7 Famous Guatemalan Dances You Need to Know

Mayan folk dance, Guatemala
Mayan folk dance, Guatemala | © Cliff1066 / Flickr
Jack Guy

With many different Mayan cultures and the lasting influence of the Spanish colonial era, it should come as no surprise that Guatemala has a whole raft of traditional dances. Here are some of the best to look out for.

http://instagram.com/p/BP33__dBKMY/?taken-by=comvite

Rabinal Achí

Each January the town of Rabinal celebrates its patron saint with a traditional dance that tells the story of conflict between the Quiche Maya and the Rabinaleb Maya. Head to the department of Baja Verapaz in early January to join the party.

Danza de los Viejitos

http://instagram.com/p/BOSpmx9hs6V/?taken-by=comvite

Palo Volador

According to a story in the Popol Vuh, sacred book of the Maya, two brothers were turned into monkeys as punishment for trying to kill their other two brothers. The dance of the palo volador commemorates the story and features two dancers dressed as monkeys hanging from ropes on a huge pole, swinging slowly to the ground. You can see the palo volador in Chichicastenango on January 17-23, Cubulco on July 26 and Joyabaj on August 15.

Baile de la Conquista

The Dance of the Conquest narrates the confrontations between the Maya K’iche’ and the conquistador armies led by Pedro de Alvarado. It is usually found in the western Highlands of Guatemala, particularly in Quiche and Totonicapán.

Danza Yurumein

Many people aren’t aware that there is a Garifuna community in Guatemala, descended from escaped slaves. They settled in a place called Livingston near Rio Dulce, which is only accessible by boat. The community has many different dances, but the most famous is the Yurumein. You can see it during celebrations for National Garifuna Day on November 26.

Mayan folk dance, Guatemala

Danza de los Pascarines

This violent dance usually takes place in April. It tells the story of two shepherd families who are fighting over a woman, and involves 25 dancers, one of whom is whipped during the performance. It is certainly a sight to see.

Danza de los Vaqueros

This satirical dance evokes the bullfights and other Spanish traditions that were introduced by the conquistadors. Characters include the landowner, several young women, a group of cowboys and shepherds, and a number of bulls. In total there are 32 people involved in the dance.

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article