Bienvenido / Welcome!
Guatemala, a Central American country south of Mexico, is home to volcanoes, rainforests and ancient Mayan sites. The capital, Guatemala City, features the stately National Palace of Culture and the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Antigua, west of the capital, contains preserved Spanish colonial buildings. Lake Atitlán, formed in a massive volcanic crater, is surrounded by coffee fields and villages.
While Spanish became the official language mandated in schools, various Mayan languages never died out, and are still widely-spoken throughout the highlands today. The music of Guatemala comprises several styles and expressions. The Maya had an intense musical practice. Guatemala was also one of the first regions in the New World to be introduced to European music, beginning in 1524. Many composers from the Renaissance, baroque, classical, romantic, and contemporary music styles have contributed works of all genres, of very high quality.
Although Guatemala does not have one national dish, many foods have emerged as diet staples for everyday use. As it was during Mayan times, corn continues to be a staple. Most often it is made into tortillas, served warm and wrapped in cloth. Another Mayan food, black beans, are also widely consumed, often at every meal. They are prepared in a variety of ways, from refried to mashed to simply eaten whole.