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Guatemala Travel Information and Hotel Discounts Guatemala Travel Information and Hotel Discounts


Guatemala Hotel  Accommodations
Guatemala Hotel  Accommodations
Guatemala Travel Information and Hotel Discounts

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Amatique Bay Resort
Finca Pichilingo
Puerto Barrios Guatemala

Puerto Barrios is a city in Guatemala,
 located at on the Gulf of Honduras
at 15°73′N 88°60′W.
The bay in which the harbor is
 located is called Bahia de Amatique.

Amatique Bay Resort

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  Guatemala City      
  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.

Main article: History of Guatemala

From the 3rd century BC to the 11th century AD, the lowlands area of the Petén and Izabal regions of Guatemala were several indigenous states on the central highlands. Alta Verapaz is known for the fact that, after failing to conquer it by the sword the Spanish entered by the Church, with missionaries who defended the Indians from the cruel treatments of the Spanish army. Many Pre-Columbian Mayan books were lost due to the policy of the Spaniards during the colonial period of burning them. However, several survive, including: The "Popol Vuh", "Anales de los Kakchiqueles", and "Chilam Balam", books that were discovered and preserved by Spanish missionary friars. The name "Goathemala" was given by the Spanish conquistadores to this land, which derives from indigenous words that mean "Land of many trees".

During the Spanish colonial period, Guatemala was a Captaincy General (Capitania General de Goathemala) of Spain. It extended from the Soconusco region - located in what is now the southern part of Mexico (states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Quintana Roo, and Yucatan) - to Costa Rica. From a political point of view, this region was not as rich in mineral resources (gold and silver) as Mexico and Peru were. Therefore, it did not have the same importance as those two Viceroyalties had. Its main products were sugarcane, cocoa, and anil (dye obtained from indigo plant to dye textiles).

Tired of being forced to trade exclusively with Spain, the Guatemalan elite declared independence of Spain in September 15, 1821. At that time, the Guatemalan Republic included the Soconusco region, as well as what are now the countries of El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. Such a big country had a mere 1.5 million habitants, mostly concentrated on the urban centers of the young Republic.

However, in 1822, the province of El Salvador convinced the other Guatemalan provinces to join the Mexican Empire, an idea created by Agustin Iturbide. This Empire was short-lived, however, and a year later Guatemala separated itself from Mexico after Iturbide was forced to abdicate and his empire collapsed. As a result of this annexation, Guatemala lost the Soconusco region, which is now part of Mexico. After this, the Guatemalan provinces formed the United Provinces of Central America, also referred to as the Central American Federation (Federacion de Estados Centroamericanos). The Capital City remained Guatemala City, which to this day continues to be the biggest and most modern urban center in the entire Central American region.

A politically unstable period followed, aggravated by the collapse of the world market for añil (indigo), main export product from the region to Europe. This resulted in each province separating itself from the Federation, beginning with the province of Costa Rica. This confederation fell apart in 1838 to 1840, and Guatemala became an independent nation.

Guatemala has long claimed all or part of the territory of neighboring Belize, which used to be part of the Guatemalan Republic since Colonial times. However, Great Britain occupied this territory, and Belize remains English-speaking to this day. While Guatemala recognized Belize's independence in 1991, the territorial dispute between them has not yet been finalized. Negotiations are currently underway under the auspices of the Organization of American States to conclude the dispute. For details, see: [1], and the OAS page [2].

Guatemalan history has been marked by the scenario of the Cold War between the USA and the USSR. The Central Intelligence Agency, supported by a small group of Guatemalan citizens, orchestrated the overthrow of the democratic socialist Guatemalan government in 1954. This was known as Operation PBSUCCESS and led to over thirty years of unrest in the nation in which over 100,000 Guatemalans were killed, mostly indigenous Mayan Indians, more than 450 Mayan villages were destroyed, and over one million people became refugees. This is alleged to be one of the worst ethnic cleansings in modern times. Contributing reasons include US support of every successive, non-democratic government in Guatemala. From the 1950s until the 1990s, the U.S. directly supported Guatemala's army by supplying it with combatant training, weaponry, and money. The U.S. sent the Green Berets to Guatemala to transform its Army into a "modern counter-insurgency force," making their army the most powerful and sophisticated in Central America.

Further involvement of the CIA in Guatemala included the training of 5,000 anti-Castro Cubans for what would become the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion.

1996 marked the end of a bloody 36-year war with the guerrilla Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG). The signing of the peace treaty was orchestrated by the government of democratically elected President Alvaro Arzu. Since then, the country has enjoyed successive democractic elections, most recently in 2003. However, corruption is still rampant throughout all levels of government. A huge cache of National Police files discovered in December of 2005 revealed methods of public security officials to quell unrest of citizens during the civil war [3].

Militarily, the Guatemalan army defeated the URNG. However, due to staunch political support from the governments of Spain, France, and Sweden, the URNG was able to continue with its activities. in 1992, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Rigoberta Menchu, an ex-URNG member.
Guatemala was freed of Spanish colonial rule in 1821. During the second half of the 20th century, it experienced a variety of military and civilian governments as well as a 36-year guerrilla war. In 1996, the government signed a peace agreement formally ending the conflict, which had led to the death of more than 100,000 people and had created some 1 million refugees.
Middle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Honduras and Belize and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Mexico
Geographic coordinates:
15 30 N, 90 15 W
Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean
total: 108,890 sq km
water: 460 sq km
land: 108,430 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Tennessee
tropical; hot, humid in lowlands; cooler in highlands
mostly mountains with narrow coastal plains and rolling limestone plateau (Peten)
noun: Guatemalan(s)
adjective: Guatemalan
Ethnic groups:
Mestizo (mixed Amerindian-Spanish or assimilated Amerindian - in local Spanish called Ladino), approximately 55%, Amerindian or predominantly Amerindian, approximately 43%, whites and others 2%
Roman Catholic, Protestant, indigenous Mayan beliefs
Spanish 60%, Amerindian languages 40% (23 officially recognized Amerindian languages, including Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, Garifuna, and Xinca
quetzal (GTQ), US dollar (USD), others allowed
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
quetzales per US dollar - 8.0165 (January 2002), 7.8586 (2001), 7.7632 (2000), 7.3856 (1999), 6.3947 (1998), 6.0653 (1997)

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