Guatemala: Land of 25 Languages (and delicious coffee!) Uncategorized It’s morning in Antigua, a gorgeous old city in the central highlands of Guatemala. To either side of you stand colorful buildings inspired by Spanish Baroque architecture. The entire city is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Gazing down the cobblestone streets you see the one of the twin peaks of the volcano Acatenango rising majestically above the clouds. (The volcanic soil from past eruptions is one of the factors that makes that cup of Guatemalan coffee in your hand so tasty.) Guatemala is more than just colorful old buildings, stunning views, and great coffee though. It’s a country full of diverse landscapes, rich history, and a unique mixture of cultures. Here are 3 fascinating facts about Guatemala 1. There are 25 languages spoken in Guatemala Above are Maya glyphs, the writing system used by the Maya people for over 1,000 years until the arrival of the Spanish. Nowadays, most modern Mayan languages are written in the Latin alphabet. There are, however, ongoing efforts to revive the glyph system. Guatemalans speak 25 languages! (Now that’s a lot of different ways to say “more coffee, please!”) The official, and most commonly spoken, language is Spanish. Beyond Spanish, there are 22 Mayan languages and 2 additional indigenous languages (Garífuna and Xinca) spoken in the country. The most popular Mayan languages, with over 1 million speakers each, are K’iche’, Q’eqchi’, and Kaqchikel. 2. It’s home to the deepest lake in Central America Lake Atitlán, Central America’s deepest lake, is pictured here. High in the Guatemalan Highlands sits Lake Atitlán, which, at average depth of 720 feet, is the deepest lake in Central America. “Atitlán” comes from the Nahuatl language and means “between the waters.” Known to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, Atitlán has long drawn people to it. Today, 9 indigenous communities live beside the lake, fishing its abundant waters and growing fruits and vegetables along its fertile shores. Recently, the high cliffs near San Marcos have become popular with cliff divers as well! 3. Its currency is named for the national bird Above is the resplendent quetzal, the national bird of Guatemala. Imagine a bird so beautiful that money is named after it! That’s the case with the resplendent quetzal, the national bird of Guatemala. In 1925, Guatemala introduced this currency which has been in circulation ever since. While the quetzal is not pictured on any of the bank notes or coins, it is honored whenever Guatemalans pay for their coffee in quetzales. Bonus fact: Naming money after this bird was a nod to the ancient Mayan custom of using the quetzal’s tail feathers as currency. A Guatemalan coffee farm is pictured here. Obviously it’s impossible to summarize a place with as much history, diversity, and ecological beauty as Guatemala in a few short sentences. We hoped that you enjoyed learning a bit more about the country that this month’s coffee comes from though! Guatemalan coffee is world-renowned for being some of the highest quality coffee you can find. Atlas is proud of our longstanding relationship with Raul and Alejandro Molina, the father/son duo who grow coffee at Finca San Victor in Guatemala’s Fraijanes region. For a limited time, you can get this delicious Guatemalan coffee shipped right to you. You’ve got to try this coffee!