Guatemala Geography 2020


Guatemala Geography 2020

Page last updated on January 27, 2020

Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Mexico, and bordering the Gulf of Honduras (Caribbean Sea) between Honduras and Belize

Geographic coordinates:
15 30 N, 90 15 W

Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean

total: 108,889 sq km
[see also: Area - total country ranks ]
land: 107,159 sq km
[see also: Area - land country ranks ]
water: 1,730 sq km
[see also: Area - water country ranks ]
country comparison to the world (CIA rank, may be based on non-current data): 108

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Pennsylvania

Area comparison map:Area comparison map

slightly smaller than Pennsylvania

Land boundaries:
total: 1,667 km
[see also: Land boundaries - total country ranks ]
border countries (4): Belize 266 km, El Salvador 199 km, Honduras 244 km, Mexico 958 km

400 km
[see also: Coastline country ranks ]

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
[see also: Maritime claims - territorial sea country ranks ]
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
[see also: Maritime claims - exclusive economic zone country ranks ]
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
[see also: Maritime claims - continental shelf country ranks ]

tropical; hot, humid in lowlands; cooler in highlands
More Climate Details

two east-west trending mountain chains divide the country into three regions: the mountainous highlands, the Pacific coast south of mountains, and the vast northern Peten lowlands

mean elevation: 759 m
[see also: Elevation - mean elevation country ranks ]
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Volcan Tajumulco (highest point in Central America) 4,220 m

Natural resources:
petroleum, nickel, rare woods, fish, chicle, hydropower

Land use:
agricultural land: 41.2% (2011 est.)
[see also: Land use - agricultural land country ranks ]
arable land: 14.2% (2011 est.)
[see also: Land use - arable land country ranks ]
permanent crops: 8.8% (2011 est.)
[see also: Land use - permanent crops country ranks ]
permanent pasture: 18.2% (2011 est.)
[see also: Land use - permanent pasture country ranks ]
forest: 33.6% (2011 est.)
[see also: Land use - forest country ranks ]
other: 25.2% (2011 est.)
[see also: Land use country ranks ]

Irrigated land:
3,375 sq km (2012)
[see also: Irrigated land country ranks ]

Population distribution:
the vast majority of the populace resides in the southern half of the country, particularly in the mountainous regions; more than half of the population lives in rural areas

Natural hazards:
numerous volcanoes in mountains, with occasional violent earthquakes; Caribbean coast extremely susceptible to hurricanes and other tropical storms

volcanism: significant volcanic activity in the Sierra Madre range; Santa Maria (3,772 m) has been deemed a Decade Volcano by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; Pacaya (2,552 m), which erupted in May 2010 causing an ashfall on Guatemala City and prompting evacuations, is one of the country's most active volcanoes with frequent eruptions since 1965; other historically active volcanoes include Acatenango, Almolonga, Atitlan, Fuego, and Tacana; see note 2 under "Geography - note"

Environment - current issues:
deforestation in the Peten rainforest; soil erosion; water pollution

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:

note 1: despite having both eastern and western coastlines (Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean respectively), there are no natural harbors on the west coast

note 2: Guatemala is one of the countries along the Ring of Fire, a belt of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters bordering the Pacific Ocean; up to 90% of the world's earthquakes and some 75% of the world's volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire

NOTE: 1) The information regarding Guatemala on this page is re-published from the 2020 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Guatemala Geography 2020 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Guatemala Geography 2020 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.
2) The rank that you see is the CIA reported rank, which may have the following issues:
  a) They assign increasing rank number, alphabetically for countries with the same value of the ranked item, whereas we assign them the same rank.
  b) The CIA sometimes assigns counterintuitive ranks. For example, it assigns unemployment rates in increasing order, whereas we rank them in decreasing order.

This page was last modified 27-Jan-20
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