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Guatemala for New Year

A couple of guys I know were looking for some place warm for a New Year party. They have settled on Guatemala. No entry restrictions, pretty reasonable hotel costs and $600 ft airfare. A thought if someone just wants to get away

Posted by
12601 posts

Worth mention maybe...
Currently, according to the U.S. State Dept, you have to have a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test conducted no earlier than 72 hours prior to arrival.

https://gt.usembassy.gov/alert-covid-19-2/

Entry requirements or restrictions for travelers from and/or through other countries can vary.

Posted by
12550 posts

Thank you Kathy. You are correct. I've gotten so use to this that I tend to overlook it. But good catch. Do I remember correctly that the test will be checked at the airport before boarding the plane? That helps the timing a bit. We've go a place here that turns them around the same day.

EDIT
Okay, I was lazy, but I checked (thanks for the link). They will check before boarding the plane but the timing on the test has to be 72 hours prior to arrival. Its a short flight so I guess they can make it work.

Posted by
3309 posts

It’s been decades since I was there, but I thoroughly enjoyed Guatemala City for the few days I was there. I also spent a few days in San Jose on the Pacific coast and there was nothing to do. I would have loved to get up to Tikal but there were some insurgency issues at that time, so it wasn’t safe to travel there. If you wanted to go there it would probably be easier to get to from Belize.

Posted by
12601 posts

You're welcome, James. Lately, it takes our RS village to keep track of the changes, eh? It's cool that some of our community are doing their best to sort the restrictions and/or direct our more intrepid travelers abroad if it's half--ss safely possible for them to go there. :O)

Posted by
4944 posts

I loved visiting the Mayan sites in Mexico and would love to see some great ones in Guatemala and Honduras, but those two countries have serious problems with the drug cartels. If you like central America, I suggest Costa Rica.

Posted by
12550 posts

You are correct Mexico doesn't have drug cartels like Honduras and Guatemala.

Posted by
5699 posts

Hmmm James E....no drug cartels in Mexico?

You need to re consider that statement. As of this morning: https://www.yahoo.com/news/cartel-battles-stun-once-peaceful-183932873.html

As of last year the following cartels are alive and flourishing in Mexico. Jalisco, Sinola, Tamaulipas, Los Zetas....

In fact “ El Mencho, “ leader of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel ( CJNG ) is far more powerful than Guzman ever was.

Earlier this month: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/public-safety/story/2020-10-11/officials-record-second-largest-meth-bust-at-otay-mesa-port-of-entry%3f_amp=true

Posted by
12550 posts

Just elaborating on:

I loved visiting the Mayan sites in Mexico and would love to see some
great ones in Guatemala and Honduras, but those two countries have
serious problems with the drug cartels. If you like central America, I
suggest Costa Rica.

I live near the Mexican border.......

Posted by
4944 posts

James,
You live near the Mexican border in the USA?

I was born in Alice, Texas, about 80 miles from the Mexican border. I have cousins living in Texas that tell me that they do not even think about going over the border in Mexico because of the danger.

There are places in Mexico that are relatively safe for tourists, like Cancun, Cabo and the touristy areas of Mexico City.

If Guatemala and Honduras are safe, can you provide me details? I would love to visit some of the Mayan sites like Tikal, Copan, Palienque and Lamanai.

Posted by
12550 posts

Can't say Honduras is safe, other than the Bay Islands. I go there on occasion to see family, but its frightening. Guatemala on the other hand is "ok" with a tad bit of care.

I live in that big city north of Alice.

Posted by
4944 posts

One thing about foreign travel is knowing what places may be more dangerous than others. This is true in the USA as well as many other countries.

I remember a story about a German couple flying in Miami, Florida several years ago. They rented a car and got on the interstate going north. They made a wrong turn into the worst neighborhood in South Florida, Liberty City. They didn't get out, they were mugged and murdered.

Even in cities like Paris and London, it is best to do a little research on places to avoid. It is particularly important in countries like Egypt.

Posted by
12550 posts

Ufcuck, if its so dangerous, why were you there? Always best to know these things before you leave.

I sat in a cafe in Budapest some years back and watched as the police put on their riot gear, I watched on TV scenes of post police shooting riots in the US. There have been nearly 3000 shootings and over 600 murders in Chicago so far this year. Yet its still a popular destination. Lets compare Baltimore's crime rate to Guatemala.

As Geovagrifith points out you gotta be smart where ever you go Hundreds of thousands of Americans flock to Mexico each year and Mexico has similar crime rates as compared to Guatemala.

Stay in the tourist areas, like Antigua, and its almost as safe as the Russian COVID vaccine. And NEVER go to a soccer match in Central America with out getting the best seats and without a large escort of locals.

And geovagriffith, when I was young, Alice had a dicey reputation too.

Posted by
6748 posts

Caravan has been running tours in Guatemala for decades (https://www.caravan.com/tour/guatemala). It's a very easy and relatively inexpensive way to see Tikal and the "highlights" (like Lake Atitlan) for the risk-averse. My parents took that trip and really enjoyed every bit of it (although no one pretends that you're in not in a privileged bubble on any Guatamalan tour largely separated from the poverty of the country and any mishaps and inconveniences). I'm not a tour person but I would not hesitate to go that route, I hope to see Tikal one day too. I also wouldn't have any issue doing an DYI trip and getting to Tikal with a local on-the-ground operator either (if the buses are as nice as the ADO long-distance buses in Mexico, I would take one....but probably not an overflowing "chicken bus"). I just wouldn't do it now or even next year.

Did you say New Year party? Parties are bad news right now...

Posted by
12550 posts

Agnes, sure, the world opens a lot more when you can plan and act intelligently for the circumstances.

I have been to Guatemala and want to go back. But, I try to stay out of Guatemala City as much as possible. People mentioned good locations above. I would consult with my local acquaintances from Guatemala about locations to visit. It's culturally interesting. Just be aware and have some basic safety travel protocols in place. You have to be ready (mentally) for the poverty and let it flow over you. Met friendly locals wherever we went.

Posted by
3 posts

There are many video reviews on YouTube about travel. You can plan your journey yourself.