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GuatemalaFebruary 24, 2010 By: Joe Pike Travel Agent
With its impressive hotels and rich Mayan legacy, Guatemala could soon be a fixture in American travel
Highlighted in Guatemala’s new tourism campaign are its Mayan archaelogical sites
The Best Hotels
There are tons of nice boutique hotels here and some larger all-inclusives as well, but for now, we’ll get you started with four of the country’s elite resorts.
Casa Santo Domingo, a 129-room resort, opened in 1989 in La Antigua. Each room has a private bathroom, minibar and a flat-screen TV. Ask for a room with chimney since not all rooms have one. For more information, contact Reina Solis de Van der Henst at 011-502-7820-1220.
The luxury boutique Hotel Casa Palopo opened on the shores of Lake Atitlan in 2000. It is home to just seven luxury suites, including an exclusive villa. We recommend the two-bedroom contemporary villa for affluent couples traveling together.
Hotel La Lancha, Flores, Tikal, consists of casitas and luxury rooms in a tropical, eco-friendly setting. We suggest any of the three Rainforest Casitas. Located in the forest with a partial view of Lago Petén Itzá, these accommodations have queen-sized beds. The furniture is locally sourced and the decor involves local arts and crafts. Outside, clients—especially couples, both young and old—can relax on a covered deck with hammocks and chairs. Agents can contact Oliver Lopez, reservations manager, at 011-502-7928-8331.
Newest Attractions and Campaign
One of Guatemala’s most underrated attractions are the country’s many water parks, which could draw families. There are many of these parks operated by IRTRA, but the two most recommended parks for Americans are the Xetulul and Xocomil parks in Retalhuleu.
The discovery of the Mayan archaeological site El Mirador is the latest to hit the tourism headlines here. Although this site is still being developed for tourists, many have already been flocking to the nation to get an early glimpse. Guatemala has also implemented new Mayan routes.
The tourism industry in San Juan la Laguna, a small town by Lake Atitlan, has grown remarkably courtesy of the collaborative efforts of its citizens. This has been key to the country’s changing tourism tides.
Also, a new marketing campaign is selling Guatemala as a destination that is multiethnic, multilingual and multifaceted.
The tourist board is looking to sell seven different regions which include the modern and colonial; the Highlands with living Maya culture; the Peten region with Mayan archaeological sites; Lake Izabal and the Caribbean; the natural paradise comprising Verapaces, the Pacific and the east. The board is promoting Spanish schools, Mayan cosmo-vision, golf and fishing, congresses and incentive trips, community tourism, ecotourism, bird-watching and medical and religious tourism.
One of the 383 rooms at Barceló Guatemala City, one of the brand’s three Central American properties
Barceló in Latin America
The hotel group has aggressively expanded outside of the Caribbean and Mexico. Barceló Hotels & Resorts recently became the Spanish company with the largest presence in Central America when it opened its Guatemala and Nicaragua resorts, in addition to the existing Costa Rica resort.
Barceló Guatemala City has 383 rooms and Barceló Managua, Nicaragua, has 293 rooms. The Barceló Guatemala City hotel is set in the heart of the city, the main business district, and surrounded by restaurants, shops and places of entertainment. Agents should contact Ximena Contreras (011-502-2378-4000/502-2320-4031, [email protected]) in the reservations department.
Barceló Managua is in one of the most exclusive areas of the Nicaraguan capital, Villa Fontana. Agents should call Gustavo Urbina (011-505-2280-9810, [email protected]) in the reservations department.
Barceló Guatemala City’s ornate yet welcoming lobby