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The Just Student Jobs Country guide for gap year travel in Central America - Guatemala

Where to Go - Central America

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Belize | Costa Rica | Cuba | Guatemala | Jamaica | Mexico


Population : 14.6 million

Literacy rate : 70.6%

Life expectancy at birth : 65.14 years

Infant mortality rate : 35.93 deaths / 1000 births

Population growth rate : 2.57%

GDP growth rate : 2.6%

GDP per capita : $4,200

Inflation : 7.2%

Climate : Tropical and hot!

Time : : GMT -6 Hrs

Websites :

Further country, travel and tourist information can be found at the country’s UK embassy page at

While most trips to Guatemala are generally safe, the country has a history of political turmoil, and suffers from a high level of violent and petty crimes. Common sense should therefore be used when travelling late at night or in certain areas, including the major cities such as Guatemala City.

Like many of the country’s neighbours, Guatemala is home to rich natural attractions and culture. The landscape benefits from being extremely varied, from the jungles and river plains to large mountain ranges. It is no surprise then that the major organised activities for travellers in Guatemala hiking in and around the mountains, volcanoes and jungle backdrop across the country.

Guatemala is home to the largest population of indigenous Mayan Indian communities in Central America. Like neighbouring Belize, expeditions in this country offer perfect cultural and natural surroundings, including the impressive and numerous Mayan ruins. A trip to the Tikal Ruins for instance, located in the jungle in the district of El Petén, features the hugely impressive ancient pyramids, which reach heights of up to 144 foot. In Sololá, a region in the south of the country, many striking lakes can be found, among them the stunning Lake Atitlan, which is 5125 feet above sea level.

To the west of Guatemala City can be found the country’s highlands, and the naturally spectacular scenery awaiting explorers including mountain ranges and active volcanoes, which brave people can climb for awe inspiring views across southern Guatemala. Volcanoes in the area reach as high as the giant Acatenango, towering above everything at 13,041 feet.

The country’s capital, Guatemala City, is the largest population in Central America, and is located in the south of the country. It is an ideal place to stay when planning excursions to the plentiful attractions and activities on offer nearby.

Entry requirements

UK citizens can stay in Guatemala for up to 30 days without a visa. Passports should be valid for at least 6 months upon arrival.


Malaria. Cases of Dengue fever have are also found in areas including Petén, Zacapa and Escuintla.

Gap Year Programmes

Click here to find gap year programmes and placements in Guatemala

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