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Guatemala: A new currency honors the masters of marimba

By Mayra Beltrán de Daetz


GUATEMALA — As almost everyone knows, the official currency in Guatemala is the Quetzal. I would like to do a small review of Guatemala currencies.

At the moment, the currency in cents are: one, five, ten, twenty-five, fifty and one quetzal, all in circulation. The coins are made from alloys of copper, zinc, nickel and their sizes vary.

denominations.jpgThe denominations of our bills are: one, five, ten, twenty, fifty, one hundred and “two hundred” quetzals, all forms of paper money.

Guatemala’s currency before the introduction of the new bill

To easily identify the different values of the bills, each is a different color and has a different image important to the history, native culture, places and symbols of Guatemala.

It might have sounded strange to you to hear of a bill that is worth two hundred quetzals. It’s been something all Guatemaltecos have had to get used to since it’s only been since the end of August 2010 that we have had such a currency.

The 200-quetzal bill or Q200, worth about US$25, was created in response to the high counterfeiting rate of the existing Q100 bill.

The bank of Guatemala issued an announcement describing the new bill, which showcases the images of the country’s master composers of marimba: Sebastián Hurtado, Mariano Valverde and German Alcántara set against a chromatic marimba instrument.

The new Q200 bill honoring the country marimba music masters.

The bill’s dominant color is aqua. On the reverse, there are three elements: the musical score of Flor del Café (by German Alcántara); reference to the melody “Luz de Luna entre Ruinas” (by Mariano Valverde) and the chromatic marimba, or double keyboard (representing Sebastián Hurtado)

The first issue of the bill put between one thousand and five hundred million bills into circulation. At the moment, the Guatemalan Bank considers it a prudent move and they are looking ahead to the day when bills of Q500 and Q1 thousand will be authorized. It’s important to note that the Q100 was approved in the year1948.

Pointing out a few of the 20 safety features embedded into the new Q200 bill.

There are over 20 security features on the new bill ranging from the special paper, UV ink, latent image, a security thread, a holographic patch, and laser etching of the serial number below the watermark area.

There is also micro text with the words “Guatemala tu nombre immortal,” (Guatemala your immortal name). When tilting the bill, the letters BG can be seen and the number 200. Also, tilting the bill a certain way gradually changes from a blue color to gray with the dominant color (aqua).

So, the next time that you come to visit Guatemala, you will find a new Q200 denomination that is “music” to every shopper’s ear.

Learn more about Mayra:


Mayra Etna Beltrán Molina de Daetz is a native-born Guatemalan who lives in Guatemala City with her husband and teenage son. After attending one of the most noted secretarial schools in the country, Mayra graduated with a secretarial certification — and the ability to speak and write English, as well as, know French.

Yet, she wanted more of a career and so she took architect and graphic design classes at a local university in Guatemala City. Unable to finish her university studies due to finances, Mayra became a stewardess and has over 100 hours in the air.

Yet, she always wanted to be involved with the media and so she returned to school and was able to get a degree in sales and marketing.



As a result, she has worked for a weekly magazine and a newspaper.

I have had opportunity to attend International congresses, in which I have known very important people at the more important international newspapers, which has been a very gratifying experience and has allowed me to have friendships outside of my country.


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