FITA helps you find
service providers for:

Translation Services


flag Guatemala Guatemala: Travelling

In this page: Entry Requirements | Organizing Your Trip | Visiting | Living Conditions | Eating | Paying | Speaking | Useful Resources

 

Entry Requirements

Passport and Visa Service
Visa Information of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (In Spanish)
Diplomatic Representations
Directory of Embassies (Spanish only)
 
IATA Travel Center
 

Return to top

Organizing Your Trip

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Recommendation
Once there, vehicle rental is a cheap and sure means of transport than public transport.  It is always advisable to go through the travel agent or the hotel to hire taxis as there are a lot of false taxis and a lot of attacks and kidnaps have taken place.  A lot of buses circulate in the towns and this is the cheapest means of transport though the buses are neither comfortable nor air conditioned.
Maps of Urban Networks
Maporama
UT Library on line
Mapblast

Return to top


Transportation From Airport to City Centre:


Airport

Distance

Taxi

Bus

Train

Car Rental
Guatemala City - La Aurora Intl (GUA) 5 km / 3 miles USD 8 / 20 min USD 0.30/30-40 min - Available

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

Recommendation
A number of buses go around the country, they are not always safe (there have been several accidents, especially in mountainous areas).  Flying followed by taxi remain the most secure means of travel. 
Car rental is still the most practical way to get around.
Rail Companies
FEGUA: Guatemala railway company

Return to top

Airlines

Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
Avianca Major Yes Yes
Continental Airlines Major No Yes
Air France Major No Yes
Taca Major Yes Yes

You Can Consult the List of Airlines Banned Within the EU. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Return to top

Traveling By Yourself

Recommendation
The condition of the road network is average, even poor, but it is being improved on the two-way sections connecting the capital with the main cities of the country. Traffic conditions are difficult (numerous old private or public vehicles, badly maintained, plus a total disrespect of traffic rules). Driving at night should be avoided.  There are several car rental companies but whatever you do, always lock doors from the inside when driving.  At night, avoid driving in high risk neighborhoods.  With regard to taxis, never hail a cab from the road, always go through the travel agency or the hotel.  There are some false taxis which rob tourists or kidnap them for ransom.
Road Maps
Guatemalan road map (Spanish only)

Return to top

Visiting

Different Forms of Tourism

Historical
The west of Guatemala is frequently visited because of its Mayan sites. This mountainous region has splendid landscapes and historical sites.  Guatemala has a very rich history which is shared between the pre-Colombian and colonial periods.  For those passionate about archeology, certain excursions allow them to explore the sites: Archeological sites.  For more information on the historical sites, click on this link.
Cultural
There are quite a few pre-Colombian art museums in Guatemala.  The tourism office also recommends the Coffee tour: a tourist circuit based on the country's riches: INGUAT (in Spanish).  For more information on the cultural sites (museums, photo galleries, scientific and technical centers...) see the TourismInstitute¬† website.  For information on all museums : ILAM (Spanish only).
Nature
The country has a number of parks and protected areas.  For the list of these and how to get to them refer to: TourismTourism Institute.
Religious
The Tourism institute recommends religious tourism which involves following the "eastern religious route".  See link: INGUAT.
Thermal
See the list of  thermal stations in Guatemala
Beach
It is possible to swim on the Caribbean side, famous for its clear sand and it crystal clear water; or on the pacific side where the sand is black due to volcanic activity.
Outdoor Activities
Suggested sporting activities are: golf, surfing, rafting, sport fishing, mountaineering, kayaking, mountain trekking and caving.  See link: INGUAT (en anglais)
Shopping
Guatemala City is the best place to shop.  There are also handicraft markets: INGUAT
Tourism Organizations
Guatemala Institute of Tourism

Return to top

Living Conditions

Health and Safety

Health Precautions
A vaccination certificate for yellow fever is required for all visitors who have been in a risk zone country for more than a year.  It is recommended to have had a certain number of vaccinations before going: Hepatitis A and B, diphtheria, tetanus, polio and typhoid.
The country is in "group 1" with regard to malaria: a chloroquine based anti-malarial treatment is recommended.
Protect oneself against traveler's diarrhea (Turista).
The high risk foods are cooked meals that are consumed cold; seafood, meat, uncooked or badly cooked fish and raw vegetable including fruits that are not peeled by oneself.  Water should be boiled or drunk from sealed bottles; tap water should not be drunk only purified or bottled water.
In rural areas, always check inside shoes before putting them on.
Vaccination against rabies is not compulsory but if bitten by a rodent or a hot-blooded animal, then immediately consult at the nearest hospital to get vaccinated.
For Further Information on Sanitary Conditions
Tourist website (French and Spanish only)
Website on health
 

Emergency Numbers

Health emergency (502) 230 62 86-88
Police emergency (502) 220 01 68, 220 55 98
Fire and Ambulance service 122, 123
 

Return to top

Time Difference and Climate

Time and Time Difference
It is %T:%M %A In Guatemala (GMT-6)
Summer Time Period
No time adjustments due to Guatemala's geographical location (near the Equator).
 

Map of the Time Zone

Time zone

Type of Climate
Hot and humid climate all year round and cool in altitude.  Rainy season is from May to October and dry season is from November to April.
For Further Information
Yahoo Weather
 

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall

Climate

 

Return to top

Eating

Food Specialties
The classic dish is composed of rice, kidney beans (frijoles con arroz), a little bit of avocado, sliced tomatoes and a piece of well cooked meat, the whole accompanied with tortillas (small pancakes made of corn). You can also find some enchiladas (omelets stuffed with beans, meat or cheese), tamales (rolls made of corn filled with meat or vegetables) or some roast chicken (pollo asado), which holds no surprises and is usually good. The coffee is excellent, as is the local beer (Gallo, Moza or Dorado) and the brown rum (Ron Zacapa Centenario or Ron Botrán Añejo).
Drinks
Brown rum, local and national beers.
Dietary Restrictions
There are no food restrictions in the country.

Return to top

Paying

Domestic Currency
Guatemala Quetzal
ISO Code
GTQ
To Obtain Domestic Currency
The currency is the Quetzal, 1 Quetzal is 100 centavos (cents). There are  of 0.5, 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 quetzales bills and coins of 1, 5, 10 and 25 centavos. MasterCard and Visa credit cards are largely accepted in the capital.
Possible Means of Payment
Visa and MasterCards are accepted in the shopping centers. Have some cash for all average sized shops.

Return to top

Speaking

Official Language
Spanish
Other Languages Spoken
There are 22 dialects in Guatemala amongst them are the Quiche, the Kakchiquel, the Quekchi, the Mam, the Garifuna as well as the Xinka.
Business Language
Spanish and English.
Getting Some Knowledge
See the basic vocabulary website: Spanish lessons.
Free Translation Tools
Babel Fish : Free English-Spanish-English texts and web page translation
Systran : Free French-Spanish-French texts and web page translation
Diccionarios.com : Free Spanish-English-French Dictionary

Return to top

Useful Resources

To Find an Apartment
List of agencies for all types of hire

Classifieds adverts (Spanish only)
No agent real estate rentals
To Find a Job
Job offer classifieds
Job offer classifieds
Tecoloco

Return to top

Any Comments About This Content? Report It to Us.

 

Learn more about Travel in Guatemala on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

© Export Entreprises SA, All Rights Reserved.
Last Updates: January 2015