Flag of Guatemala

Guatemala

The Republic of Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean Sea to the east, Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, and Mexico to the north and northwest.

The largest and most populous nation in Central America, Guatemala is best known for its historical role as a major seat of Pre-Columbian cultures, particularly the Mayans. Numerous sites of major archaeological significance have been discovered, including the ruins of the ancient city of Tikal. The name 'Guatemala' is thought to have derived from 'Cuauhtemalan', meaning the land of many trees, given by the Tlaxcaltecs Indians.

Although the nation has been relatively stable since 1996, Guatemala's recent history has been plagued by military coups and civil war, which have slowed the nation's development. Large portions of Guatemala's interior remain undeveloped, including the nation's many wetlands and rainforests. Guatemala's abundance of biologically significant and unique ecosystems contribute to its designation as an important biodiversity hotspot.

Despite its turmoil, travellers flock to Guatemala because it offers Central America in concentrated form: its volcanoes are the highest and most active, its Mayan ruins the most impressive and its earthquakes the most devastating.

Map of Guatemala