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Guatemala Safety

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Saint Paul...
3 posts
Guatemala Safety

My husband and I are traveling to Antigua next week for a friends wedding. After reading all of the travel alerts and tips, frankly I'm ready to cancel. Stories of targeted shuttles from the airport, carjackings/muggings on main highways from the airport to Antigua in broad daylight really scare me. We travel quite a bit but never to Central or South America. We arrive and depart around noon and will be transported by the hotel sponsored shuttle. We do not plan on leaving Antigua the 3 days we are there. Honest advice and recent experiences welcome.

Destination Expert
for Albuquerque
Level Contributor
154 posts
52 reviews
1. Re: Guatemala Safety

I felt the same way you do before my first trip to Guatemala last year. The reports are indeed scary and no one can guarantee that nothing will happen to you (but keep in mind that is true even if you stay home). But I felt quite safe in Guatemala and in fact am planning to go back again next month. You should certainly take sensible precautions (search this forum for many good suggestions) and I recommend talking with the local people for advice on what areas are or are not safe to go to. Antigua is probably the safest of all of the places you could visit in Guatemala and the vast majority of people visit without incident.

Level Contributor
141 posts
4 reviews
2. Re: Guatemala Safety

I have been in Panajachel for the past two months, only briefly in Antigua this time, but in 8 years of coming to this beautiful country I have always felt safe.

I am in my 70s and walk all over town.

Enjoy the wedding and the experience.

Level Contributor
76 posts
3 reviews
3. Re: Guatemala Safety

My husband and I are leaving Monday for Antigua, Lake Atitlan and Guatemala City for 1 night before we fly home. I must say I am quite nervous too. Our first trip together in years. We arranged for private shuttles so hopefully that will help. Fortunately my husband doesn't know about some of the stories and the ATM problems, since he doesn't go online.

Saint Paul...
3 posts
4. Re: Guatemala Safety

Thanks to all that shared your thoughts. I'm feeling better about it now and will just be smart, as always when traveling.

Marshall, Missouri
Level Contributor
105 posts
11 reviews
5. Re: Guatemala Safety

My wife and I spent 3 weeks in Guatemala in January. This was our first trip to this country and we also were concerned about our safety. We did our homework on this site and used the advice that was offered. I am happy to report we had a wonderful time! We are hoping to return next Winter and discover more of Central America. As earlier reported, there is no guarantee that nothing will happen but we are happy we did not allow that idea from keep us from seeing this amazing country and it's people.

Level Contributor
1 post
85 reviews
6. Re: Guatemala Safety

I understand your apprehension -- I think most people get a little stressed after reading the US State Department travel alerts. Having said that, I try not to let them dissuade me from going to places like Guatemala, where I figure that if I use common sense and take realistic precautions, I will probably be OK. In fact, I am going to Guatelmala (for the first time) next week with my wife and two young children. I have planned the trip carefully and have read lots of travelers testimonies like the ones here, and feel quite confident that all will go well. I have traveled with my family all over Latin America and the Caribbean, and have never had any problems. Last December, for example, I traveled to Haiti. About a week before the departure date I read the State Department Alert and felt a bit like you are feeling now -- but I went anyway, traveled responsibly, and returned safe-and-sound. It was a spectacular experience. The people were incredible and I never felt unsafe. I fully expect that my visit to Guatemala will also be amazing and enlightening. I can't wait to go and my wife and kids can't either. I hope you go too!

Level Contributor
754 posts
154 reviews
7. Re: Guatemala Safety

Well said, ViajeroIndiana ! Enjoy your trip...

Edited: 7:47 pm, March 01, 2012
Saint Albans...
Level Contributor
4 posts
2 reviews
8. Re: Guatemala Safety

Hi Indiana!...We're LincolnIllinois!... My husband and I are considering taking our kids for 2 weeks to Guatemala. We also have been taking our kids to off the beaten path destinations since they could carry their own back packs - age 5 - but I am seeing so many mixed reviews of Guatemala safety. We usually rent a car and drive ourselves all over creation - lost in Ecuador,.. out-back Costa Rica, Off-roading Northern Ireland, the Kalahari Desert and Czech Republic,.. but we are stumped on a "safe" but "off the tourist maps" place to go this summer. What do you know about Guatemala so far that peaked your interest? - Lynda

10 posts
9. Re: Guatemala Safety

I just left Guatemala and was very concerned about my choice of countries to visit after I read reviews along with with people's response to my plans. When I arrived in Antigua, I laughed at my anxiousness! Ive never felt safer in Central and South America. There were tourists of all ages and from all places in the areas I visted. I went to Antigua, Panajachel and the neighboring villages, Xela, Tikal, Chichicastanango and roamed the streets freely among the other tourist. Felt completely comfortable. Surely, you always have to be careful and be wise when traveling, but this place has an undeserving bad reputation....of course I am not talking about Guatemala City itself, thats a different story.....or so I heard.

Level Contributor
50 posts
36 reviews
10. Re: Guatemala Safety

Amanda and others who are concerned, It has correctly been said that no one can guarantee your safety, anywhere----I understand your apprehension. (it is the most often ask question on this site)

Our state department reports would scare anyone. To hear them tell it, the US is the only safe place in the world.

This is not hear say, it has been my experience.

My wife and I, family and friends have been to Guatemala Many times without incident.

Parts of my family spent nearly nine months in Guatemala while adopting my Grand-daughter. (some time in groups and some time alone) My wife and daughter have made many trips with out me there to protect them, it is almost a joke to us. My wife, her sister and my daughter have gone there several time on vacation with and without out me, never had a bad experience.

If you had the time to read every report on this site, you would see that most of the scary comments were people talking about what they heard, not what happened to them.

If someone did report a problem, I am sorry for them, "STUFF happens" all over the world, even in my USA.

Sorry, I have gone on so long, but I LOVE Guatemala and it gets a bad rap and I am not sure why, it doesn't deserve it. (It hurts me deeply)

Go have a good time, use good common sense---you know where not go in a big city or going off alone in the country--as we say down South---"yo mama didn't raise no fool". I think that everybody should visit this wonderful country---but then again, we would ruin this wonderful place.