Guatemala City

Guatemala City

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Guatemala City is the largest metropolis in Central America. It lies on a mountain plain and sprawls into the surrounding valleys. Like most other cities in Guatemala, the capital is laid out in a straightforward grid of avenidas and calles. The former run from north to south, while the latter lie in the east-west direction. Guatemala City is divided into 15 zonas, each one with its own local grid.

There are few colonial buildings in Guatemala City and most people only visit it, as it is the country's premier transportation and administrative hub. The city center if formed by Plaza Mayor, in Zona 1. The square is a classic example of Spanish colonial town planning. On Sundays, it is packed with locals who come there for strolls, ice creams and social contacts. On the square is the Palacio Nacional, which bears the scars of consecutive earthquakes, as well as the Catedral Metropolitana with its twin towers. The original market building that used to line the square, was destroyed in an earthquake in 1976. It has been replaced by the Mercado Central, a bustling and chaotic collection of stalls, where crafts are sold. Parque Minerva is immediately north of Zona 1. It provides a lovely space of green and quiet from the city's bustle. In the park you can also see a relief map of Guatemala.

There are several interesting museums in Guatemala City, several of which are situated in Zona 10. The Museo Popol Vuh boasts a magnificent collection of Mayan and Spanish colonial art, while traditional arts and costumes of Guatemala's highland towns can be seen in the Museo Ixchel. In Zona 13 is the Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología, which is home to an excellent collection of Mayan art. Nearby is the Museo Nacional de Arte Moderno, where 20th-century Guatemalan art can be seen.

Not far west of the city center are the ruins of the Early Classic Maya city of Kaminalijuyú. It used to be an important Maya site, but unfortunately many ruins have been swallowed by urban expansion.

There are countless hotels and restaurants in Guatemala City. Many of the cheaper places can be found in Zona 1, while more expensive accommodation is concentrated on Zona 10. If you want to spend a night out, you should go to Zona Viva (live zone), where numerous nightclubs, bars and discos are situated, as well as some upscale restaurants.


Miscellaneous Information

Latitude:    14 37 N
Longitude: 90 31 W
Elevation:  1,480 m (4856 ft.)

Population: 2,000,000
Cost-of-living compared to Washington D.C.: 93%

Hours from UTC: -6
Daylight savings time: n/a

City phone code: 2
Country phone code: 502

Average Weather Patterns

January17.2°C (63°F)0.8 cm (0.31 in)
April21.1°C (70°F)3 cm (1.18 in)
July20.6°C (69.1°F)20.3 cm (7.99 in)
October20°C (68°F)17.3 cm (6.81 in)

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