Do you know what we have discovered in recent months? That before visiting a certain country, we spend an enormous amount of time searching for useful information about it on Google. You know, basic ones – weather, money, transportation, etc. We came to realize it would be so much easier, if we could find them all in the same place! It’s great if you have those important details gathered somewhere when you’re planning your next trip – as kind of first aid almost. 🙂 So we have decided to put together some useful travel tips for each country that may help you with planning your next trip! So here they are: Travel tips Guatemala 🙂
TRAVEL TIPS GUATEMALA: BEST TIME TO VISIT
Guatemala has a pleasant climate all year long , so you can visit it at any time. Otherwise, the dry season is somewhere between November and March, but also during the rainy season occasional rain is not a deal breaker. The accommodation is cheaper during this time and there are less crows as well (but in July and August, the locals also have a holiday, so tourist spots can be more occupied).
TRAVEL TIPS GUATEMALA: HOW TO GO
Most likely, with a plane (unless you are on your “gringo trip” and entering from Mexico or Belize 🙂 ). From Europe you can get plane tickets already for 450€, from USA for 100€ or even less (check Jetradar and Skyscanner to find good offers).
Mind the fact that if you are coming from Chetumal (Mexico) by land, they will try to charge you an exit fee! Read here how to avoid this.
TRAVEL TIPS GUATEMALA: TRANSPORTATION
Guatemala has fairly good tourist infrastructure as it is not difficult to move from one place to another. You have the following types of transport available:
BY BUS – comfortable buses are available between major cities, some of them even have a “luxury” option (eg Maya de Oro), which looks like a business class in an airplane. Only three (reclining) seats in a row, between them a curtain, and a place to put your legs – you can easily sleep the whole ride! They are not expensive (25 € for 8 hours), but make sure you take warm sweater with you on the bus, because they obviously imagine that passengers love to sleep in a refrigerator. 😀
BY CAR – renting a car may not be the cheapest option, but it gives you the freedom to explore, obviously. Just keep in mind the roads are not ideal everywhere and that locals are quite crazy drivers (this is even worse since roads are narrow and curvy). And in any case avoid driving at night. Take a look at rentalcars.com to find something for yourself.
BY SHUTTLE – the easiest and pretty affordable option. Practically every hostel or travel agency in all major tourist places offer a shuttle. Vehicles are old vans, so do not expect luxury. 😉 A 4-hour drive from Antigua to Lake Atitlan costs under 10€ per person.
BY CHICKEN BUS – certainly by far the cheapest option (only few €), but it comes with a certain amount of risk. Robberies do happen.
TRAVEL TIPS GUATEMALA: WHERE TO SLEEP
In Guatemala there is an extremely wide range of tourist accommodations – from hostels, guest houses to prestigious villas and cottages by the lake. Take a look at Booking.com (for a 10% discount, book via this link). Also, AirBnb is avaliable in Guatemala – at Lake Atitlan we were staying in one of our favorite apartments ever!
TRAVEL TIPS GUATEMALA: FOOD
Guatemalan food is similar to Mexican. You can find tacos (tortillas, flautas, burritos, …) on the street, filled with different meat and other fillings (less than 1 €). There are vegetarian options with salads and avocado as well.
It is possible to eat pretty cheap at local markets as well (set lunch menu for 2-3 €). But it’s true that most of the food is fried, and one can’t eat this forever. In tourist places you can easily find international food – everything from Italian to Middle Eastern restaurants (falafel is popular 😉). In any case, you should definitely go for a steak with potatoes – they are really delicious and incredibly cheap (5-7 €)!
TRAVEL TIPS GUATEMALA: INTERNET
In Guatemala you can easily check that YouTube video, call your worried mother, or put a new story on Instagram. Free WiFi is available practically in all accommodations, cafes and restaurants. But if you want to call a local travel agency and ask about the offer, or browse through Facebook during long bus drive, buy their prepaid options. The 30-day package with a SIM (includes conversations, messages and 2GB internet) costs about 10€.
TRAVEL TIPS GUATEMALA: MONEY
You can check how much certain things cost, our travel budget, and information about ATM in our post Guatemala travel budget: how much does it cost.
TRAVEL TIPS GUATEMALA: WHAT CAN I SEE & DO
Tons of things, really! In any case, you should definitely hike one of the volcanoes, hire a kayak at Lake Atitlan and visit the Mayan ruins of Tikal. We prepared a 2-week travel itinerary for Guatemala to make sure you don’t miss anything!
TRAVEL TIPS GUATEMALA: SAFETY AND HEALTH
Guatemala is (at least in the media) considered a country with an extremely high crime rate. They report thefts, robberies, kidnappings. While it is better to avoid some parts of the capital, Guatemala is still very safe for tourists. We never felt uncomfortable – in Antigua we had to walk 15 min to reach our house and felt safe doing so even at night (I am talking 9 pm here, not 2 am – in the middle of the night opt for a taxi).
What surprised me in Guatemala is that medicines are quite expensive (in comparison to their average salary). So bring your medicines with you (read here what it is good to have in your medical travel kit). Public hospitals are not good (this is to be expected), but private hospitals are modern. Although, modern means also expensive. So definitely do not forget about your travel insurance!
Are you interested in anything else about Guatemala? Like, anything? Write us! 🙂