Cruising in Guatemala
The Maya civilization flourished in Guatemala and surrounding regions during the first millennium A.D. After almost three centuries as a Spanish colony, Guatemala won its independence 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 left more than 100,000 people dead and had created some 1 million refugees.
Location: Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between
El Salvador and Mexico, and bordering the Gulf of Honduras (Caribbean Sea)
between Honduras and Belize
territorial sea: 12 nm
Tropical; hot, humid in lowlands; cooler in highlands
Mostly mountains with narrow coastal plains and rolling limestone plateau
Lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
Guatemala is the largest and most populous of the Central American countries with a GDP per capita roughly one-half that of Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. The agricultural sector accounts for about one-fourth of GDP, two-thirds of exports, and half of the labor force. Coffee, sugar, and bananas are the main products. The 1996 signing of peace accords, which ended 36 years of civil war, removed a major obstacle to foreign investment, but widespread political violence and corruption scandals continue to dampen investor confidence.
The distribution of income remains highly unequal with perhaps 75% of the population below the poverty line. Other ongoing challenges include increasing government revenues, negotiating further assistance from international donors, upgrading both government and private financial operations, curtailing drug trafficking, and narrowing the trade deficit.
Airports: 449 (2005)
990 km; note: 260 km navigable year round; additional 730 km navigable during high-water season (2004)
Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals
Puerto Quetzal, Santo Tomas de Castilla
Guatemalan squatters continue to settle in the rain forests of Belize's border region; Organization of American States (OAS) is attempting to revive the 2002 failed Differendum that created a small adjustment to land boundary, a Guatemalan maritime corridor in Caribbean, a joint ecological park for the disputed Sapodilla Cays, and a substantial US-UK financial package; Guatemalans enter Mexico illegally seeking work or transit to the US
Other Sailing Destinations in the Region
Argentina - Belize - Brazil - Chile - Colombia - Costa Rica - Ecuador - El Salvador - French Guiana - Guatemala - Guyana - Honduras - Mexico - Nicaragua - Panama - Peru - St. Pierre and Miquelon - Suriname - Uruguay - Venezuela