Our experience of Guatemala
By Karen Shapiro
What is it like to throw yourself into the world of the Netflix series, Stranger Things, and listen to the sounds of the Demogorgon? You feel as if a monster is lurking around every corner; you can’t see him but you know he is there. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, take a trip to Yaxha National Park in Guatemala and listen to the howler monkeys. It’s not science fiction or a movie; it really sounds like monsters!
Between Yaxha and Tikal National Parks, the Mayan culture comes alive. Lush vegetation, monkeys and toucans surround the ruins. The urban organisation of the temples, ball courts, meeting places and roads show a high level of civilisation that the Mayan people enjoyed from the 6th century BC to the 10th century AD.
Guatemala has cultural diversity that ranges from the indigenous people to the Spanish-infused mestizos, cobblestone streets to old monasteries, and a geography that goes from dense jungles to volcanoes and lakes. Without wishing to sound like a travel brochure, this is a country where you can experience an incredible variety of beauty, culture and history.