Flag of Guatemala

Flag of Guatemala

Republic of Guatemala


  • Population » 15 million
  • Languages » Spanish, more than 20 indigenous languages
  • Religions » Christianity, indigenous Mayan beliefs
  • Life expectancy » 68 years (men), 75 years (women)
  • Currency » Quetzal (GTQ) (XE)
  • Time Zone » GMT-6
  • Internet TLD » .gt
  • The crime emergency lines in Guatemala are 110 and 120.
Map of Guatemala

Map of Guatemala (Source » Wikimedia)


  • Area » 108,889 km²
  • Located in Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Honduras and Belize and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Mexico.
  • There are 37 volcanoes in Guatemala, four of them active. Tajumulco Volcano is the highest peak in Guatemala and in Central America at 4,220 m (13,845 ft}
  • There are no natural harbours on west coast
  • Wikipedia » Geography of Guatemala



  • Central America’s largest GDP of $77.6 billion in 2020, according to the World Bank.
  • A country of striking features and a strong indigenous culture
    • Mountainous, forested, and dotted with Mayan ruins, lakes, volcanoes, and orchids
    • The south coastal area and the north are not mountainous
  • There is no passenger rail service in Guatemala


  • A visa is not required for Canadians, for up to 90 days.
    • Tourists must still hold a passport valid for at least six months beyond your planned date of country exit and with one blank visa page.
  • Guatemala is a beautiful country with many attractions crammed into a relatively small area.
  • The Rio Dulce on the Caribbean coast is often a destination for yachts cruising this part of the world
  • Colourful Holy Week at Easter with parades (very busy time with tourists)


  • Guatemala has 3 properties on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Tikal National Park (UNESCOWikipediaMap)
    • One of the world’s most important ancient Mayan sites
    • Tikal is an ancient Mayan citadel in the rainforests of northern Guatemala.
    • Popular with tourists.
    • Try to see the ruins of Tikal at sunrise or sunset.
    • Note » Was not able to go on previous visit due to hurricane rains that flooded roads and bridges in 2008.
    • !Nearby » Uaxactun, an ancient sacred place of the Maya civilization, located in the Petén Basin region of the Maya lowlands, in the present-day department of Petén, near the border with Belize. Uaxactun lies some 12 miles north of the major center of Tikal and is not as crowded with tourists. (Wikipedia)
  • Archaeological Park and Ruins of Quiriguá (UNESCOWikipedia)
  • Antigua, Guatemala (UNESCOWikipediaMap)
    • Beautiful. Cultural. Historic.
    • A small city surrounded by volcanoes in southern Guatemala.
    • Celebrating Semana Santa in Antigua with parades and rituals would be a highlight.


  •  Acatenango » near to Antigua
    • Hike Volcan de Acatenango (Wikipedia) watch the eruptions of Volcan de Fuego.
  • Panajachel, on Lake Atitlan (Map)
    • On Thursday and Sunday, check out the market at Chichicastenango.
    • Also explore nearby towns Santiago Atitlan, San Marcos, San Juan, and San Pedro.
  • Semuc Champey Natural Monument (Wikipedia) at Lanquin
  • Hike the Tajumulco Volcano, the highest peak in all of Central America at 4,220 m (13,845 ft)
  • Hike the Santa Maria Volcano, Xela, Guatemala
    • High altitude, with sub-zero temperatures at night, even in Central America.
    • There is no mountain rescue service in Guatemala.
    • Mountain activities, including hiking, comes with certain personal safety risks in Guatemala, especially if they are not well-organized. Trails are not always marked and weather conditions can change rapidly, even in summer.
  • Chicken buses


  • Drive on the Right
  • Local drivers generally don’t respect traffic laws. They are often reckless. Driving under the influence is common.
  • There can be heavy traffic on the Pan-American Highway (CA-1), and the road from Guatemala City to the Atlantic Ocean (CA-9).
  • Police presence is scarce on the isolated dirt roads near Lake Atitlan, and the road from Godínez to Panajachel
  • Under the terms of the Central America-4 Border Control Agreement (CA-4) (Wikipedia), Canadian may travel freely within El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.
    • Tourists may travel between these countries for up to 90 days without having to undergo entry and exit formalities at border immigration checkpoints.
    • Tourists must still check in at immigration counters when they enter or exit these checkpoints.
    • The 90-day period begins at the first point of entry to any of the CA-4 countries. You will be fined if you exceed the 90-day limit.
    • You may request an extension of up to 90 days once a year. You must request this extension and pay the required fee at the Guatemala Directorate General of Migration before your first 90-day limit expires. Immigration authorities will determine the length of the extension.

Safety and Security

  • The most common crimes against expatriates and foreigners include petty theft and armed robbery.
    • A common trend in the commission of armed robberies is the use of motorcycles. Typically, two men on a motorcycle accost the driver of a car or pedestrian and demand valuables and cell phones. Often, a second pair of armed individuals accompany the assailants, functioning as lookouts. If the assailants encounter any resistance, they escalate the situation through extreme violence (e.g., stabbings, shootings). The use of motorcycles allows the assailants to flee quickly; police rarely apprehend them. (US Dept of State)
  • Violent crime, including homicides, is common in Guatemala.
    • Most violent incidents are drug- and gang-related and occur throughout the country, including in tourist destinations.
  • Guatemala along with El Salvador and Honduras have the highest violent crime rate in Central America.
  • International Crisis Group


Government Travel Advice


  • Your Mileage May Vary



This page was updated September 15, 2023