 10 percent from Europe, 3 percent from South America and the remaining 3 percent from other regions.

Guatemala City, colonial Antigua and the archaeological center of Tikal and Atitlan were the places that attracted the most tourists in 2010, according to official statistics.

Tourism generated $1.38 billion in Guatemala last year, superior to the nearly $1.3 billion in 2009, he said.

Chaverri said that, despite the dampening effects of natural disasters and the economic crisis, Guatemala’s tourist industry grew within the goals set by the World Tourism Organization of 5-6 percent.

Growth in 2011 is estimated at between 4 percent and 5 percent, he said.

Tourism was the third biggest source of foreign currency for Guatemala in 2010 after exports, which brought in more than $8 billion, and remittances from emigrants amounting to $4.13 billion. EFE

Latin American Herald Tribune - Tourist Arrivals in Guatemala Up 5.6%