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Top Rated Attractions in Guatemala City

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Mapa en Relieve

This scale model is an open-air public monument that represents the geography of Guatemala. It was designed in 1904 by Engineer Francisco Vela and covers 1,800 square meters. This relief map shows all natural and non-natural geographical features like rivers, lakes, volcanoes, ports, railways, roads, provinces, districts and important locations. Due to its historical and artistic value, it is considered national heritage. This work is unique in the world, as no other country has a relief map of such dimensions. There are two vantage points. In order to produce this map, Engineer Francisco Vela went around the national territory on foot and horseback to make the necessary calculations and grasp the country's different features and geography. Next to the map there is a small forest formed by a group of hormigo trees, the wood of which is used to make marimbas. These trees were planted in commemoration of the marimba tradition in Guatemala. At the end of the tour you can visit the shop, which offers postcards, books and brochures with information on this work.

Centro Cultural Miguel Angel Asturias

This theater was named after the Literature Nobel Prize winner, Miguel Angel Asturias. Its construction started in 1951, and the building was finally completed in 1978. Nine years later it was declared part of the National Heritage. With an area of 88,927 square meters, the building is designed to look like a seated jaguar. It is the largest theater in Guatemala and regularly puts on popular music concerts, choral concerts, classical and modern ballets, as well as operas and zarzuelas (Spanish light operas). The facility includes a smaller theater for plays and conferences and a small open-air theater.

Jardín Botánico

This was the first Botanical Garden set up in Central America and the only one in Guatemala. At present, the Centro de Estudios Conservacionistas (CECON) is in charge of the garden's management and maintenance. It offers a wide variety of local and exotic plants, including a wide range of Guatemalan, endemic and endangered species. There are 18,000 square meters of gardens and visiting is a pleasant educational experience, as most of the plants are classified according to their common and scientific names. There are also guided tours for groups and assistance to researchers, teachers and students. The garden plays an important role within the conservation of species, as it includes the Index Seminum Unit, which collects seeds from the Botanical Garden and the countryside in order to exchange them with other botanical gardens abroad. It supports botanical education in Guatemala. Entrance to the Gardens is through the Museo de Historia Natural.

Cerrito del Carmen

At the top of a hill known as Cerrito Del Carmen, is a hermitage dating from the 16th century. Inside there is an image of the Virgen Del Carmen made of embossed silver which was donated by the "barefooted Carmelites" congregation in 1620. As a result the hill was consecrated and given the name of Carmen. From the top of the hill there is a fantastic view of the city center. The sides are covered by trees and vegetation forming a beautiful wood with paths and benches within the city, frequented by vendors, children playing, people strolling, and lots of local visitors at weekends. It is advisable to visit it during the day and preferably with other people.

Avenida La Reforma

This avenue runs from Calle 1 up to Calle 20 along the boundary of Zones 9 and 10. It was built and opened in 1897, during the government of Jose Maria Reyna Barrios, who wanted to copy Champs Elysees in Paris. The boulevard was known as Boulevard 30 de Junio in commemoration of the liberal victory of 1871. It changed names from Boulevard La Reforma to Paseo de la Reforma, and finally to Avenida La Reforma in commemoration of Justo Rufino Barrios, known as "The Reformer." Adorned with many monuments, this avenue is considered part of the national heritage due to its artistic and historical value. There are many modern buildings on both sides of the avenue. This avenue starts at Plaza Obelisco, where a torch, constantly lit, symbolizes the freedom of Guatemala.

Zoológico La Aurora

Inaugurated in 1925, the zoo is mostly visited by Guatemalan families on weekends, when it gets really busy, and by school groups during the week. It has a wide variety of animals from Guatemala and other parts of the world. Its facilities have been recently refurbished. Animals are placed in cages which resemble their natural habitats, and there are many information boards. A tour around the zoo can take from a half to a full day. Food, sweets and drinks are available from stands at the entrance and around the park. There are also recreation areas for children and benches strategically placed for adults needing a rest. If you want to take a souvenir with you, there are many photographers waiting to take your picture.

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