Guatemala Travel Guide
Like all other countries, Guatemala too has very specific guidelines for those who wish to visit. Largely peaceful and wonderfully welcoming to tourists, it is still very important to know how much cash you can carry with you, what documents are required to enter and exit the country, or what telecom services and connectivity is like
From the visa requirements, to health and safety concerns, vaccinations, currency and credit cards, our experts provide an overview on some of the most important aspects in our Guatemala travel guide.
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Visa and entry
Citizens of the US/Canada, EU countries and Australia do not need a visa for tourist visits to Guatemala for up to 90 days. Although visitors are required to have proof of when and how they will exit the country, Guatemalan officials rarely enforce this. Some airlines won’t let you fly without a return ticket however, so it’s best to do some research and be prepared.
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Language and communication
Spanish is the official language of Guatemala and is spoken by about two-thirds of the population. There are 23 Mayan languages spoken widely throughout the country. The use of English is not common, however you can typically communicate in English at most hotels and restaurants in tourist destinations and big cities. It is important to note that nearly one-third of the population in Guatemala are unable to read or write.
You can easily purchase a prepaid SIM card upon arrival the international airport as well as in the big cities. In the rural areas, the reception may not be the best. WiFi connectivity is available only in some hotels and can be slow sometimes.
This one is important. One can easily pick up illnesses from contaminated food or water so all travelers should make sure to have their hepatitis A and typhoid vaccinations. There is no risk of yellow fever in Guatemala however. The government of Guatemala requires proof of yellow fever vaccination only if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever. The Zika virus is a risk in Guatemala and therefore pregnant women should not travel to Guatemala, as they are extremely vulnerable to it.
People climbing volcanoes may experience altitude sickness. Usually altitude sickness only affects those who climb above 2500 meters (8200 feet) elevation. Conversely, at lower altitudes such as those of Antigua or Lake Atitlán (1600 masl/5200 feet), people often notice that they become short of breath with far less exertion than at sea level. The winding roads in the highlands can also make you feel dizzy.
Currency and cards
First introduced in 1925, the currency of Guatemala is the oldest legal currency still in use. It is also one of the most stable. The currency is called the Quetzal, named after the national bird of Guatemala – the colorful quetzal. During the Mayan era, the tail feathers of the Quetzal were used as currency, and thus, the modern currency depict a unique connection to the ancient one.
In the cities, credit cards are widely accepted in most shops, restaurants and other business establishments. While this is the norm for all big cities, keep in mind when visiting villages and markets that you should always carry some cash with you.
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One of the very best travel experiences I have ever had. We even got updates once at 3 am! He also made one change in one day’s itinerary to accommodate our wishes which was very wonderful. For business, I have traveled to Europe, Russia, all over Asia and South Africa but was blown away by all the beautiful sites in Argentina and Chile.
All the little touches made by our Enchanting Travel consultant, Amelia Edwards, were noticed and recognized by my wife and I. Thank you for making our milestone trip (25th wedding anniversary) such a memorable one! We look forward to engaging Enchanting Travels again for our next South American adventure!!
This was my first adventure as a solo traveler. But while I may have traveled on my own, I was never alone. I was well taken care of by a superb team of planners, trip coordinators, guides and drivers.
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