Information and Tourism
Located in Central America, the country of Guatemala (officially the Republic of Guatemala) lies to the south and east of Mexico, and directly to the west of Belize, El Salvador and Honduras.
The southerly coastline is bounded by the North Pacific Ocean and is home to the beach town of Champerico, as well as the port cities of Puerto Quetzal and Puerto San Jose. A small section of the eastern coast fronts the Caribbean Sea, with the city of Puerto Barrios lying alongside the Amatique Bay (Bahia de Amatique).
Guatemala boasts a rich Maya legacy, with many incredible ancient ruins and stepped pyramids spread around the country, such as the Tikal temples close to Flores, and the El Mirador site within the El Peten jungle. The countryside of Guatemala is also home to some breathtaking sights, with mountains and volcanoes accompanied by wild forests, jungles and lush hillsides.
Sightseeing tourists in Guatemala will be able to choose between the regions of Antigua, El Peten, the Highlands and the Pacific Slope, as well as the Central and Eastern Guatemala areas. Consider visiting the street markets of Chichicastenango, cruising along the Rio Dulce, exploring the archaeological sites of Copan and Quirigua, and heading to the mountain town of Totonicapan, where traditional handicrafts are at their very best.
Close to the town of Lanquin, the cascading waterfalls and limestone pools within Semuc Champey are becoming increasingly popular with tourists, while in Guatemala City - the proud capital, the national museums are well worth checking out, as are the endless restaurants and nightspots. Quetzaltenango is the number two city in Guatemala and sits within the Western Highlands, with the hiking trails around the nearby Tajumulco Volcano providing views to treasure.
WORLD GUIDES TO GUATEMALA
World Guide to Antigua, Guatemala
Formerly Guatemala's colonial capital and now ranking as a World Heritage Site, Antigua features some exceptional Baroque architecture. Antigua's leafy Parque Central is an especially pleasant place to hang out.
World Guide to Guatemala City, Guatemala
The country's proud capital, Guatemala City is Central America's biggest city and enjoys a very scenic setting, within a valley and next to mountains. Plazas, churches, bustling markets and historic ruins are all highlights.
World Guide to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
Situated within the Western Highlands and often referred to as the 'City of the Soul of Culture', Quetzaltenango is brimming with artists and musicians. For tourists, the Xela Historic Centre is where much of the interest resides.
Guatemala Information and Fast Facts
- Country: Republic of Guatemala (República de Guatemala)
- Population: approximately 15 million
- Capital city: Guatemala City (population 1.2 million)
- Language: Guatemalan Spanish, Mayan languages also spoken in rural areas, as well as Amerindian and Arawakan dialects
- Main exports: bananas and other tropical fruits, clothing and textiles, coffee, flowers, petroleum products, spices, sugar and various vegetables
- Area: 42,047 square miles / 108,900 square kilometres
- Currency: Quetzal (GTQ)
- Time zone: Central Time (UTC - 6)
- Country dialling code: +502
- Religion: approximately 50 percent Roman Catholic, 40 percent Protestant, remainder other religions
Map of Guatemala