We know planning a vacation takes plenty of time and effort and we are here to give you a hand! To us it is important that you make the most out of your vacation; for this reason, we have compiled a list of tips to keep in mind before your arrival in Guatemala.
Passport and visa provisions
All passports should be valid for a minimum of 6 months from the date of entry in Guatemala. Most countries do not require a visa for stays of 90 days or less. Please make sure to contact your Embassy for relevant information in your native language.
Guatemala is part of the Central America-4 Border Control Agreement – a treaty of frontiers with El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. The agreement allows locals and visitors to travel freely among these four countries without any extra checks or restrictions.
Check this link for information in Spanish about Guatemala’s visa requirements from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Getting around by land
We strongly recommend private transportation above public buses and shuttles. However, if you feel adventurous and speak some Spanish, traveling the local way is a unique experience. You can either rent a car or travel on the famous chicken buses. We must warn you that our streets and highways are not in the best shape (specially during rainy season).
This option is very popular among travelers wanting to visit Tikal. The flight from Guatemala City to Santa Elena (Flores, Peten) takes approximately 45-minutes. Domestic flights offer a rapid way to cross the country, however this alternative is not precisely friendly with the environment. For this reason, we recommend adding two extra nights to your vacation and travel by land. This way you can reduce your footprint while enjoying off the beaten path destinations and the biodiversity of Guatemala.
Traveling by bus is the cheapest way of transportation in Guatemala. Nevertheless, this option is unpopular among tourists and to the majority of locals. Taking any taxi is also a questionable decision, however this does not apply to all of them. Yellow taxis belong to the private company Amarillo Express; every car is officially registered and monitored to ensure safety of the passengers.
Please keep in mind that a big percentage of the Guatemalan population avoids public transportation due to the lack of security. Therefore, we strongly suggest taking caution before you decide to use urban transportation.
Guatemala water situation represents a big issue on a national level. Around 90% of our natural water sources are polluted, affecting mostly the rural communities. Fortunately, the local product Ecofiltro (a social enterprise) has been donating filters that purify water. This innovating product has saved thousands of families from stomach diseases due to the bacteria in the water. Besides the household sector, several restaurants and hotels had adopted this product in order to avoid single use plastic.
All hotels count with first class (filtered) water that is safe to drink. Make sure you bring your reusable water bottle with you all the time and refill it whenever you find an Ecofilter.
The culinary scene in Guatemala is truly a delight. You will find a wide variety of restaurants in the main cities (Antigua and Guatemala City). From national to international cuisine, street food, traditional sweets and fresh veggies; Guatemala has it all! The prices for every meal will vary depending on the location and type of dish. However, the portion sizes are big enough to satisfy a huge appetite.
Guatemala has over 300 different microclimates, meaning that the weather can rapidly change from one region to the other. Always pack clothes for hot and cold weather. Depending on the route you will take during your Guatemala vacation, make sure you bring a light jacket, dress in layers and bring comfortable shoes. Sunscreen, mosquito repellent (vital during the rainy season), swimsuit and camera should always be part of your traveling gear.
The standard voltage in Guatemala is 120 V and the same plugs as in the US. Depending on your country of residence you will need to bring a plug adapter (usually Type A / B). Ideally you bring a universal power strip to charge several devices at once.