Cultural Info: Guatemala

Did You Know...

The name Guatemala is derived from a word which means 'place of several trees' due to its popularity for trees. The national tree for Guatemala, Ceiba is a huge tree that can grow up to about 100ft (30 meters) or more.

Guatemala is considered to be the birth place of chocolate! History says the first chocolate bar was created by the Mayans before it became an industrialized good in Britain and other countries. The Mayans believed chocolate was a 'food of the gods'.

Mountains and volcanoes make about 2/3 of Guatemala's land. Guatemala has a total of about 33 volcanoes and one of the volcanoes, Volcano Tajumulco, happens to be the highest point in Guatemala, standing about 4,211 feet high.

About half the inhabitants of Guatemala are Mayan descendants. Human life in the Guatemala region is traced to about 12,000 BC. Most people in Guatemala speak Spanish and their Mayan background has also been a reason for about 21 other different languages. 

Lake Atitlan, the deepest lake in Central America, lays in Guatemala. Lake Atitlan is also surrounded by three volcanoes and other Mayan settlements. The Mayan culture is well exhibited in the communities along the shores of the lake.

Guatemala gained its independence from Spain on September 15th 1821. September 15th is a national holiday and on that day Guatemalans celebrate with the largest holiday fair called Quetzaltenango. 

Hear From A Student

After reading all of these facts, you still have questions and want to hear from a former study abroad student what they experienced in Guatemala? Check out this page with students reviews!

Page last modified January 24, 2020