The Republic of Guatemala is a country in Central America, in the south of the continent of North America, situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. It is bordered by Mexico to the north, Belize to the northeast, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast.
Except for the south coastal area, and the vast lowlands of the Peten in the north, Guatemala is mountainous, with a hot tropical climate more temperate in the highlands, and drier in the easternmost departments. All of the major cities are situated in the southern half of the country; the major cities are the capital Guatemala City, Quetzaltenango and Escuintla. The large lake Lago de Izabal is situated close to the Caribbean coast
Influences of the Maya and the Spanish colonists are strong throughout Guatemala. In the cities, European influence (especially German) is well evidenced. Much of the clothing and food is still made in the traditional Mayan way in small villages in the highlands, and many Mayan ruins can be found. Along the small Caribbean coast, there are influences of African culture in the religious ceremonial songs, dances and food.
Guatemala has a rich and distinctive culture from the long mix of elements from Spain and the native Maya people. This diverse history and the natural beauty of the land has created a destination rich in interesting and scenic sites.