We are aware that some of you may be considering the security situation in Guatemala before making your reservation. Your concerns are probably exacerbated by sensational news coverage of isolated incidents.
Countries with such diverse tourist attractions as Guatemala also attract very diverse travelers. The country, like all other developing nations, has received travel warnings from different foreign consulates from time to time, which have to cover all different aspects of tourists’ activities.
Guatemala City, being the largest in Central America, does have areas which we would not like you to venture into, like any other cosmopolitan city. Remember that in Amsterdam and Cyprus we also received security instructions.
There is never a 100% guarantee of security on any trip but we feel that, with precautions, any dangers can be avoided. Our program is structured in such a way as to prevent any exposure to any risk: You will be picked up inside the airport and taken to the official symposium Hotel, Quinta Real, which is located outside the hustle and bustle of downtown and the typical tourist areas. The campus at Universidad Francisco Marroquín is of course a secure location where you can roam around freely.
Special programs for those who don’t want to attend all the lectures will mainly be on campus – for instance a deeper look into archaeology and weaving – and activities off campus will be guided.
The tours are carefully planned as well; we personally have been all over the country in the last 40 years and lived through its eventful history. That’s why we are saying that it is an insider’s look to the country.
We are of the opinion that if you want to see Guatemala in your life time, this is the best moment to do it.
The biggest safety threat is the traditional one for popular tourist areas: petty theft and pickpockets. Try not to carry your passport or ticket or large sums of cash around with you. Safety tips are the usual for any big city or heavily trafficked Third World tourist area.
Don't walk the streets alone at night.
You should always leave a copy of your passport with someone reachable back home (just the pages with pertinent ID information). If you should lose your passport while traveling abroad, this makes all the difference in expediting a new one. We also recommend that you leave your passport at the hotel and carry a photocopy with you instead.
Don't flash wads of cash. If, for some reason you need lots of cash, deposit it in different stashes on your person.
Don't wear expensive jewelry on the street: watches, necklaces, designer sunglasses.
In non fancy tourist areas (markets, city center, etc.) women: don't carry a purse; men: don't put your wallet in a back pocket.
Use a fanny pack or other body clinging container for money.
Rule-of-thumb for foreign travel is to lighten your wallet before you come. Leave at home all those cards and items you won't need on the trip (cards for debit, supermarket, Blockbuster, local gas station, etc.). Whittle it down to the essential, such as license, frequent flyer card, one or two credit cards, insurance card, etc.