Visitors to rural areas with predominantly indigenous populations should be aware that close contact with children, including taking their photographs, can be viewed with deep alarm, and may provoke panic and violence.
A few large political demonstrations have occurred in recent years in Guatemala City. Demonstrations can cause serious traffic disruptions, but they are usually announced in advance. Visitors are encouraged to keep informed by following the local news and consulting hotel personnel and tour guides. While most demonstrations are peaceful, some have turned violent, and travelers should avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place.
More information about tourist security is available from the Tourist Protection Office of INGUAT at the address above; telephone (502) 331-1333, extensions 241 and 243; fax (502) 331-8893; e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tourist groups may request security assistance from INGUAT, attention: Mr. Jose Antonio Parada. The request should be submitted by mail, fax or e-mail and should arrive at INGUAT at least three business days in advance of the proposed travel, giving the itinerary, names of travelers, and model and color of vehicle in which they will be traveling.
Care should be taken along Guatemala’s Pacific Ocean beaches, where currents and undertow pose a serious threat to swimmers.
In recent years, the number of violent crimes reported by U.S. citizens has steadily increased. In 1997, 46 U.S. citizens reported to the U.S. Embassy that they were victims of violent crime. The number climbed to 52 in 1998 and 79 in 1999, reflecting a substantial increase in armed robberies. Recently, foreign tourists have been targeted by armed robbers while climbing Pacaya and Agua, two volcanoes near Guatemala City. Pickpockets and purse-snatchers are prevalent in major cities and tourist sites, especially the Central Market and other parts of Zone 1 in Guatemala City. These thieves also prey on travelers using lower-priced inter-city buses (recycled U.S. school buses known as "chicken buses"). Travelers should pay attention to their surroundings and refrain from displaying jewelry, large amounts of money, or other valuable items. Those who offer no resistance when confronted by armed thieves are usually not hurt. U.S. citizens who suffer criminal assaults are encouraged to contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy (or the duty officer after hours) for advice and assistance.
Travel after dark is extremely dangerous and not recommended anywhere in Guatemala. Most of the highway robberies reported to the U.S. Embassy in the past several years have involved cars or small tourist vans traveling roads near major tourist destinations. U.S. visitors are advised to stay in groups, travel if possible in a caravan consisting of two or more vehicles, and stick to the main roads.
The safest route to Lake Atitlan is via the Pan-American Highway (CA-1) and Solola. Violent attacks have been reported recently on secondary roads near the lake. Visitors to the Mayan ruins at Tikal are advised to fly to nearby Flores and then travel by bus or tour van to the site, although a newly-inaugurated road may prove to be a safe alternative to flying. Overland travel in the rest of Peten Department can be dangerous and is not recommended. In early 2000, there were several attacks on travelers along CA-1 near the border with El Salvador.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Citizens applying for replacement passports will be asked to present proof of citizenship and identity. Photographic proof of identity is especially important for young children because of the high incidence of fraud involving children. Passport replacement can be facilitated if the traveler has a photocopy of the passport’s data page. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State’s pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. This publication and others, such as Tips for Travelers to Central and South America, are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402; via the Internet at http://access.gpo.gov/su_docs; or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Fair
Public transportation both within and outside the capital is considered risky. Frequent accidents and petty criminals make common "chicken buses" particularly dangerous. Modern inter-city buses offer some security from highway violence. Dangerous mountain roads and poorly maintained vehicles also present a danger to motorists. Roadside assistance is generally available on main routes, which are patrolled by the police. Cellular telephone services cover most areas frequented by tourists.
Overland travelers leaving Guatemala should arrive at border posts (only the border posts on main routes are recommended) by early afternoon to ensure enough time to clear formalities and arrive in a major town before dark. Many border posts close for lunch and for the day at dusk.
OTHER LEGAL ISSUES: Non-Guatemalan citizens who marry in Guatemala are required to provide proof of identity and civil status (indicating whether they are single or divorced). Prior notice of the marriage must be given in the Diario Oficial and any large circulation daily newspaper for fifteen days. The marriage must take place within six months of the publication of the notice.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at telephone 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA’s Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/iasa.pdf. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. In addition, DOD does not permit its personnel to use air carriers from Category 2 countries for official business except for flights originating from or terminating in the U.S. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at telephone (618) 229-4801.
Hostal Los Lagos
.Guatemala, Guatemala Youth Hostels
Conveniently located three blocks away from Guatemala's International Airport, "Los Lagos" Hostel, your home away from home,...
$15 Per Night
Hotel Gringo Perdido
.Guatemala, Guatemala Youth Hostels
This year we would love to invite you to visit one of the most beautiful hotels in Guatemala. For over 20 years we have made it our specialty to work with schools,...
Hotel La Jungla
.Guatemala, Guatemala Youth Hostels
Welcome to Posada de la Jungla. Here you can find the best comfort in the beautiful of Flores Peten Island...
$11 Per Night
Solola, Guatemala Hiking & Trekking
The Atitlan Volcano has a 250 meters diameter crater and in the highest part there are several cracks result from the latest eruption occurred in the year 1853. Also is possible to observe smoke expulsing a phew quantity of gasses from the top....
$95 Per Person
PLAY it Forward in Guatemala
Antigua, Guatemala Hiking & Trekking
PLAY it Forward Adventures combine volunteerism with active outdoor adventure providing all-encompassing travel experiences. Make a contribution and enjoy a multi-sport adventure on your next vacation getaway! ...
$1,550 Per Trip
Fly & fun in the tropics
Antigua, Guatemala Hang Gliding
HG & PG Tours for all Skill Labels. Lodging, Guide, Transportation, and more...Easy Flight & Smooth Soaring over a beautiful lake. â€ś Volcano Flightâ€ť Make an XC or a Long Sled Ride from 12,000ft to the coast.Towing Flights at the Pacific Coast...
Starting at $125 Per Person
Mayan Jungle Multi-Sport Adventure Travel
Antigua, Guatemala Eco Tours
Duende Tours is a multi-sport adventure tour operator that provides off-the-beaten-path jungle tours to ancient Mayan ruins in Belize, Guatemala and Mexico. We operate with a very strong emphasis on Mayan culture and environment preservation....
Starting at $900 Per Person
Santa Cruz Spanish School, In Lake Atitlan
Antigua, Guatemala Language Schools
In all Lake atitlan we offer effective private Spanish classes that can be taught anywhere. You also have the ability to choose your language focus, from basic to advanced Spanish, all connected with grammar, exercises, and a lot of fun practice....
$90 Per Week
Guatemala Mayan Explorer - Marvelus Travel
Antigua, Guatemala Sight-Seeing Tours
Guatemala Mayan Explorer - Marvelus Travel Take this independent & Organized adventure trip for 15 days, you will experience the real Nature, Cultures and Real Mayan World Experience Guatemala...
Starting at $1,000 Per Person
Escuintla, Guatemala Hotels & Resorts
Casa Afinity Invites you to come to Guatemala for some new ADVENTURES. Paragliding from 13,000 foot Volcano, Golf in the shadow of Volcano Fuego at the Pete Dye creation Fuego Maya, Sport Fish with World Champions....
Starting at $200 Per Night
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