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Asentamientos (Spanish pronunciation: [asentaˈmjentos]) are shanty towns inside and around Guatemala City. Most of them were established in the last 20 years, and are a result of economic inequalities between rural and metropolitan areas in Guatemala. People living there usually came from small towns in remote rural areas, and came to the city looking for a better opportunity. They usually are located in what used to be government land, often places which would not normally be habitable areas (steep canyons, unstable side of hills, etc.) or in areas undesirable for residential development (adjacent to landfills, contaminated waterways, etc).

Traditionally, these places have been "red zones" inside Guatemala City, because of their high crime rate. In some of them, local police will not even go inside, because the local gangs control the areas, and are usually better armed than the police.

The most famous asentamientos in Guatemala are:

  • La Limonada, population 60,000 - the largest slum in Latin America outside Brazil[1]
  • El Mezquital
  • Carolingia