The largest and most populous of the Central American countries, Guatemala is famously a land of contrasts and contradictions. It has great physical beauty, with ancient Mayan ruins, volcanoes, lakes, and rain forests, and a conglomeration of diverse peoples and cultures held together by fierce national pride and love for a country they want to improve.
Guatemala is unique in Central America in that more than half its population is of Mayan Indian origin. Today it is a combination of ancient Mayan heritage, Spanish colonialism, and Western influences, mainly from the United States.
Culture Smart! Guatemala provides an introduction to the complexities of Guatemalan society. It shows how history has shaped the values and attitudes of today. It describes different aspects of Guatemalan life, including home, family, religion, festivals, typical food, and business practice. It offers key insights into the mind-set of the people, and practical advice on how best to behave in different situations and avoid cultural misunderstandings.
Most Guatemalans operate within a mañana time frame. This means that punctuality is not a consideration, especially if something more important occurs. Rather than assuming that Guatemalans are irresponsible slackers, it is important to remember that, for most of them, time consciousness is simply not a top priority.