El Progreso is the least populated department in population, with a population of 140,00, 99% of which are native Spanish speakers. It is situated in the central region of the republic, to the east of Guatemala City, south of Baja Verapaz, west of Zacapa and north of Jalapa. The climate in El Progreso varies depending on the region, to the east is hotter than the west, and it also has great extensions of desert-like lands, with cactus on the mountains when it doesn't rain. The Motagua river, the largest in Guatemala, flows through El Progreso to Zacapa, in direction to Izabal. Many towns and villages of the department are located in the pastures around the river. The Motagua river often overflows during the rainy season, leaving many families near it without residence and land.