It’s a common myth that traveling abroad is unsafe. In truth, traveling abroad might be safer than you think. However, regardless of how safe your destination is, familiarizing yourself with tourism safety is crucial. Here are ten tips surrounding Guatemala tourism safety to help you prepare for your next trip.
1. Research and Planning
Safety starts long before you set foot on Guatemalan soil. It begins in the early phases of planning your trip, involving extensive research to ensure you’re familiar with the safety situation in the area.
As you browse for activities, accommodations, and flights, research the area. Learn more about local customs and culture, read through travel advisories, and find the nearest embassy. As you craft your plan, create a detailed itinerary outlining everything you plan to do and each place you plan to stay.
Share those plans with someone at home when you finish crafting your itinerary. If something changes in your itinerary, notify them immediately to ensure someone knows your plans.
2. Choosing Accommodations Wisely
Accommodations are a key part of a vacation. After a long day of lively activities, sun-soaked lounging on the beach, or touring, you’ll need somewhere to rest. As you search for accommodation options in the area you’re visiting, go the extra mile and research that area.
Pick a hotel, motel, or rental in a safe, reputable neighborhood. Evaluate the safety of its location by reading through customer reviews and collecting recommendations from friends and family who have visited the area.
3. Transportation Safety
Guatemala offers numerous transportation options to get tourists from Point A to Point B. Buses, shuttles, boats, rental cars, and taxis are available across the country. However, availability varies based on the city.
Before you go, research transportation options in the area you’re staying. Create a list of possibilities outlining reputable transportation services to ensure you have options when needed. If you plan to rent a car, learn more about driving safety and road conditions in the area you’re staying.
4. Personal Safety Tips
Once you arrive in Guatemala, it’s essential to employ personal safety measures. Blend in with the locals by wearing similar clothing. While more revealing clothing is generally accepted in bigger Guatemalan cities, it’s generally best to stick to more conservative clothing when visiting rural areas.
Avoid wearing flashy jewelry or valuables that could draw attention, and use a money belt or hidden pouch to store essentials, like your phone, credit cards, and accommodation keys. Remain alert and aware of your surroundings at all times to avoid sticky situations.
You’ll likely encounter street vendors or beggars, some of whom aggressively vie for money. If possible, avoid contact with them altogether unless you want to buy something or give them money. If they utilize aggressive tactics, remain calm and polite. Avoid accepting “free products,” and be firm in your answers.
5. Health and Hygiene
Guatemala experiences sweltering summer temperatures well over 100 degrees in the hottest months. When visiting the area, dress to keep cool with breathable fabrics and remain hydrated. Bring plenty of water with you when walking through cities and lounging on beaches.
Carry essential first aid supplies and any vital medications you take to ensure you have them if needed. Additionally, it doesn’t hurt to get a travel health insurance plan for the duration of your trip to ensure any emergency or routine medical services are covered.
6. Cultural Sensitivity
When visiting any country, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with local customs and cultures to practice cultural sensitivity. Keep your interactions with locals respectful and practice cultural sensitivity to local customs and traditions.
You can even learn a few basic Spanish phrases to communicate with the locals, as this is Guatemala’s most widely spoken language.
7. Emergency Preparedness
Preparing for an emergency is an essential part of visiting a foreign country. While you may not experience any semblance of an emergency, it’s best to be prepared. Ensure you know the phone numbers of your emergency contacts in case you lose your phone and need to contact someone.
Carry a photocopy of essential documents in case you lose your luggage or it gets stolen. Familiarize yourself with where the nearest embassy or consulate is based on your accommodations.
If you’re traveling in a group, ensure you create a communication plan in case someone loses their phone.
8. Traveling in Groups
Group traveling is an excellent way to travel through a foreign country safely. Of course, while there’s safety in numbers, it’s still important to be aware of your surroundings. As you progress through your trip and enjoy various activities and entertainment options, ensure you stay connected with your fellow travelers.
Share responsibility by looking out for each other to promote the safety of your entire group.
9. Dealing with Emergencies
While traveling through Guatemala, you may encounter various emergencies. If someone steals your stuff or you lose it, report the incident to the tourist police by calling 1500. If the lost or stolen items contain travel documents, visit your home country’s embassy or consulate for assistance.
If you experience a medical emergency, call 123 or visit your nearest hospital.
10. Returning Home Safely
After you return home, reflect on your travel experiences. Traveling the world is a rewarding venture full of exciting activities, captivating entertainment, and lively companionship. Use your experience in Guatemala to adjust the way you approach travel, revising safety measures as necessary for future trips.
Share your experiences and tips with others who might be looking for answers on online forums, with friends, and with family.
Travel to Guatemala with our Experienced Guides
Safety is a critical consideration regardless of where you travel, although some destinations require more care than others. Learning the ropes and preparing to navigate a trip safely can be daunting, especially without an in-depth knowledge of the destination.
If you want to visit Guatemala but don’t want to worry about finding safe accommodations, transportation, and more, a guided tour might be the perfect fit for you. At Caravan, we offer two Guatemalan tours. The first explores Guatemala, Atitlan, and Antigua, while the second takes you through Guatemala, Tikal, and Rio Dulce. Ready to book a trip? Call us at 1-800-CARAVAN or +1-312-321-9800.