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Guatemala: ancient Mayan cities and volcanoes

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Guatemala (República de Guatemala) is a presidential republic located in Central America. This country is bathed in the southwest by the Pacific Ocean, and in the east by the Caribbean Sea, bordered to the north and west by Mexico, in the north-east with Belize, in the east with Honduras, in the south-east with El Salvador. The capital and main city of the country is Guatemala City (Ciudad de Guatemala), located on the plateau at 1,500 meters high.


The Guatemalan territory is formed largely by mountains, which for the most part are volcanic reliefs. About 60% of the Guatemalan territory is mountainous. Two mountain ranges cross the country from west to east, the two chains are separated by the valley of the Motagua river. The southern chain is the Sierra Madre, a continuation of the Mexican one. Here are impressive volcanic cones, all 37 Guatemala volcanoes belong to this chain. Among these volcanoes are Tacaná (4,093 m), Santa María (3,772 m), Atitlán (3,537 m), Fuego (3,763 m), Agua (3,766 m), and Pacaya (2,552 m). Here is also the Tajumulco volcano, which with 4,220 meters in height, is the highest mountain in Guatemala and Central America.

The northern chain is formed by the massifs of the Altos Cuchumatanes (3,993 m), the Sierra de Chuacús (2,651 m), and the Sierra de las Minas (3,140 m). To the north of the mountains is the limestone plateau of Petén, a flat region rich in forests, continuation of the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. Guatemala’s waterways are generally short, especially those that flow to the Pacific Ocean. The country’s largest river is Motagua (about 400 km long) which flows into the Gulf of Honduras in the Caribbean Sea. Another important river is the Usumacinta, which marks part of the border with Mexico. Among the lakes, the largest is Lake Izabal (590 sq km).


Agriculture is the most important economic sector in Guatemala. Coffee, bananas, sugar cane, corn, rice, beans and wheat are produced there. Timber and the breeding of pigs, sheep and cattle are also important.

A certain importance is also played by the mining sector, salt, zinc, lead, antimony, nickel, tungsten and oil are extracted. The most developed industries are those related to the transformation of agricultural products such as sugar factories, breweries and coffee processing plants. The influx of tourists is also remarkable, thanks to attractions such as Tikal, Lake Atitlan and Antigua Guatemala.

Guatemala tourist attractions.

The climate of Guatemala.

  • Area: 108,889 sqkm. (Arable 17,5%, Pastures 23,9%, Forests and Woodlands 53,4%, Uncultivated and Unproductive 5,2%)
  • Population: 17,200,000 (2018 data) (Amerindian 55%, Mestizos (descendants of European and Amerindian) 30%, European15%).
  • State Capital: Guatemala City.
  • Language: Official language is Spanish. Indios speak Amerindian languages. 23 Amerindian languages are recognized as National Languages, among them: Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, Garifuna, and Xinca.
  • Religion: Roman Catholic 70%; Protestant 30%.
  • Currency: Quetzal (GTQ)
  • Time: UTC -6 hours.



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