Welcome to 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.