Palm fronds in the foreground frame a wide lake with a conical volcano rising in the distance.

The Terrain and Geography of Guatemala

Guatemala is the third-largest country in Central America. It occupies 42,042 square miles, making it about the size of Tennessee. The country shares borders with Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. Within Guatemala’s relatively small area are 14 distinct ecosystems found at elevations varying from sea level to higher than 4,200 meters (14,000 feet).

Red farmed patches of dirt show through the grass-green of the valley floor with large limestone formations jutting up hundreds of feet high.

Background Cuba: The Land

Cuba lies at the western end of the Greater Antilles group of Caribbean islands, which began to heave from the sea about 150 million years ago. Curling east and south like a shepherd’s crook are the much younger and smaller mostly volcanic Lesser Antilles, which bear little resemblance to their larger neighbor.