Mayan Ruins in Guatemala
The Mayan ruins of Guatemala give credence to a culture dating from 700 B.C. to 900 A.D., with the most visited and largest of the Mayan buildings being in Tikal where you can find the “Great Plaza” which is perhaps the most magnificent structure in the Tikal region.
Guatemala has beautiful lakes and one of the most beautiful is Lake Atitlan which is 150 Kilometers from the capital. Over 26 Km long and 18 Km wide, Lago Atitlan occupies an extinguished crater and has 3 major volcano’s giving backdrop to its lovely blue waters. Populated areas along the shoreline give evidence to a lifestyle that goes back centuries and Lake Atitlan is one of Guatemala’s principal tourist destinations.
Lake Peten Itza which is set within the largest remaining tropical forest in Central America is almost 50 Km long and 50 meters below sea level. The nearby town of Flores was once a Mayan ceremonial center and is now the capital of Peten province.
Lake Isabel is the largest lake in Guatemala which is surrounded by the "Sierra de las Minas" mountain range to the South and the Santa Cruz Mountains to the North. One of the main attractions to this lake is the fresh water sea cow or Manatee which can weigh up to 2,000 pounds. In danger of extinction, these Manatees represent the largest mammals in Guatemala.
Lake Amatitlan which is 11 Km long and 3.5 Km wide is located only 17 miles to the south of Guatemala City. Historically, the lake which has archeological remains that date back to the year 2000 B.C. is under pressure due to an over population density and high exploitation of her natural resources. The Pacaya Volcano which borders the lake gives spectacular backdrop to the unique ecosystems which are now receiving help from the Lake Amatitlan Foundation which is working hard to preserve and conserve the natural beauty of this area.
With an abundance of animal and plant life, Guatemala is home to 19 ecosystems that include over 250 species of mammals, over 600 species of Birds and over 200 reptile and amphibians species along with many insect and butterfly’s.
Ranging from mangroves on both of her coastal areas, Pine and cloud forest’s, Guatemala is often referred to as the land of eternal spring and her national flower the Monja Blanca or White Nun Orchid, which is one of the over 600 species of Orchids that can be found throughout the country.