Betterment, beautification, security in Z. 1
by Ana Cetina, June 4, 2020
One of the most interesting parts in Guatemala City is zone 1, called Historic Center. It was the original settlement of the city, in 1975. If you have read about Guatemala City you are probably thinking that it is dangerous, and you should avoid it. But if I am been honest, I love it, it is not as dangerous as many travel guides say. If you wanted to come 20 years ago, I would’ve said no, avoid this zone. But now it is a beautiful zone. You can take a private transportation, a taxi or uber and visit the Central Plaza, the National Palace and the walking street 6th avenue and then take the transportation back to your hotel or house.
Let me explain myself. Since 2004 zone 1 has been changing, the mayor of the city started making changes in the city, but specially in zone 1. One of the changes was to create the walking street, 6th avenue, clean all the streets, he moved all the street sales to a close market and banned the demolition of old buildings to build new ones. All the changes he made, helped the historical center become more secure. Of course, there are parts that you must avoid, but that is why I suggest you come by private transportation or with someone who knows the area, do not be adventurous.
What I personally like the most when you walk in zone 1 is that you can find very colorful characters that you cannot find in any other area of Guatemala. Then there are the old buildings, I do not know why but I like seeing the architecture of a city, wherever I go, specially if it is old. The little cafes or bars inside these old buildings, so charming. You can really feel the history of Guatemala in this zone. You can also visit small museums, watch the daily life of the people and feel its vibes.
Just be prepared because it is loud, you can hear all types of music, people talking loudly, some persons screaming inviting you to enter a store, a guy or a clown telling jokes, etc. I personally enjoy all the craziness; makes you get out of your head.
Zone 1 has its own personality; it is the cultural and historic center and it is full of life. And you can try the best typical food of Guatemala, not only on the street but in very nice restaurants that will serve many delicious Guatemalan dishes or international food.
I invite you not to be afraid of this area, just be cautious, and enjoy it.