Moon Handbooks Guatemala
By Al Argueta
Paperback, Avalon Travel
Reviewed by Living Abroad Contributing Editor Volker Poelzl
The updated third edition of Moon Handbooks Guatemala really carries a punch with its 500 pages packed with useful travel information. I spent two months in Guatemala myself, and I can only say that there is no activity, no restaurant, no hotel, no small trekking club or NGO, and no destination that is not covered in Moon Handbooks Guatemala.
The Guatemala guidebook follows the tried and true layout of all Moon Handbooks: A colored map at the beginning shows the different regions covered in the book, which are marked with tabs throughout the text and are easy to find. The full-color introduction includes a Planning Guide that outlines Guatemala’s most interesting destinations and contains several itineraries based on travelers’ available time. Each of the book’s regional chapter opens with a shortlist of the highlights of each region, making it easy for visitors to plan their trip around the most important sites and attractions.
Author Al Argueta has done his homework for this book. His knowledge of the country and Guatemalan culture are in-depth and comprehensive. His fascination with the country and his interest in Guatemalan culture are evident throughout the book. He does an excellent job presenting Guatemala’s diversity and contradictions to readers. As he writes in the introduction: “From the chic cafés and high-rise hotels of Guatemala City to the mountain trails and quaint dirt-floor huts of the most remote Mayan village, Guatemala is an enigmatic land of culture and contrasts offering an incomparable palette of pleasures to any visitor.”
The author provides information and listings for all types of budgets and for a large variety of activities and destinations. You will find listings of great budget hotels as well as luxury resorts, cheap eateries, elegant restaurants, and entertainment and nightlife venues. The book also provides in-depth information about nature reserves, national parks, and wildlife sanctuaries, and a variety of outdoors activities such as trekking and hiking. In addition, text inserts throughout the book provide interesting tidbits about Guatemala’s culture, history, and natural attractions.
The Background section at the end of the book provides information about the history, government, economy, fauna and flora, as well as people and culture of Guatemala, which includes local customs, religion, the arts, crafts, music, and more. The Essentials section gives useful information about practical travel matters, such as transportation, visas, recreation, accommodations, food, conduct and customs, health and safety, banking, embassies, communications, a glossary, Spanish phrasebook, suggested reading, and internet resources.
Moon Handbooks Guatemala is a comprehensive guidebook that covers eating, lodging and transportation options for travelers of all budgets, and provides information about activities and destinations for a large variety of interests, which makes the book a useful and indispensable travel companion for almost any traveler.
For more information and to read excerpts of the book, visit the publisher’s Moon Handbooks Guatemala web page.