Salad which can have over 50 ingredients, including meat cuts, sausages, vegetables, cheese, and various types of dressings.
Seafood soup cooked in coconut milk and served with bananas and other vegetables such as tomatoes, yucca, and onions.
Dish prepared with beef or chicken and vegetables, served in a broth made with chili, tomatoes, onions, sesame seeds, garlic, and cinnamon.
Guatemalan coffee, considered one of the best in the world for its strong aroma, pleasant acidity, and delicate sweetness.
Crunchy toasted delights made with egg, flour, sugar, and lemon that melt in the mouth.
Typical food of Guatemala City, Guatemala
The cuisine of Guatemala is characterized by having a diverse flavor, whose origin is a mix between the Mayan, the Spanish and the mestizo gastronomies. Families prepare each of the traditional dishes with a special flavor and aroma, which together form the delicious Guatemalan cuisine.
Guatemala is a culinary destination with endless choices to savor. Let's begin with the delicious "chuchitos", a kind of tamale which constitutes a traditional and iconic dish of the local cuisine, made of corn dough and an exquisite filling of beef or pork. To complement it you can add tomato sauce and sprinkle it with hard cheese of the region of Zacapa. Those who visit this beautiful country in November, cannot miss the chance to eat a delicious "fiambre", a salad which can contain more than 50 ingredients, and that is usually eaten the first day of the month to celebrate all saint's day. This dish is prepared in a different way in each home, but it mostly consists of a combination of beef trimmings, sausages, vegetables, and cheese, and it is complemented with several kinds of dressings. Other typical regional dishes include "tapado", a national version of the famous bouillabaisse, a seafood soup cooked in coconut milk and accompanied by plantains and other vegetables such as tomato, yucca, and onion. The "pepián" is a stew that received the title of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Nation by the Guatemalan government, and it is made with beef or chicken and vegetables as vegetable and potato, served in a broth made with chili, tomato, onion, sesame seed, garlic, and cinnamon. To improve its already delicious flavor, locals serve it with white rice and tortillas.
Regarding the typical drinks of the region, it is worth to mention coffee, considered one of the best in the world for its strong aroma, nice acidity, and delicate sweetness, a combination resulting in an xquisite and balanced cup. Among the main regional coffees we can mention Coban, Huehuetenango, and Antigua. Another hot beverage that is very popular is "atole de elote", a drink based on corn and corn kernels, usually enjoyed with cinnamon powder.
The Guatemalan tables also offer a wide diversity of delicious sweets, such as "canillas de leche", a caramel which takes up to three hours to be prepared; the "cocadas", baked coconut dough and milk. The "paciencias" are crispy delicacies made with egg whites, flour, sugar, and lemon, shaped as cookies that are dry inside and that usually melts in the mouth.
If you want to eat something typical of Guatemala City, you should visit the stall of Doña Mela, at Mercado Central. With almost 50 years of existence, her diner competes with the best food stalls thanks to the exquisite flavors and variety of typical dishes, such as "plátano en mole" and "tortillas de maíz con picado de buche". El Kacao is another restaurant which serves typical Guatemalan dishes within a charming atmosphere, where the chef strives every day to prepare culinary delicacies for the lovers of local cuisine.
Remember to wear clothing made of natural fibers to keep cool during the day and to bring a sweater for the cooler nights.
Make sure to bring an umbrella or a light rain jacket, especially during the summer months.
The weather in Guatemala City, Guatemala
Guatemala City has a highland subtropical climate, temperate due to the city's high altitude, 1,500 meters (4,921 ft) above sea level. The annual average temperature is 20 ºC (68 °F) with a relative humidity of 75%.
What to bring by season
Rainy season (May to October): rains are more abundant from May to October, with average temperatures of 21 °C (70 °F). The days are warm and humid with temperatures reaching 27 °C (81 °F), while the nights are cool, with temperatures which can drop to 15 °C (59 °F), especially in October. The mornings are usually sunny with a few rains in the afternoons, followed by some hours of sunshine; it is likely to rain again at night. You should bring a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses, as well as wear clothing made of natural fibers such as cotton. Remember to include a light sweater to wear at night, plus an umbrella or a rain jacket.
Dry season (November to April): these are the coolest and driest months in Guatemala City and are characterized for having clear skies and pleasantly fresh temperatures. Daytime temperatures oscillate between 24 °C (75 °F) in January and 27 °C (81 °F) in April, with lower temperatures at night, ranging from 12 to 15 °C (54 to 59 °F). Although it is not common, it rains three or four days per month. You should bring a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses, as well as wear clothing made of natural fibers during the day and a sweater at night. Remember to pack an umbrella or a rain jacket for the occasional rains.
Guatemala City is the cultural and business center of the country. The city was subdivided into 25 zones, according to the urban plan designed by Raúl Aguilar Batres in 1947, forecasting the accelerated growth that it would later have. Within the historic downtown, set in the northern part of the city, you can find Plaza Mayor, a site surrounded by Palacio Nacional de Gobierno, Palacio Nacional de la Cultura, Catedral Metropolitana, and Mercado Central, where you can buy handicrafts made of wood, silver or leather.
Zona Diez is a district also known as Zona Viva, the busiest part of the city and its commercial and financial center, where most of the hotels, as well as museums, art galleries, theaters, and restaurants are located. Avenida Reforma is a very popular area and northwards it leads to the Mateo Flores stadium and Centro Cívico, where Banco Central de Guatemala is located. Within short distance of Zona Viva you can find Zoológico de La Aurora, Mercado de Artesanías, and the international airport.
Other interesting places you can visit in Guatemala include Kaminal Juyú, an archaeological site in Zona Siete; Centro Cultural Miguel Ángel Asturias, a complex housing Gran Teatro, a museum, and an outdoor theater; Museo Popol Vuh, which will guide you through a journey of hundreds of years, where you will learn about the Maya civilization that inhabited this region. In the surroundings of Guatemala you can visit Lake Amatitlán, formed in the crater of a volcano and located only 25 kilometers (15.5 mi) from the capital. Pacaya is an active volcano where you can walk very closely to the lava rivers that occasionally descend from the crater.
You cannot miss a visit to the city of Antigua, the former capital of Capitanía General de Guatemala, the official name of the country during the colonial period. This village located 48 kilometers (29.8 mi) from Guatemala City was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979; its i a magical place where it seems that time stood still. The government moved to the current Guatemala City due to the earthquakes in 1773, which almost completely destroyed the city. In this village you can visit the ancient Iglesia El Carmen, Iglesia de La Merced, or Palacio de los Capitanes, set in Plaza Central.
***The official currency of Guatemala is the Guatemalan Quetzal (GTQ).