Guatemala is located in the heart of Mesoamerica; a Biodiversity Hotspot that encompasses a wide variety of ecosystems in Southern Mexico and Central America (Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama). The region covers over 768,000 square kilometers (296,526 square miles) and ranges from coral reefs, lowland rainforest, pine savannas to mountain and cloud forests; constituting over 22 distinct ecoregions. Although Mesoamerica occupies only about 0.5% of the Earth’s land surface, it is home to about 7% of the planet biological diversity.
Guatemala is considered a Megadiverse country; which implies that it presents high levels of species richness and endemism as well as cultural richness.
The Megadiversity concept reflects the natural wealth of a country; and also it takes into consideration all levels of diversity. From a cultural point of view 25 sociolinguistic groups are present in Guatemala; 22 of them of Mayan origin, complemented by the Xinca, Garifuna and Ladino. This amazing fusion implies not only a great ethnic diversity but also a remarkable historic past and exceptional ancestral knowledge associated to them. In addition to the complex language and social structure, the exquisite gastronomy, spiritual cosmogony and advanced knowledge that the Maya inherited; they also left the most spectacular remains of majestic architecture and stunning cities.
The latest archaeological research in the Maya World suggests that the origins of this ancient civilization are complex. However they somehow agree that it origin and developed in the jungles of Guatemala. Recent discoveries in archeological sites like El Mirador and Ceibal ensure that Guatemala is indeed the Heart of the Mayan World.