Guatemala City - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Guatemala City

Guatemala City

The largest city in Guatemala and Central America, Guatemala City is a bustling metropolis of around three million people. However, it has a feeling more of a small town, with the city loosely divided into 20 'zonas'.

Ornate buildings dating back several hundred years give the city a period feel, with many antique churches and government buildings like the Palacio Nacional worth seeing from the inside and out. This gives Guatemala City an attractive look to make up for its lack of natural beauty.

Guatemala City is also the most modern city in the country, playing a role as the administrative, economic, and cultural capital of Guatemala, with a variety of restaurants, shops, art galleries, theatres, museums, hotels and other attractions to keep visitors entertained. The hotels and nightlife in Zona Viva and Cuatro Grados Norte are particularly popular with visitors.

Despite its vibrant arts scene and attractive facade, many travellers avoid Guatemala City due to the high crime rate, opting to head for Antigua or Monterrico instead. However, travelling to Guatemala City is relatively easy because most lines of transport connect there, so a convenient city break in Guatemala City can add a lot to a holiday in Guatemala.

Information & Facts

The official language is Spanish but English is understood in hotels and tourist destinations. Many indigenous languages are also spoken.

The official currency is the Quetzal (GTQ) divided into 100 centavos. In 2001 the US Dollar became the second official currency alongside the Quetzal and both are accepted. Travellers cheques and major credit cards are accepted, though some more than others. It is recommended to take travellers cheques in US dollars. Cash exchange is easier, but more risky. Visitors are not advised to exchange money at the informal booths on the street. There are ATMs in the towns and cities, which accept American Express and Visa. MasterCard and Diners Club have a more limited acceptance.

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