Guatemala offers Central America in concentrated form: its volcanoes are the highest and most active, and its Mayan ruins the most impressive. Guatemala is the Mayan heartland within Central America. Its indigenous culture is alive and well in the ancient ruins of Tikal, the Mayan/Catholic rituals of Chichicastenango and the blazing colors of everyday Mayan dresses.
A new group of tourism civil police officers has recently graduated, making tourists security their goal. This group of specially trained officials cover most of the tourist attractions and routes in prevention of crime.
Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home. Be especially cautious in or avoid areas where you are likely to be victimized. These include crowded markets, bus stations, elevators, crowded tourist sites, festivals and marginal areas of cities.
Guatemala’s phone system is working well and is reliable in places frequented by tourists. Mobile phones have taken over land lines in terms of popularity and although they are more expensive than Land lines they are usually much cheaper than using a hotel phone. The country code for Guatemala is 502. To call Guatemala from the United States, you dial the international access code (011) followed by the country code (502), and then the eight-digit phone number, in that order. There are no area codes in Guatemala. Mobile phones are very popular in Guatemala and locals rely heavily on their cells for basic communication needs, also because it can be difficult and time consuming to get a land line.
Mobile phones in Guatemala use the GSM network. If you have an unlocked GSM phone and plan on calling many local numbers then it makes a lot of sense to buy a prepaid Guatemalan SIM card on arrival. The rates will be much more economical than roaming on your US phone. There are 3 mobile companies: Movistar offers the cheapest rates. Claro costs more but has a better coverage and Tigo is in the middle: offering better rates than Claro and covering more of Guatemala than Movistar. Once you have a SIM card you can buy minutes at most grocery and convenience stores in Guatemala.
All major cellphone providers offer roaming in Guatemala. Check for connection requirements and costs before you leave!
The Internet country code of Guatemala is .gt
There are no required vaccinations for travel Guatemala, although in some provinces there is a malaria risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which posts its recommendations at www.cdc.gov.
The CDC’s bible for medical recommendations is called the Yellow Book and available online. From the website’s travel section, select Yellow Book / Build Custom Report to find risk assessments for yellow fever and malaria.
|Country||Republic of Guatemala|
|Population||11 million (growth rate 2.5%)|
|Capital city||Guatemala City (pop 2 million)|
|People||56% Spanish descent, 44% Mayan descent|
|Languages spoken||Spanish, Garifuna and 21 Maya languages|
|Religion||Roman Catholic, Mayan-Catholic|
|Time||GMT/UTC minus 6 hours|
|Weights / measures||Metric|
|Visa requirements||Depending on the country you come from, stays are limited to 30 or 90 days. Check with the closest Guatemalan embassy for up-to-date information.|