Guatemala

FAQ

1. Is Guatemala a safe place to travel?
The overwhelming majority of travellers to Guatemala will experience no crime at all. Petty theft is the only real area of concern. Most prevalent in Zone 1 of Guatemala City, common sense precautions like keeping belongings hidden, sticking to main roads and not ambling about at night should prevail. In market towns like Solola and Chichicastenango, keep your wallet out of sight, bag closed, be cautious of your camera and avoid wearing flashy jewellery as pickpockets are about. Leave your passport, spare money, airline tickets etc in the hotel safe. Do not climb the hill to the cross in Antigua, or the volcanoes around Atitlan without guides.

When on excursions in more remote or inaccessible places, be sure to tell people where you plan to go and take guides with you wherever possible.

Despite the wealth of wildlife, much of it exotic, it is highly improbable you will be savaged by a snake, bitten by a tarantula or dive bombed by a vulture. The member of the animal kingdom most likely to cause upset will be, as ever, the humble mosquito. Ensure you bring repellant and check your hotel windows are well guarded against intruders.

It is advised to take out travel insurance to cover any medical expenses or loss of belongings. And also to carry a photocopy of your passport and insurance policy in a separate bag

2. Is the water safe to drink?
It is best NOT to drink the tap water in Guatemala. Bottled water is fairly cheap and readily available. If your stomach is particularly sensitive use bottled water to brush your teeth as well. Also order drinks without ice (sin hielo).

3. Do I need vaccinations to travel in Guatemala?
There are no obligatory inoculations unless you're arriving from a high risk area. However, it is recommended that you are up to date with your typhoid, hepatitis A, tetanus and polio vaccines. You could also consider diphtheria and tuberculosis jabs. Plan ahead for immunisations. Malaria is a hazard in lowland areas (below 1500m) and it is advised to take doctors advice as to whether you require anti-malarial medication. Dengue fever can also occur in some lowland areas.

4. What is the time zone in Guatemala?
The time zone is the same as US Central Standard Time Zone (GMT minus six hours in winter, and minus five hours during daylight saving) and does not observe daylight saving.

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