An archaeological and natural paradise, Guatemala is found in Central America and bordered by Mexico, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean.
Today’s Guatemala was historically part of the Mayan civilisation for centuries and was later conquered by the Spanish in the 16th Century to give it a distinctive culture. After this occupation, Guatemala went through numerous periods of political unrest with a ten year Guatemalan Revolution spanning from 1944-1954 and a civil war taking place from 1960-1966.
Economic growth and successful democratic leadership has prevailed since then, making Guatemala more stable as a country – although not without a few remaining problems.
For history lovers, Guatemala also has a number of archaeological sites popular with tourists. The UNESCO recognised Antigua Guatemala is a particularly popular example, as is the ancient Mayan site of Tikal.
More natural attractions which make use of the country’s varied ecosystems include the Maya Biosphere Reserve.
Local Guatemalans are predominantly Mestizo (Ladino) and of white European descent. Spanish is the official language – spoken by 93% of the population as a first or second language – while 21 Mayan languages are also spoken.
In recent years the country has enjoyed immigration from numerous countries with migrants now accounting for 1.64% of the country’s national population and heralding mainly from neighbouring El Salvador but also from farther destinations including South Korea, Germany, Mexico and the USA.
Fun fact: Although Guatemala is only a small country, it is home to an impressive 33 volcanoes and half of its population are directly descended from Mayans.