Guatemala is a country found in Central America. It is the most highly populated country found in Central America with a population of over 16 million in a country that is 108,889 km² in size. The country of Guatemala has ocean on both the eastern and western side. On the eastern side is the Caribbean ocean while on the western side is the Pacific Ocean. Countries bordering Guatemala include Honduras, El Salvador, Belize and then Mexico to the north.
Guatemala was the center of the Maya civilization; some descendants of the Mayans still exist in Guatemala today. These Mayan descendants live throughout the country, but prefer to live in the mountainous areas. The country has endured many years of political strife and bloodshed in the past. They had a civil war that lasted many years, finally ending in 1996. Ancient Mayan ruins including temples and ceremonial structures can be found in Tikal which occurs deep in the jungle of Guatemala. This is a fascinating place and popular tourist destination.
Geologically the country is very interesting. It was formed by a caldera of a massive volcano many years ago and today 75% of the country consists of mountainous terrain containing volcanoes. These mountains consist of two chains which divide the country into distinctly different regions. It is considered a biodiversity hotspot with 19 different ecosystems present that support a range of plant and animal life. There are rainforests, jungles, mountains and coastal regions. The country has established 30 national parks to include both wildlife and important cultural and heritage sites.
The animal life includes over 700 species of birds including the gorgeous Quetzal and Azure-rumped Tanager. The currency of the country is named after the stunning bird the quetzal. Over 250 species of mammals are found, and several reptiles and amphibians. Guatemala is an excellent country to go to if you are interested in wildlife. Guatemala today has a strong Roman Catholic influence which was brought by the colonists. Today many Guatemalans are Christians and they do therefore celebrate Christmas, advent and other Christian holidays such as Easter. Many of the indigenous people still believe in spirits though.
The capital of Guatemala is Guatemala City, also known as Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, which is the wealthiest area of the country. The city is divided into various zones and has cultural features such as several museums and a theater. There are ten universities found within the city and there is a well-developed bus transportation system. Soccer (football) is the most popular sport played in Guatemala and the team is called the la Azul y Blanco. They have competed in the Olympic Games before. Other sports commonly played in Guatemala include canoeing on Lake Atitlan and spelunking in the many caves that are found in the country. Mountain biking and volcano climbing is also undertaken by people in the country. Clearly Guatemala is a country in which there is much fun to be had and many adventures to be had whether you are interested in Mayan ruins or the rich wildlife that occurs here.