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The geography of Guatemala is largely determined by the county's position in Central America, sitting as it does on the intersections of three tectonic plates—the Cocos, the Caribbean and the North American Plates. Tectonic shifts are the reasons behind the country’s interesting and varied scenery, ranging from the extremes of the highest mountain in Central America—Tajumulco, at 4,220m (13,845 ft)—to the black sand beaches on the Pacific Coast. Due to the country’s location, conditions can be turbulent, with frequent earthquakes. There are also hurricanes between June and November and other seismic activity such as volcanic eruptions. Guatemala is in the middle of the area known as Central America and shares borderes with El Salvador, Honduras, Belize and Mexico. Contrary to popular belief, while Guatemala is in the tropics, the climate is not always hot and humid. In the mountains, temperatures can be much cooler, especially at night. The mountainous, highland region runs largely through the center of the country. There are a large number of volcanoes in this area, a few of which are currently active. Running to the south of Guatemala's mountainous region, is the country's Pacific Coast. The area features dark sand beaches, mangroves and wetlands and is a heavily farmed producer of both coffee and sugar. The Petén area, which comprises most of the north, has an extensive limestone foundation. This region is hot, and the limestone supports large forested regions. The small Caribbean Coast section of Guatemala is characterized by white sand beaches, rainforests and swamplands. Banana plantations are common in the area.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Guatemala: Climate, When to go, When to Go to Tikal, When to go, When to go, When to go and When To Go To Poptun.

By Paula Newton
I am V!VA's operations expert. With an MBA and a background in the Interactive Television industry in the U.K. I am the organizing force behind the...
22 Feb 2009

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