Population: 14.3 million
Languages: Spanish; Maya dialects Time: GMT-6
International dialling code: +502
Visas: UK nationals are granted a visa on arrival, valid for 90 days.
Money: Quetzal (GTQ), currently around GTQ12.5 to the UK£. US dollars are widely accepted, though you’ll need local currency too.
When to go:
January, February, Mars, April, November, December: Dry season — hot in the jungle but comfortably warm in the Highlands. Many local fiestas held November-December, which can be noisy.
May, June, July, August, September, October: Rainy season — though doesn’t rain all day. Humidity highest July-September;
Health & safety: No special vaccinations are required. Drink purified water. Be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness.
Further reading & information: Moon Handbook Guatemala (Avalon, 2010) provides lots of local insights; Focus Guatemala (Footprint, 2011); Guatemala (Lonely Planet, 2013); Beyond the Mexique Way (first published 1934) by Aldous Huxley; Time Among the Maya (Abacus, 1997) by Ronald Wright
Planning guides: Guatemala guide