Guatemala's largest Pacific Ocean port is also the gateway to some of the most fascinating and beautiful sightseeing in the country. Head north, through plantations where the air is perfumed with sugar cane and coffee, across mountain ridges overlooking beautiful Lake Atitlan. Or take a full-day tour from the coast. Cruise past volcano-guarded mountains, to the colonial capital of Antigua, where cobblestone streets and period architecture evoke the area's age-old Spanish colonial heritage.Find Cruises Sailing to This Port
La Antigua, Guatemala's colonial capital is a short drive from Puerto Quetzal, and well worth the visit. The charming town, located 1,400 metres (4,500 feet) above sea level, is also a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for both its colourful Spanish Mudéjar-influenced Baroque architecture and its many ruins of colonial churches. While relaxing around Antigua's popular Parque Central, visitors are afforded a view of many notable architectural landmarks as well as the spectacular natural beauty of the three major volcanoes that tower over the city's low skyline.
The busy central marketplace in La Antigua (known to locals as the Mercado) is a great place to observe local colour and purchase fresh fruits and handicrafts from merchants dressed in the colourful costumes of their native towns. Other shopping can be found right on the shores of Lake Atitlan in San Lucas Toliman, one of the most commercially developed cities in the area.
Guatemalan food is a tasty blend of Spanish, Indian and European influences—all with a typically spicy Central American flair. Try native favourites like Chiles Rellenos (stuffed peppers) or Chicken Pepian, where the bird is cooked in a delicious sauce made of pumpkin and sesame seeds. Then finish your meal off with a traditional dessert of Flan.
Guatemala's currency is the quetzl, named after the country's national bird. It is divided into 100 cents. (Also called centavos in legal Spanish, or lenes in Guatemalan traditional Spanish) The plural of quetzl can be either quetzals (in Spanish) or quetzals (in a slightly anglicised form).
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Learn more about this port city with these tourist information guides.