Santiago’s local fiesta to honour the Day of the Dead on November 1 is one of the nation’s most spectacular, with massive kites flown from the cemetery to release the souls of the dead from their agony. The festival is immensely popular, and thousands of Guatemalans (and tourists) come every year to watch the spectacle. The colourful kites, made from paper and bamboo, are huge circular creations, measuring up to about 3m in diameter. Teams of young men struggle to get them aloft while the crowd looks on with bated breath, rushing for cover if a kite comes crashing to the ground. All in all it’s quite a scene, the cemetery lined with even larger kites of up to 10m across that are too heavy to get off the ground but which form an impressive backdrop. Early mornings are often calm, with the wind usually picking up around lunchtime, so you may want to time your arrival accordingly.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Guatemala features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

In pictures: traditional dress around the world

In pictures: traditional dress around the world

The Sari, India Ostensibly the simplest item of clothing possible – a single length of fabric, up to nine metres long – the sari is also one of the world…

02 Feb 2015 • Alice Park camera_alt Gallery
20 fascinating second cities

20 fascinating second cities

Barcelona, Spain It's usually the capital cities that get all the attention, but what about a country's second city? These are twenty of our favourite second c…

02 Oct 2014 • Rebecca Hallett camera_alt Gallery
The best photography on Picfair: the locals

The best photography on Picfair: the locals

For the second piece in our "Best of Picfair" series, we take a look at locals around the world. From Haiti to Vietnam, here is some of the best travel photogra…

02 Sep 2014 • Lottie Gross insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month