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Guatemala's many Mayan ruins and colonial buildings are its most impressive architectural attributes. One of the most intriguing cultural aspects is the infinite and exotic variety of the handmade, traditional clothing of Guatemala's Maya population. The design of the women's colorfully embroidered tunics, capes and skirts dates back to precolonial days. Certain details of garment and design identify the wearer's group and village, and can also have multiple religious or magical meanings. Music and traditional dance also feature in many Mayan religious festivals.


Spanish is the most commonly spoken language in Guatemala, and Roman Catholicism is the principal religion. Evangelical and Pentecostal Christian denominations have gained wide followings, while the Maya have preserved aspects of their traditional religions, often blended with Catholicism.


Guatemalan cuisine can't compete with that of Mexico, although standard Mexican fare such as tortillas and tacos can be found. Mostly you'll encounter tough grilled or fried meat, meat and more meat. Beans and rice are often the cheapest and best alternative, and the country has a surprising number of Chinese restaurants. Coffee is available everywhere - sometimes spectacularly good, but the best beans are typically exported. Beer is prevalent, in light and dark versions, and rum and Quetzalteca are the nation's favored rocket fuels.

Guatemala's many Mayan ruins