The 12 Best Documentaries About Guatemala

Aug 13, 2023 | Best Of, Culture, Travel

If you’re in search of a captivating look into the history and culture of Guatemala, then you’ve come to the right place. From sweeping vistas to fascinating interviews, these documentaries offer viewers a glimpse into this beautiful Central American country. From tales of ancient ruins and traditional customs to stories about modern-day struggles and triumphs – here are some of the best documentaries about Guatemala that will open your eyes to the beauty and depth of this country. From tales of ancient ruins and traditional customs to stories about modern-day struggles and triumphs, these films provide an intimate look into the lives of Guatemalans from all walks of life.


1. Amazing Quest: Stories from Guatemala

We can all dream of what wonders may await us in the future, be it travelling to other planets or living on them one day. However, our children can have a special experience right here and now – exploring and discovering our own planet Earth, with no limits except those set by human imagination. By taking each step together they can embark on a multi-faceted journey of wonder and enchantment, finding new lands and cultures, making friends with people from far-off places – all without ever leaving home.


2. Guatemala, Through Flooded Mountains

In Guatemala, travellers brave the winding roads and unpredictable buses in search of adventure. The locals have a secret no matter how seemingly dire the circumstances: stay calm. Drivers must navigate landslides, floods, and ragged terrain to reach their destination. With an optimistic mindset and some Latin flair, they make the best of what comes their way. It’s not just about getting from one place to another; it’s about creating an unforgettable experience.


3. Pregnant and trapped: Guatemala’s child sex abuse crisis | Unreported World

In Guatemala, a hidden crisis is ravaging the youth of a generation. Young girls are victims of physical abuse and forced pregnancies that rob them of their childhoods. This devastating story needs to be heard and told, as it has been for generations in Guatemala. Documentaries about this issue help put faces to stories, shedding light on the realities these children face each day. The Best Documentaries About Guatemala provide a platform to help bring awareness and inspire those who can make a change.


4. Guatemala: The Land of Eternal Spring

I’m excited to bring you on a journey through Guatemala, and give you an up close and personal look at this incredible country. From its stunning landscapes to its tasty cuisine, from exploring the local culture to knowing what items to bring with you, I hope that this video will help show you why Guatemala is such an amazing destination. You’ll be able to get a firsthand glimpse of the unique people who call Guatemala home, and learn about their way of life.


5. Guatemala’s Disappeared

Disappearance and death in Guatemala is a tragedy that has been ongoing for decades. Families have suffered the consequences of mass murder, torture, and repression since the civil war began. Up to 45,000 people were forcibly taken during this 36-year period of violence, with an estimated 200,000 killed in total. These tragedies are sadly not confined to one era, but still shape the lives of many in Guatemala today. Documentaries are an invaluable tool for exploring this history and helping to bring awareness to the victims and their families.


6. Children Living in the Guatemala City Dump; Children of the 4th World

60 Minutes of Unfolding Drama – Experience the story of Guatemala. This Emmy Award-winning documentary reveals an in-depth look at life in this Central American nation through exclusive interviews, archival footage, and compelling storytelling. Get to know the people who call Guatemala home and learn about their struggles, joys, and hopes for a better future. From the vibrant markets of the capital city to the lush jungles, this film takes you on a powerful journey of discovery.


7. Deadliest Roads | Guatemala: Land of the Maya

Guatemala, a beautiful country in Central America, is hiding behind a dark secret. The streets are filled with violence and terror due to the Maras, street gangs that have taken control of the drug trafficking, prostitution rings and racketeering. Murders occur on a daily basis at an extreme rate- twenty times higher than France per head of population. In 2018 alone, nearly four thousand people were killed- a number that is not only shocking but heartbreaking. The Maras have no hesitation when it comes to killing their rivals or innocent citizens who dare stand in their way.


8. Brief Political History of Guatemala

This video looks into the roots of Guatemalan history and politics, exploring why this region has experienced so much upheaval throughout its past. It begins by examining the Maya’s encounter with Spanish colonization and culminates in the tumultuous Jimmy Morales presidency. Along the way, it takes a closer look at the 1954 coup under Castillo Armas, as well as decades of guerrilla warfare. It paints a picture of why moments of hope, such as the Guatemalan Revolution, have failed and why its democracy remains fragile – shining a light on the complexities of Guatemala’s past and present.


9. Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, traces of Mayan wonders

Take a journey through the mysterious and captivating Maya civilization. Explore five of their most impressive cities to uncover wonders that have been hidden for centuries. Reconnect with ancient civilizations, learn about the myths that surrounded them, marvel at their scientific discoveries and observe the grandeur of their constructions. Uncover the secrets and embark on an amazing adventure as you explore the remains of Maya culture. Discover an ancient world and unlock knowledge that has been hidden for so long.


10. Jade from Guatemala documentary of Patrick Voillot

In Cortéz’s 16th Century conquest of South America, the Aztec emperor Moctezuma is said to have been wise enough to see that gold had become the only thing the Spanish conquerors were interested in. He was astutely aware that they did not come for their jade, which he regarded as his country’s real treasure. The strength of his insight reminds us just how much Guatemala has to offer beyond its precious stones. From vibrant cities and incredible archeological sites, to abundant wildlife and pristine rainforest, the Best Documentaries About Guatemala will show you a whole new world of adventure.


11. Abandoned in Guatemala: The Failure of International Adoption Policies

In 2007, the Guatemalan government took major steps to address the issue of abandoned children. A private system of adoption attorneys, orphanages and foster care providers had been in place for years aiming to find homes with caring families abroad, but the government shut this down and created a nationalized system instead. The plan was to increase domestic adoptions instead – sadly, this only resulted in 35 children being adopted within the country. With thousands of abandoned children still in need of a loving home, this system has proven to be insufficient.


12. Torture, truth, justice: A forensic investigator unearths Guatemala’s past

When his father was taken away, Carlos Poyon had just started to explore the world around him. He was only three years old at the time and had no idea that he would never again see his beloved parent. Over the years, he studied anthropology in pursuit of answers regarding his father’s disappearance, yet all hope seemed lost. But four decades later, a glimmer of light appears on the horizon. Carlos still clings to the dream of reuniting with his father and weaving together a happier future.


Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B