People of Guatemala

Although there is a mixture of ethnic groups in the country there are four recognized ethnic groups in Guatemala:

  • Maya
  • Xinca
  • Ladinos
  • Garifuna

The Maya

Maya are native people of the country, descendants from the Mesoamerican population that lived here before the Spanish conquest. Many people, mostly women still dress with their traditional clothing. To date there are still 21 Maya languages still in use:

  • K´iche´
  • Mam
  • Kaqchikel
  • Q´eqchi´
  • Poqomam
  • Poqomchi´
  • Tz´utujil
  • Popti´
  • Akateko
  • Awakateko
  • Sakapulteko
  • Ixil
  • Achi
  • Chuj
  • Cho´rti´
  • Q´anjob´al
  • Uspanteko
  • Mopan
  • Itza´
  • Sipakapense
  • Tektiteko

The Xinca

The Xinca are also native people of the region but not descendants from the Maya. They live in the souther portion of the country, near to El Salvador. Their language is practically not spoken anymore.


Ladinos or mestizos are people of Spanish speaking people, that have a mixture of Maya and Spanish people in different degrees. most live in mayor cities and on the coasts, but Atlantic and Pacific, and department of Peten.


Garifuna or Gariganu (plural) is a mix of African, Arawak and Carib. They live mostly in the Atlantic coast specially in Livingston and Puerto Barrios. Most people speak Spanish and Garifuna language, a mixture of Arawak, Carib, French and English.