Guatemala borders Mexico and Belize is to the east. Guatemala’s 7.5 million population, about half of whom are pure Amerindian, make it the most populous of the Central American nations. Guatemala City, the capital, has 750,000 people and because of its altitude and latitude has a pleasant year-round temperature. Chichicastenango has probably the best known native market in South America. A well-known colonial town, Chichi is one of those prizes every visitor must take home in the form of snapshots.
Belize, just below Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, also has a spectacular off-shore reef and some cays. Hot and humid, one-third of Belize’s 145,000 people live on the coast. Fifty miles inland is Belmopan, the capital, built there to avoid hurricanes experienced in Belize. From the coast the land gradually rises to the Mana Mountains of the interior.
Because of violence in some of the Central American countries and the region’s general reputation for violence, it will be some time before it will come into its own as a place attractive to the pleasure traveler.