Guatemala has had a colourful yet bloody history. In ancient Mayan times Guatemala was core to the civilisation.
Bordered by Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Belize with coastlines on 2 continents, the Caribbean Sea to the southeast and the Pacific to the west Guatemala is the most populous nation in Central America with a population of 15.8 million.
Blighted by brutal dictatorships throughout history, one with the funding of the USA, Guatemala only emerged as a democratic republic after the bloody civil war that finally ended in 1996.
The people of Guatemala have endured so much but slowly things are turning round despite half the population being under the poverty line.
Tourism is a huge area of growth for the country but its bloody past and constant struggles with drugs and corruption keep many people away.
Guatemala has much to do to persuade more international travellers to visit this biodiverse gem.