General Information about Guatemala
to enter the country
The passport is the only identification document
accepted by Guatemalan authorities. Based on the principle of reciprocity,
there are different requirements in the case of each country. Tourist
cards can be obtained from an airline serving Guatemala, or can be purchased by the tourist on arrival
in Guatemala at the airport. The cost of a tourist card
Vaccinations are not required for visiting Guatemala, as sanitary conditions in tourism areas are
aceptable. Nevertheless, a malaria vaccination
is recommended for trips into the jungle
The official language is Spanish. In the majority of Hotels, Restaurants,
Commercial Centers, Markets and Tourist Centers English is spoken. In
Guatemala 28 Indian dialects are also spoken in different
regions of the country. It is possible to contact tourist guides for
different languages (German, French, Italian, Dutch, English).
The currency is called "Quetzal" named after the national
bird. (1 Quetzal = 100 centavos). Its value fluctuates in relation to
International credit cards are accepted throughout
the country: American Express, Master Card, Visa, Diners.
The voltage is 110 volts. The sockets are American style.
Guatemala has a territory of 131854 sq. kms. The topography is varied, with altitudes from 0 Mts.
to 4220 Mts. a.s.l.
The mean annual temperature is 20x (68ºF). The coastal areas can reach
temperatures of 37x (99x) while freezing temperatures often prevail
in the highest mountains. The nights are usually fairly cool year round.
The high central regions enjoy clear skies before and after heavy afternoon
of evening rains during the rainy season (May to October).
There is a great variety of National and International food (American,
Mexican, Chinese, Italian, French, Japanese and others). There is also
a great variety of quality fruits and vegetables. Cattle
has reached an excellent quality. Premium quality meat can be
tasted in a variety of dishes.
Guatemala has 10 mills. inhabitants
on its territory, from which 2,5 mills. belong
to the Capital City. Parts of them are Indians, descendants from
the Maya-Quiche race. Another one is a mixture between Indians and the
Spaniards that arrived at the beginning of the 16th century, they are
called "Mestizos". There are also
ladinos, who are the descendants of mestizos
mixed with other nationalities. The ethnic minorities are Black and
The predominant religion is the Catholic. Each village has an annual
celebration in honor of their patron saint.There
is a mixture of beliefs between the catholic and the Indian ones. In
many places one can observe very interesting religious rites characteristic
of this phenomenon. Other Christian religions are also
popular. Law guarantees the freedom of religion.
The political administration of the Republic of Guatemala is divided in 22 departments, which are divided
into 330 municipalities that are governed by Mayors.
The government is republican, democratic and representative. For its
operation is divided in 3 organisms.
Executive: represented by the Constitutional President elected by all
citizens for a 4 year period.
Legislative: resides in the Congress of the Republic, it is in charge
of making laws.
Judicial: Presided by the Supreme Court of Justice, its function is
to administer justice in accordance with the law.