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Thursday 30th March
Guatemala Information - Page 1
Geography
The Republic of Guatemala is in Central America. It is bordered by Mexico, Belize, the Gulf of Honduras (Caribbean Sea), Honduras, El Salvador and the North Pacific Ocean.

Guatemala City is the capital. Quetzaltenango is an important commercial centre.

The terrain is mountainous with narrow coastal plains and limestone plateau. Rivers include the Motagua and the Usumacinta.

The climate of Guatemala is tropical. The rainy season is from May to October.

Environment
There are around thirty protected areas in Guatemala including National Parks and other reserves.

Tikal National Park, a World Heritage site, situated in the Guatemalan jungle, is a combination of a major Mayan archaeological site and the natural environment.

Wildlife includes monkeys (howler and spider), pumas, tapirs and numerous species of birds. The quetzal is the symbol of Guatemala. The Mario Dary Quetzal Reserve was established to preserve the national bird.

Architecture
World Heritage Maya sites in Guatemala are Tikal and Quirigua. Tikal was inhabited from the sixth century BC to the tenth century AD. Quirigua, inhabited from the second century AD, contains a number of eighth century Mayan monuments. Other Maya centres include El Mirador and Nakbe.

Antigua, another of Guatemala's Word Heritage sites, is a Colonial town founded in the sixteenth century. Although badly damaged by an earthquake in 1773, many Colonial monuments have been preserved.

Population
The population of Guatemala was estimated 13,824,463 in 2011.

Languages
Sixty percent of the population speak Spanish and forty percent speak Amerindian languages. The main Mayan languages are Quiche, Cakchiquel, Mam and Kekchi.

Religion
Many Guatemalans are Roman Catholic. Indigenous Mayan beliefs are important and in some areas Mayan and Catholic beliefs are combined. Religious organizations include Catholic Action and Fundamentalist Protestantism.

Food
Maize and beans are staple foods in Guatemala. Cornmeal tortillas with beans and filled tamales make popular meals. Soups, stews and egg dishes are eaten.

Meat, such as chicken, is served with rice and vegetables. Beans, carrots, cassava, chillies, onions, plantains, peppers and tomatoes are grown.

Desserts include sweet pastries and custards. Tropical fruits are bananas, mangoes, papayas and pineapples.

Fruit juices and coffee are produced in Guatemala. Local alcoholic drinks include beer and rum.

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