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  #1  
Old 14 Mar 2007
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Guatemala - Safety?

My brother and I are heading there in a bit and were wondering if anyone has been through recently and has any advice?
We're not overly scared but just wanted to get someone's feedback on cities versus towns, safe areas versus unsafe. etc.

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  #2  
Old 14 Mar 2007
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Guatemala is like everywhere else. There are plenty of stories of bad things happening, but if you stick to the normal rules of being careful, it's not worse than lots of places.

Your guidebook will reference a few places you really don't want to go alone, but basically it's fine.

To give you an idea of my opinion, in November, my fiance and I flew both of our families down there including her 92 year old grandmother and my young niece and got married in Antigua
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  #3  
Old 15 Mar 2007
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guatemala was one of my favorite countries. you must go to Tikal and stayed in Flores. the people are amazing. if it wasn´t for my grandmas b-day in nicaragua i would have stay more than the 3 weeks that i stayed there.

i found guatemala to be a bit scarier than the other countries in central america bc alot of people are carrying a gun. in www.motoaventuras.com you can post that you´ll be there and might get some more recent recomendations. if possible stay away from riding in guatemala city which is dangerous. nothing happen to me and defenitely going back ASAP.
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  #4  
Old 15 Mar 2007
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I recently spent a month in GT and love the country.
I don't do large cities, so GT City wasn't on my list.
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  #5  
Old 15 Mar 2007
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Don´t be afraid to go but do understand there are dangerous areas. You can walk around all night in Antigua but if you ride around Lake Atitlan, for example, armed robbery on the road is a real possiblity. Check the embassy crime reports and prior posts here.

Ironically, now might be one of the safest times, becuase the Guat police just killed some Salvadorian politicians and everyone is on high alert.

Move on to El Salvador instead, my .02
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Old 15 Mar 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BklynDakar View Post
.........but if you ride around Lake Atitlan, for example, armed robbery on the road is a real possiblity. ......
The famous section for robberies is between Santigo and San Pedro. I rode this a year + ago, but didn't know of the problems at that time. This road is now in the process of being paved which will change that robbery situation and many other things on the southside of the lake.

If you don't visit San Pedro, you've screwed yourself out of something...
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  #7  
Old 15 Mar 2007
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Guatemala was one of my two favorite countries in Central America, but I heard more robbery stories from other travelers there than on the rest of my trip combined. I had no problems myself, and got off the beaten track quite a bit, but the risk is there. I would and will go back, and I think traffic is a lot more dangerous than bandits, but stay on your toes.
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  #8  
Old 15 Mar 2007
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Guate. City

I love Guatemala city, with or without a bike. I never found it, (personal experience), any more threatening than any other Latin American city, whether walking or riding. IMHO it's an unjustly villified bit of Central America - at least you can get a good cup of coffee.
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Old 19 Mar 2007
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Originally Posted by Lone Rider View Post
The famous section for robberies is between Santigo and San Pedro. I rode this a year + ago, but didn't know of the problems at that time. This road is now in the process of being paved which will change that robbery situation and many other things on the southside of the lake.

If you don't visit San Pedro, you've screwed yourself out of something...
I rode this at about 7am this week so the robbers obviously hadn`t gotten out of bed yet. Good pavement except for a 20 minute stretch of dirt currently being ridden on.

I felt safe but riding through that town that got cleaned out by a mudslide (immediately before Santiago Atitlan, Punabaj or similar?) makes it obvious that there are a lot of people without livelihoods around at the moment.

I would count the traffic a greater hazard. Ironically the back roads were generally great riding, less traffic, good roads. CA1 was where I had to swerve to avoid chicken buses in my lane. A motorcyclist`s worst nightmare seems to be a multiple times a day occurence on the highway. My biggest problem with Guat City was navigating with a crap map.

Be sure to wave - they`re great people and I really regret not spending more time there but had to catch a friend before Semana Santa.
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  #10  
Old 20 Mar 2007
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3 months(4/06 to 7/06) in guat without a problem. the majority of tiime spent in san pedro and panajachel. road throughtout the country spending a couple of days here and there, did not care for xela or guat city. if you plan to spend anytime in pana there is a place named villa lupita that has courtyard parking , clean and reasonable rooms(maya family owned and operated). again if time is spent in pana make a trip to chichi for market day(thursdays and sundays) you will thoroughly enjoy the ride.
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  #11  
Old 22 Mar 2007
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Talking Gt

I was there this summer and to be honest the police said to me few times to be carefull and try to avoid to drive at night ( which I always try to do not do) and to avoid too much off road riding ( which I love to do) , use common sense and your instinc and if you don't feel safe ask local police or hotel, in some area where you need to go ( anyhwere in the world) I sometime follow truck as they rarely get mug and if they do you will have plenty of time to do a U turn , anyway always have some cash $40 to $100 idden on you to give to potential Banditos , cheap price to pay for you life ,and don't think they will beleive you if you say you travel without money.

just my opinion.
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  #12  
Old 4 May 2007
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Injuries and theft in Mexico near Guatamala border

Àâòî@Mail.Ru: Íîâîñòè: Ðîññèéñêîãî ïóòåøåñòâåííèêà ÷óòü íå óáèëè â Ìåêñèêå
Strange looking link but it works to a Russian site.

Yesterday this report appeared of this unfortunate Russian half way through a year long solo RWT. Crossing from Guatamala to Mexico he was chased, caught, beaten up with sticks, sustaining broken ribs, fingers and head injuries and had his camera stolen - possibly more. Now in hospital plus trouble with the police.

Here is an AltaVista translation of the account on the Website, not perfect English but understandable that Vladimir suffered very badly :-

They severely and robbed Russian motorcyclist in the south of Mexico. Traveller in grave condition is transported into the hospital Of komitan city. 27-year Russian Vladimir Minin with the support of the charitable foundation for victims in motokatastrofakh "ASSISTANCE GROUP", that accomplishes round-the-world journey on the motorcycle, fell into extraordinary situation on the border of Mexico. The start of the round-the-world raid MotoPeople took place on 7 October, 2006. It was planned, that Vladimir will pass on Europe, Africa, South, central and North America, and also Asia. Moreover, his route lay through the almost inaccessible territories of the western coast of Africa and countries of South and central America with the complex natural conditions. A participant in the project is not the member of sport organization or club of travellers. Raid was achieved without the tracking, on the particular series motorcycle BMW R 1200 gs ADVENTURE. The total length of route of approximately 60 000 kilometers. Duration of raid - 12 months. After passing in six months Europe, Africa from the north in the south and South America from the south to the north, traveller repeatedly fell into complex situations. Thus, in Africa in it they stole notebook (lap top PC), then motorcyclist fell into heavy emergency. In spite of all difficulties, yesterday Russian proved to be on the border of Guatemala and Mexico. After the passage of customs control it became understandable that all roads, which lead to the north of the country, were overlapped by the striking Mexicans. The crowd of people with the sticks did not let pass Vladimir, and for it was necessary to burst open almost with the battle. Here is the chronology of the sms- communications, which came from Vladimir 16.00 "this fignya. To the night. But tomorrow continuation and so on entire state. It fell!" 17.00 "they (striking - editor's notes.) they stand through every 5 km through two it burst open, on the third nearly they drove in by sticks! And not one policeman! Saved the fact that 4 journalists! " 21.00 bell - "4 in the hospital under the droppers, beat the crowd... of.esli b not daynezovskiy ekip (motoekipirovka - red)... fingers are broken, strongly nastuchali on the head... robbed, they accurately took away camera, I do not know with the rest - mots did not see... policemen they conveyed me as spy... you will report into the consulate, and that is not clear how everything will end with the policemen... it passed not more than 10 km from the boundary... " At the given moment the organizers of journey attempt to be connected with the Russian embassy in Mexico, and so with local motoklubami, capable soak to Vladimir.


Anyone in the area? Might be good to try to see him, cheer him up and assist if possible.

Last edited by Tony P; 4 May 2007 at 13:39.
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  #13  
Old 4 May 2007
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We've been in Guatemala for a week now.

The natives are friendly, Guat City is a dump. No hassles exploring dirt roads off the beaten track & havent even been stopped by the police.

My impression is its like all Latin American countries. Common sense will generally keep you safe & if a place 'feels' dodgy you should trust your instincts.

We're in Santa Elena at the moment, next stop Belize.
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  #14  
Old 21 May 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyT View Post
Guatemala was one of my two favorite countries in Central America, but I heard more robbery stories from other travelers there than on the rest of my trip combined. I had no problems myself, and got off the beaten track quite a bit, but the risk is there. I would and will go back, and I think traffic is a lot more dangerous than bandits, but stay on your toes.
I'm with Andy. One of my favorite. Off the beaten track. But the bus drivers are more of a concern anyway. It'd be easy to get ripped off if you were run off the road in a ditch by on of these crazy mothas.

I had a taxi let me follow him to get out of Guat City... I just hate getting lost in Latin America cities. So that's a good idea... as long as you trust the taxi driver... be vigilant and you'll love Guatemala.
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  #15  
Old 21 May 2007
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Thumbs up Guatemala Concerns!

I have been thru Guatemala twice (2003 and 2006) and never experienced any overt problems! Rode thru Guat City the first trip so avoided it the second time (no problems, just got lost). :=) Had heard stories about problems around Lake Atitlan but stayed a couple of days in Panajachel (2006) and rode south and east to Escuintla with no problems at all. Go for it! Beautiful. Not to be missed!
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