National Geographic Traveler
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May/June 2008
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Guatemala Magic

Going Beyond the Tourist Trail

O n an assignment for National Geographic Traveler, photographer Pete McBride and writer Carl Hoffman journey off the beaten path in Guatemala. With the help of a local guide who specializes in discovering "deep culture," the two explore this Central American country's well-known tourist stops of Antigua and Lake Atitlán. But then they go beyond the tourist trail to spend time on coffee fincas and in out-of-the-way villages such as Chajul. The climax of their journey is their participation in a cult ceremony in a makeshift temple to Maximón, a local deity that is part saint and part devil and who demands offerings of cigars and rum from his devotees. As Hoffman writes of the experience, "The night dissolves into a phantasm of voices, alcohol, and nicotine, and we are swept away."

To read more about this trip, see the May/June 2008 issue of National Geographic Traveler. See our Tours of a Lifetime list here.

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