Tough Trucks Guatemala Backgrounder


Zay Harding starts his journey from the National Palace in the centre of Guatemala City, from where all distances in the country are measured.  He heads first to the dramatic ruins of the ancient Maya city of Mixco Viejo in the highlands just outside the capital.  To get there, he travels on a hugely colourful old school bus, driven down from the USA and then reconditioned with a powerful truck engine in order to cope with Guatemala’s challenging mountainous terrain.

Heading on along the country’s main road, the PanAmerican Highway, in a large 18-wheeler truck, Zay discovers that just as most of Guatemala’s buses are driven down through Mexico from the USA, so are most of Guatemala’s big trucks.  Transferring onto a local truck heading up into Guatemala’s highest mountain range, Zay visits one of the country’s most beautiful and traditional villages, Todos Santos Cuchumatan, as it celebrates its annual fiesta with a very dangerous, drunken horse race.

Continuing his journey by hitching a ride along Guatemala’s most dangerous road, running the gauntlet of a tectonic fault that causes frequent, fatal landslides, Zay passes through beautiful orchid-filled highland cloud forest en route to the remote lowland jungle of northern Guatemala.  Heading further and further into the wilderness along treacherously muddy tracks through the rainforest, Zay breathes a sigh of relief as he finally arrives safely at his final destination, Tikal, the most spectacular of all ancient Maya cities.


When To Go:


The best time to visit Guatemala is in the winter (December – March) when the weather is relatively dry and cool, avoiding the hot, sticky rainy season during the summer.


Getting There: International/domestic travel by air, sea, road  (max. 100 words)


There are direct flights to Guatemala City International Airport from some destinations, but many travellers find it easiest to fly via the US or Mexico.

Must See and Dos – e.g. attractions or activities along the way(max. 10)

1. Tikal

2. Yaxha (near Tikal)

3. Flores Island (near Tikal)

4. Mixco Viejo (near Guatemala City)

5. Antigua Guatemala


List any hotels, guesthouses, hostels, B&Bs featured or stayed in along the route:


1. Hotel PanAmerican, Guatemala City

2. Jungle Lodge, Tikal


Websites used to research show – include tourist office, museums, galleries, iconic buildings etc.



List any books you used to research/prepare show

1. Rough Guide to Guatemala

2. Lost Cities of the Maya