Is it safe to travel to Guatemala? Is Guatemala safe to visit? I receive so many questions about safety in Guatemala (apart from Covid-19). I always find this a difficult question to answer as it very much depends on the region and your own travel behavior. Guatemala doesn’t have a good reputation when in comes to safety and many negative stories can be found about gang related violence and murders. I traveled more than 15 times to Guatemala and never experienced something bad. But! Yes! Incidents do happen and you definitely have to be careful. These are my tips for a safe trip through Guatemala, based on my personal experiences.
Safety in Guatemala | Tips for a safe journey
- It is important to watch your belongings all the time, especially in big cities and crowded areas.
- Do not take valuables with you. Keep them in the safe of your hotel or in a closed suitcase / bag. I never have problems carrying my camera around or using my phone, but I am very careful
- Do not walk alone in the evening or at night (unless you know the specific area well), always take a taxi or uber.
- Never travel after dark (unless it’s a dedicated comfortable long distance (night)bus from a reliable company)
- Keep your valuables with you (preferably on your body) when you travel by local bus. You can put your suitcase or backpack in the luggage hold. Always ask for a ticket.
- Do not walk in the outskirts/suburbs of a city, but stay in the center (unless you know the area well). This includes cities like Antigua and Panajachel.
- Check the website of your embassy about the latest safety situation, including no go areas. Also put yourself on the mailing list to receive updates about the country.
- Be sure to check with your hotel or host for the latest safety information, before you head out in a city in Guatemala. Sometimes there are guards between certain hours, making sure you can go hike to that specific viewpoint. And you definitely want to know this in advance.
- Be careful in Guatemala City, as some zonas (neighborhoods) are ruled by gangs. You don’t even want to come near these areas. There are only a few zonas interesting to visit, such as zona 4 and the city center. Always check before
- Travel with a reliable tour operator and driver. Check some of the reviews before making your reservation.
- Arrange your transportation from the airport in Guatemala City in advance.
Is Guatemala safe to visit?
I really think that when you are a responsible traveler, do your research and use your common sense, it is safe to travel to Guatemala. Also local people are very friendly and helpful, proud to show you their country and even tell your more about the latest safety situation in Guatemala.
More about Guatemala?
Do you want to read more about beautiful Guatemala? In this article you’ll find the 20 best things to do in Guatemala, including off the beaten path destinations, best time to travel and different travel itineraries. Have a look in the Guatemala archive for a cityguide for Antigua and travel guides about Lake Atitlan, Lanquin, the famous market of Chichicastenango, the Acatenango volcano hike, a boat trip on the Rio Dulce to Caribbean Livingston and a Guatemala hotel guide. Interested in archaeology? In this article I’m taking you to the Maya ruins of Tikal and Quiriguá, a smaller and less visited Maya site with beautiful Maya stelae.