Mother Nature blessed Guatemala. From the heavenly
bodies sprouted beautiful warm and humid forest. From cool, inner
woods flew the most beautiful birds, with plumage impossible to
describe. Enchanting turtles, playful manatees, felines in cosmic
furs, and a gentle silver river mirror the wild flowers. Guatemala
overflows with lianas and quetzals, archis and toucans, bromeliads,
ferns, crustaceans, howler monkeys
. If earthly paradise is
not in the Guatemalan jungles, then perhaps God came here for inspiration!
In Guatemala there are 14 varieties of subtropical
forest and 450 types of trees. In Izabal, Peten, Alta Verapaz, Santa
Rosa, Escuintla, Quiche and Quetzaltenango there are 80 species
of native birds and some 300 migratory birds. One of the most beautiful
birds is the quetzal, held sacred by the Mayas and also Guatemalas
national symbol. Today it habits the natural sanctuaries of Alta
and Baja Verapaz, Jutiapa, Quiche and Huehuetenango.
Explores who venture into the imposing, leaf and humid
shade of the mangrove swamps can see in Santa Rosa, Jutiapa, Izabal,
Peten and Retalhuleu, long-forgotten insects, mysterious reptiles
and strange mammals. With temperatures varying from 20 to 30 degrees
centigrade, these forests of hot and dry climates and saline sand
produce a wonderful abundance of fruit, herbs, medical plants and
All this and more can be found in Guatemala, land of
a thousand colors, beautiful plumage and soft heat.
Mario Darys Biotopo of the Quetzal
In the treetops of the rainforest in this protected
area there are more than 50 different varieties of orchids and bromeliads.
Amid the countless exotic colored macaws, toucans, frigate birds
and spoonbills, the quetzal stands out. With timid arrogance, from
its long tail, to the iridescent rays of is plumage, the quetzal
reigns over its sacred sanctuary.
Cerro Cahuì is covered with great evergreen
forest. It is a sanctuary for more than 50 species of butterflies
and the reserve for sapodilla, mahogany, cedar and indigo trees.
Lianas, bell shaped vines, orchids and grassy plants also abound.
The Peten turkeys live in the underbrush of Cerro Cahui, while the
hooked-beak sparrow hawk soars aloft. From October to April, hundreds
of migratory birds come here from remote areas to inhabit Cerro
Cahui. Twenty-eight different species of mammals live in the reserve,
including white tailed deer, ocelots, armadillos and spider monkeys.
The waterways of this reserve meander though a virgin
tropical forest full of marvelous birds. Following the Rio Dulce
there is a wild lacustrian ecosystem that is traveled in Cayucos.
Under the green dome of mangrove branches, in the water covered
by mater lilies, we enter into the realm of myths, habitat of the
manatee, a water mammal, one mistaken for a legendary mermaid by
the early explores of these virgin lands. Here the manatee, or sea
cow, is protected specie.
Like a turquoise mounted in a setting of mountainous
green mantle and misty peaks of Toliman, Atitlan, and San Pedro
volcanoes, Lake Atitlan is a jewel of breath taking beauty.
Every year flocks of chemo and reddish
colored ducks sit among the rushes on its banks while herons sink
there feet into the sand and watch the smooth swimming of the is
black bass in the blue surface water. There is no bluer water than
Lake Atitlan. No wonder it is called the most beautiful lake
in the world
The Guatemala Caribbean Sea
The great lake of Izabal, Guatemalas largest,
covers 590 square kilometers, is bordered by orchards of mangoes,
avocados, mameys and pineapples that perfume the air with exotic
fragrances, Rio Dulce originates from its deep waters and lows quickly
to plunge into the thick jungle. There, it winds gently through
the tropical foliage to the sound of multicolored riverside inhabitants
that shake the foliage. Rio Duce continues its course to from the
It passes mangrove thickets seething with life, and
lows out to meet the maters of Amatique Bay, in the Caribbean Sea.
A palm-lined road leads us to Siete Altares. There,
in the middle of the jungle, we can see and hear the sounds of extraordinary
transparent waterfalls and swim in its wild and cool waters, beneath
a curtain of white foam.
From the step rocky mountain paths to the depths of
the gorges, where freshwater springs tumble down from the highest
mountains, Guatemalas pine forest rise impressively to meet
the sky. In the pale, light of fawn, mist sinks softly over the
volcanoes like a veil, enshrouding peaks and crags. Behind them,
the suns first rays of light come filtering through, like
golden spears behind sheer curtains. The mist drifts away to the
shores of Lake Chicabal, in a volcanic crater, settling on the last
white patch of moonlight, escaping the ardor of the pursuing sun.
Age-old winds in the highlands make carving in the rocks, so that
travelers may decipher the craggy formations of Momostenango.
The Pacific Coast
The Guatemala Pacific Coast is strangely beautiful.
Its black volcanic beaches meet an excited wind which whips up white
crests on the swelling waves, and crashes ashore I white foam. Up
in the sierra, the teaming vegetation has left no space unfilled,
no path, no crack and no chink. It simply spills out here, there
and everywhere. Here a tree of succulent fruits, there a proud trunk,
an aromatic weed, everywhere flowering herbs or bewitching climbers,
As if that were not enough, the Escuintla region has gorgeous waterfalls
The jungle around Peten is a giant green wall rising
up before your eyes. An organic wall of lush, fertile vegetation
that is never quiet. Deep inside, woodpeckers drum their tom-tom
rhythms into the mahogany trees, disturbing the sleeping ocelots.
The howler monkeys bicker over territory with the macaws who depart
under protest, alerting the sleeper a top the ceiba tree. He is
king of all creatures, as ancient as the jungle it self. Knowing
every path, every tree in Peten, he is a master of ambush. He is
the sleek, fleet-footed spotted jaguar, prince of Tikal, the imposing
city whose architecture defies the cosmos. Here, ceremonial priests
once named the stars of the universe. The lush green Usumacinta
River also snakes through Peten, over flowing into small lakes like
San Diego, Sacuy, Peten Itza and Sachab. These in turn are surrounded
by more rivers: San Pedro, Santa Isabel and La Pasion.
Many people confuse Alta and Baja Verapaz. Alta Verapaz
is higher and traversed by abundant rivers flowing through rocky
mountain, like the Cahabon, which tumbles into the waterfalls and
pools of Semuc Champey, close to a garden of orchids and bromeliads.
There are also cool misty forests with green landscapes encouraging
the growth of rare mushrooms. Pretty villages in emerald landscapes
are tucked into hidden pockets of the forests.
In Baja Verapaz, on the other hand, the air is hotter
and the hills less steep. A top one is the archaeological site of
Cayhup, with and excellent view of the sinuous course of the Urram
River. In Rabinal there is a spa called Los Chorros, whose healimg
waters are well-known throughout the region. Baja Verapaz is full
of lovely fertile valleys.