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Learn about Guatemala's tumultuous past

La Casa de Memoria

Exhibit at Casa De La Memoria | © Courtesy of  Guatamala.com

Exhibit at Casa De La Memoria | © Courtesy of Guatamala.com

Guatemala’s past is marked by conflict and the present is plagued by social injustice and inequality. Almost every street is adorned with posters that remind visitors and residents of this turbulent history, the faces of the disappeared and street graffiti calling for peace and justice. To delve deeper into this history, a visit to La Casa de la Memoria (The House of Memory) is a must. Just four blocks from Central Park, La Casa de la Memoria, is a small museum founded by the Centre for Legal Action on Human Rights. It charts the violent and untold history of Guatemala from before the colonial era until the present day, through interactive and rotating exhibitions, particularly focusing on the role of women throughout Guatemala’s history and the impact of the 36-year internal armed conflict that ended in 1996. Entry to both the National Historical Archive and the Casa de la Memoria museums are free and guides are available on request (English speaking guides should be requested in advance).

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The most complete historical record of the country's armed conflict

National Historical Police Archives

Archival documents in Guatemalan police station | © Courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine

Archival documents in Guatemalan police station | © Courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine

For the real history buffs and nerds among us, the National Historical Police Archives are also worth a visit. Hidden away in Zone 6, the archives represent the most complete history of Guatemala’s 36-year internal armed conflict. They were discovered by accident in 2006 and have since become an essential source for solving ongoing cases and find missing persons and there is a small museum attached. As of March 2019, the Archives are still receiving visitors despite the unexpected finalization of the AHPN's director's contract, Gustavo’s Meoño, and the removal of the archives official website. 

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Support female artisans and traditional Mayan weaving

AFENDES

Traditional Guatemala weaving | © Steven dosRemedios/Flickr CC

Traditional Guatemala weaving | © Steven dosRemedios/Flickr CC

If there is one thing that Guatemala is famous for, it’s the quality, diversity, and intricacy of the hand-woven Mayan textiles. Take a visit to the women’s association, AFEDES, in the nearby town of Santiago Sacatepequez to find out how Mayan women are working to protect the millennial art of backstrap weaving. It is the perfect opportunity to buy some original weavings directly from the women who produce them and to support female artisans who are gaining financial independence for themselves and their communities through their craft.

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Dine on locally-made vegetarian food

Chikach

Two women at Chikach Cafe | © Courtesy of Chikach

Two women at Chikach Cafe | © Courtesy of Chikach

Chikach meaning ‘basket’ in the Mayan language, K’iche is a treasure among locals serving freshly prepared vegetarian food with most of their ingredients coming directly from their own organic farm. They have a set menu which varies every day or customers can order ‘a la carte’ from a selection of amaranth burgers, falafel, eggplant sandwiches and amaranth ice cream for dessert. Once you’ve satisfied your appetite you can have a look around the shop for organic coffee, herbal teas, amaranth in all its forms, locally produced gluten-free flours, essential oils, and other natural remedies, all produced by local cooperatives.

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Find peace at this woman-run tea house

Caravasar

The tea house, Caravasar, in Guatemala City © | Caravasar

The tea house, Caravasar, in Guatemala City | © Caravasar

When the chaos of Guatemala City gets too much, Caravasar—tucked in Pasaje Rubio just off the Central Park—is a little corner of calm and tranquillity. Run by local woman Julia, Caravasar has the best selection of specialty teas in Guatemala, as well as a lunch menu including a number of veggie, vegan and gluten-free options. They also serve tempting treats for the sweet tooth such as their signature matcha and lemon sponge.

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Read a feminist periodical at this pizza joint

Pizza 502

Courtyard of Pizza 502 | © Pizza502/Facebook

Courtyard of Pizza 502 | © Pizza502/Facebook

It feels like there is a pizza franchise on every street corner in Guate but you won’t beat the weekly specials and craft beer available at Pizza 502. Set in a colonial patio with hanging vines and soft lighting Pizza 502, or ‘la pizza’ as locals call it, is run by Javier and Andrea, local activists with a passion for pizza. They host rotating exhibitions, music nights, salsa parties and poetry readings. You can also pick up a copy of Guatemala’s favorite (only) feminist periodical ‘La Cuerda’, edited by Andrea.

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Dine at the city's only feminist café

Xibalbá

Vegetarian tamales at Xibalba | © xibalba.guate/Facebook

Vegetarian tamales at Xibalba | © xibalba.guate/Facebook

Finish your night off Xibalbá, a feminist cafe and bar, where there are regular events and debates on anything to do with feminism in Guatemala and weekly concerts by favorite local artists.

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A hotel founded by a female journalist

El Tular

The orange bungalow at El Tular | ©Courtesy of El Tular

The orange bungalow at El Tular | ©Courtesy of El Tular

Spoil yourself at the ecological sanctuary of El Tular, nestled among the hills on the southern edge of Guatemala City. El Tular is the creation of local journalist and ecologist Magalí Rey Rosa and offers a welcome escape from the noise and traffic of Guatemala City’s center. They have accommodation options ranging from camping to luxury cabins with activities including hiking, archery, and bird watching to do on site as well as a diverse menu of homegrown ingredients from their organic garden.

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Support aspiring female journalists with this hotel stay

Casa Q’anil

Front of Cultural House Q'anil | © Courtesy of FGER

Front of Cultural House Q'anil | © Courtesy of FGER

Casa Q’anil, also home to the Saturday market, is only a ten-minute walk from the city center. They offer private rooms and dorms and all proceeds go to support a local association of community radios FGER who support young indigenous women to become reporters and broadcasters.

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