Guatemala is a large central American country. It shares its northern and western borders with Mexico, the northeastern border with Belize, the southeastern border with Honduras. The North Pacific Ocean is located on the southern side of Guatemala. The Caribbean Sea is located on its northeastern side. It has a total population of around 17.2 million. Ladino and Maya people make most of the population of the country. Several other ethnic groups are also present. Guatemala has a unitary presidential political system. Spanish is the official and national language of the country. The capital of the country is Guatemala City. In this article, we will discuss some interesting facts related to Guatemala.
1. Guatemala is a country where several languages are spoken
You will be surprised to know that more than 30 different languages are spoken in this country, an interesting Guatemala fact. Although the official national language of the country is Spanish, people in this country speak several other languages. People belonging to the Maya ethnic group speak more than 21 different Mayan languages. People belonging to other ethnic groups speak languages other than these Mayan languages.
2. It is home to a large number of volcanoes
Guatemala is a land of volcanoes. More than 33 volcanoes are spread across the different islands of the country. The highest one is the Tajamulco volcano. Its peak is the highest point of Guatemala standing at a height of 4,220 meters above the sea level. These volcanoes attract tourists from all over the world. The tourists enjoy different activities at these volcanoes such as hiking, mountain biking, and bird watching, etc.
3. Guatemala has 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Guatemala has the honor of having three cultural sites included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage. These sites include Antigua city, archaeological site of Quirigua and Tikal National Park. Antigua city is a small city surrounded by volcanoes located in southern Guatemala. The archaeological site of Quirigua contains signs of ancient Mayan culture, and the Tikal National Park is home to a wide variety of wildlife in northern Guatemala.
4. It is the country of Origin of Chocolate
An interesting fact about Guatemala is that chocolate first originated in this country. It is believed by historians that chocolate was being used in the Mayan culture as early as 6th century A.D. The word chocolate is also derived from a Maya word ‘xocoatl’ meaning bitter water in English. It was named so because the chocolate drink at that time was brewed from the cocoa beans and sugar was not invented to sweeten that drink. Different sweeteners were used by the people to make the drink sweet.
5. Guatemala has the second-largest concentration of ozone
An interesting and beneficial fact about Guatemala is the concentration of the ozone layer over the country. This country has the second-largest ozone layer concentration over it in the world. Ozone is a gas present in the upper atmosphere of the Earth. This gas prevents the UV-rays of the sun to reach the surface of the Earth. That is why this gas is essential for the survival of life on our planet.
6. Its National Anthem was written by a foreigner
The national anthem of the country was not written by a resident of Guatemala. Rather, Guatemala’s national anthem was written by a Cuban citizen. However, the anthem was composed by a Guatemalan person.
7. Guatemala has high crime rates
Guatemala is notorious for its high crime rates. The crime rate in Guatemala is one of the highest in the entire Latin America. In 2018 alone, more than 4,914 violent deaths were reported. Car-jacking and armed-holdups are common in the country. There is no place in the capital city of Guatemala that can be considered safe and free of crime. Despite high crime rates, most of the visits to Guatemala are safe according to the travel guide issued by the government of the United Kingdom.
8. This country has the deepest lake in Latin America
Guatemala is home to the deepest lake in Latin America, the Atitlan. This lake is located in the southwestern areas of the country. Surrounded by volcanoes and steep hills, the Atitlan lake is famous for its Mayan villages. This lake has a mean depth of 220 meters and a maximum depth of around 340 meters. This lake is one of the main tourist attraction sites located in Guatemala. The weather of the lake is also very pleasant for tourism.
9. Guatemala’s GDP depends on Coffee and Tourism
Coffee is the main export of Guatemala. The country earns most of its foreign reserves by exporting coffee to other countries in the world, a fun fact about Guatemala. The export of coffee is the biggest business in the country. More than 50% of people in the country are associated with the agriculture industry that makes coffee. Tourism is the second major industry of the country that provides employment to the remaining 30-40% population of the country.
10. This is an inexpensive country
The tourism industry in Guatemala is very well developed. Despite this fact, it is an inexpensive country. You can eat delicious foods in the country at minimum expenses. The foods and drinks in the country are traditional and are influenced by the Mayan as well as Spanish culture. Coffee is the favorite drink of the people living here in Guatemala. You can have access to all the traditional foods and drinks by paying only a small amount.
I hope that this article on Guatemala facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Country Facts Page!