Travel guide to Guatemala

» Guatemala
Guatemala offers a mountainous landscape with several volcanoes rising in the southern highlands. A few of them are still active. Beautiful rivers, which flow into both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean snake between the mountains and the forests.

Facts

Top
Local name
Rebublica de Guatemala
Capital
Guatemala City (2,000,000)
Size
109,000 km2
Principal Languages
The official language is Spanish. There are also 21 Indian languages.
Principal Religion
Roman Catholic
Inhabitants
11,000,000
Government
Republic
Geography
Guatemala is in Central America and borders on Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Belize. Mountains and dense forest dominate the landscape. A range of volcanoes dots the southern part of the country on the coast by the Pacific Ocean. Between the volcanic areas there are valley regions in which are the most densely populated areas.

Travel preparation

Top

Best time to visit

Guatemala can be visited year-round, but the most comfortable time to go is during the dry season, which lasts from December through to April.

Literature

Guatemala, Belize & Yucatán Central America on a Shoestring Central and South America Mexico & Central America

Local conditions

Top

Currency

Quetzal (Q)

Net cafes

Internet cafés can be found in the cities and big towns in the country. Their number is not consistent and it is a good idea to ask where to find them, at the local tourist office.

In case of emergency

To call for help in Guatemala, dial the following numbers Police: (120) Ambulance: (128) Fire brigade: (123)

Tipping

It is normal to tip 10% in most places

Timezone

When it is 12:00 in England (summertime), it is 05:00 in Guatemala When it is 12:00 in England (wintertime), it is 06:00 in Guatemala

Weight and Measures

The following weights and measures are used in Guatemala: Weight: kilos Length: metres

Photography

There are no general rules concerning photography but some locals are shy and it is a good idea to ask before taking pictures. The rules should be followed in holy places.

Drinking water

All drinking water, water for brushing teeth and water for ice cubes should be boiled before it is used.

Electricity

The following power source is used in Guatemala: 110 volts AC, 60 Hz

Behaviour

There are not any specific rules of behaviour but there are many holy places and the rules in these places should be shown respect.

Business Hours

Banks are open from 9:00 to 14:00 (Monday - Friday) Shops are open from 9:00 to 12:30 and from 14:00 to 18:00 (Monday - Friday). Most shops are also open until noon on Saturdays. Office hours: 8:30 to 18:00 (Monday - Friday)

Food and drink

Guatemala offers a wide variety of restaurants. The cuisines of many different countries can be found in the country. Anything from Chinese to Mexican food is on offer and there are also many cafés with a continental selection. It is important to be aware that there is a big difference in the price but not so much in the quality of the food.

Disabled travellers

Conditions are not very good for the disabled in the country. Facilities for the disabled are very rare and it is a good idea to contact the places where you wish to go before departure.

Holidays

New Year's Day: 1 January Labour Day: 1 May Army Day: 30 June Virgin Mary Day (only in Guatemala City): 15 August Independence Day: 15 September Revolution Day: Revolution Day: 20 October Halloween: 1 November Christmas Day: 25 December New Year's: 31 December (only the Afternoon)

Accommodation / Hotel

Top

Camping

Camping sites with basic facilities can be found in most of the country. A popular place to camp is near the active volcano Pacaya where glowing lava and ashes from the volcano can be seen.

Hotels

There is a wide range of hotels all over Guatemala and it is possible to find anything, from luxury hotels to smaller and cheaper hotels.

Bed og breakfast or guesthouse

More or less all large towns and cities have guesthouses that offer accommodation at a fair price.

Local transport

Top

Planes

There are national flights between the big cities in the country. There are differences in price and frequency.

Bus

Buses operate between all large towns and cities, mini-buses operate between the villages. The buses are cheap but mostly crowded.

Trains

There are no passenger trains in Guatemala.

Taxi

Taxis operate in towns and cities. They are easy to hire in the street or to order in the hotels. It is customary to tip the driver.

Car rental

It is easy to rent a car in Guatemala City where both international and national companies operate. A national driver's licence is sufficient.

Special conditions

Top
There are official warnings concerning crime and serious attacks in Guatemala. Please check out the latest Foreign Office recommendations.

Find your travel arrangement to Guatemala here

Travelmarket International
The travel search engine Travelmarket.com searches across more than 1,000 websites to find the best and cheapest travels for you.