Guatemala welcomes the Futsal World Championship
Guatemala lies southeast of Mexico and northwest of the other countries of Central America. Its location on the narrow strip which joins the continental masses of the Americas, as well as its topographic relief, give the country an enormous diversity of climatic regions.
A journey in Guatemala takes the visitor in a few minutes from the lush vegetation of the warm low lands zone to the cold of the pine forests. Most of the nine million Guatemalans live in the valleys of the mountainous regions, in the center of the country, where the climate is temperate. This is the region of lakes and volcanoes for which Guatemala is known throughout the world.
Over half of the population is made up of 22 Maya groups, the most numerous of which are the Quiche, Kakchikel, Mam and Kekchi. The mestizos, or "ladinos", product of the biological and cultural mix between Indians and Europeans, make up less than half the population, including the Garifunas, of Afro-West Indian stock, and some Europeans. Although the official language is Spanish, each Maya group and the Garifunas speak their own language.
Official name: Republic of Guatemala
Area: 100,000 sq km (42,000 sq mi)
Population: 11 million (growth rate 2.5%)
Capital City: Guatemala City
People: 56% Spanish descent, 44% Mayan descent
Language: Spanish, and 21 Maya languages
Religion: Roman Catholic
Money, Exchange and Banks:
The Guatemalan currency is the Quetzal. It is identified in the trade with the initial Q. It is divided into 100 cents.
- Coins: 1, 5, 10, and 25 cents.
- Bills: Q0.50 (brown), Q1.00 (green), Q5.00 (purple), Q10.00 (red), Q20.00 (blue), Q50.00 (orange), Q100.00 (light brown).
Paper currency is more acceptable than travelers' checks. There are banks in the entire country.
From pre-Hispanic times, the Guatemalan diet is based on corn, which the visitor will taste on many occasions in the form of tortillas (a sort of pancake). Guatemalan dishes also include beans, meat and chicken, prepared with local spices. These dishes are to be found in specialized restaurants, given the long time they take to prepare. Some of the most traditional dishes most often requested by Guatemalans are the Quetzaltenango tamales, kakik (spiced turkey soup), jocon (chicken in green tomato sauce), guacamole (avocado puree), subanik (beef, pork and chicken vapor-cooked in a highly spiced sauce), and traditional Antigua candy, among other delicacies.
The visitor will be attracted to Guatemalan handicraft, famous throughout the world. The best places to buy them are in the markets in the whole country. Markets open early and close early in the afternoon, although some fixed markets, such as in Guatemala City and Panajachel, close in the evening.Visitors will find whatever they need in the shops in the cities. Business hours are generally from 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., although many stores, especially department stores and shopping centers, close at 8:00 p.m. Some convenience shops remain open 24 hours a day.
Electricity is 110 volts. Outlets are for flat shafts. Visitors from Europe should bring an adaptor for round to flat.
Dress and Climate:
Guatemala has a diversity of climates, depending on the region and the altitude. It is important to remember that the rainy season is from May to November. The average annual temperature is 20°C (68°F). For this reason Guatemala is known as "the land of eternal spring". Nights are cool throughout the year.