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For the department, see Zacapa (department). For more on the rum, see Zacapa rum.
Zacapa is located in Guatemala
Location in Guatemala
Coordinates: 14°58′N 89°32′W / 14.967°N 89.533°W / 14.967; -89.533
Country Flag of Guatemala.svg Guatemala
Department ..Zacapa Flag(GUATEMALA).png Zacapa
Municipality Zacapa
 • Type Municipal
 • Mayor Elder Vargas Estrada
 • Municipality 78 km2 (30 sq mi)
Elevation 120 m (390 ft)
Population (Census 2002)[1]
 • Municipality 59,089
 • Urban 30,037
 • Ethnicities Ladinos
 • Religions Catholicism, Evangelicalism
Climate BSh

Zacapa (Spanish pronunciation: [saˈkapa]) is a department located on the Northeast side of Guatemala known as "Oriente" which means East. It is approximately 70 miles or 112 kilometers from Guatemala City. On the Northern Boarder of Zacapa lies the departments of Alta Verapaz and Izabal; to the East lies the Boarder of the Republic of Honduras; it boarders the southern departments of Chiquimula and Jalapa and to the West the department of El Progreso.

Zacapa was created by decree number 31 of the Executive, on November 10, 1871. Historian and poet, Capitán Don Francisco Antonio De Fuentes Y Guzmán notes in his Remembrance Florida, the name Zacapa derives from Nahuatl Zacatl meaning grass or weed, and apan meaning in the river, a word which in turn is composed of atl also meaning water, river, and apan. Zacapa means on the river of grass or grass. The Northern half of the department is mountainous, which is crossed from west, to east by the Sierra de las Minas. On the Southern part of the department all sides are covered by small chains of mountains and isolated hills that are separated by fairly deep ravines, while the riverbed of the Motagua River forms the central part. The river forms a huge valley and depending on the topographic configuration, narrows or widens, giving rise to very fertile valleys and large plains like the plains of La Fragua. This is a benefit to the department and helps in the harvest of products such as sugar cane, tomatoes, good quality tobacco, and other plants. [2]

The majority of the department's population is of European origins, mainly from Spain, Italy, France, and Germany and to a lesser extent, England and Sweden (Roughly 96.7%). The second largest ethnic group is the mestizo and account for approximately three percent of the population and population and less than one percent is of indigenous races. Zacapa is one of the departments with the lowest proportion of Indigenous people. Zacapa is also the department with the highest literacy rate in the country.


Zacapa is also the name of the departmental capital department of Zacapa and the municipal seat of Zacapa municipality.[3] Zacapa has As of 1850, the population was approximately 3,000.[4] The population for the whole department of Zacapa as of the year 2000 is estimated at 212,794, 94.09% are non-indigenous (mostly of European ancestry or Mestizos), only about 4.39% are Indigenous.


The climate as in almost the whole region of Zacapa, excluding inhabited highlands, is Semi-arid Chaparral. This is due to the shadow effect the Sierra de las Minas has over the following land to the south. The average maximum average temperature oscillates between 30° to 40° C throughout the whole year, with highs of 45° C reached during the "Semana Santa" (Holy Week) and Summer (March, April, May), though there have been instances where the maximum capped at 25° C for the day. The minimum might go from some 15° C in cases of "extreme" conditions over some cold spell north winds, to 25° C. The previous almost never happens, the latter is considered hot, and the usual hovers around 20° C. There is a pronounced dry season, often marked by more than two months without rain, which worsens the air quality of the region tremendously. The region's flat areas are known for their loud insects, called chicharras, which chirp in the fields and along the roads during the dry season.


Zacapa is mainly a rural area that contains a large amount of flat land used mostly to grow cantaloupe, tobacco and roma tomatoes. Bordering the Zacapa valley is the Sierra de las Minas, which harbors fine hardwood forests, and contains marble mines and coffee plantations. Some of the world's finest jade is also found in this area.


Football club Deportivo Zacapa competes in Guatemala's top division and play their home games at the Estadio David Ordoñez Bardales. Their team mascot is the Gallo (rooster).

See also[edit]


Coordinates: 14°58′N 89°32′W / 14.967°N 89.533°W / 14.967; -89.533