Guatemala’s Charms

It’s interesting to see how often Central America is now on the radar screen of the big newspaper travel sites. Is it just me, or is the region really beginning to take off as a tourist destination? I know that for years people have gone to Costa Rica to trek, dive and mountain bike, but other places like Nicaragua and Honduras are now getting lots of attention.

Here in this LA Times travel piece, Guatemala now gets notice. The piece is positively bullish on the little country, hailing it as the next great destination for adventure sports fans and the site of the next Survivor series. I guess the numbers tell the story. More than 1 million people visited Guatemala last year, about a quarter of them from the United States. According to the article, growth has been so strong that tourism officials cheerfully predict Guatemala will soon pass popular rival Costa Rica in visitor numbers. Apparently even Bill Clinton and Francis Ford Coppola have succumbed to Guatemala’s charms.

As someone who has traveled there, I will say that it is a great country. Very interesting and filled with things to do. There are areas that might still be considered dangerous or somewhat under-developed so that travel is not necessarily easy, but that can be a good thing. Some people, for example, find Costa Rica almost too developed. So if finding a place that has not quite yet become a tourist juggernaut is for you, this might be a place to visit.