Guatemala Guide

Guatemala Guide

Country data

Location: Central America

Time zone: CET – 7 (during summer time: CET – 8)

Total area: 108,889 km²

Land area: 107,159 km²

Water area: 1,730 km²

Length of the state border: 1,667 km

including:
Belize: 266 km
El Salvador: 199 km
Honduras: 244 km
Mexico: 958 km

Coastline: 400 km

Capital: Guatemala City

Regions: 22
Alta Verapaz, Baja Verapaz, Chimaltenango, Chiquimula, El Progreso, Escuintla, Guatemala, Huehuetenango, Izabal, Jalapa, Jutiapa, Peten, Quetzaltenango, Quiche, Retalhuleu, Sacatepequez, San Marcos, Santa Rosa, Solezola, Suchequapan Zacapa

Electric current: 110 V / 60 Hz

Telephone code: 00 502 (Source: Allcitycodes)

Highest point: Tajumulco volcano 4,211 m

Population

Population: approx. 14.6 million residents (Countryaah, 2021)

Population growth: 1.9% per year

Population density (residents per km²): 134

Life expectancy: 70 (male), 74 (female)

Official language: Spanish

Religions: Roman Catholic, Protestants

Climate

In the tropical climate it is always humid and warm. Only inland (at higher altitudes) does it get a little cooler.

The dry season lasts from November to May, but the humidity is often over 80%. In the remaining months from June to October it rains almost every day.

Guatemala

Currency / finance

Currency unit: Quetzal (GTQ)

Classification: 1 quetzal = 100 centavo

ATMs: Occasionally available in the larger cities.

International credit cards: These are rarely accepted by larger hotels and shops.

Regulations: Foreign currencies can be imported in unlimited amounts and exported in the amount of the declared import. There is no limit to the number of imports and exports of the local currency.

It is recommended to only carry US dollars as foreign currency.

Cash payments are common in rural areas.

Customs regulations

The following may be carried duty-free:

  • 100 cigarettes or 100 g tobacco
  • 1 liter of alcoholic beverages
  • small amounts of perfume

(Information applies to people aged 18 and over)

Tourists and people in transit can bring items of personal use with them duty-free.

All products of animal origin (meat and sausage products, dairy products, etc.) carried along must be declared upon entry.

Travel advice

An increase in Zika virus infections is currently being observed in the region. The Zika virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes.

The Federal Foreign Office recommends that pregnant women refrain from avoidable trips to ZIKA virus outbreak areas, as the risk of early childhood malformations if the woman is infected cannot currently be ruled out.

Due to the troubled internal political situation, travel in the country should not be undertaken alone.

You should only undertake volcano climbs and excursions in the company of a local guide.

Behavioral advice

Tap water should be boiled before use, as the quality is very poor.

The crime rate in Guatemala is very high. In clashes between rival youth gangs, bystanders are increasingly becoming victims.

Drug trafficking and the associated crime against acquisitions have also increased significantly in recent years.

You shouldn’t resist a robbery. Firearms possession is widespread and quickly used.

Tip:
Always carry 2 purses with you. In the first one (which you carry well hidden) you keep your money for the day. The second should contain a few small bills and coins. So you can give out the second wallet in the event of a robbery and satisfy the perpetrator with it without losing all of your money.

Economy

The civil war, which lasted from 1961 until the 1990s, caused great damage to the economy. For example, tourism and the mining of natural resources have almost completely come to a standstill.

Economic growth picked up again after its end, but is slowed down again and again by the widespread corruption, the poor security situation and the lack of legal certainty.

Most of the foreign currency is earned through the export of coffee.

Industries: chemistry, textiles, tourism, sugar

Natural resources: petroleum, fish, wood, nickel

Land use:

  • Usable land: 12%
  • Grain cultivation: 5%
  • Pasture area: 24%
  • Forests: 54%
  • other: 5%

Plants

There are many large forests with hundreds of different tree species in Guatemala. The still great diversity in the flora is also found among plants, shrubs and grass species.

With the establishment of national parks, this condition should also be maintained for the future.

Animals

The large forests are home to many mammals, reptiles and bird species. Especially in the winter months, Guatemala is home to many migratory birds.

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