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Fuego and Acatenango volcanoes in GuatemalaFuego and Acatenango volcanoes in Guatemala
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authorshipJavier Ruata
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Guatemala is a small country in Central America. Covering 108,890 sq km (42,042 sq mi), it is bordered by Mexico to the north and west, Belize to the northeast, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast. Guatemala also has a stretch of coastline facing the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest.

Guatemala is a presidential republic. It has a population nof 13.5 million people (2011 estimate). The capital and largest city is Guatemala City. The official language is Spanish, although the country has over twenty different indigenous languages.

Antigua Guatemala with Vulcan de Agua in the backgroundAntigua Guatemala with Vulcan de Agua in the background
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Guatemala is in the Central America Time zone, which is six hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-6). Traffic is driven on the right. The phone IDD code is +502. The official currency of Guatemala is called the Quetzal (GTQ).

In 2009, Guatemala had a nominal GDP of $37.302 billion, and a per capita nominal GDP of $2,662. Its per capita GDP at purchasing power parity is $4,839.

Maya ruins of Tikal, GuatemalaMaya ruins of Tikal, Guatemala
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Evidence of human habitation in Guatemala goes back to over 12,000 BC. The country was one of the centers of Mesoamerica civilization, as is visible today in the many ancient cities in Guatemala, among them El Mirador, El Tintal, Nakbé, Tikal and others. El Mirador was the most populous city in pre-Columbian America. It was also part of the first organized state in America which had 26 cities linked by highways that stretched a few kilometers in length and up to 40 meters wide.

The Spanish arrived in Guatemala in 1519, bringing with them an epidemic that decimated the native population. Guatemala was a colony of Spain until 15 September, 1821, when the Captaincy-general of Guatemala comprising present-day Chiapas, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Honduras, declared its independence from Spain. It was incorporated into the Mexican Empire, a union which only lasted two years. Only Chiapas remained part of Mexico while all the others because independent states.

Maya ruins of Tikal, GuatemalaMaya ruins of Tikal, Guatemala
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Planning your trip to Guatemala

Visitors who do not need a visa to enter Guatemala include the nationals of Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Chile, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Spain, San Marino, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United States, United Kingdom, Vatican City, Venezuela.

La Aurora International Airport (GUA) in Guatemala City is the main gateway to the country. The airport has flights connecting it to major cities in Central America and North America.

Woman from Todos Santos, GuatemalaWoman from Todos Santos, Guatemala
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authorshipYves Picq
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Preparing Money for your trip to Guatemala

The currency used in Guatemala is the Guatemalan Quetzal (GTQ).

Major Cities in Guatemala

World Heritage Sites in Guatemala

Guatemala ratified the World Heritage Convention on 16 January, 1979. As of August 2010, it has three World Heritage Sites, two properties in the cultural category and one in the mixed category. Guatemala also has another 18 sites on the World Heritage Tentative List.

Sites in Guatemala on the World Heritage Tentative List

  1. The Cultural Triangle (2002)
  2. The Cuenca Mirador (2002)
  3. The Core of the Mayan Area (2002)
  4. The Route of The Rivers (2002)
  5. Naj Tunich Cave (2002)
  6. The Mayan-Olmecan Encounter (2002)
  7. Route of the Franciscan Evangelisation (2002)
  8. Route of the to Dominique Evangelisation (2002)
  9. Route of the Peace and National Identity (2002)
  10. Castle of San Felipe de Lara (2002)
  11. Route of the Agroindustry and the Architecture Victoriana (2002)
  12. Town of Chichicastenango (2002)
  13. The Green Route of Verapaz, Guatemala (2002)
  14. Sierra De Las Minas Biosphere Reservation (2002)
  15. National Park Sierra del Lacandón (2002)
  16. The Manglares Route of Pacific Coast of Guatemala (2002)
  17. Protected area of Lake Atitlán: multiple use (2002)
  18. Visis Cabá National park and Triangulo Ixil Vernacular Architecture (2002)

Places of Interest in Guatemala

  1. Lake Atitlán
  2. Monterrico

Maya Sites in Guatemala

  1. Aguateca
  2. El Mirador
  3. El Peru
  4. Iximché
  5. Nakúm
  6. Tikal
  7. Yaxhá

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