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    United States: Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Go Now!

    United States
    Explore the vast openness and wildlife found roaming in the western United States, including Theodore Roosevelt National Park (pictured) in North Dakota. Begin Your Journey!

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    Panama is best known for the Panama Canal, but the beaches draw tourists, as does Panama City (pictured), a modern capital quite different from most nearby cities. Explore Panama

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    Mexico: Sunrise over the mountains in Puerto Vallarta. Go Now!

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    Although many people just go for the beaches, Mexico offers impressive mountain vistas (pictured in Puerto Vallarta), great food, and historic ruins that compete with the best in the world. Begin Your Journey!

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    This Caribbean island has hints of British culture, but is wholly Caribbean as well. Explore Barbados!

Social Life in Guatemala

Behavior

The Guatemalans are conservative in most aspects of their lives and this is best seen in their behaviors, dress, and dining etiquette. They tend to dress and act conservatively, much of which is based on the doctrines of their Catholic faith. However, there is also great variety in the way the Guatemalans behave as the country is quite diverse ethnically and geographically.

As a visitor to Guatemala try to follow the lead of the locals by dressing conservatively (see below for details), dining in the local etiquette (see our Guatemala Dining & Food Page), and avoid sensitive conversation topics, such as politics, finances, and business unless initiated by your local counterpart. Also try to avoid being loud, rude, showing off wealth, or getting noticeably drunk in public.

Dress

The traditional clothing in Guatemala is a combination of Mayan and Spanish influences and today many of these more Mayan clothes are still worn. For these people the traditional dress is called traje, which has a great amount of variation, which is not a surprise since the people are quite diverse ethnically and linguistically. Although there are numerous differences, there are also many similarities as bold colors dominate, particularly red, blues, and yellows as well as black. The styles are also somewhat similar, a style influenced by European-styled clothing as dresses and long braids on women and simple shirts, pants, and vests for men are common traditional clothing.

Guatemalan Culture - Materials at a market
Materials at a market

Today many of the ethnic Mayans still wear traditional dress, especially women in more rural areas, but this dress can be found anywhere in the country. More commonly is modern western-styled clothing as many people have turned to this style, particularly in the cities.

As a visitor to Guatemala, dress is fairly casual, especially along the country's beaches. However, business meetings and in churches dress on the more formal and conservative side of the spectrum. Also, sunbathing naked or women sunbathing topless is rarely to never permitted; if in doubt, check with locals before doing so.

This page was last updated: December, 2013