Al Argueta

Planning Your Time in El Oriente and Izabal

The Izabal region features a unique kind of Caribbean experience not at all like Cancún or the West Indies but nonetheless beautiful. Meanwhile in El Oriente, Copán showcases some of the Mayan world’s finest ruins and the surrounding mountainous countryside is becoming increasingly popular with travelers exploring coffee farms, a jungle bird park, and hot springs.

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Balam: Jaguars in Guatemala

The Maya had great respect and reverence for the jaguar, which they called balam. Jaguars were a symbol of power and strength and were believed to act as mediums for communication between the living and the dead. Scientists have been studying jaguars in the Maya Biosphere Reserve, but luckily, you don’t need to go traipsing through the jungle to see one: Guatemala City’s excellent zoo has jaguars, as does Petén’s ARCAS wildlife rescue center.

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Lost and Found: The Mystery of Guatemala’s Site Q

For much of the 20th century, looters worked Petén’s remote sites undisturbed, raiding tombs and extracting precious artifacts before archaeologists had a chance to study and document them. At the height of the looting, in the 1960s, archaeologists marveled at a series of magnificent glyphs making their way into a number of private collections and museums from an unknown site. Archaeologists dubbed the pieces’ origin “Site Q” and the search to find the mysterious producer of the wonderful glyphs was on.

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Featured Travel Guide

Moon Guides Author Spotlight

Elizabeth Linhart Veneman

Elizabeth Linhart Veneman has always viewed growing up in Northern California as both a blessing and curse. There is so much to see, do, and experience all within a short drive—from broad sequoias in the Sierras to ancient lava beds north of Mount Shasta, from creaky Gold Rush towns to the pampering Wine Country—that she began to wonder why anyone would ever leave.

Elizabeth was eventually lured out of the Golden State to Alaska’s far north, where she traveled the Inside Passage, baked bread under the midnight sun in Denali National Park, and chronicled the state’s burgeoning sustainable agriculture for Alaska Magazine. These adventures culminated in penning the travel guide InsightGuides: Alaska.

But Elizabeth knew her California roots were too deep to stay away for long. Raised in Carmel, where her great-great grandmother opened the first restaurant (a soup kitchen with dirt floors!) at the turn of the 20th century, she would always call California home. So she returned and devoted herself to writing about the state she loves most. Her work has included the travel guides SmartGuide: San Francisco and InsightGuides: San Francisco, as well as reporting on food and sustainable agriculture for local publications.

Elizabeth Linhart Veneman is the author of several Moon travel guides, including Moon California and Moon Napa & Sonoma.