Guatemala, although small, is famous for its cultural attractions and natural beauty. Mayan ruins lay hidden deep in lush jungles while beautiful colonial towns can be found sprawled over the highlands. The beauty of this country is not the only intriguing part, it is also one of the most budget friendly destinations in the region, with low prices for just about everything from handicrafts to food and hotels. In the end, this is a cultural rich country with spectacular rainforests, ancient Mayan cities, stunning lakes, friendly people and one-of-a-kind artisan handicrafts. This Guatemala travel guide will help you plan your next vacation.
Guatemala Travel Guide: Fast Facts
- Guatemalan power voltage is 120 V 60 Hz; Power sockets A, B, G & I
- The Guatemalan currency is the Guatemalan Queztal (GTQ) and is around 7.50 GTQ for 1 USD
- Beware of Chikungunya, a viral disease transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. This outbreak continues to affect parts of the Caribbean and Central America. Symptoms can take up to 12 days to appear, but usually begin within 3-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms generally include fever and joint pain; other symptoms can include fatigue, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, and rash.
- Guatemala has some of the most beautiful artisan work in the region and for very reasonable prices. If you want to pick up some artisanal crafts, head to one of the many artisan markets in Antigua.
- Avoid Guatemala City – the city itself does not have the best reputation and although it is okay for a layover to get to your next bus, many people avoid spending too much time there.
- American dollars are accepted as legal currency in Guatemala.
- Drink only bottled water, which are readily available throughout the country. Also try to avoid using ice or confirm that it was made with purified water before drinking iced beverages.
Top Packing Tips for Guatemala Travel
Guatemala has a tropical climate with alternating wet and dry seasons. The proximity to the equator means that temperatures vary in relation to elevation father than with the changing of the seasons. Warmer weather can be found on the coat and in the jungles while the highly lands can get chilly. The rainy season last from May to October while the dry season runs from November until April.
- Personal safety products –Petty theft and armed robbery are the most serious threats to traveller in Guatemala. Before leaving for your trip, make sure to pack some personal safety products, like money belts and locks, so that you can keep your valuables safe on your trip.
- Poncho / Rain Jacket – if you plan on visiting during the rainy season, it is best to bring some collapsable (to save space) rain gear to shield yourself from the common afternoon downpours.
- Pack good walking shoes – jungle paths, cobblestone streets, dirt roads are no fun with strappy sandals, so make sure to back a good pair of walking/hiking shoes and of course, a pair of flip flops.
- The protection basics – Travellers should stock up on the essentials: sun block, mosquito/insect repellant containing DEET or a pyrethroid insecticide, sunglasses and a hat. Bugspray is particularly important if you plan on heading into the jungle for some trekking.
- Sarongs – From protecting yourself from the hot island sun, to being used as a towel or keeping cool on a cool night, sarongs are a must-have.
- A light fleece jacket – Even if Guatemala is considered as the country of “eternal spring,” it still can get quite chilly in the evenings. Pack a fleece sweater to keep you warm on those nights or if you plan on heading to the highlands.