Travel in Latin America

How to Travel to Guatemala Safely
By:Sophie Levant

Guatemala is home to a wealth of natural wonders, history and culture, making it a popular tourist destination. Yet it is not the easiest to navigate. According to the U.S. State Department, Guatemala has some of the highest crime rates in Latin America. As when traveling in any country, it is best to be prepared and use some common sense. Here's what you can do to make your trip to Guatemala as safe and enjoyable as possible.

Do not travel at night if you can help it. This is true for travel by car or air; try not to fly into Guatemala at night or in the early morning hours.

Avoid keeping large sums of money and valuables on you. Store cameras and laptops somewhere inconspicuous. Remember that thieves will not target you simply because you are foreign. They will target you if you look like you have something to steal. If you are robbed, do not resist.

Be on your guard when riding the Chicken Buses in Guatemala City. Keep your possessions close to you at all times. Avoid the city buses if possible as these are quite frequently robbed.

Stay clear of demonstrations and protests. It is possible for these to turn violent and you may get mobbed.

Call for a taxi instead of flagging one down. Flagging down a taxi increases your chances of getting robbed or ripped off. Even if you call a taxi, make sure to agree on the price before leaving for your destination.

Hike in groups, organized by a travel agency and led by a competent, knowledgeable guide. Hiking alone in obscure areas can be incredibly dangerous.

Do not photograph children without their parent's permission, particularly in smaller towns. There have been many cases of child kidnapping in Guatemala. Photographing or otherwise approaching children may raise suspicions.






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