Terrain shapes and bedrock
Within a limited area, Guatemala has both coastal plains along two oceans and a highland area between those reaching more than 4,000 meters above sea level. The Central Highlands are Guatemala’s most important region, and it includes two parallel parts.
One, Sierra Madre, travels throughout the country in an east-west direction and continues into El Salvador and Honduras. Its southern part is an impressive chain of younger eruptive rocks with 33 volcanoes. Tajumulco (4,220m asl), Tacaná (4,093m ash), Acatenango (3,976m ash) and Santa María (3,772m ash). The latter, like Fuego and Pacaya, are in constant activity.
The second branch of Altos Cuchumatanes goes north-west and is divided into several chains and plateaus of mainly Mesozoic rocks. Minasberg (with the highest point 3 139 m above sea level).
The Pacific coastal plain is 50 km wide and 250 km long and corresponds to the altitude zone tierra caliente, while the highlands include tierra templada (500–1,500 m asl) and tierra fría (up to 3,000 m asl).
The Atlantic lowlands have Guatemala’s largest lake, the Izabal lake, and several water-rich rivers, including. Motagua, Polochic and Sarstún.
The fourth region, El Petén, lies in the north and occupies a third of Guatemala. It is an inaccessible, flat area of 150–210 m above sea level, which has limestone bedrock like other parts of the Yucatán Peninsula.
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According to COUNTRYAAH, Guatemala belongs to the tropical zone, but due to the large level differences in the country, the climate is not uniform. The annual average temperature on both coastal plains and in the lowlands in the north remains between 25 and 30 °C, while in the areas between 600 and 1,800 m above sea level. drops to 17 °C.
Rainy periods occur from May to November and during the rest of the year there is dry season. The Atlantic coast with wind from the Caribbean all year round has hardly any dry season at all. In the central parts, the precipitation is 1,000–2,000 mm per year.
On the Pacific coast, tropical dry forest and savanna originally grew; these areas are now largely cultivated. The mountain ranges in the southwest (tierra templada) are vegetatively reminiscent of southern Mexico’s highlands with forest of pine and evergreen oaks between about 1,000 and 2,000 m above sea level; here are now large coffee plantations.
The Atlantic coast and northern parts are more humid with tropical rainforest and plantations of the course and sugar cane. The rainforest contains many palm and mahogany species; among the epiphytes are orchids and pineapple plants. Guatemala’s flora comprises about 8,000 species of vascular plants.
Through varied topography and vegetation, conditions for a species-rich wildlife are provided, which to a large extent have a South American character but also have features from the nectar fauna. Among the mammals are Guatemalan monkey (Alouaʹtta villoʹsa), jaguar, ozelot, cougar, jaguarundi, white-tailed deer, necklace pointer, giant ant cape (now rare) and North American opossum.
Nearly 700 bird species have been observed in the country. Incredible groups include herons, hummingbirds, tyrants, tangars, cuttings and parrots. Atitlándopping (Podilyʹmbus giʹgas), which was found in the Atitlán lake where it was endemic, died out in the mid-1980s. Quetzal, a national bird, has become very rare in recent times.
The frog and herbivorous fauna are rich. The glasses cage and lace crocodile (Crocodyʹlus acuʹtus) are found in some water systems.
In 2011, there were 21 national parks, which are administered by the Ministry of Forestry. Most famous are Atitlán, which housed the Atitlán doping, and Tikal with a rich wildlife and large ruin areas from the Mayan culture. In total, about 30% of the country was protected.