Overland Journeys: La Ruta Maya, Central America Explorer

Antigua GuatemalaMayan City of TikalLake Atitlan

The present day country of Guatemala lies at the heart of the old Mayan Empire with a number of important ruins located in the country. Perhaps the most impressive of these, and one of the most spectacular of all the Mayan sites, is Tikal, with the remains of over 3,000 structures within a dramatic jungle setting. Indigenous culture remains strong in Guatemala which has the highest percentage of indigenous people in Central America. The market at Chichicastenango and the villages of Lake Atitlan are some of the places to experience this traditional culture. Guatemala is also blessed with some stunning natural features - there are 30 volcanoes in the country which make for striking skylines and exciting hikes, while Lake Atitlan boasts a beautiful setting. On top of all this, the town of Antigua is a colonial gem and one of the most attractive Spanish towns in Latin America. Explore in depth highlights of Guatemala.

Travel Information for Guatemala
Time zone:GMT -6 (Central America time)
Daylight savings:GMT +1hr, begins last Sunday in April; ends last Friday in September
Main languages:Spanish
Other languages:Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, Garifuna, Xinca
Currency: quetzales (GTQ)

1 = Q8.64, $1 = Q7.74, £1 = Q10.30

(rates as of Sep 2016)

Internet Domain:.gtInternational Dialling Code:    502

For help planning your trip to Guatemala including visas, vaccinations, currency exchange, flights, accomodation and insurance, see our Guatemala trip planning page.

Further information on Guatemala

Discover more about Guatemala - the country's geogrpahy and natural features, an assessment of its status on freedom and rights and data on the country's population and economy.

Geography & Natural Features

Map of guatemala

Total area: 108,890 sq km (460 sq km under water)

Coastline: 400 km (Caribbean Sea, Pacific Ocean)

Neighbours (border lengths): Belize (266km), El Salvador (203km), Honduras (256km), Mexico (962km)

Climate: Tropical climate with hot, humid lowlands (rainy season between May and October) and cooler highlands (including Antigua and Lake Atitlan). Occasional threat from the 30 volcanoes as well as earthquakes hurricanes along the Caribbean coast.

Highest mountain: Volcan Tajumulco (4,211m)

Freedom & Rights

Summary status and rankings for Guatemala from classifications of different organisations measuring political and economic freedom, democracy and civil rights. See more details of these rankings.

Freedom in the WorldPartly Free -
Democracy IndexHybrid regime 82/167
Economic FreedomModerately Free 87/179
Press FreedomDifficult situation 122/179
ILGA LGBT rightsLimited rights -
Corruption PerceptionsMedium corruption 115/174
Overall Ranking:    100/195

Other Data & Links

Full name: Republic of Guatemala     Status: Independent Country

Population: 14,647,083 (rank: 69/196)     Density: 134.5 people/sq km (rank: 61/196)

Ethnic groups: Mestizo (mixed Amerindian-Spanish - in local Spanish called Ladino) and European 59.4%, K'iche 9.1%, Kaqchikel 8.4%, Mam 7.9%, Q'eqchi 6.3%, other Mayan 8.6%, indigenous non-Mayan 0.2%, other 0.1% (2001 census)

Religions: Roman Catholic, Protestant, indigenous Mayan beliefs

GDP (PPP): $81.51 billion       GDP per capita: $5,300 (rank: 128/195)

Information derived from the CIA World Factbook. Other country profiles: BBC News.