Tourists climb Pyramid II to reach the Temple of the Masks in the Maya city of Tikal.
One of the most beautiful countries of Central America, south of Mexico and north and west of Honduras, Guatemala offers forested mountains, glimmering lakes, exotic birdlife. • The Maya make up more than half the country's population, and Mayan languages are spoken along with Spanish, the official tongue. • Maya ruins dot the landscape, drawing tourists, archaeologists, and anthropologists. • A four-decade civil war that pitted Maya insurgents against the country's army left many thousands dead. • Today, poverty plagues the countryside in particular, and crime remains a problem.