Things You Should Know Before Visiting Guatemala

Bulevar Villa Deportiva, Guatemala
Bulevar Villa Deportiva, Guatemala. Photo by Clovis Castaneda on Unsplash

Want to travel to Guatemala to see ancient Mayan ruins, sunbathe at scenic beaches, and enjoy some amazing food? We don’t blame you. As a matter of fact, we are kind of jealous. However, there are some things you should know about this Central American country before visiting.

Some Areas of the Country Are Best to Be Avoided

Tourist hotspots in Guatemala, like Tikal, Antigua, Lake Atitlán, and Pacific coast areas, are safe for foreign visitors. However, there are certain areas of the country that you should skip visiting according to the U.S. government’s Travel Advisory, including the San Marcos Department and the Huehuetenango Department.

Avoid Tap Water

Tap water in Guatemala is unsafe to drink or for brushing your teeth. Use bottled water at all times if you don’t want to risk getting sick.

You’ll Need a Bug Spray

Bug spray can be a lifesaver in Guatemala, so make sure to bring a quality one. The country has an aggressive population of mosquitoes, especially during the rainy season, with some of them carrying illnesses like malaria or zika.

You Won’t Need Warm Clothes

You can leave most of your warm clothes at home. The country has wet and dry seasons but expect warm weather with steady temperatures at any time of the year.

Carry Some Cash With You at All Times

Cash is still the preferred way of paying for goods and services in Guatemala. Make sure you always carry some with you, especially if you are leaving tourist hotspots. The local currency is Guatemalan Quetzal, although some establishments and service providers will also accept the U.S. dollar.