Tourism in Guatemala

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Tourism became one of the main drivers of the economy, an industry that reported more than $1.8 billion in 2008. Guatemala receives about two million tourists annually.

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In recent years it has led to the visit of many cruise ships that touch important seaports in Guatemala, leading to more tourists visiting the country.

In its territory there are Mayan archaeological sites (Tikal in the Petén, Quiriguá in Izabal, Iximche in Tecpan Chimaltenango, and in the City of Guatemala). Destinations visited for their natural environment include Lake Atitlán and Semuc Champey. Historical tourism destinations include the colonial city of Antigua Guatemala, which is recognized by UNESCO Cultural Heritage.

Tikal Ruins of major ancient Maya city

Tikal is the ruin of an ancient city, which was likely to have been called Yax Mutal, found in a rainforest in Guatemala. It is one of the largest archaeological sites and urban centers of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. It is located in the archaeological region of the Petén Basin in what is now northern Guatemala. Situated in the department of El Petén, the site is part of Guatemala's Tikal National Park and in 1979 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Petén Department Department in El Petén, Guatemala

Petén is a department of the Republic of Guatemala. It is geographically the northernmost department of Guatemala, as well as the largest by area — at 13,843 sq mi (35,854 km2) it accounts for about one third of Guatemala's area. The capital is Flores. The population at the 2002 Census was 366,735; the latest official estimate as of mid-2012 was 662,779.

Quiriguá An ancient Maya archaeological site in south-eastern Guatemala

Quiriguá is an ancient Maya archaeological site in the department of Izabal in south-eastern Guatemala. It is a medium-sized site covering approximately 3 square kilometres (1.2 sq mi) along the lower Motagua River, with the ceremonial center about 1 km (0.6 mi) from the north bank. During the Maya Classic Period (AD 200–900), Quiriguá was situated at the juncture of several important trade routes. The site was occupied by 200, construction on the acropolis had begun by about 550, and an explosion of grander construction started in the 8th century. All construction had halted by about 850, except for a brief period of reoccupation in the Early Postclassic. Quiriguá shares its architectural and sculptural styles with the nearby Classic Period city of Copán, with whose history it is closely entwined.

Heritage

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Monuments of
Antigua Guatemala
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Tourism in Guatemala has grown gradually, is an attractive destination because of the abundant and varied natural environment and its long beaches of white sand and dark sand, coral reefs, flora and fauna, and archaeological sites, its colonial history, plus its culture expressed in their customs and traditional foods.[ citation needed ]

There is a strong interest of the international community for archaeological sites like the city of Tikal was built and occupied in a period where the Mayan culture had its most literal and artistic expression, was ruled by a dynasty of 16 kings, the Mayas of Tikal built many temples, a ball park, altars and steles in high and low relief.

Guatemala is very popular for its archaeological sites, pre-Hispanic cities as well as tourist-religious centers like Basilica of Esquipulas and City of Esquipulas and also the beaches on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of Guatemala. Other tourist destinations are the National Parks and others Protected Areas such as the Maya Biosphere Reserve.

Esquipulas Place in Chiquimula Department, Guatemala

Esquipulas, officially Municipality of Esquipulas, whose original name was Yzquipulas, is the largest city located in the department of Chiquimula, in eastern Guatemala. Esquipulas' main attraction is the beautiful Black Christ located in the Basilica of Esquipulas, making the city an important place of Catholic pilgrimage for Central America. It is also one of the most important cities of the country and one that has had the most economic and cultural growth.

Maya Biosphere Reserve

The Maya Biosphere Reserve is a nature reserve in Guatemala managed by Guatemala's National Council of Protected Areas (CONAP). The Maya Biosphere Reserve covers an area of 21,602 km2.

Guatemala City City in Guatemala, Guatemala

Guatemala City, locally known as Guatemala or Guate, officially Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, is the capital and largest city of Guatemala, and the most populous in Central America. The city is located in the south-central part of the country, nestled in a mountain valley called Valle de la Ermita. It is estimated that its population is about 1 million. Guatemala City is also the capital of the Municipality of Guatemala and of the Guatemala Department.

Guatemala Department Department in Guatemala City, Guatemala

Guatemala is one of the 22 departments of Guatemala. The capital is Guatemala City, which also serves as the national capital. The department consists of Guatemala City and several of its suburbs.

Lake Atitlán crater lake in the Western Highlands of Guatemala

Lake Atitlán is a lake in the Guatemalan Highlands of the Sierra Madre mountain range. It is in the Sololá Department of southwestern Guatemala. It is the deepest lake in Central America

Regarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage, Guatemala has several protected declarations by the State, among which include: the Huelga de Dolores from the University of San Carlos of Guatemala, according to Ministerial Agreement 275-2010, the Treat of December 8 of municipality of Chichicastenango, according 347-2010 Agreement and the Cofradía de San Marcos Evangelista, under Ministerial Agreement 532-2010.

See also

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Spanish conquest of Guatemala protracted conflict during the Spanish colonization of the Americas, in which Spanish colonisers gradually incorporated the territory that became the modern country of Guatemala into the colonial Viceroyalty of New Spain

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Juan Pedro Laporte Molina was a prominent Guatemalan archaeologist best known for his work on the ancient Maya civilization. He studied in the United States at the University of Arizona, in which he enrolled at the age of nineteen. After just one year he transferred to the Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia in Mexico. He continued his studies at the Universidad Autónoma de México from 1972 to 1976, from which he graduated with a doctorate in archaeology. He worked as a research assistant at the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City from 1967 through to 1976. Laporte worked at various archaeological sites while he was in Mexico, including Tlatilco, Chichen Itza and Dainzú. He first began working as an archaeologist in Guatemala in the 1970s, and was the head of the School of History of the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala (USAC) for more than thirty years. He first entered USAC in 1977, soon after returning from Mexico. In 1974 he carried out investigations at the Maya archaeological site of Uaxactun in the northern Petén Department of Guatemala. Between 1974 and 1976 he carried out archaeological investigations in Antigua Guatemala, which has since been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and around Lake Izabal.

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History of the Maya civilization

The history of Maya civilization is divided into three principal periods: the Preclassic, Classic and Postclassic periods; these were preceded by the Archaic Period, which saw the first settled villages and early developments in agriculture. Modern scholars regard these periods as arbitrary divisions of chronology of the Maya civilization, rather than indicative of cultural evolution or decadence. Definitions of the start and end dates of period spans can vary by as much as a century, depending on the author. The Preclassic lasted from approximately 2000 BC to approximately 250 AD; this was followed by the Classic, from 250 AD to roughly 950 AD, then by the Postclassic, from 950 AD to the middle of the 16th century. Each period is further subdivided:

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