A beautiful, but troubled nation:

Guatemala is a beautiful place.

Green mountains, clear streams, cool weather, cultural heritage, and a unique people all combine to make Guatemala one of the most unique places on this earth. But it is also a deeply troubled place.

view of volcan de agua from Antigua Guatemala    Mayan paddling cayuco near Rio Dulce

Above, two idyllic scenes from Guatemala: Left – view of a volcano rising above Antigua, Guatemala. Right – Villager paddling canoe near the Rio Dulce.


High rates of crime and violence, incredible levels of inequality, and government corruption make it a difficult place to live for many.

It is a country divided – by income: a very small population of wealthy elite control much of the country, and by race: the population is divided between “ladinos”, mestizo people of mixed race, and the indigenous people.

These two divisions combined to cause a decades-long civil war, which lasted from the 1960’s to the 1990’s. While peace was made, many problems have yet to be overcome. Indigenous people are still often neglected and forgotten by their government.

For more detailed look at Guatemala’s history and demographics, see here.