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Discovering Guatemala:
A Practical Guide for Travelers

Highlights, safety tips, packing list essentials and our favorite hidden gems.

If you’ve been captivated by the allure of Guatemala, you’ve likely come across stories of the vibrant markets of Antigua and the awe-inspiring ruins of Tikal. This Central American paradise is home to a breathtaking range of landscapes, from verdant rainforests and majestic volcanoes to the tranquil shores of Lake Atitlán. Beyond these renowned attractions, Guatemala proudly holds the title of having the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites in Central America, more than 20 recognized Mayan languages still spoken today and 14 distinct eco-regions with a remarkable diversity of wildlife. 

 

 

Embark on an unforgettable journey to Guatemala with our guide, designed to help you craft the perfect itinerary and provide tips on safety, packing, mobility, and financial management. Your adventure awaits!

Guatemala
Our Guatemala experience 2023

Safety Tips

 

 

Guatemala has a challenging historical background. Its borders with Honduras, Mexico, and El Salvador often experience high crime rates, and road safety can be a concern. Despite these challenges, many popular tourist destinations in Guatemala, like Antigua, Lake Atitlán, and Tikal, have well-established infrastructure and are generally safe for travelers.

 

1. Stay Informed: Before your trip, check the latest travel advisories from your government and stay updated on local news during your stay. Register with your embassy for updates and emergency assistance.

2. Secure Your Belongings: Petty theft and pickpocketing can occur, particularly in crowded places and tourist hotspots. Use anti-theft bags, avoid displaying valuables, and keep important documents and extra cash in a hotel safe.

3. Health Precautions: Drink bottled or purified water to avoid waterborne illnesses, use insect repellent to prevent mosquito-borne diseases, and consider vaccinations for diseases such as typhoid and hepatitis A. Carry a basic first-aid kit for minor injuries.

 

4. Local Awareness: Be mindful of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas and when using public transportation. Avoid traveling alone at night and stick to well-lit, populated areas. Use reputable transportation options and avoid unlicensed taxis.

 

5. Emergency Numbers: In Guatemala, the national emergency number is 110 for the police and 122 for medical emergencies. Know the contact information of your country’s embassy or consulate.

 

Our Guatemala experience 2023

Mobility Advice

 

Navigating Guatemala as a tourist can be a unique and adventurous experience. While public transportation is widely available, it’s essential to understand the options and safety considerations to ensure a smooth journey.

1. Chicken Buses: Chicken buses are colorful, converted school buses that are a staple of local transportation in Guatemala. They offer a very inexpensive and authentic travel experience, allowing you to interact with locals and get a feel for everyday Guatemalan life. However, chicken buses can be crowded, with limited personal space, and their schedules can be unpredictable. 


2. First-Class Buses: Companies like Pullman and Linea Dorada offer more comfortable and safer options for long-distance travel in Guatemala. These buses have assigned seating, air conditioning, and sometimes even Wi-Fi, providing a much better travel experience.  While tickets are more expensive than chicken buses, they remain affordable. 


3. Shuttle Services: Private shuttle services are widely used by tourists for travel between major destinations. They offer convenience, safety, and often provide door-to-door service.  To ensure a quality service, book through reliable travel agencies or hotels.


4. Taxis and Ride-sharing: Taxis are readily available in cities, and ride-sharing apps like Uber operate in Guatemala City and Antigua, offering another layer of convenience for tourists. These options are particularly useful for short trips and provide a higher level of safety. However, costs can add up, especially for long distances.


5. Car Rentals: Renting a car provides the most flexibility for exploring Guatemala, especially for visiting remote areas. However, driving in Guatemala can be challenging due to road conditions and traffic rules. If you decide to rent a car, opt for a 4×4 vehicle if you plan to explore rural areas, drive cautiously, and avoid driving at night.

Guatemala

Money Advice

 

Managing your finances wisely is key to a smooth trip. Here are some tips for handling money in Guatemala:

 

1. Currency: The local currency is the Guatemalan Quetzal (GTQ). US dollars are accepted in some places, but it’s best to use local currency.

 

2. ATMs: Widely available in cities; withdraw cash in Quetzales for better rates. Be cautious and use ATMs located in secure areas like banks or shopping centers.

 

3. Credit Cards: Accepted in most hotels, restaurants, and larger stores. Always carry some cash for small vendors and rural areas.

Budgeting: Plan for extra expenses such as entrance fees to parks and ruins, tips, and souvenirs.

 

4. Exchange Rates: Check the current exchange rate before your trip. Exchange money at reputable banks or exchange offices for the best rates.

 

Aire Libre Recomends

In Guatemala, the beauty of nature and the richness of cultural treasures intertwine, promising an unforgettable journey. Whether you’d like to wander through enchanting cobblestone streets or venture upward to the summits of the surrounding volcanoes, Guatemala might just be the perfect destination you were looking for.


If you’re ready to immerse yourself in a harmonious blend of exploration and connection, accompanied by local cuisine and transformative mindfulness practices, join us in our upcoming experience: 


Land of Volcanoes, Guatemala

The Gift of Connection

From December 13th to 20th, 2023
10% OFF in all our experiences

Discount Code: CONNECT10N

*This promotional offer is not combinable with any other promotions, discounts, or offers

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