Guatemala is probably the only Central American country where the Indigenous population is in majority. 65% of the population is descendant of the Maya and speaks 23 different languages and dialects. We can witness through them that this very ancient culture is still alive.
Conquered in 1524 by Pedro de Alvarado and independent since 1821, this country is still creating its stability and unity. In 1996 the peace treaty was signed between the URNG and the government of Alvaro Arzu, after 30 years of civil war in which Mayas and civilians were the main victims. The democracy installed itself with difficulties but evolves favorably.
Coffee used to be the main exportation product but since the crisis the country is turning itself towards tourism which little by little is becoming the main activity.
Guatemala has a great potential with its colonial past, archaeology, Mayan traditions, culture, adventure, ecotourism, volcano climbing and handicraft.
This is what we will make you discover.
Guatemala has a bad reputation concerning security and the alarmist warnings in some websites maintain this fame.
Of course, like in every country in developing process, some precautionary measures have to be taken such as not showing your jewelry, be careful with your money, your camera, video and in keeping your passport in a safe place.
But there's no need to become paranoid. The statistics of delinquency are not more pessimist than in other countries.
The electricity voltage is 110V.
Visa and Master Card are accepted almost everywhere and sometimes subject to a 5% extra charge. Cash withdrawing machines are available in all touristic town. Travelers check in US$ are still the safest way to carry money. As far as foreign currency only US$ are known from the bankers. You won't be able to change other currencies
The currency is the Quetzal (named after the national bird) Today 1US$ = +/- Q7.80. Exchange rate fluctuates every day.
There are no required vaccines, but still take some precautions.
Equip yourself with a flashlight; some of the places you might visit do not have electricity after 10:00pm.
Don’t forget a good mosquito repellent.
A visa is not required for European citizen.
Watch out for websites that are too attractive and seem to have terrific offers. Check references! If you have any doubt you can always contact CAMTUR (Guatemalan Tourism Chamber)– Tel: (502) 2238-0950 or firstname.lastname@example.org, who fights to keep the ethic.
The publicity says that “Guatemala is the country of the eternal spring”. Even though there is no autumn and winter, there are notable differences in temperature at times.
The temperature is approximately 20 degrees all year round in the highland (Antigua, Atitlan Lake etc) and 26-27 degrees around Tikal and at the coast. Sometimes the nights can be fresh (15 to 17 degrees), and in December to February the nights can be fresh about 6-7° and the hotels are not heated. During the day temperatures again are summery with 18 to 20 degrees.
September is rainy season. Normally in the mornings it doesn’t rain and it is sunny. After midday it starts getting cloudy and in the afternoon it rains and especially at night there is rainfall. This is the season when the least tourists visit us, so that the personnel in the restaurants can give you a better special attention.
Antigua and the rest of the highlands have fresh nights so bring a sweater or light jacket.
In Flores and Tikal the temperature is hot with about 30 degrees. Bring hats, sun screen, bathing suit (for Livingston) and good walking shoes, as well as an insect repellent appropriate the tropical zones.
The insurances in Guatemala are limited. The civil liability with respect to the people transported by vehicle is the only one cumpulsory. It is limited to US$ 6000 per individual.
We can offer you, at a cost of US$ 6 per day and person, a complementary insurance which covers:
- Civil responsibility, assistance, repatriation within the limit US $ 50.000p/p.
- Medical care and dental up to US $ 10.000
- Urgency Medical transport US $ 10.000
- Repatriation of body and accompaniment by a member of the family US$ 5.000
- Urgent basic money transfer US $ 5.000
- Loss of passport US$ 1.200
- Loss of luggage and/or plane ticket US$ 1.200
- Expenses of cancellation of US flight $ 1.200
- Interruption of trip in the event of death of a member of the family US$ 1.000
- Advance for guarantee US$ 1.000
- Legal Assistance in the event of problem included
- Compensation in the event of death, total and permanent disability due to accidental reasons US$ 10.000
The maximum amount ensured for anybody is limited to US $ 50.000.