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Guatemala maybe small but the memories it inspires, like its dazzling range of attractions, are immense. Returning guests describe a candlelit supper among the haunting ruins of Yaxta temple - a unique A&K treat - as a 'once in a lifetime experience'.
A shamanic ceremony was equally atmospheric. Our guide knew the exact village house where the deity Maximon took ritualistic centre stage. His effigy was draped in scarves and broad brimmed hats, and a cigar placed between his lips, removed occasionally to pour spirits into his mouth. 'I new I was witnessing something very special,' wrote our client.
Take an Abercrombie & Kent Guatemalan holiday in 2014 and you'll explore a country described as Central America in miniature, with everything from ruins to rainforests and colonial churches to Indian markets. Antigua, a hotbed of Spanish language schools, is swaddled by three volcanoes and blends picturesque colonial architecture with Mayan colour, particularly during Easter's sensory overload.
You'll also understand Aldous Huxley's claim that Atitlán is the world's most beautiful lake. How do we know? Well guests already report waking up at Casa Palopo to see an exquisite trinity of volcanic peaks above a glassy-calm lake.
Head north on a luxury A&K tour and you'll find Mayan temples snuggling into fecund jungle; the monumental pyramids of Tikal and Yaxta spiking above the canopy, the almost reverential silence shattered by the howler monkey's extraordinary screech.
And we can't omit Chichicastenango in the highlands, famed for its market flogging everything from animals to medicinal plants and hot tortilla. It prompted one guest to recommend 'Jump in a flete taxi with your guide and explore the area. It's authentic, it's amazing, it's what we travel for, isn't it?'
Best time to be there
Known as the country of eternal spring, Guatemala is good to visit all year round but the dry season is November to May. The climate also varies according to altitude. The low-lying jungle areas such as El Peten are generally hot and sticky, in contrast to the highlands which are pleasantly warm during the day but can be very cool at night.
Guatemala City - daily via Miami
GMT -6 hours
Not required for UK passport holders
Yellow fever if arriving from an infected area
The Hotels you (Charlie Lockwood) selected were superb in Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil, what a pleasure it has been to stay in the Orient Express Hotels, everyone was so helpful, the exception being the Four Seasons Hotel in Buenos Aires equally superb.
- TW, London