Safety in Guatemala



  • edited 5:26PM
    Please have a look at a friend’s website for general information about safety and security in Guatemala:
    Most tourists have a great experience in Guatemala and don’t encounter any problems. However, like anywhere else in the world, there are a few rotten apples in the basket.


    If you would like to have more information about GUATEMALA ... i am running a tour operator far away in the Western Highlands with focus on sustainable tourism in the area of Totonicapan , Huehuetenango , Quetzaltenango and San Marcos !
    Write to or 24/7 phone 53081489
  • edited 5:26PM
    My husband and I (seniors) are leaving for Guatemala on 7/20. We will be staying in Panajachel, Lake Atitlan and Antigua. We are going with our daughter-in-law's family. Her father was born in Guatemala. However, I have been reading a lot of information and find some of it very confusing and conflicting. Some questions include:
    Do we bring US dollars in cash or travelers check? If travelers checks, where is the best place to exchange and what demonination should they be?
    What is the average cost of meals?
    Should we keep our passport with us at all times? Or, should we be only carrying a picture of our passport?
    Any suggestions, help would be greatly appreciated! thanks, Barbara
  • edited 5:26PM
    Hello Barbara,

    I would take cash and have it converted at your hotel for a small fee. Be careful flashing it around though. Average cost per meal is probably 90-100Q or about 12-14 dollars depending on where and what you want to eat. I always keep paper copies of my passport on me in case of someone stealing them...pickpockets, etc.

    I have been to all three places in the past and they are all beautiful especially Antigua. Have a great time.

  • edited 5:26PM
    I have travelled a fair bit and Antigua in Guatemala is one of my all time favourite spots, the atmosphere, architecture, history, people, cafes....very fond memories... and it felt like a real haven for travellers - somewhere to stop a while and gaze at the volcanoes on the horizon or do something more constructive such as take some spanish lessons. I hope you (seniors) got there safely and had a great time. I took travellers cheques and cash with me, but this was a few years back now. Have ATM's appeared in Antigua yet as I am interested to know when I head back in that direction maybe next year?
  • Best way to obtain cash in Guatemala is from the ATM's which are now eveywhere, including Antigua! They may not all except all types of card...but one will, somewhere. Travellers checks are a hassle to change and can take hours and waste valuable sightseeing time. Take some cash, us dollars is fine and can be used to pay for your taxi or shuttle from airport to Antigua. I would not advise to stay in Guat city under any circum,stances. Even if you arrive late at night, take a taxi. Just take a few crads incase one doesnt work. I advise to use local currency as much as possible, after all it is their currency and when in Rome, plus if you pay in dollars you are always losing out on the exchjange rate and causinga hassle for waiters etc with change.
    A friend once arrived to meet me in Antigua and realsied that he had left his day bag on the shuttle to Antigua fromn airport, we got cab back there, asked the other drivers hanging about about a driver in a white van and described him, and the ever so friendly and helpful Guatemalans managed to locate him through process of illimination using their mobile phones. The driver who had returned home by then and was sleeping went to look in the van and found my mates rucksack , complete with camera, ipod etc under the seat and waited in the middle of the night whilst our taxi navigated the streets to find his house. Some tips were distributed but i can vouch that they were all very happy to have helped, though what they must have thought of the silly, careless gringos i dont know! We are quick to judge and Guatemala does have a bad reputation, but you should go and meet for yoursleves this friendly nation. Ther are bad people everywhere, most people want to help. Tka ecare and enjoy Guatemala. Antigua is a home from home for me :)
  • edited 5:26PM

    I´m a scandinavian 26 years old woman and going to Guatemala with a friend, also female. We are pretty concerned about the safety matters. My friend has to go alone from Lago de Atitlan to Tapachula and I will have to continue alone to east Guatemala to Rio Dulce or Puerto Barrios. Any advices about these routes? Is it really a big risk travel alone for some days?
  • edited 5:26PM

    I´m pretty expereinced traveller but what really scares me is that these robberies and rapes seem to happen everywhere and there are no "safe" routes.

    What kind of buses should we pick - are there really difference between these chicken and tourist buses?

    I´d be very very happy about every comment and tip!
  • edited 5:26PM
    I have read all these comments with interest and a bit of concern. My 12 yr old has the opportunity to attend a fantastic program somewhere in Guatemala City this summer, for 2 weeks...a fantastic, trustworthy program, but I am concerned about all the things I am reading, not just on this site, re safety issues, including highjackings from the airport. I know that there is crime in the USA, too, etc., and I have researched many countries over the years, before traveling, but I have never researched a country that has as much scary information. We need to make an immediate decision re what to do. I am interested in any current information people may have re safety, crime and travel to Guatemala City. Thank you.
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