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Driving Directions Guatemala

GUATEMALA is situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, where North America meets Central America. It is a mountainous country with a ridge of volcanoes running parallel to the Pacific coast.

Three of the volcanoes are still active, and the country is also subject to earthquakes. In the northwest, there is a large, low-lying forested area called El Peten, which is located many archaeological remains of the Maya civilization.

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Guatemala has a tropical climate with little or no variation in temperature and a distinctive wet season. The Pacific slopes of the mountains are exceptionally well-watered and fertile, and it is here that most of the population settled. Coffee growing on the lower slopes dominates the economy, although bananas, sugar, cardamom, petroleum, and shellfish are exported.

The country’s forested area, about 36 percent, plays an important part in the country’s economy and produces balsam, cabinet woods, chicle (the main ingredient in chewing gum), and oils.

There are also deposits of petroleum and zinc, while lead and silver mining. The industry is mainly restricted to the processing of agricultural products.

Guatemala is politically a very unstable country, and civil conflict has practically destroyed tourism.

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Most of the southern half of Guatemala consists of an interior upland region that includes high mountains and some thirty active volcanoes and the plateaus and hills where the great majority of people live. There is a coastal plain to the south and swampy lowlands to the north.

In the east, Guatemala borders on the Caribbean Sea at the Gulf of Honduras. To the south lies the Pacific Ocean.

Did you know about Guatemala?

Tikal National Park contains a major center of the native Mayan civilization inhabited from the sixth century B.C. to the tenth century A.D.

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