Travel Tips For Traveling In Guatemala

a. How Much Is It? Even though prices may vary in different regions of Guatemala you might want to have some reference:

A short taxi ride inside Guatemala City can cost you between $ 3 and $ 7.

A soda can be between 5 and 15 Quetzals ($ 2 or $ 3). A Beer is between 10 and 35 Quetzals ($ 1 and $ 5).

A traditional breakfast that includes: Coffee, beans eggs and juice can cost anywhere from 20 to 50 Quetzals ($ 2 and $ 7).

A lunch special can be 30 or 60 Quetzals ($ 4 to $ 8).

A lunch or dinner in a more exclusive place (recommended) can be between 50 and 300 Quetzals ($ 7 to $ 38).

The internet hour costs an average of US$ 1.

The hotel accommodations may cost:

5 Stars: U$ 100 to U$ 200

4 Stars: U$ 80 to U$ 100

3 Stars U$ 50 to $ 80

2 Or fewer: U$ 10 to u$ 50

b. Chicken Buses – Go At Your Own Risk! Buses are by far the cheapest and most efficient way to get around the Central American Region but let me tell you not all of them.

So there is no real reason to take a chicken bus, and here I have some more reasons to avoid them:

You are pushed and pulled the whole way

They tend to stop very frequently

Because of all the stops it takes forever to get anywhere

The door is always opened so thieves take them very often

They are usually so crowded that they don’t smell very good

c. Ask Before Taking Pictures: When I first came to Guatemala all I did was take pictures of everything and everyone. One day I was at the local market and I overheard a couple of local ladies talking about them not wanting people from other countries to take pictures of their kids.

So I did a little research and what I found out was that Guatemalan’s, mostly native people don’t like foreigners coming close to their kids or even taking pictures of them. So if you want to stay out of trouble avoid contact with local’s kids as much as you can or if you speak Spanish ask for their parent’s permission first.

d. Best Season To Visit Guatemala: April to October is Guatemala’s Green season, this is when you can get the best prices.

But there’s a catch, it’s also the time of the year when you can do almost nothing because it rains almost every afternoon and sometimes all day long. That’s why the months between November and May (the dry season) are highly recommended. There are many things to do in the country during this time, but the highlights are: In November you will be witness of the celebrations of the day of the death, in December you are welcome to join the Christmas festivities and April will let you see Semana Santa, the Holy Week before Easter where the country opens up with parades and celebrations all over the country, most notably, in Antigua.

e. Parking in Antigua Guatemala: Driving in Antigua Guatemala is not a wise thing to do. It is a small place with lots of great hotels, restaurants and way too many cars, so take my advice and don’t. You can rent a bike, a scooter or even better walk since it’s a small city you can walk across it in 30 minutes. But if you are driving in Antigua anyway, do not park on the red or white line of the street.

The red line is on the edge of the sidewalk 10 feet away from each corner and in some streets, mainly the ones closer to the park, you will see white lines, they are for motorcycles ONLY! The reason? There are transit policemen on almost every corner and will give you a $ 25 fine if you do. Also be aware because sometimes you will find little ads on the light poles announcing that you cannot park there. Usually it’s because a procession is going to pass through that street at any moment. If you do your car will be towed and the fine for that is $ 60 if you want your car back.

f. Safety Tips When Traveling In Guatemala: Guatemala as the rest of Central American countries has a bad reputation, and you do need to be on your guard but don’t get paranoid.

Any way you might want to avoid being preyed upon by pickpockets and other unsavory characters, so here are a couple things you can do:

Leave expensive jewelry and watches at home,

Don’t carry purses, camera bags and phones or carry them close to your body,

Take along only as much cash as you need,

Carry a photocopy of your passport, leaving the original in your hotel safe,

At night stick to well-lighted and transited areas.

g. Register Your Trip in Guatemala – And Feel Safe! The US Gov’t recommends you secure your trip to Guatemala City by hiring, for a super super low price, the Tourist Police. You can arrange all of this before heading to Guatemala.

You can arrange all of this before heading to Guatemala. Here’s what you have to do: Security escorts for tourist groups and security information are available from the Tourist Assistance Office (ASISTUR) of INGUAT (the Guatemalan Tourism Institute) at 7a Avenida 1-17, Zona 4, Centro Cvico, Guatemala City. INGUAT’s ASISTUR division has 24-hour/seven days per week direct telephone numbers for tourist assistance and emergencies. These are (502) 2421-2810 and (502) 5578-9836. The fax is (502) 2421-2891.

ASISTUR also maintains regional offices in all major tourist destinations in Guatemala, and the regional delegates provide rapid and appropriate assistance to crime and accident victims. You can also contact them by mail [email protected] 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. Requests should provide the itinerary, names of travelers, and model and color of the vehicle in which they will be traveling. Travelers should also be aware that INGUAT might not be able to accommodate all requests. The normal fee is 50 quetzales ($ 6) for a few hours, 200 quetzales ($ 26) if you have them for longer and they need to be fed. 400 quetzales ($ 50) if you have to keep them overnight. Plus you have to pay their gas.

Marina K. Villatoro, has lived in Central America – Costa Rica and Guatemala for over 10 years. She’s traveled these parts extensively and now loves to organize vacations to these amazing parts of the world. With her first hand experience, she can recommend the best options for you. Contact her for advice and to plan your perfect trip!