Guatemala is one of the most native Indian of all of the Central American countries. Almost 50% are from Mayan origin. It is the most heavily populated of all Central America with just over an estimated 14 million people. A large amount of the population left during years of civil war, however in the 1990s some returned.
The 36 years of civil war only officially ended in 1996, therefore, there remain residual social injustice and habitation problems.The have-not population greatly out number the haves.Guatemala is on the mend but the healing process needs some time to work itself out. Violence still abounds within the disenfranchised groups of its citizens.
The working foreigner is cautioned to keep her or himself aware at all times and to use common sense when navigating city streets.There exist some difficulties for the foreigner and the individual must be aware of this reality. Good advisement would be to fit in with the surrounding culture rather than stand out.
Guatemala is fascinating in aspects of color and character.Many Mayan brightly colored handicrafts line the streets and the architecture has a distinctive; cheerful rustic quality. An area of interest in Guatemala includes, Antigua a city located just west of Guatemala City. It is a less Americanized touristy view of the country inhabited by a mix of Mayan and upper class Latinos.
The city is known for its laid-back, interesting, extremely friendly and comfortable atmosphere. LakeAtitlan located just north west of Guatemala City attracts many visitors for its unparalleled views and its pristine shores. The currency is quetzals trading at approximately 7.5 to the US dollar. The weather varies according to altitudes; the average temperature is 68 F and can rise to 99 F.Rainy season at higher altitudes is from May to September, although, generally the nights are clear and during this time the temperature falls sharply at night.