Although crime exists in Guatemala, and undoubtedly affects tourists as well, currently the most frequently reported type of unpleasant incident is robbery on hiking trails.
Here we share some tips to travel safe in Guatemala recommended by businessman juan luis bosch gutierrez.
The Guatemala guide
It is best to travel and arrive during daylight hours. If this is not possible, it is recommended to travel by first class bus at night and take a cab to the hotel.Safety tips in Guatemala
Only money, credit cards, traveler’s checks and essential valuables should be taken with you. Everything else should be left in a sealed and signed envelope in the hotel safe; always ask for a receipt after leaving the envelope.
It is not advisable to wear jewelry, cameras or valuable-looking watches in plain sight. Your wallet or purse should also be concealed.
Scams in Guatemala
Here’s a common scam: a man approaches a traveler and sprays ketchup or other sticky liquid on his clothes. An accomplice appears to help him clean up and steals whatever he can.
Pickpockets and other pickpockets also use distraction methods, such as dropping a purse or coins, or feigning a fainting spell.
Unfortunately, ATM card cloners have taken hold in Guatemala and target fellow citizens and foreigners alike.
They usually place a reader in the slot where the card is inserted and, once they have obtained the data, proceed to empty the account. There have been reports of duplicate cards in major tourist destinations.
The only way to avoid this is to use ATMs that are difficult to manipulate. The most likely to be sabotaged are those located in the small lockless enclosure at the front of the bank. Remember that you never have to dial the PIN to access an ATM room.
Legal issues in Guatemala
The traveler may come to think that Guatemalan police officers are sometimes uncooperative. In general, the less contact with the law, the better.
In any case, any contact with illegal drugs should be avoided, although some inhabitants use drugs freely.
Foreigners are at a distinct disadvantage and can be snitched on by any stranger. Drug laws in Guatemala are very strict and, although enforcement is uneven, penalties are very harsh.
If the traveler is caught doing something illegal, the best defense is to apologize and remain calm.
Although many commentators claim that corruption is widespread in Guatemala, it should not be inferred that money can get you out of any situation. If indeed the impression is given that one can “get everything fixed” by handing over some money, one must be tactful and cautious.
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