Guatemala

Driving Directions Guatemala

GUATEMALA 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 in which are 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 exported.

The forested area of the country, 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.

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There are also deposits of petroleum and zinc, while lead and silver mining. The industry 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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