Guatemala-City is the largest urban agglomeration of Central America with over 2 million inhabitants. Because of its elevation* , it is blessed with a spring-like climate all year round. *(1500m = 4920ft) The historic Center downtown is a testimony to a splendid colonial past, but like what happened in other urban centers worldwide, it has been abandoned by the wealthier Guatemalans who have established themselves in the greener suburbs, like Vista Hermosa (Zone 15), San Cristobal, or alongside the Road to El Salvador (Zone 16). The new commercial and financial center has moved alongside Avenue Reforma and Avenue Las Americas, in Zones 9, 10, 13 and 14, which are all residential zones. Most of the private hospitals are located in Zone 10, called the Medical District; another large private hospital is located in Vista Hermosa (Z15). Other Medical clinics and Doctor´s offices are situated in Zones 9, 13 and 14. For convenience purposes we recommend to our guests to reside in Zones 9, 10, 13, or 14, because that´s where all major hotels and international banks are located. This area is also hosting three Commercial centers, all in close range, and it is the place to go out for dinner. Moreover, a ride to the airport or to the hospital takes only 15 min.
Things to do in Guatemala City:
- Shop or go to the movies in the exclusive Shopping centers (Z10)
- Visit the colorful outdoor handicraft´s market near the Zoo (Z13)
- Walk in the Botanic Garden of the University San Carlos (Z10)
- Discover “Cuatro Grados Norte” an oasis for pedestrians, with art galleries, shops, and restaurants.. (Z4)
- Have a look at Guatemala´s open-air map on a scale of 1:10.000 (Z2)
- Get acquainted with Guatemala´s beautiful art galleries
- Enjoy a guided tour downtown to visit Central Park, the Cathedral and the National Palace of Culture (Z1)
Visit the following museums:
- The National Museum of Archeology and Ethnology (Maya articrafts). Z13
- The Museum of Modern Art, Z13
- The Popol Vuh Museum, Z10
- The Ixchel Museum of indigenous costumes and textiles, Z10
More about Guatemala-City:
Besides the dominant Spanish, Ladino and Indigenous population, Guatemala is quite a cosmopolitan town, embracing minority groups consisting of Germans, Jews, Koreans, other European and Latin Americans. Within the confines of the modern capital is the ancient Maya city of Kaminaljuyu, which dates back some 9,000 years.
In the late 20th Century, many of the several hundred temple mounds have been built over with freeways, shopping centers, luxury hotels and residential areas. The central ceremonial center of Kaminaljuyu is now a park within the city and protected by the Guatemalan government. In Spanish colonial times, Guatemala City was a only a small town, but became the capital of what is now Central America, after a violent earthquake in 1773 destroyed the old capital, Antigua.
This move has dramatically increased the expansion of the city. Guatemala City is the real cultural capital of Guatemala – the writers, the thinkers, the artists mostly live and work here, a fact reflected in the growing sophistication of the restaurant and bar scene. There are 10 Universities, amongst which is the University of San Carlos, founded in1676 and with 200.000 students, a city by itself.
The Historic Center (Zone 1) is the location of many important historic buildings, including the National Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the National Congress, the Presidential House, the National Library and Central Park. The Municipality is currently undertaking efforts to revitalize the historic heart of the city.
For the last 30 years, the financial and commercial center of the city has moved to residential zones 9 and 10. A district within Zone Ten, known as Zona Viva, contains many of the city’s most residential hotels, restaurants, bars, discothèques, malls and other entertainment venues for the urban elite.
Many of the embassies are located in Zone 10 Avenida de la Reforma is a park-like boulevard running from north to south. It was designed 120 years ago, inspired by the Champs Elysees in Paris. It features a broad park-like median strip, lined with trees and monuments, dividing Zone 10 from Zone 9.
With the years, this main artery has become one of the finest addresses in the city. The southern part of Avenue La Reforma ends at Plaza Obelisco and is further prolonged by Avenida Las Americas, which leads to residential zones 14 and 13. In addition to a wide variety of restaurants, hotels and shops, the city has a wide variety of art galleries and museums (including some fine collections of Pre-Columbian art) and continually offers an increasing amount of cultural activities.
- The Ixchel Museum of Mayan Dress is named for the Mayan goddess of the moon, women, reproduction and, of course, textiles. Photographs and exhibits of indigenous costumes and other crafts show the incredible richness of traditional arts in Guatemala’s highland towns. If you enjoy Guatemalan textiles at all, you must visit this museum. It has disabled access, a café, a shop and a library, and guided tours are available in English or Spanish. (Zone 10)
- Museum Popol Vuh has well-displayed pre-Hispanic figurines, incense burners and burial urns, plus carved wooden masks and traditional textiles, fill several rooms. Other rooms hold colonial paintings and gilded wood and silver artifacts. A faithful copy of the Dresden Codex, one of the precious ‘painted books’ of the Maya, is among the most interesting pieces, and there’s a colorful display of animals in Mayan art. (Zone 10)
- The National Museum of Archeology & Ethnology has the country’s biggest collection of ancient Maya artifacts. There is a great wealth of monumental stone sculpture, including Classic-period Stelae from Tikal, Uaxactur and Piedras Negras, a superb throne from Piedras Negras and animal representations from pre-classic Kaminaljuyu (Zone 13)
- The National Museum of Modern Art has a collection of 20th-century Guatemalan art including works by well-known Guatemalan artists such as Carlos Mérida, Carlos Valente and Humberto Gavarito. (Zone 13).
Other interesting places to see:
- Botanical garden: The Universidad de San Carlos has a large, lush Jardín Botánico on the northern edge of Zone 10. Admission includes entry to the university’s Museo de Historia Natural (closed on Sundays) Guatemala’s open-air geographical map: showing the country at a scale of 1:10,000. The vertical scale is exaggerated to 1:2000 to make the volcanoes and mountains appear dramatically higher and steeper than they really are. Constructed in 1905, the Mapa was fully restored in 1999. Viewing towers afford a panoramic view. (Zone 2, on the northen edge of he city, along Minerva Park)
- Aurora Zoo (Zone 13) : La Aurora Zoo is not badly kept as zoos go, and the lovely, park-like grounds alone are worth the admission fee. From the Zoo you can walk to the open-air handicraft market (open on Sundays) and to the French cultural center “Alliance Francaise” (closed on Sunday)
- The Railway Museum is one of the city’s more intriguing museums. Documented here are the glory days of the troubled Guatemalan rail system, along with some quirky artifacts. You can go climbing around the passenger carriages. (next to Domino´s Pizza, Zone 1)
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________The text and images contained in Medical Tourism Guatemala’s website are for informational purposes only. Its content is not intended to substitute the medical diagnosis or treatment from board certified MD Specialists. Always seek advice from your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment. Medical Tourism Guatemala does not warrant that the information provided is complete, accurate or up to date. Medical Tourism Guatemala‘s website does not provide medical advice.