"GUATEMALA - SECURITY" Top 5 Page for this destination Guatemala by vaticanus
Guatemala Travel Guide: 2,988 reviews and 8,558 photos
a land of dreamscapes...
. . . . . .
Tourists visit Guatemala for its unforgettable beauty,
the colonial architecture of Antigua Guatemala,
the Mayan villages of the Highlands,
the volcanoes of Lago Atitlan,
RURAL PROTEST DEMONSTRATIONS
On main roads to/from Guatemala City may cause delays. Also rock throwing (in one report gunfire). Check news reports.
CREDIT CARD fee: $6. DEBIT CARD fee: $3. Limit: ONE THOUSAND QUETZALES ($125-127 US)
NOTIFY BANKS you are overseas. When you return change PIN.
SCAM ARTIST ALERT
Guatemalans or tourists asking for money -displaying bandaged limbs-
Notify ASISTUR (DIAL 1500 nationwide)
USE TAXIS -NOT BUSES- IN GUATEMALA CITY.
Be vague and indefinite about destinations and schedules.
The election of retired army general Otto Perez Molina as President has improved public safety but little progress in human rights.
for a critical human rights analysis of Guatemala:
1) Use express (PRIMERA CLASS) buses where possible. Locally, Shuttle vans (uninsured and unregulated) and taxis or three wheeled red TUK-TUCS in cities that allow them.
First Class Buses are Air Conditioned and are FRIGID!!! -especially overnight runs.
2) Moor boats at marinas. Do not anchor at night on Lake Izabal.
3) Before visiting waterfalls, isolated ruins etc ask store owners about incidents. Hire a local guide and hear about the fauna and flora- Guatemalans are astonishingly knowledgeable about herbs, flowers, birds etc
4) In rural areas do not disturb Mayan altars (stones covered with candle wax and soot).
5) Taking photos in rural areas of Mayan children has led to problems- Make sure EVERYBODY is OK about photography.
6) Do not wander around after dark when streets are deserted. This is also true in rural areas. NOTE: by rural areas I mean non-Mayan areas that are experiencing new settlements attracting transients and migrants. In cities and towns with evening activities it's time to leave when you hear the loud rattling of closing metal store front shutters - streets empty quickly! If you feel unsafe in a remote area find a pastor/evangelical minister for a place to pass the night.
7) When discussing travel plans, assume what you say will be repeated.
8) Driving a car is a challenge. The two lane highways are narrow and congested with cargo trucks, buses, motorbikes, and cars jockeying to pass one another on hills and curves. Night driving is easier but watch for pedestrians, animals, bicycles, and speed bumps. On chilly nights people sit and socialize along side the roadways which radiate heat from the daytime- BE ALERT FOR DANGEROUS UNMARKED SPEED BUMPS.
See DRIVING IN GUATEMALA under Transportation Tips
9) In remote rural and newly settled districts (forests are disappearing fast) pickup trucks provide transport. Ask around for where to sleep which should be arranged first thing. After sunset, all doors are bolted against "mala gente". Personally, I feel rural and frontier areas are as equally creepy and dangerous as cities at night. Getting lost in either in the dark is a full adrenalin rush.
TOURISTS AND CRIME
The crime rate for tourists is 1:1500- the high end for Central America.
If (A) you are robbed AND you have insurance AND you wish to file a claim OR (B) you lost your passport, you MUST file a report which will be needed to file a claim or to replace travel documents.
Call the tourist police- ASISTUR (DIAL 1500 nationwide)
For routine problems consult your hotel or a tourist agency for advice.
SEE WARNING AND DANGERS TIPS BELOW
Sixty percent of crimes occur in Guatemala City- home to 1/4 of Guatemala's 13 million people. Most crime occurs in the "zonas" that tourists only see flying into the new Aurora Airport.
Commercial downtown daytime walking is safe but a dozen robberies a month of residents and tourists is now normal. Conference attendees and high-end shoppers will find La Reforma and the Zona 10 district are safe (day & early evening), lively and clean but are not crime free.
AVOID accidents, arguments etc.
Vans at the airport can take you to Antigua. Staying in Guatemala City the night before a flight out avoids an AM rush hour drive from Antigua. YOU MUST ARRIVE NO LESS THAN ONE HOUR BEFORE YOUR FLIGHT. You need to clear Customs, to Check In and go through Security to reach your gate. ONE HOUR!!
The new TRANSMETRO (bright green buses) are very safe Try the CENTRO HISTORICO route. FARE ONE QUETZAL
If you do lose your way stop in a farmacia (drug store) for directions- the employees are educated and they sell many items useful to travelers.
OFFICIAL CITY WEBPAGE
FOR US EMBASSY UPDATE ON SAFETY
Click Map* and select Safety and Security
FOREIGN CURRENCY: If you bring currency to exchange at banks for Guatemalan Quetzales make certain your notes are in Very Good condition without ANY marks, tears, ink marks or stains.
At the top is an extremely wealthy elite of European ancestry who occupy the top tiers of society, government, law, and finance. This group may be no larger than 300 families.
Next are the Ladinos who share a dual heritage of Spanish and Indian ancestry. They constitute both the middle and working class. Many are well established as businessmen, government employees and supervisors, workers, store owners and merchants.
Below both of these groups are "Los Indios" - mostly rural they endure a precarious marginal status. The photo gives one view of the historical relationship between the Ladinos and Los Indios. Land once rented to the Indios to grow corn/maize is now used to grow palms on vast plantations for PALM OI. Evictions are sometimes brutal. The price of corn has risen beyond the means of many of the poor in Central America.
Guatemala has the highest population growth in South America. Half of the population is under the age of 18. Half of Guatemala's children are chronically undernourished. One fifth of the population accounts for half of consumption
SOURCE: CIA WORLD FACTBOOK FOR GUATEMALA:
- Pros:Beautiful Tranquil Alegre
- Cons:Poverty Inequality Violence
- In a nutshell:Guatemala is friendly, enchanting and unforgetable.
UPDATE MARCH 2014 According to Margaret Dix, a biology professor at Del Valle University: “Every year one million cubic... more travel advice
It's the TRANSMETRO consisting of articulated buses painted florescent lime green that operate in reserved lanes. This... more travel advice
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Written Nov 2, 2003
IXIMCHE- QUICHE ARCHAEOLOGY SITE
Written Apr 2, 2007
The Whimsical and Art Deco
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