Guatemala Travel Guide: Travel tips for foreigners & backpackers, Guatemala City tourist information, Guatemala food average prices, eating on a budget, accommodation in Guatemala City. Find discount hotels, cheap accommodation, vacation deals, holiday packages.
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Guatemala Travel Guide

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Full country name: Republic of Guatemala
Area: 108,889 sq km
Population: 13,55 million(July 2010 est.)
Capital City: Guatemala City
Language: Spanish 60%, Amerindian languages 40%(23 officially recognized Amerindian languages, including Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, Garifuna, and Xinca)
Religion: 50-60% Roman Catholic, 40% Protestant, 1% indigenous Mayan beliefs
Government: Constitutional democratic republic
Time Zone: UTC-6 (daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in April; ends last Friday in September; note - there is no DST planned for 2010)
Dialling Code: 502
Electricity: 120V 60 Hz
Weights & measures: The metric system is the legal standard, but some imperial and old Spanish units also are used.

Money & Costs:
Currency: quetzal (GTQ)
Average yearly salary: $5,200

Budget: USD3-5
Mid-range: USD5-20
High: USD30+
Budget: USD5-10
Mid-range: USD10-30
High: USD50+

Geography: Guatemala is a country located in Central America. It borders the Caribbean Sea, Belize, the North Pacific Ocean, Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador. Guatemala has a very varied relief with mountainous terrain, narrow coastal plains and rolling limestone plateau. It has also got a small desert, sand dune patches and hilly valleys.

Climate: Guatemala has a diverse climate that varies according to the altitude. The coastal and the northeastern regions are hot all year long. The average temperature of the later regions is 20 C (68 F), sometimes rising to 37 C (99 F). Generally, there is not much rain in Guatemala, however, the so called rainy season lasts from May to September. Guatemala has very clear skies after the rainfall in the afternoons and evenings. At night, temperatures fall quite sharply.

Recommended clothing: Spring clothing, like warmer sweater or a jacket, is recommended when in Guatemala City or the highlands. Comfortable walking shoes are advisable. Lightweight cotton clothes should be worn when at the lowlands. Take your sunglasses, a hat and a sun-block lotion when going on tours or staying at the beach.

Social conventions: Full names should be used when addressing a local, particularly in business meetings. Dress conservatively and casual, except in the smarter dining facilities or clubs.

Health: Travelers should take the latest medical advise before visiting Guatemala, since there are a number of health risks you one should be aware of. A yellow fever certificate is required from travelers entering the country from infected areas. Malaria is present, especially in the lowlands. Visitors should be careful about what they eat and drink only bottled water. Medical insurance is necessary if you want to get medical treatment, otherwise you will not get it. You should also be ready to pay in cash and up front. State-funded hospitals should be avoided.

Food & Drink: Guatemalans love their traditional fresh home-cooked food and do not care much about the fast-food chains, that are becoming popular in some bigger cities. In traditional Maya religion, the Gods first made men of mud, then of wood and finally of corn, which worked perfectly. Therefore, many of today’s Guatemalan believe that their flesh was once made of corn and no meal is now served without some sort of corn product. There is a variety of dishes made of corns: round tortillas, corn on the cob, corn soup, or atol (a thick, milky beverage made from corn), etc. Other prominent ingredients are chiles and beans. Guatemala's national beer is Gallo (meaning rooster), and you'll definitely see the beer's rooster-head logo advertised throughout Guatemala. Other Guatemalan beers include Dorada, Sol and Victoria. Guaro liquor is also popular. The most famous Guatemalan soft drink is limonada con soda (fresh-squeezed lemonade made fizzy with soda water) and it is relay worth trying. Licuados (fruit shakes) are made with water or milk (leche) and it is also delicious.

Public Holidays:
1 Jan New Year's Day
Varies between March 22 and April 25 Easter
May 1 Labour Day
Jun 30 Army Day
Aug 15 Assumption (Guatemala City only)
Sep 15 Independence Day
Oct 20 Revolution Day
Nov 1 All Saints' Day
Dec 24 Christmas Eve (afternoon only)
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Dec 31 New Year's Eve (afternoon only)

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. The content of this page is not intended to substitute for advice given by the user's own government travel departments or a licensed travel health advisor. The viewer/user of this web page should always contact the user's own government representatives in that area for the most up-to-date information at that time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.

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