CTRL + SPACE for auto-complete. An interesting fact about Guatemala is that chocolate first originated in this country. Intrepid’s 13-day small group adventure from Guatemala to Mexico). But don’t worry – there’s still plenty of quality chocolate to enjoy while in the country. Do you like chocolate bars? Present day Guatemala City is the fourth permanent capital of the country. Fascinating Ancient History & Sites to See in Guatemala From the ancient temples of Tikal, and the Spanish churches that line the cobbled streets of colonial cities, to ethnic Mayan highland villages and abandoned cities hidden deep in the rainforest, Guatemala is full … Write CSS OR LESS and hit save. 13 Surprising Facts About Guatemala In this post I reveal over a dozen interesting & unusual things I learned about Guatemala by traveling around the country for two full months in Nov-Dec, 2015. All of us (well, the chocolate lovers among us) would agree with the Maya people who worship the cacao tree. It is located in the Peten Basin region of northern Guatemala. For the most authentic Guatemalan cuisine, head to the comedores, which are Guatemala’s version of diners. On a Guatemala trip, travelers can visit ancient ruins built by these indigenous people. 26. It is believed by historians that chocolate was being used in the Mayan culture as early as 6th century A.D. Volcan Tajumulco is 4,202 metres (13,786 ft) not 2,202 meters. 2. Most of the cases the national anthem is selected from their own country. Interesting article. Christianity is the religion of the majority. Mayan languages spoken in Guatemala are languages, not dialects. On a visit you can buy your own precious stones from the jewelry stores around Antigua. Extra fact: the bath by Quetzaltenango’s volcano is naturally heated by a volcanic vent. Guatemala is home to a population of around 16,581,273 people. But, compared to its neighbors in Central America (we’re looking at you, Costa Rica), this beautiful country remains pretty under the radar. Fourteen percent (14%) of Guatemalans live on less than $1.25 US a day. Riding Guatemala’s public transit is a thrilling ride. Other countries that became independent during the same year include El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. Opting for this budget-friendly travel alternative will give you an eclectic local experience. 20. The currency of GuatemalaâGuatemalan Quetzalâis named after the beautiful Quetzal bird. The Quetzal is the national bird, and White Nun Orchid (Monja Blanca) is the national flower of Guatemala. 21. The longest civil war in the history of Latin America, which was fought between military governments, right-wing vigilante groups and leftist rebels lasted a good 36 years. And an average of 101 murders per week were reported in 2016. The Maya civilization was at its height from around 250 AD to 900 AD in what was called the Classic Period. I highly recommend visiting the country. They call chocolate “the food of the Gods”. According to some archeologists, Guatemala has the oldest recorded human history in Central America, with some evidence of human existence going back to 18,000 BC. I am a storyteller based in Toronto with a passion for all potato-based dishes, solo travel, sky-high views and talking to strangers. Maya is the second largest ethnic community accounting for 39.3% of the population. Better yet, stay with a local host family to really immerse yourself in the culture. Early Mayan civilization and culture began to develop around 2000 B.C., all throughout the territory that we currently know as southern Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador and western Honduras. With these facts about Guatemala, let us explore its history, culture, food, volcanoes, geography, economy, trade and more. guatemala  location, size, and extent  topography  climate  flora and fauna  environment  population  migration  ethnic groups  languages  religions  transportation  history  government  political parties  local government  judicial system  They’ve set up nested protection for the eggs along the beach (an area that’s an important nesting site for olive ridley turtles). The largest country in Central America is a fascinating place with a long and turbulent history. So, to give you some insider tips, we’ve curated a bunch of surprising and curiosity-inducing Guatemala facts. 18. Today, Guatemala is a mass producer and exporter of chocolate products. On May 30, 2010, an enormous hole, 60 feet wide and 30 stories deep, opened up in the middle of Guatemala City, swallowing a three-story building and a home. Coffee is big in Guatemala. For this reason, we have rounded up a list of interesting facts about Guatemala that will spark your interest. The country's modern history began with the Spanish conquest of Guatemala in 1524. © 2020 TheFactFile.Org. 11. It’s the highest peak in Central America at a whopping 4, 202 metres. On 15 September 1821, the countries of Chiapas, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Honduras officially proclaimed their independence from Spain. The first ever chocolate bar was also invented in Guatemala during the Mayan times. But, compared to its neighbors in Central America (we’re looking at you, Costa Rica), this beautiful country remains pretty under the radar. Location: Guatemala is located in Central America. (You can visit the museum and get some coffee to go along with it on this 13-day trip through Guatemala and Mexico!). Since the Mayan civilization was first developed by the Maya (a group of Indigenous people of Mesoamerica), the language has evolved into 21 dialects that can be heard today on a true Mayan encounter. Guatemala sees over 5,000 violent deaths a year, primarily from the aforementioned gang crime, but tourists are a natural source of free money for those desperate enough to risk it. The history of Guatemala begins with the Maya civilization (2,000 BC – 250 AD), which was among those that flourished in their country. Despite the fact that the educational sector has failed to teach the full history, the celebrations during Independence Day in Guatemala are always in full flow. Guatemalans wear Huipiles (an incredible garment typically woven by local women) that hold a sacred meaning based on region. The country has the second-largest concentration of Ozone. Guatemala City is the capital of Guatemala, and at 3.7 million people in the metro area, the largest city in all of Central America. It is a country in Central America. All Rights Reserved. Interesting Facts About Guatemala – History And General Facts The name Guatemala means ‘Land of the Trees’ in Maya-Toltec language. However, there are long-standing Mayan, Xinca, and Garífuna roots too. An important distinction! The country is 42,043 square miles (108,890 square kilometers) large and has a total population of 13.2 million people. These sites include Antigua Guatemala, Tikal national Park, Archaeological Park and Ruins of Quirigua. It borders the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, as well as the countries of El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras, and Belize. Now that this stunning country has your attention, check out Intrepid’s small group adventures to Guatemala. Let's jump into it! Guatemala is found between 15˚ and 10˚ north latitude and 90˚ and 15˚ west longitude. But besides Mayan history and volcanoes, there are many other ins and outs. 19. Ancient Mayan ruins nestled in the jungle, the colorful colonial town of Antigua, magnificent volcanoes all throughout the country… Guatemala has plenty of noteworthy sites to explore. It is a country in Central America. Its capital and largest city is Nueva Guatemala de la AsunciÃ³n, also known as Guatemala City. It has four bordering countries that include Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico. These countries formed the … The national anthem of Guatemala was not written by a Guatemalan, but by a Cuban – JosÃ© JoaquÃn Palma. Guatemalan culture and Guatemalan customs are strongly influenced by the country's history. The active volcanoes in Guatemala include â Fuego, Pacaya and Santiaguito. The coffee museum is set in an old mill and visitors are provided explanations of the history, processing, marketing and brewing of coffee. Guatemala, country of Central America. Spanish is the official language and is spoken by 90% of the population. 5. However, it was composed by Rafael Ãlvarez Ovalle. Guatemala is a country of volcanoes, mountains, and beaches on the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The origin of the name Guatemala is Indian, but its derivation and meaning are undetermined. Guatemala is well-known for its awe-inspiring treasures. READ MORE: HOW A FASHION SOCIAL ENTERPRISE EMPOWERS WOMEN IN GUATEMALA. 23. Guatemala was a colony of Spain, and a part of Mexico during the 1500s. Ancient Mayan ruins nestled in the jungle, the colorful colonial town of Antigua, magnificent volcanoes all throughout the country… Guatemala has plenty of noteworthy sites to explore. VISIT GUATEMALA (PLUS 3 OTHER CENTRAL AMERICAN GEMS) ON THIS 9-DAY ADVENTURE. Here's a selection of interesting facts about Guatemala. 1. Tourism is the second-largest industry in the country, employing approximately 35% of its population. The country saw 6,000 violent deaths in 2014. Tajumulco Volcano, the highest point in the country and Central America, is 4203 m above sea level. Area: 108,889 km² (42,042 mi²) Land Borders: Total 1,687 km (1,048 mi): 226 km (140 mi) with Belize, 203 km (126 mi) with El Salvador, 256 km (159 mi) with Honduras, and 962 km (598 mi) with Mexico. Brief History of Guatemala: Guatemala was home to the ancient civilization of the Maya. Every year on November 1st, Guatemalans partake in this ritual that has been around for more than 3000 years. A fun fact, some people believe that the name Guatemala is derived from the word Guhatezmalh, which means “Mountain that vomits water”. Miguel Ãngel Asturias Rosales (October 19, 1899 â June 9, 1974) was a Nobel Prize-winning Guatemalan poet-diplomat, novelist, playwright and journalist. Ozone is a gas which is available both in the Earth’s upper atmosphere (stratosphere) and at ground level (troposphere). The original name of Guatemala was Quauhtlemallan, which means ‘place of Here is a selection of ten unusual facts about the ancient Mayan metropolis of Tikal. 8. Quetzal (GTQ) is its currency. 3. It has an area of 108,889 sq km. Guatemalans then use it for local transport. The first on our list of Guatemala facts. Visitors flock to this site to take glimpses of the red-hot lava. Obsidian projectile points are the earliest evidence of human inhabitants in Guatemala, dating as far back as 18,000 BC. 30. Guatemala (/ ˌ ɡ w ɑː t ə ˈ m ɑː l ə / GWAH-tə-MAH-lə; Spanish: [gwateˈmala] ), officially the Republic of Guatemala (Spanish: República de Guatemala), is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, Belize and the Caribbean to the northeast, Honduras to the east, El Salvador to the southeast and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The unequal distribution of land and wealth in the country is the biggest reason for uneven development in the region. All these countries gained their independence from Spain. Guatemala, officially the Republic of Guatemala, is the 67 th most populous country in the world. Total Coastline: 400 km (249 mi) Capital City: Guate… Only 4 hours away from Antigua, it’s a fantastic spot for enthusiastic photographers to capture some of the best volcano views. When big yellow American school buses near 10 years or clock in 150,000 miles, some are auctioned off and driven down to Guatemala. However, you may want to correct a typo. There are more than 30 volcanoes in Guatemala, out of which three are active. Consequently, the men cut off Maximóns arms and legs in a fit of anger, which explains why most effigies of him are made without arms. One interesting fact about Guatemala is that Blue denim comes from the country! Guatemala’s Lake AtitlÃ¡n is the deepest lake in Central America, with a maximum depth of about 340 meters. 32. If that is your cup of tea, so be it. In June 1954 the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, concerned about the threat of communism in Guatemala, assisted in the overthrow of the government led by President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, who had won election in November 1950. Join me for the ride at talk-to-strangers.com or keep up with my Instagram @julesfayegermansky and Twitter @julsgermansky. they are hot and the seats are hidden with springs and glass. The insane number of volcanoes in Guatemala is surely enough to put it on the map. Why I’m so glad I chose a group tour of Greece, Navigating your way around Bangkok’s floating markets, 7 best destinations for solo travellers over 50, 7 wildlife experiences you can only have in South Australia, Why to consider solo travel in Colombia (and what to expect), Singled out: the best island escapes for solo travellers, Meet Hany, the Intrepid tour leader with a truly incredible story about Egypt, Backstage pass: 8 of the best festivals in Asia, Beyond Base Camp: 6 amazing destinations in Nepal, From declaring a climate emergency to science-based targets: looking back at 2020 with Intrepid’s Environmental Impact Specialist, The top 8 destinations (we wish) we could travel to in December 2020, Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel List is here. Guatemala is among the biggest jade producers in the world. Whether you trek by foot or take a horse ride up, the view from the top of Pacaya is simply spectacular. It also caused the death of a man. Be careful at night. The word chocolate is also derived from a Maya word ‘xocoatl’ meaning bitter water in English. The Maya people used these rare stones for ideological rituals. Because of its diverse history and ethnic makeup, the country has the benefit of enjoying lots of different gastronomic influences. In the late 13th century the Guatemalan highlands were invaded by the Toltec-Mayans, a people who were the result of a hybridization of Toltecs from Central Mexico and the Mayans. 25. Many Maya women are crafty textile producers. However, Spanish is their official language. 50 Fascinating Facts about Guatemala Guatemala is located in Central America and is bordered by Mexico and Belize to its north, the Pacific Ocean, Honduras and El Salvador to its south, and the Pacific Ocean to its west. The dominance of an Indian culture within its interior uplands distinguishes Guatemala from its Central American neighbours. Tikal’s Mayan ruins are embedded in the jungle. And Guatemala is actually a leader in blue denim production. The instant coffee process was invented in Guatemala by George Washington, an inventor, and businessman of Anglo-Belgian origin. Guatemalan History • Guatemala currently has three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. By the end of the civil war, 200,000 citizens were dead. guatemala didnt create the first ever chocalate bar Joseph fry did in britian, I love all the facts about Guatemala all the culture, and how the Mayans still live there to this day I will need to visit one day which would be awesome that is all i would like to say. 13. They prove that Guatemala is worthy of the spotlight and maybe, just maybe, they’ll entice you to visit for yourself. Agua volcano viewpoint in the streets of Antigua. In Guatemala: History The ancient Maya were one of the most highly developed peoples of precolonial America, boasting a sophisticated calendar, astronomic observatories, and construction skills. The interesting fact is, the national anthem of Guatemala wrote by a Cuban named José Joaquín Palma. Many of the best places are in shops around Antigua. The official language of Guatemala is Spanish. Nueva Guatemala de la AsunciÃ³n, which is also the largest and capital city of Guatemala, is known as Guatemala City. I’ve spent a lot of time in Guatemala and keep going back. Take a tuk-tuk to this place for an authentic, yet practical experience. Spanish is the official language of Guatemala. Once the site of the impressive ancient Mayan civilization, Guatemala was conquered by Spanish conquistador Pedro de Alvarado in 1524 and became a republic in 1839 after the United Provinces of Central America collapsed. Today, textile weaving is still ever-present in towns like San Antonio Aguas Calientes, just outside of Antigua. Guatemala makes some of the most flavorful and delicious food in Central America. The states in the Belize central highlands flourished until the 1525 arrival of Spanish Conquistador Pedro de Alvarado. Whether or not people actually were in Guatemala that long ago is disputed. Like, really big. If you are lucky, you can even roast them over molten rock. Arguably one of the most mysterious Guatemala facts is one that exists around the worshipping of Maximón. Coffee experience recommendation from Dennis, one of Intrepid’s local leaders in Guatemala: If you are an avid coffee drinker like myself, I would recommend going to places that show you the whole process of acquiring coffee. Spanish is the official language of Guatemala.Mayan languages are spokenby the indigenous Maya residing in the country. Then, Guatemalans fly massive and intricately-decorated kites high in the sky — it’s quite the sight to behold. SUBSCRIBE TO INTREPID’S NEWSLETTER FOR TRAVEL INSPO, COMPETITIONS, GIVEAWAYS & MORE. There are three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Guatemala. By 1880, coffee accounted for 90% of Guatemala’s exports and even today, it’s one of their main exports and sources of income for the country. During the Classic Period dating from 300 to 900 ce, the Maya built the majority of their cities. Motagua River is the longest river in Guatemala. Coffee beans being harvested in Guatemala. I spent a month there and wish the government would provide actual transportation!! At Tortugario Montericco, you have the opportunity to help with conservation efforts. Natural disasters have shaped the city The current site of the capital was chosen for … There are school parades in the morning which the children have been rehearsing for non-stop leading up to the independence celebrations. It is also regarded as the most beautiful lake in the world, serving as the countryâs most important national and international tourist attraction. Just as deep as it is beautiful! It has an area of 108,889 sq km. That influx peaked in the 1970s and 1980s, a period of intense guerrilla warfare. San Jorge La Laguna is a small village that overlooks Lake Atitlan and is home to locals eager to let you in on their traditional crafts. A few of these facts anyone could learn easily by researching Guatemala, but most of them you’d only discover by visiting the country. Tikal National Park is the worldâs first mixed UNESCO World Heritage Site. The recent history of Guatemala City has been one of purposeful commercial development hampered by the chronic instability of the national government and by a tremendous influx of indigent people from rural areas. The country is also the worldâs leading producer of Jade. 12 facts you probably don’t know about Guatemala, the first mixed UNESCO World Heritage Site. The river is a major transportation artery for coffee, bananas and other fruits that are raised in the valleys of the country’s eastern region. Oh, the beauty of Guatemala’s volcanoes. Suchitan, Ixtepeque, Acatenango, Atitlan, Moyuta, Agua, Cerro Santiago, Tajumulco, Chingo, Quezaltepeque, Chiquimula, Cuilapa-Barbarena, Flores, Fuego, Ipala Volc Field, Santa Maria, Almolonga, Santo Tomas, Tahual, Pacaya, Tecuamburro and Toliman are the names of some of the volcanoes from the region. And when there, be sure to visit ChocoMuseo, a museum that’ll teach you about its history and nutritional values. About 2 km away from the main plaza in Antigua is a place called La Azotea. Called "The Inva… Some amazing facts about Guatemala 56. And out of over 30 volcanoes, only three are active: Fuego, Pacaya and Santiaguito. With these facts about Guatemala, let us explore its history, culture, food, volcanoes, geography, economy, trade and more. Dennis Asturias, one of Intrepid’s local leaders in Guatemala, shares a snippet of his experience on the hike: Once at the base of the volcano, you have the opportunity to roast some marshmallows in a pit to celebrate all that effort you put in for climbing this active volcano. 1. This was a powerful and advanced civilization that built many pyramids that we can still visit today. Of Guatemala's complete area, over 36% is said to be forested. People flock down to the cemeteries to clean and decorate the graves of their loves ones. Guatemala has one of the highest violent crime rates in Latin America. I am Guatemalan and the country is so beautiful but it can be a bit dangerous so please be careful. Most of the country’s Christians are Roman Catholics while a few are Protestants. In fact, the nearly 20 ecosystems in Guatemala house some 8,000 plant species residing in the many mangrove forests, dry forests, tropical rainforests, wetlands, cloud forests, and pine forests. Here are ten interesting facts about Guatemala. So if you are in Guatemala around this time, this is a fabulous opportunity for wildlife lovers to engage in releasing of the turtles. The entire city of Antigua, the country’s former capital, is a UNESCO Site, and is replete with colonial ruins destroyed in earthquakes. It measures approximately 250 miles. 22. history.state.gov 3.0 shell. From a distance you can spot them pop out of the rich green canopy – it’s breathtaking. Amazing place I was there in 2004 & 2005 and spent Easter Sunday at Chichi Market and superb experience. Who doesn’t want to see and help these cute creatures take their steps in life? 14. If you are interested in seeing the lava flow, you may want to visit the Pacaya volcano. Learn more about the intriguing history of this country and the culture that has evolved through ancient times up until today. Ladino or Mestizo and Europeans constitute 60.1% of the country’s population. Take a look. Guatemala's national bird, the quetzal, is famous for its long tail © ryanacandee / flickr The national bird lends its name to the Guatemalan currency Almost 50% of Guatemalans are employed in agricultural activities. The buses are revived by locals with strokes of paint in every color of the rainbow. There are 21 Mayan languages (a language family spoken in Mesoamerica and northern Central America by at least 6 million Maya peoples) spoken in Guatemala. People living in Guatemala are called Guatemalan. 7. Climb to the top of the ruins to spot local residents (we’re talking toucans and macaws). 31. Guatemala is the top remittance recipient in Central America as a result of Guatemala’s large expatriate community in the US. Guatemala’s previously peaceful villages slowly became more secular and combative. All Saints Day Kite Festival is Guatemalans’ way of honoring their dead. 4. An experience you won’t want to miss is a hike up Pacaya volcano. The beauty of the lake was praised by two prominent people in history: one being the German explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, and the other being Aldous Huxley. 29. Guatemala is known for its steep volcanoes, vast rainforests, and ancient Mayan sites. The name Guatemala actually means ‘land of the trees’ in the Maya-Toltec language. A major thank you to Intrepid’s local Guatemala tour leader, Dennis Asturias, for his on-the-ground insights! 9. Guatemala was conquered by Spanish conquistador Pedro de Alvarado in 1524. Normal Relations Interrupted, 1954. 34. In ancient Mayan times, the feathers of this bird were used as currency. Of these, the most noteworthy volcano is Tajumulco. 12. Sunrises from the peak are amazing. I do not recommend chicken busses. 16. Guatemalan people are largely mestizo, a mixture of Spanish and Maya blood, while many villagers are direct Maya descendants.Guatemalan history was largely affected by the Maya civilization that lived throughout modern-day Guatemala for nearly 600 years before collapsing around 900 AD. It’s generally recognized that humans passed through the region around 12,000 years ago while migrating south into South America. 15. The Peten Basin is a geographical region that mainly covers the northern part of Guatemala and stretches out into the Campeche state to the southeast of Mexico. 17. Tikal National Park has earned its title as the first mixed UNESCO World Heritage Site for its cultural and natural wonders. And they believe that chocolate holds incredible nutritional benefits, like reducing blood pressure. 24. Guatemala City is the industrial and commercial center of the country, employing the remaining 15% of the population. Guatemala is a land of amazing fact. 33. 28. The export of coffee is the country’s biggest business. 10. It was founded in 1776 following the destruction of the former capital, Antigua Guatemala, in an earthquake. Dennis, one of Intrepid’s local leaders in Guatemala, gives tips on when to go: The nesting season runs from June to December and peaks in August and September. More than 1.2 million people visit Guatemala every year. Chocolate residue dating back to 460-480 AD was found in a vessel in Guatemala. Most of the great Classic-era (250 – 900 AD) Maya cities of the Petén Basin region, in the northern lowlands, had been abandoned by the year 1000 AD. Yet, 21 distinct Mayan languages as well as several non-Mayan Amerindian languages are also spoken in Guatemala, particularly in the rural areas. 10 Interesting Facts about Guatemala. National Anthem of Guatemala. For a detailed report on crime in the country, as well as some safety tips, read this page.  And the risks pay off, as there is a very low arrest and conviction rate, and resisting criminal attempts on your wallet is likely to cost you more than a handful of quetzals. Guatemala, officially the Republic of Guatemala, is the 67th most populous country in the world. Brief history of Guatemala. Find out about the history behind the 5 granite temples by a fantastic local guide (we’ve got you covered on Intrepid’s 13-day small group adventure from Guatemala to Mexico). Although its the highest peak in Central America, it isn’t a difficult climb except for the altitude. At La Azotea, you can visit the coffee museum as well the music museum. Guatemala became independent in 1821. The coffee has a distinct flavor to it, typically full-bodied and has rich chocolate and cocoa flavors. 27. The earliest Maya civilizations began to emerge in the highlands of Guatemala by as early as 2000 BC. 6. Here are some of the most interesting facts you might not have known about Guatemala. 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