Safety Advice for Solo Female Travelers in Guatemala

Safety Advice for Solo Female Travelers in Guatemala

Where is Guatemala? That was my first question when deciding on a place to learn Spanish. When I found out Guatemala is in Central America, my second questions was: is Guatemala safe?

I’m not going to lie, my family was not happy about my chosen destination constantly asking me: Is it safe to visit Guatemala? If I’m honest I had some serious reservations about my safety in Guatemala before going there. I knew very little about Guatemala like most people I have to do a search to find out where Guatemala even was. All I knew about Guatemala was it was a country in Central America with a long history of civil war. That and the fact my uncle once spent a few nights in a Guatemala jail back in the day (don’t even ask).

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So chances are you are in the same position and wondering “Is Guatemala safe?”  After living there for 9 months I can say with 100% security it is safe to visit Guatemala. In fact, it is one of the most welcoming and friendly places I have ever visited. I’m sure you will love Guatemala just as much as I did if you decide to travel there.

In this post, I am going to cover 7 key safety issues for solo female travelers visiting Guatemala, but really it’s good general safety advice for anyone traveling anywhere. So, is Guatemala safe? If you do these things, yes.

  1. Don’t travel at night
  2. Don’t walk along in the early morning or in the evening
  3. Avoid early morning buses
  4. Don’t travel between villages on the lake by road
  5. Take care when getting a Tuk Tuk alone
  6. Keep your belongings locked away
  7. Always keep your Bankcard separate from your cash
  8. Carry a copy of your passport


Want to visit Antigua Guatemala but you only have 2 days? Antigua is one of my favorite places in the world. I arrived here for 2 weeks and ended up here for months! If you are just passing through there are a few places you need to see so here is my 2 day itinerary to explore Antigua Guatemala.

Is Guatemala safe for solo female travelers?

In a nutshell yes. I spent 9 months there and nothing bad happened to me. Granted I heard lots of stories and know people who did run into trouble, but no matter where you are in the world there are people looking to steal your stuff. So long as you keep your wits about you and follow the advice in this post you should be fine. Honestly watching the news of terror attacks across Europe and the USA I have felt far safer in Guatemala these past few months.

Like many Latin American Countries, Guatemala has had a troubled past. With a long civil war and government corruption, for a long time, it was unsafe to travel here. But Since the Civil War ended the country has worked hard to repair and heal itself. On the whole, I have found Guatemalan people to be the kindest and friendly people I have met. 

Seriously, ask anyone who has been to Guatemala “Is Guatemala safe?” and they will all tell you what they love most about Guatemala is how friendly the people are.

That said every country has it’s bad apples, Guatemala is no different. There are a lot of people living in poverty who feel they have no option but to turn to crime.

Just a side note, it’s worth remembering that when you are haggling down prices on your gifts, it may be just a few dollars to you but that goes a long way in Guatemala. Take a read of my ethical travel in Guatemala guide for more tips.

Here are my top safety tips for solo female travelers in Guatemala


1. Try not to travel around Guatemala at night

If you are flying into the city at night book into this hostel and travel to your final destination in the morning. They offer a free shuttle to pick you up and then you can get dropped back on in the morning to get a shuttle to Antigua. You may be totally fine traveling at night. But it is a risk as most bus crime happens at night.

This doesn’t just go for getting from the airport, it’s a general rule. I have traveled at night with no problems and I know lots of people who have taken the night bus from Tikal for example. But it is more of a risk at night than in the day.

If you need to travel to Lake Atitlan make sure you plan so you are there before dark.  It’s always better to spend a night in Antigua and take the morning shuttle to the lake.

2. Don’t walk alone early in the morning or after dark

Most crime (especially in Antigua) happens early morning or late at night. Weekends are always worse. The most common thing is that 2 guys on a moto (scooter) will come past you and snatch your bag. Be warned everyone I know who this happened to has said they were threatened with a knife. So give them the bag. It’s not worth the risk. There aren’t local people they come from the city just to steal from tourists. It’s sad but true. As I said I never had any issues but I do know people who this has happened to. I always walk close to buildings with my bag on the side away from the road. I also always avoided taking anything of value out with me whenever possible. Oh and try not to carry too much cash!


3. Avoid the early morning buses if you can

I have heard a few reports of crime happening on the 4 am bus to Nicaragua. To put it into context a bus goes every day and I’ve heard 1 or 2 stories. So it’s not a big issue, but it does happen and the attaches were pretty brutal. If you want to be extra precautious then take the day bus or fly. 

4. Don’t travel between villages on the lake by road

As well as being unsafe, it’s uncomfortable and often takes longer. If you want to play it safe get the shuttle to Panajachel and take the water taxi (launch) from Pana to your final destination. If you are visiting other villages do so during the day and take the boat rather than a tuk-tuk. With the exception of San Marcos and Tzunun and San Pedro and San Juan which I have never had any issues with walking or taking a Tuk Tuk during the day. In the evening that’s another matter, these routes are unsafe at night and you should not walk them. If you have to travel take a Tuk Tuk preferable with a friend.


5. Take care getting Tuk Tuks alone

See my last point. If you need to get home and you are alone at night ask someone for the number of a trusted Tuk Tuk driver. If you have no choice then taking a Tuk Tuk is better than walking. This advice isn’t just for traveling at night. Just before I left Antigua I heard about a girl who had a nasty experience traveling to her home outside of Antigua in a Tuk Tuk. Within the city, you should be fine but be careful if you are staying outside the city. Like I said I have never had any issues but I’m always very careful.

How to spend a day in Antigua Guatemala

6. Keep your stuff locked away

I lived in a hostel for a few months and I never locked anything away including my expensive computer and camera. Nothing was ever taken. But not all hostels are the same, and not all of them take such care with security. 


7. Keep your bank card separate

This is just standard travel safety advice. Guatemala has no postal service. So if you lose your card there it’s going to be a whole drama getting it back. And don’t even get me started on trying to get money western unioned to you. I always kept mine in my locker unless I needed to get cash out.

8. Always carry a copy of your passport

This is useful for many reasons but the big one is if you have any issues you can just show it to the police. But you will also need it to use your card in any shop.

Is Guatemala safe for solo travelers? Final thoughts

I hope this post has been useful in answering the question “Is Guatemala safe” and in highlighting some of the dangers of traveling in Guatemala, but it hasn’t put you off. I love Guatemala and I felt very safe there. However, like any country there is crime. So it’s best to know what to look out for. I really hope you enjoy this beautiful country as much as I did. If you have any questions please let me know. If Guatemala is just one stop on your trip then I recommend taking a read of this to reassure you about solo travel in Central America

Transport and tours in Guatemala can come with risks. The only company I recommend for booking transport and tours in Guatemala (other than the individuals and companies I have named) is GuateGo. They are a Guatemala owned company who have painstakingly brought together all of the transport and tour options in one easy to use website. You can book transport in Guatemala with them here and Guatemalan tours with them here.


Safety Advice for Solo Female Travelers in Guatemala


Planning a Trip to Guatemala? You might be interested in these articles:

How to get from Guatemala City to Antigua

The night I thought I was going to die in Guatemala

Things to know before visiting Antigua, Guatemala

11 things to know before visiting Guatemala

The Top 5 Tours in Guatemala | The Best Tours in Guatemala in Guatemala



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  • Skyscanner – I’m a bit fan of Skyscanner, it is who I use to book all of my flights. I often will check other like Google Flights or Momodo, but I always go here first and it is who I book 99% of my flights with. 
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  • Airbnb – I’m not a huge user of Airbnb, but sometimes I do like to use it, and I ALWAYS check it before I book anything else. You can get some really cool places to stay here, and it is especially good in places like Cuba. If you don’t have an account and you click on this link then you will get $36 off your first booking.
  • Hostelworld – If you are looking for hostels then this is a great place to check first. They often have additional places that you won’t find on
  • Agoda – Although I don’t use it as much as, Agonda is especially good if you are traveling in Asia as they really do dominate there. 
  • Worldpackers – If you want to travel on the cheap and save money on accommodation then you need Worldpackers in your life. You can read more about it here. If you click this link to sign up and use the code CLAIRESITCHYFEET then you can get a 40% discount on your membership! 
  • Book a Way – If you are traveling in Asia and want to pre-book your transportation then is a fantastic site to do so. They have buses, trains, and cars.
  • RentalCars – Looking to rent a. car while you are away? I always book through Rental Cars as they do a search of all of the big sites and find the best deals. 
  • Welcome Pickups – Very occasionally getting from the airport to my accommodation is a total pain in the butt, or I’m traveling in a group and it makes sense to arrange a pickup. When I do I use Welcome pickups.
  • World Nomads – If you are looking for flexible travel insurance then it’s World Nomads all the way. I wrote all about insurance here if you want a more thorough review. 
  • SafetyWing – AsI’m a Digital Nomad and not moving around quite so much anymore I personally use SafetyWing now for my health insurance. I wrote a full review here
  • Viatour – Sometimes it can be a little expensive, but I like Viatour for somethings, especially if you can get a discount code! It’s also great for inspiration. 
  • Klook – If you are traveling in Asia, then Klook is great! You can book all kinds of tours, activities, and train tickets, plus they even have sim cards and WiFi.

Claire Summers

Dancer, producer, traveller, photographer, cake maker, dog lover and knitter of Christmas scarfs.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. nicole

    Hi Claire, thanks for this post, I found it really helpful! I’m traveling to Antigua in a couple weeks as a solo female traveler. I’m staying just 4 blocks south of the Parque Central and I feel pretty comfortable about navigating everything except maybe when I’m headed back to the hotel after dinner (i.e. after dark). What do you think is my best option for that? Taxi over tuktuk? What about uber – are they available around town? I’d love any additional tips you have! Thanks!

    1. Claire Summers

      Hey Nicole! OK so your only option really is a TukTuk, you will see when you get there people don’t really use taxis for short distances like that. A Tuk Tuk will be 15Q. You may feel comfortable walking. Just see how you feel. My advice is to not carry a bag, instead of split valuables up and put in pockets. If you do have a bag make sure it is a cross body and that it is on the wall side when you are walking. The most common issue is guys coming pact on Motos and snatching bags. This never happened to me in all the time I lived there. But I know a lot of people it did happen to, so always be cautious! Have the best time and let me know about your trip when you get back!

  2. JD

    Hello can you suggest local tour guides for Antigua, and the lake

    1. Claire Summers

      Just the ones I recommend in my posts try Heart of Travel

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