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32 Fun Facts about Guatemala 

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Known as the birthplace of chocolate bars, there are many more fun facts about Guatemala that will leave you surprised! 


Fun Facts about Guatemala

Guatemala is a country in Central America that is known for its volcanoes, beaches, mountains, coffee, and much more. So, are you ready to discover some fun things about this magnificent country? Well, here are some fun facts about Guatemala that will blow your mind.

1. Guatemala Invented the Chocolate Bar

Yes, your yummy chocolate bar originally came from Guatemala! 

Guatemala is considered to be the birthplace of chocolate. Historians believe that the Mayans created the first-ever chocolate bar in Guatemala before it became a beloved food all over the world. 

In fact, the Mayans used to consider chocolate “the food of the gods.” So, we should all thank Guatemala for the chocolate bars that we cannot get enough of!  

Fun Facts about Guatemala

2. Guatemala Has a Lot of Volcanoes

One of the most fascinating yet scary fun facts about Guatemala is that it has a lot of volcanoes

A large chain of volcanoes crosses the country. Guatemala has 37 official volcanoes and around 300 volcanic structures. In fact, 3 out of the 37 official volcanoes are still active. 

3. Coffee Is a Huge Business in Guatemala

Coffee is one of the largest businesses in Guatemala. In fact, the economy of the country boomed in the 1870s thanks to the coffee business. 

One of the not-so-fun fun facts about Guatemala is that the Mayan people were moved away from their lands so that rich people could plant and export more coffee. 

To this date, coffee is still one of the largest industries in the country and it’s consumed all over the world and known for its great taste. 

4. There Are 25 Languages Spoken in Guatemala

These fun facts about Guatemala are for language lovers! 

Although Spanish is the official and most common language in the country, there are 24 other languages spoken in the country. Twenty-two languages are Mayan while the remaining two are indigenous languages. 

5. Guatemala Has the Deepest Lake in Central America

Another one of the coolest fun facts about Guatemala is that it has the deepest lake in Central America! 

Lake Atitlan in Guatemala was actually formed by a volcano over 80,000 years ago. The volcano exploded and formed a caldera, which formed the lake later on. 

Fun Facts about Guatemala

6. Guatemala Is the Birthplace of McDonald’s Happy Meal

This is one of the fun facts about Guatemala that will make you love the country more! 

The McDonald’s Happy Meal that you used to love as a kid and still love as an adult actually came from Guatemala. The first ever McDonald’s Happy Meal was served in Guatemala but it was called “Ronald Menu.”

Ronald Menu included a burger, a small pack of fries, and a small sundae. It was later adopted by the US and renamed “the Happy Meal.”

7. Guatemala Produces Great Blue Denim 

Guatemala is known for its textile production, especially blue denim. They export their blue denim to the US and many other countries. 

Cities like San Antonio Aguas Calientes still have highly skilled weavers, especially women. They produce high-quality textiles and garments with great attention to detail. 

8. Saint Maximon Is Worshiped in Guatemala

Here is one of the mysterious fun facts about Guatemala! 

Many people in Guatemala actively worship Saint Guatemala, despite his legend that is not so encouraging of worshipping! 

The legend of Saint Maximon says that the men of the village used to travel to work and assigned Saint Maximon to protect their wives. Instead, Saint Maximon is said to have had sex with their wives instead. 

The saint is mysteriously worshipped today by many Guatemalans. Worshippers make offerings at his shrine, seeking good health and miracles. 

9. Old American School Buses Go to Guatemala

When the famous American yellow school buses get old, some of them are sent to Guatemala to live their second life. 

Engineers and mechanics renew them, replace the engines with more powerful ones, install stronger breaks, paint them, and more. They are used for public transportation and Guatemalans love them! 

10. They Honor the Dead With Kites in Guatemala

This is one of the most beautiful fun facts about Guatemala! 

On November 1st of every year, Guatemalans go to the cemeteries of their loved ones. They clean them and decorate the graves. After that, they fly huge kites into the sky. 

They believe that the souls of their dead visit Earth for one day every year and the kites help the souls locate their loved ones. The kites are massive and they are decorated with beautiful patterns. 

11. Guatemala Means the Place of Many Trees

One of the cool fun facts about Guatemala is that it has a name that describes the country accurately.

The word Guatemala is a Nahuatl word which means the place of many trees. And yes Guatemala is full of trees. In fact, around 35% of Guatemala is covered in forests

However, others believe that the name comes from the Mayan word Guhatezmalh, which was used to describe a mountain in Guatemala. The word means “the Mountain That Vomits Water.” 

12. The Resplendent Quetzal Is the National Bird of Guatemala

Let’s talk about the Resplendent Quetzal, which is one of the fascinating fun facts about Guatemala! 

The Resplendent Quetzal lives high in the mountains in the forests of Guatemala. It has such vibrant colours, namely green, red, and white. The male has a gorgeous length that can measure up to 1 meter long. 

In fact, the Mayans believed that this bird was the god Quetzalcoatl in their living form. 

Sadly, this bird is endangered today due to the destruction of rainforests.

Fun Facts about Guatemala

13. Pepian Is the National Dish of Guatemala

Pepian is the most famous dish in Guatemala and it’s considered to be the country’s national dish. 

The popular dish consists of pieces of chicken, tomato, onions, chiles, pumpkin seeds, sesame, and more. This dish of pieces of chicken that are dipped in aromatic tomato sauce is the comfort food of Guatemalans. 

You totally need to give it a try if you visit Guatemala! 

14. Gallo Is the National Drink of Guatemala

Guatemalan men consider Gallo the national drink of the country. It’s a beer that contains 5% alcohol. It’s a very popular brand in Guatemala. 

The word Gallo means rooster. It’s either sold in aluminium cans or glass returnable bottles. 

15. Land of Eternal Spring Is the Nickname of Guatemala

One of the weather-related fun facts about Guatemala is that it has a pleasant climate all year long and spring flowers bloom all year long as well. This is why it earned the nickname “Land of Eternal Spring.”

This perfect weather makes it a good destination for tourists who want to visit any time of the year. 

16. Guatemala Has the Tallest Volcano in Central America

Guatemala doesn’t only have many volcanoes that cross the whole country, but it also has the tallest volcano in Central America. In fact, Tajumulco is not only the highest volcano but also the highest peak in Central America. 

17. The CIA Overthrew the Guatemalan Government

Here is one of the interesting fun facts about Guatemala!

There was a coup in Guatemala that overthrew President Jacobo Árbenz and his government in 1954. However, historians believe that the CIA had a hand in this coup due to the socialist policies of the Guatemalan government. 

18. Guatemala Has 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Guatemala has 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

Two of them are cultural sites, which are the Archaeological Park and Ruins of Quirigua, and Antigua Guatemala. Tikal National Park is the third one and it is a mixed site because of its cultural and natural wonders. 

19. Guatemala Had a Very Long Civil War

Back in the 20th century, Guatemala had a 36-year-long civil war. The war killed thousands of people and it’s one of the saddest facts about Guatemala. 

Luckily, the new president Alvaro Arzu, made peace with the rebels in 1996 and ended the war that lasted for decades. 

20. Guatemala’s Flag Has a Deep Meaning

Guatemala has a beautiful flag with two stripes of cyan on the sides, which means that the country is locked between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Between them, there’s a white stripe that means peace. 

In the white stripe, there are two olive branches, and between them is the resplendent quetzal bird. The bird is standing on top of a scroll that contains the words “Liberty 15 of September of 1821.”

Fun Facts about Guatemala

21. September 15 Is Independence Day in Guatemala

Guatemala celebrates its independence day on September 15th every year, which is one of the most inspiring fun facts about Guatemala. 

After Spain invaded the country in the 16th century, Guatemala finally claimed its freedom back in 1821. 

22. Guatemala City Is the Capital of Guatemala

The capital of Guatemala has the same name and it’s called Guatemala City. It is the biggest and most populous city in the country. In fact, Guatemala City is the most populous city in the entire Central America. 

23. Three of Guatemala’s 37 Volcanoes Are Still Active

Guatemala has a lot of volcanoes but 3 of them are still active today. They are Santiaguito, Fuego, and Pacaya. They’ve been erupting for years constantly

Although they are dangerous, they are popular tourist destinations in the country. 

24. Pacaya Volcano Is the Most Active Volcano in Guatemala

Here is one of the hottest fun facts about Guatemala! 

According to National Geographic, the most active volcano in Guatemala is Pacaya volcano. It is located near Guatemala City. It has such dramatic eruptions that make it a popular destination for visitors. 

Although it’s an active volcano, it’s considered relatively safe to hike and witness its beauty. 

25. Guatemala Is a Mountainous Country

Guatemala is a mountainous country with lots and lots of elevations. That’s why the weather changes magnificently according to the altitude. In fact, around one-third of the population lives in highland cool villages. 

26. Guatemala Shares Borders With 4 Countries

One of the geographical facts about Guatama is that it’s bordered by 4 countries. It shares borders with El Salvador in the southeast, Honduras in the east, Belize in the northeast and Mexico in the north and west. 

27. The Maya Civilization Thrived in Guatemala

Guatemala was one of the countries that the Maya Civilization thrived in. In fact, the Mayans were very advanced in different sciences including astronomy and math. They recorded their history using symbols and words and left it to us to know their extraordinary culture. 

The Mayan women were excellent and highly skilled weavers. They used to weave amazing clothes with bright colours. But the habit didn’t die with the collapse of the Maya civilization. Guatemalans still weave high-quality clothes brilliantly to this day! 

28. The Petén Region Is Home to Diverse Wildlife

One of the most biodiverse regions in Guatemala is the Petén region which is located in the northeast. There, you can find many diverse animals like ocelots, deer, monkeys, jaguars, and more! You can also find many types of plants. 

29. The Mayans Still Live in Guatemala 

If you thought the Mayans were over, you’re wrong! Here is one of the intriguing fun facts about Guatemala! 

Guatemala still has 20 Maya groups and half of the country’s population is actually indigenous people. The largest Maya group is called the Quiché. 

30. Guatemala Is the Home of 2 Nobel Prize Winners

Guatemala prides itself on being the home of two Nobel Prize winners. Rigoberta Menchú won the Nobel Prize for Peace for everything she did for the rights of indigenous peoples. 

The other winner is Miguel Angel Asturias who won the Nobel Prize for literature. 

31. Guatemala Has a Lot of Myths and Legends

If you love the old legends that are deeply rooted in different cultures, then here is one of the fun facts about Guatemala for you. 

Guatemala is a country of many myths and legends. Some of the most popular ones are La Siguanaba, La Llorona, and Quetzalcoatl, and many more. 

32. There Are Many Stray Dogs and Cats in Guatemala

There is a big problem with stray dogs and cats in Guatemala. They wander the streets in big numbers with no shelter or food. Luckily, there are organisations in Guatemala where people can volunteer to feed, bathe, and groom these stray animals. 

Fun Facts about Guatemala

Further Reading – Fun Facts About Guatemala 

From inventing the chocolate bar to worshipping a saint with a questionable legend, Guatemala is full of endless facts that can make you fall in love with the country. 

If you enjoyed reading about Guatemala, check out these facts on my website:

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