Guatemala Matter

Nestled in Central America, Guatemala is bordered by Mexico to the north and west, Belize to the northeast, Honduras to the east, and El Salvador to the southeast. Positioned between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Guatemala boasts a strategic geographical location within the Mesoamerican region.



Guatemala exhibits a diverse range of climates, including tropical rainforests, highland temperate zones, and coastal plains. The country experiences distinct wet and dry seasons, with variations in temperature and precipitation influenced by elevation and proximity to the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.


Guatemala harbors rich biodiversity, with a plethora of fauna inhabiting its diverse ecosystems. From jaguars, tapirs, and howler monkeys in the rainforests to toucans, quetzals, and hummingbirds in the highlands, Guatemala’s fauna is as varied as it is captivating.

Longest Rivers:

The longest river in Guatemala is the Motagua River, stretching approximately 486 kilometers (302 miles) across the eastern region of the country. Other notable rivers include the Usumacinta, which forms part of the border with Mexico, and the Sarstún, delineating the boundary with Belize.

Highest Mountains:

Guatemala is characterized by rugged mountain ranges, with its highest peak being Volcán Tajumulco, standing at an elevation of 4,220 meters (13,845 feet) above sea level. Other prominent peaks include Volcán Tacaná, Volcán Acatenango, and Volcán de Fuego.



Guatemala’s history traces back to the ancient Maya civilization, which flourished in the region for thousands of years. The Maya constructed magnificent cities, developed a sophisticated writing system, and made significant advancements in astronomy, mathematics, and architecture.

Colonial Era:

In the early 16th century, Spanish conquistadors arrived in Guatemala, led by Pedro de Alvarado. The Spanish colonization of Guatemala led to the subjugation of the indigenous population, the introduction of Christianity, and the establishment of colonial rule under the Viceroyalty of New Spain.

Independence and Modern Age:

Guatemala gained independence from Spain in 1821, joining the short-lived First Mexican Empire before becoming part of the United Provinces of Central America. Political instability, social inequality, and ethnic tensions have marked Guatemala’s post-independence history, including periods of authoritarian rule, civil conflict, and human rights abuses.


Guatemala has a diverse demographic makeup, with a population of approximately 18 million people. The majority of Guatemalans are of mixed indigenous and Spanish descent, known as Ladinos, while indigenous Mayan groups comprise a significant minority. The country’s population is predominantly Roman Catholic, with indigenous spiritual practices also prevalent.

Administrative Divisions

Guatemala is divided into 22 departments, each with its own administrative structure and local government. The administrative divisions of Guatemala, along with their respective populations, are as follows:

  1. Guatemala Department – Population: Approximately 4.1 million
  2. Huehuetenango Department – Population: Approximately 1.2 million
  3. Quetzaltenango Department – Population: Approximately 950,000
  4. San Marcos Department – Population: Approximately 1.4 million
  5. Suchitepéquez Department – Population: Approximately 650,000
  6. Escuintla Department – Population: Approximately 1.1 million
  7. Retalhuleu Department – Population: Approximately 370,000
  8. Sacatepéquez Department – Population: Approximately 350,000
  9. Chimaltenango Department – Population: Approximately 750,000
  10. Sololá Department – Population: 850,000

10 Largest Cities by Population

The largest cities in Guatemala by population include:

  1. Guatemala City – Population: 2.5 million
  2. Mixco – Population: 750,000
  3. Villa Nueva – Population: 550,000
  4. Quetzaltenango – Population: 225,000
  5. San Miguel Petapa – Population: 200,000
  6. Escuintla – Population: 170,000
  7. Chinautla – Population: 150,000
  8. Chimaltenango – Population: 150,000
  9. Chichicastenango – Population: 130,000
  10. Huehuetenango – Population: 125,000

Education Systems


Education in Guatemala is nominally free and compulsory for children aged 7 to 14, although access and quality vary significantly across regions and socioeconomic backgrounds. The educational system encompasses preschool, primary, secondary, and tertiary levels, with efforts ongoing to improve literacy rates and educational outcomes.

Top Universities:

Some of the top universities in Guatemala include:

  • Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala (USAC)
  • Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG)
  • Universidad Rafael Landívar (URL)
  • Universidad Francisco Marroquín (UFM)
  • Universidad Galileo



Guatemala has several airports, with La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City being the primary gateway for international and domestic flights. Other airports include Mundo Maya International Airport in Flores and Quetzaltenango Airport.


Guatemala has limited railway infrastructure, with a single railway line connecting Guatemala City to Puerto Barrios on the Caribbean coast. Efforts to modernize and expand the railway network are underway to enhance transportation connectivity and logistics capabilities.


The Pan-American Highway traverses Guatemala, linking it to neighboring countries and serving as a vital artery for domestic and international trade. Major highways include CA-1, CA-2, and CA-9, which connect key cities and regions across the country.


Guatemala has several ports along its Pacific and Caribbean coasts, including Puerto Quetzal, Puerto Santo Tomás de Castilla, and Puerto Barrios. These ports play a crucial role in facilitating maritime trade and commerce.

Country Facts

  • Population: Approximately 18 million
  • Capital: Guatemala City
  • Official Language: Spanish
  • Religion: Predominantly Roman Catholicism
  • Ethnic Groups: Ladino (mixed indigenous-Spanish descent), Maya
  • Currency: Guatemalan Quetzal (GTQ)
  • ISO Country Code: GT
  • International Calling Code: +502
  • Top-Level Domain: .gt