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Guatemala Country Guide

Explore Guatemala in North America

Guatemala with the capital city New Guatemala is located in North America (Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean). It covers some 108,890 square kilometres (slightly smaller than Tennessee) with 13,002,000 citizens.

Interactive map of Guatemala

The terrain features mostly mountains with narrow coastal plains and rolling limestone plateau. The average density of population is approximately 119 per km². The notable climate conditions in Guatemala can be described as tropical with hot, humid in lowlands and cooler in highlands. Potential natural disasters are numerous volcanoes in mountains, with occasional violent earthquakes or Caribbean coast extremely susceptible to hurricanes and other tropical storms.

To reach someone in Guatemala dial +502 prior to a number. There are 1,413,000 installed telephones. And there are 17,308,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 850/1900 MHz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".gt". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 120V - 60Hz.

About the flag and history of Guatemala

Guatemala Flag Icon

Three equal vertical bands of light blue (hoist side), white, and light blue, with the coat of arms centered in the white band; the coat of arms includes a green and red quetzal (the national bird) representing liberty and a scroll bearing the inscription LIBERTAD 15 DE SEPTIEMBRE DE 1821 (the original date of independence from Spain) all superimposed on a pair of crossed rifles signifying Guatemala's willingness to defend itself and a pair of crossed swords representing honor and framed by a laurel wreath symbolizing victory; the blue bands stand for the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea and the sea and sky; the white band denotes peace and purity.

The Maya civilization flourished in Guatemala and surrounding regions during the first millennium A.D. After almost three centuries as a Spanish colony, Guatemala won its independence in 1821. During the second half of the 20th century, it experienced a variety of military and civilian governments, as well as a 36-year guerrilla war. In 1996, the government signed a peace agreement formally ending the conflict, which had left more than 200,000 people dead and had created, by some estimates, some 1 million refugees. In January 2012, Guatemala assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2012-13 term.

Geography Quick-Facts

SummaryContinent: North America
Neighbours: Mexico, Honduras, Belize, El Salvador
Capital: New Guatemala
Size108,890 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 42,042 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly smaller than Tennessee
CurrencyName Quetzal, Currency Code:GTQ
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD).gt
Telephone Country Prefix+502
Mobile Phone Connections17,308,000
Landline Phone Connections1,413,000

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Area108,889 (sq km)107

People and Society

Value nameValueWorld Rank
Population14,373,472 69
Population growth rate1.91 (%)59
Birth rate25.99 (births/1,000 population)52
Death rate4.87 (deaths/1,000 population)189
Net migration rate-2.04 (migrant(s)/1,000 population)162
Maternal mortality rate120.00 (deaths/100,000 live births)64
Infant mortality rate24.32 (deaths/1,000 live births)78
Life expectancy at birth71.46 (years)144
Total fertility rate3.08 (children born/woman)54
Health expenditures6.90 (% of GDP)86
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.80 (%)54
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS62,000 53
HIV/AIDS - deaths2,600 49
Obesity - adult prevalence rate19.20 (%)100
Children under the age of 5 years underweight13.00 (%)57
Education expenditures2.80 (% of GDP)149
Unemployment, youth ages 15-247.10 (%)125


Value nameValueWorld Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity)79,970,000,000 81
GDP - real growth rate3.00 (%)110
GDP - per capita (PPP)5,300 156
Labor force5,571,000 70
Unemployment rate4.10 (%)32
Distribution of family income - Gini index55.10 10
Investment (gross fixed)14.60 (% of GDP)137
Taxes and other revenues11.60 (% of GDP)204
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-2.60 (% of GDP)101
Public debt29.90 (% of GDP)116
Inflation rate (consumer prices)4.00 (%)111
Commercial bank prime lending rate13.43 (%)60
Stock of narrow money7,854,000,000 82
Stock of broad money21,760,000,000 84
Stock of domestic credit18,680,000,000 87
Industrial production growth rate4.10 (%)70
Current account balance-2,039,000,000 137
Exports9,864,000,000 95
Imports15,570,000,000 86
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold6,311,000,000 83
Debt - external16,170,000,000 85


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Electricity - production8,146,000,000 (kWh)99
Electricity - consumption8,161,000,000 (kWh)94
Electricity - exports193,300,000 (kWh)67
Electricity - imports525,600,000 (kWh)77
Electricity - installed generating capacity2,673,000 (kW)91
Electricity - from fossil fuels58.20 (% of total installed capacity)141
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants29.10 (% of total installed capacity)79
Electricity - from other renewable sources12.70 (% of total installed capacity)19
Crude oil - production10,000 (bbl/day)81
Crude oil - exports12,620 (bbl/day)57
Crude oil - proved reserves83,070,000 (bbl)77
Refined petroleum products - production1,132 (bbl/day)114
Refined petroleum products - consumption80,810 (bbl/day)86
Refined petroleum products - exports4,162 (bbl/day)98
Refined petroleum products - imports68,910 (bbl/day)57
Natural gas - proved reserves2,960,000,000 (cu m)95
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy12,970,000 (Mt)94


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Telephones - main lines in use1,626,000 65
Telephones - mobile cellular20,716,000 47
Internet hosts357,552 60
Internet users2,279,000 72


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Airports291 24
Railways332 (km)118
Roadways14,095 (km)124
Waterways990 (km)66


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Military expenditures0.40 (% of GDP)166

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Antigua Guatemala
Antigua, the capital of the Captaincy-General of Guatemala, was founded in the early 16th century. Built 1,500 m above sea-level, in an earthquake-prone region, it was largely destroyed by an earthquake in 1773 but its principal monuments are still p ...
Archaeological Park and Ruins of Quirigua
Inhabited since the 2nd century A.D., Quirigua had become during the reign of Cauac Sky (723–84) the capital of an autonomous and prosperous state. The ruins of Quirigua contain some outstanding 8th-century monuments and an impressive series of carve ...
Tikal National Park
In the heart of the jungle, surrounded by lush vegetation, lies one of the major sites of Mayan civilization, inhabited from the 6th century B.C. to the 10th century A.D. The ceremonial centre contains superb temples and palaces, and public squares a ...