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Is Guatemala Safe to Travel to? Guatemala Safety Tips

My first question when deciding on a place to learn Spanish was, “Is it safe to travel to Guatemala?” I won’t lie: my family wasn’t happy about my chosen destination. They constantly asked me about crime in Guatemala and “Is Guatemala dangerous?”

I had serious reservations about Guatemala safety before going there. I knew very little about Guatemala—like most people, I had to search for Guatemala to find it on the map! All I knew was it was a country in Central America with a long history of civil war, but how safe is Guatemala today?

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $45.08. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

Is Guatemala Safe to Travel to?

By now, you’re probably in my position, wondering, “How dangerous is Guatemala?”  After living there for nine months, I can say with 100% security, it is safe to visit Guatemala. It is one of the most welcoming and friendly places I‘ve visited. I’m sure you will love Guatemala just as much as I did if you travel there and enjoy all the best things to do in Guatemala.

I share essential safety tips for solo female travelers visiting Guatemala in this post. These tips also apply to anyone traveling anywhere worldwide. So, is Guatemala safe? If you do these things, yes!

  1. Don’t travel at night
  2. Don’t walk alone in the early morning or 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 credit card separate from your cash
  8. Carry a copy of your passport

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 
Best Guatemala ToursClick here to check out the top Guatemala tours
Best Guatemala Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Guatemala
Best Guatemala Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Guatemala

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 it Safe to Travel to Guatemala Alone As a Female?

In a nutshell, yes. I spent nine months there, and nothing bad happened to me. Granted, I heard many stories and know people who did run into trouble. Regardless of where you are, people are looking to steal your stuff. You should be fine if you keep your wits about you and follow the advice in this guide to Guatemala safety.

Like many Latin American countries, Guatemala has a troubled past, with a long civil war and government corruption. For a long time, it was unsafe to travel there due to high rates of crime in Guatemala. Since the Civil War ended, the country has worked hard to repair and heal. Overall, I have found Guatemalan people to be kind and friendly.

Advice for Solo Travelers in Guatemala

Ask anyone who has been to Guatemala, “How safe is Guatemala?” They will all tell you how friendly the Guatemalan people are.

Every country has its bad apples, and Guatemala is no different. Many people are living in poverty and feel they have no option but to turn to Guatemala crime.

Top Tip: When haggling prices, remember it may be just a few dollars to you but that goes a long way in Guatemala. Read my ethical travel in Guatemala guide for more tips.

Guatemala City and Antigua Guatemala Safety Tips for Solo Female Travelers

1. Don’t Travel at Night

If you’re flying into La Aurora International Airport at night, you may wonder, “Is Guatemala City safe after dark?” While I haven’t had any issues in Guatemala City at night, I recommend booking accommodations near the airport and traveling to your final destination in the morning. Some hotels offer a free shuttle that takes you to the hotel and returns you in the morning to get a shuttle to Antigua. You may be fine traveling at night, but it is riskier, as most acts of bus crime in Guatemala happen at night.

This doesn’t just go for travel to and from the airport: it’s a general rule. I have traveled at night with no problems, and I know many people who have taken the night bus from Tikal, for example. But there’s more risk at night than during the day.

Plan to arrive before dark if you need to travel to Lake Atitlan. It’s always better to spend a night in Antigua and take the morning shuttle to the lake.

Transportation and tours in Guatemala can come with risks. The only company I recommend in Guatemala (other than the individuals and companies I have named) is GuateGo. They are a Guatemala-owned company that has combined all the transportation and tour options in one easy-to-use website. You can book Guatemala transportation and tours with them here.

If you are nervous about traveling in Guatemala and would prefer to hire a tour guide, check out Heart of Travel. Click here to learn more about them and how they can help plan your Guatemalan adventure.

Advice for Solo Travelers in Guatemala

2. Don’t Walk Alone Early in the Morning or After Dark

Is Antigua Guatemala safe? Most crime in Antigua happens early in the morning or late at night, and weekends are worse. The most common scheme is that two guys on a moto (scooter) will drive past and snatch your bag. Be warned: everyone I know who this happened to said they were threatened with a knife, so give them the bag. It’s not worth the risk. These usually aren’t local people—they come from the city to steal from tourists. It’s sad but true. I never had issues, but I know people who experienced this. I always walk close to buildings with my bag on the side, away from the road. I also avoid taking anything of value out or carrying too much cash.

3. Avoid the Early Morning Buses, if Possible

I’ve heard several Guatemala crime reports from the 4:00 am bus to Nicaragua. This isn’t a big issue, but it does happen, and the bandits can be brutal. Instead, take a daytime bus or a flight.

4. Don’t Travel Between Villages On the Lake by Road

Traveling between villages on the lake by road is unsafe, uncomfortable, and time-consuming. Play it safe and get the shuttle to Panajachel to take the water taxi (launch) to your final destination. If you visit other villages, go during the day and take the boat rather than a tuk-tuk. Except for San Marcos, Tzunun, San Pedro, and San Juan, I haven’t had issues walking or taking a tuk-tuk during the day. These routes are unsafe in the evening, and you should not walk them. If you must travel, take a tuk-tuk—preferably with a friend.

5. Be Cautious When Taking a Tuk-Tuk Alone

See my last point. If you need to get home and are alone at night, ask someone for the number of a trusted tuk-tuk driver. If you have no choice, taking a tuk-tuk is better than walking. Just before I left Antigua, I heard about a girl who had a nasty experience traveling to her home outside the city in a tuk-tuk. You should be fine in the town, but be careful if you stay elsewhere.

How to spend a day in Antigua Guatemala

6. Lock Your Items Away

I lived in a hostel for a few months and never locked anything away, including my expensive computer and camera. However, not all hostels are the same—some have minimal security. Keep your items and valuables locked away, out of sight, to be safe.

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’s a lot of drama to get it back. Don’t get me started on trying to get money from Western Union! I always kept my bank cards 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 show your passport to the police. You will also need it to use your bank card in any shop.

Quick Tip: View my full Guatemala packing guide here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my Guatemala Essentials shopping list here.

Looking for Accommodations in Antigua?

I recommend several places for a hostel, including Selina and Yellow House Hostel. I recommend Hotel Mesón de María and Barbara’s Boutique Hostel for hotels. I’ve gathered all the best places to eat in Antigua if you need recommendations.

If you want to stay in San Pedro, I recommend Zoola San Pedro AtitlanAmiGosHotel Tinamit, Cristalinas Cafe, or Hotel & Restaurant at Lake.

In Panajachel, I recommend PanaHouse or Selina Atitlan.

I also wrote an entire accommodation guide for Antigua, Guatemala City, and Lake Atitlan.

Guatemala Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Guatemala?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Guatemala which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for Guatemala on Amazon here.

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in Guatemala?

I strongly recommend using GottoGo. You can book almost all transport in the major tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Guatemala?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a lot of options!

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack. 

Is Guatemala Safe to Travel to Alone? Final Thoughts

I hope this guide to Guatemala City and Antigua Guatemala safety has answered your questions about “Is Guatemala safe to visit alone?” I’ve tried to be honest about crime in Guatemala without putting you off from visiting. I love Guatemala and felt very safe there—however, like any country, there is crime. I hope you enjoy this beautiful country as much as I did. If you have any questions, please let me know! Read this guide to solo travel in Central America if you plan to visit other nearby countries.

Safety Advice for Solo Female Travelers in Guatemala

This post was proofread by Grammarly.


Monday 31st of May 2021

Hello, Thanks for the post. Is July a good month to visit Guatemala? Thanks


Monday 1st of April 2019

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

Claire Summers

Friday 5th of April 2019

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


Tuesday 5th of February 2019

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!

Claire Summers

Friday 8th of February 2019

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!