Guatemala, known for its lush rainforests, beaches, stunning Mayan ruins, and unique culture, is a popular destination for travelers. However, many people question the safety of visiting this Central American country.
In this article, we’ll explore the various safety concerns in Guatemala and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about traveling there.
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Crime and Violence
Unfortunately, crime and violence are a reality in Guatemala. However, much of this crime is concentrated in certain areas, particularly in the larger cities.
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and theft, is common in tourist areas but can be prevented by taking basic precautions such as not carrying valuables and staying aware of your surroundings.
More serious crime, such as robbery and assault, is rarer but can still occur. Travelers should take extra care when traveling at night, and avoid walking alone in deserted areas. It’s also a good idea to be aware of your surroundings and to take necessary precautions, such as not carrying large sums of cash.
Guatemala has a history of political instability, with past coups and civil wars causing unrest. Although the country has been relatively stable in recent years, it’s still important to be aware of any political demonstrations or protests and to avoid them, as they can turn violent.
Guatemala is located in a region prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes. Visitors should familiarize themselves with local evacuation plans and be prepared for emergency situations.
Health concerns in Guatemala are similar to those in other developing countries. Visitors should take precautions to avoid food and water-borne illnesses and be up to date on their vaccinations. It’s also a good idea to bring a basic first-aid kit and to purchase comprehensive travel insurance.
LATEST UPDATES / NEWS from GUATEMALA:
March 22 – Frontier Airlines to Fly to Guatemala City
Beginning in May 2023, Frontier Airlines will add new seasonal nonstop flights from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (SDQ); Guatemala City, Guatemala (GUA); and San Diego, California (SAN).
The expansion will increase Frontier’s weekly international departures in ATL from 21 to 39. With the addition of this route, Frontier will fly nonstop from ATL to 38 different locations. America’s greenest airline is offering fares as low as $79 in honor of the occasion.
February 22 – Visa exemption to be revoked for Dominican Republic nationals from Feb. 14
Dominican Republic nationals will no longer be visa-exempt when visiting Guatemala for tourism or business after February 14, 2023, and will instead need to get a consular visitor visa (Category B).
A consular visa normally permits for a stay of up to 90 days (extendable for another 90 days), which is the same as visa-free access. Some Dominican nationals who hold a qualifying visa for Canada, the United States, or a Schengen country may still be visa exempt.
The move, according to the administration, would be adopted in response to an increase in Dominican nationals entering Guatemala and failing to comply with immigration rules.
January 31: Corruption rife across Latin America; Guatemala, Nicaragua reach all-time lows: report
On Tuesday, Transparency International’s corruption index revealed that Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Cuba have hit unprecedented lows due to rampant corruption within public institutions, the influence of political and economic elites, and escalated human rights violations.
According to Delia Ferreira Rubio, the head of the Berlin-based anti-corruption organization Transparency International, ineffective leadership has led to an increase in organized crime, social unrest, and violence. Some authorities have even heightened the threats to human rights by centralizing power under the guise of promoting security.
While there are certainly safety concerns in Guatemala, the country remains a popular destination for travelers.
By taking basic precautions, such as being aware of their surroundings and taking necessary safety measures, visitors can greatly reduce their risk of experiencing any problems. With its rich culture, stunning landscapes, and fascinating history, Guatemala is a destination well worth visiting.