Guatemala Tourist Guide

Guatemala Tourist Guide

Passport formalities

Russian citizens are allowed visa-free entry to Guatemala for a period not exceeding 90 days.


Foreign currency can be imported and exported without restrictions (declaration is required), but national currency is not recommended. Persons over 18 years old can bring in up to 80 cigarettes or about 100 g of tobacco and up to 1.5 liters of alcohol (but no more than 2 bottles). In the declaration at the entrance it is necessary to indicate all imported valuables. It is not allowed to export antiques, archaeological values, rare animals and birds, as well as their stuffed animals and skins from the country.

Important: You must keep all immigration documents – they will be needed when leaving the country!

General information: Guatemala – a state located between North and South America, in the north and northwest it borders on Mexico, in the east – on Honduras and El Salvador, in the northeast – on Belize; from the west it is washed by the Pacific Ocean, from the east – by the Caribbean Sea. Guatemala is the third largest country in Central America. More than half of the country’s territory is occupied by mountains, in Guatemala there is the highest point in Central America – Mount Tajumulco (4217 m). The capital of Guatemala is Guatemala City (Gavtemala City), the largest city in Central America.

In terms of population, Guatemala is the largest state in Central America – about 11 million people. Most of the population – 70% – Indians. The native Indians belong to the Maya-Kiche language family. Then come the mestizos, who call themselves Ladino, and very few Europeans. In the east of the country, on the Caribbean coast, in the city of Livingston, there is a small Negro population that has preserved its rituals and customs. 69% of the population is semi-literate or completely illiterate. Guatemalans are very hardworking. Most are employed in agriculture, grow and sell cocoa, bananas, oranges, lemons to different countries. The official language of Guatemala is Spanish, and local dialects are also common.

Time in Guatemala is 9 hours behind Moscow in winter and 10 hours in summer.

Language. The official language is Spanish. English is also common in tourist areas.

Money: According to A2zgov, the monetary unit of Guatemala is the quetzal (by the name of the bird – the symbol Guatemala), 1 quetzal is divided into 100 centavos. In circulation there are banknotes of 500, 200, 100, 50, 20 and 10 quetzals and coins of 50, 20, 10 and 5 centavos. US dollars are accepted almost everywhere: in shops, markets and hotels, although the exchange rate there is not the most favorable. Tipping: It is customary to leave a tip of 10% of the amount indicated on the bill in a restaurant. You can give 1-2 dollars to the porter, taxi driver and doorman. Banks and shops are open on weekdays until 13:00. Small shops are open from 9:00 to 18:00 with a long break. Large – without a break from 9:00 to 20:00.

In most cases, you can pay by credit card (Visa cards are preferred).
Electricity: in Guatemala, American parameters are used, the voltage in the mains is 120 V, the frequency is 60 Hz. American sockets with flat plugs (types A and B).

Transport: La Aurora International Airport is located in Guatemala City. The main cities of the country are connected by domestic airlines. In 2000, a new highway was built to Flores. It passes through the rather dangerous Petén area, so tourists should not go on their own. Local buses are a relatively inexpensive mode of transport. Driving on the roads is difficult in the rainy season, as they are very washed out. Tourists should not travel by intercity buses at night. If you decide to rent a car, then a credit card is not needed, only a deposit will be taken from you.

Communication and Internet: There are a large number of Internet cafes in the capital and in the main tourist areas of the country. Wireless networks are available in some hotels and cafes, as well as at the airport. Cellular communication of the GSM 800/1900 standard is relatively developed. Operators Comcel (GSM 850), Sercom SA (GSM 1900) and Telefonica Centroamerica Guatemala (GSM 1900) provide almost complete coverage of the country’s territory around the main cities, with the exception of the north-eastern regions of the country. In the capital, the cable telephone system is noticeably more developed than in the country, but even taking this into account, there is only 1 telephone for 17 Guatemalans. International telephone calls can be made from almost all major cities and towns, but for this you will have to use the services of call centers (located mainly in in the building of post offices and in large organizations) or from rare yet specialized pay phones (they work with plastic cards). Inside the country, you can call from almost any pay phone (the cost of a minute within the capital is about 0.5 quetzal, long-distance calls cost from $0.3 to $0.7 per minute). Phone calls outside the country between 19.00 and 07.00 are 25% cheaper. The international dialing code of the country is 502. The outgoing international code is 00. The codes of some cities are Amatitlán – 9, Antigua Guatemala – 9, Guatemala City – 2, Quetzaltenango – 9, Puerto Barrios – 9, Zacapa – 9, San Jose – nine.

Safety: Traveling in Guatemala is not safe. Although recently, many police officers have appeared in the country who are responsible for order in places especially visited by tourists. But, despite this, pickpocketing, armed attacks and attacks when trying to withdraw money are frequent here.from an ATM. Foreigners should not leave the city at night, it is better to avoid demonstrations and rallies, and not to walk alone. Only first aid can be provided free of charge in the few local state medical centers. Ambulance services are paid. Insurance medical care for sick foreigners is carried out only in private medical institutions in the amount provided for by their insurance documents in the presence of an international credit card. Russian institutions (other than the embassy branch) in Guatemala is not available.

Shopping and shops in Guatemala

Guatemalan craftswomen have become proficient in the art of making amazing carpets. The country is also famous for its jewelry, antiques and wool products, which are sold at reasonable prices. About a third of the price can be brought down during the auction. Clothing in the national style of the craziest colors can be purchased at the market. Souvenir shops are filled with products depicting the national bird – the quetzal. The main food souvenirs from Guatemala are coffee and chocolate. In Antigua, they make excellent cakes and skillfully copy Mayan stone products. The most famous Indian market in all of Central America is in Chichicastenango. It operates on Thursdays and Sundays. Merchants and buyers come here from all the provinces of Guatemala, and it all looks the same as it did several centuries ago.

Cuisine and restaurants of Guatemala

The cuisine of Guatemala is similar to that of Mexico, based on maize, fried meat, rice and legumes. All dishes are richly seasoned with herbs and spices. Meat is most often grilled or stewed in pots. The bird is roasted on a spit and served with vegetables. Meat sausages are also popular. A traditional dessert is a sweet-filled burrito, ice cream, or seasonal fruit. A traditional meal is not complete without a cup of strong aromatic coffee. In some places, the traditions of Indian cuisine have been preserved since Mayan times.

From alcohol, local beer (especially Quetzalteca), rum and rompopo (rum cocktail with milk and egg) are popular among tourists.

Holidays and non-working days:

  • September 15 – Independence Day (1821),
  • October 20 – Revolution Day 1944

Non-working days:

  • May 1 – Labor Day,
  • June 30 – Army Day, Easter week (March-April),
  • November 1 – All Saints Day,
  • December 24-25 – Christmas holidays,
  • December 31 New Year.

Useful phones:

The international dialing code of Guatemala is 502; outgoing international code – 00. Codes of some cities: Guatemala – 2, Antigua Guatemala – 9, Amatitlán – 9, Quetzaltenango – 9, Puerto Barrios – 9, Zacapa – 9, San Jose – 9.

Embassy of the Russian Federation in Guatemala: 2A, Avenida 12-85, zona 14, Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala; tel.: 2368-0979, 2367-2765. Consular Section 2366-8891.

Tourist Office of Guatemala (INGUAT) 331-1333 or (801) 464-82-81 (24 hours and free of charge).

Ambulance 128, Firemen 122, Police 110 or 120.

Important: All airports in the 27 countries of the European Union must check passengers’ hand luggage and not allow liquids in excess of 100 milliliters, with a total volume of no more than 1 liter, to be carried on board aircraft. Medicines and baby food are checked separately and are not limited in volume. Perfumes, drinks, alcohol and aerosols purchased from duty-free shops at the airport and packed in sealed plastic bags can also be carried in hand luggage. BUT!!! If a passenger has a flight with a transfer, liquids purchased at the airport of departure will not be allowed on board, they can only be purchased at the transfer airport.

Guatemala Tourist Guide