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Guatemala is for sure the most interesting country to visit in Central America. Its unmatchable combination of traditions and adventure destinations makes this country an easy choice for lots of travelers.
The heart of the country and its most interesting part resides in the highlands, a place that preserved like in few places on Earth the tradition of an ancestral society. The Maya is a general name for a variety of people, that used to live in a large territory that spanned from Chiapas and Yucatan, in today Mexico, to San Salvador and Honduras and further down. Conquered and enslaved by the Spaniards, forced to convert to Catholicism, the Mayas were able not only to resists all this vicissitudes but more than anything to outlive the occupation and to preserve in an unmatched way their traditional way of life. The traditions of the Tzujil, Katchichel, Mam or Quiche and of many others local populations are alive in their village life, their religion, their looming and the way they proudly wear their 'huiplas', etc. The Maya Catholicism is energized more than ever. Forced to convert to new Gods, The Mayas adopted full kindheartedly the Catholicism embedding it, and not the other way around, into their creed, preserving their own way of praying and creating a religion that is fascinating to watch. Jesus was associated with the Sun, Mary with the Moon and the church; still the most important place for them is even today considered the Temple of the Sun and is revered as such.
But this patriarchal way of life kept the Maya at the bottom of the Guatemalan society, controlled by the money interests from Guatemala City and by inept and corrupt governments and politicians. As a result the Maya still are the poorest in the entire country, in spite of signs of modernity that they adopt like the cellphones and bigger and bigger houses, many of them funded by families that have one member working in the USA. This poverty makes the connection with USA extremely important, one the most frequent topic in conversation with the locals being the American elections and the new immigration law.
We traveled in Guatemala from the highlands to the jungle of Peten. We started in Antigua, whose ruined churches represent a symbol of the power of the Catholic Church in Central America and the wrath of the menacing volcanoes that surround the city. From there we went to Chichicastenango, that is able to preserve an mystic atmosphere in spite of the flock of tourists that flood the place during the market days. We left to Lago Atitlan, an expanse of serene waters surrounded by volcanoes, with its charming villages thrown around its shores. After a short stop in the traditional market of Solola, we did a foray in the "real" Guatemala, in Todos Santos de Cuchumatan, a traditional village very hard hit by the past civil war and we backtrack to Quetzaltenango, the second largest city in the country. Here, we traveled South, visiting charming villages full of interesting markets, like Almolonga and Zunil and bathing in the thermal springs of Fuentes Georgina, and latter, to the North, to the largest and most authentic market in Guatemala, in San Francisco El Alto and visiting on the way back the psychedelic church of San Andres de Xecul.
We returned to Antigua for shopping and to start our exploration towards East, going to Honduras, where we visited the fabulous ruins of Copan. We retraced latter to Rio Dulce, a relaxed town from where a beautiful boat ride brings you to Livingston, home of the Garifuma minority. We ended our tour listening to the howling monkeys in the majestic ruins of Tikal, one of the largest Maya towns of the Classic Maya period.
Come and watch our travel video and you will never forget these places!
May 28: After numerous visits in the South West, USA we created a new video clip to show these new shoot locations.
Apr 3: We shot in the world renown "The Wave" in Coyote Butte, Vermillion Cliffs, in Grande Staircase-Escalante, UT and several other parks in the South West, USA. Check our blog!
Feb 28: We shoot for a month in the entire Sri Lanka and Southern India, from Trivandrum to Chennai, covering the most important Hindu Temples of the South.
Check our blog!
6 hours of HD stock footage from these locations:
Antigua, Pacaya, Chichicastenago, Lago Atitlan, Panajachel, Solola, Todos Santos de Cuchumatan, Alamolonga, Zunil, Fuentes Georgina, Xela, Quetzaltenango, San Francisco Alto, San Andreas Xecul, Rio Dulce, Livingston, Tikal, Flores