Is Guatemala Safe?
Guatemala is like any other country that you will visit whether in the United States, Canada, or Europe.
There are nice neighborhoods and neighborhoods in decline. In neighborhoods which are in decline the statistics show there is a slightly higher crime rate. Since Voltan Adventures is locally owned and operated we know all of the areas and most of the people everywhere we visit. If you are traveling outside of a tour company it basically it all boils down to common sense and following these general rules of thumb to stay safe:
- Do not go out after dark unless you are with several people and have a specific destination to travel to
- Do not flash around large amounts of money in public places. It is best to keep your money in two different places on your person. One packet or area for buying food/water. Another pocket for pulling money out for market purchases/impulse buys.
- Be okay with saying no. When you are in a town on market day you will be approached by children wanting to sell you necklaces, etc… Being polite and saying maybe later will create a crowd behind you as the kids follow you around waiting for this elusive ‘later.’
- Merchants and the Guatemalan people are friendly. Don’t be afraid to ask questions as long as you are being sensative in what you ask.
- Know where you are going. A lot of the cities and towns in Guatemala have narrow side paths, side walks, and different twists and turns where you can quickly become lost. If you have a local guide you won’t become lost however if you are on your own, have a map, and know where you are.
- Travel with friends of groups of people when possible. The larger your group the less likely you are to encounter any problems.
- Be vigilant against pick-pockets on market day. If someone ‘bumps’ into you, no matter how harmless, check your pockets, wallet, purse to make sure it is still there.
- If you feel like you are in a bad area and suddenly feel safe, find a hotel, walk in and ask them to get you a cab/tuk-tuk. Then you can quickly travel to another area where you feel more safe.
- If you become lost look for the town church. Since they are several stories tall they are easy to spot and then follow to the main entrance.
Enjoy your trip to Guatemala! If you follow these rules of thumb you’ll be great!