Once the site of an impressive ancient Mayan civilization, Guatemala was conquered by Spanish conquistadors in 1524. Puerto Quetzal is Guatemala's largest Pacific Ocean port, offering access to the natural and historic wonders of Guatemala. Beyond the black-sand beaches that surround Puerto Quetzal, a narrow ribbon of lowland runs the length of the Pacific shore, where local farmers raise cotton, sugar, bananas and maize. Bordering the fertile lowlands, the Guatemalan highlands suddenly emerge, rising to heights of 2500 to 3000 feet. Jutting boldly from the southern highlands is a string of volcanoes, adding even more drama to this diverse land of ancient Maya ruins, Spanish Colonial heritage and breathtaking scenery.