Be Prepared for the Weather
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: The weather in Guatemala depends on where you are. The whole country is in the rainy season during the summer, so definitely be prepared for wet weather. An *umbrella* is invaluable, or a good light-weight rain jacket. Besides that, the places you travel to are very different in terms of climate. Antigua and Lake Atitlan are in the highlands, so they are cooler and more temperate. A sweatshirt of long sleeved shirt would not be amiss, even in June. However, Tikal is smack in the middle of the jungle, near sea level, and very typical jungle weather. Hot, humid.
Luggage and bags: If you are traveling by small plane make sure you do not pack in a big suitcase. I prefer a backpack and a rolling duffel.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Hiking boots, Zip-off pants and raingear or an unbrella are a must. I usually prefer an umbrella since it is normally so hot.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sting ease is essential the black fly bites really itch.
Photo Equipment: Electricity is only available at certain times of the day so make sure you recharge everything you need to during those times. Camera with a zoom lens is a must.
Bring a little bag.
Luggage and bags: 30-40 L bags are plenty for Central America.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: One warmish outfit for night.
Two options for day (yoga pants are brilliant!)
Miscellaneous: I was so HAPPY not to be lugging around my big pack. The little one was perfect.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Insects and Men
Luggage and bags: keep it light. One bag is never enough, but try.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: PANTS... I prefer skirts and dresses any day... NOT IN GUATEMALA. You will find the insects and the men equally repulsive if you wear anything other than pants.
ONE "GOOD" outfit. there are some VERY good restaurants and they are inexpensive by US standards. They expect tie and jacket for men and evening wear for women. I still recommend pants for the eving wear. If you aare not sure... issey miake or michell St. john are always great travel clothes..... EVEN IF YOU ARE BACKPACKING. It rolls up, it doesn't wrinkle and washes very easily.
Tank tops are ok, but always keep a light covering[ sweater, cotton blouse]
comfortable shoes---and PLEASE don't wear WHITE sneakers... it screams tourist---you make it difficult for the rest of us... also... leave the shorts for the mall.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: 1]Insect Repellent- wear it land lavish your entire body with it twice daily
2]Chloroquinine JUST IN CASE
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: While in Guatemala City for a conference, we stayed at the lovely Westin Camino Real. The hotel has this lovely courtyard we used for our coffee breaks. But beware of the mosquitoes as they could be carriers of Dengue Fever! Note the mosquito net in the photo.Related to:
- Business Travel
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: If you're planning a trip to the jungle - and why wouldn't you be - as the Mayan ruins are there - then I suggest you pack a pretty strong mosquito repellent! When we arrived at the airport - there we were in Flores - a group of very untanned people applying copious amounts of sun tan lotion followed by copious amounts of mosquito repellent - could almost have slipped straight out of the airport - or perhaps that was something to do with the humidity causing the tiles to be wet!
Luggage and bags: Don't try to ship anything into the country. If you can't check it on the plane with you, don't bother. You'll pay as much in shipping and customs as you would to buy it in country and have a lot more hassle.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Travel umbrella during the rainy season, April through October. Always carry it. As a general rule we find a t-shirt to be too heavy or tight for the weather. Cotton shirts or blouses are best.
Luggage and bags: If you're staying in a city or large town it doesn't matter what type of luggage you bring, although you might not want to bring anything that makes you look affluent. You'll definately want to bring some sort of backpack or daypack to hold your necessities if you plan on hiking or sightseeing. If you're going to the rainforest or undeveloped areas, you'll definately want something rugged (and waterproof). Many local artisans make colorful and study backpacks and duffel-type bags that are perfect for short trips and make a great souvineer.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: BRING AN UMBRELLA AND CARRY IT WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES. I was in Guatemala during June and July and it rained almost everyday, and a lot of times there was no warning. Bring a swimsuit if the place you're staying has a pool. You'll want to bring good, broken-in hiking shoes if you plan to go volcano climbing or visit sites like Tikal. The clothes you should bring depend on when and where you will be visiting. Rainy season is from May - October, dress accordingly. Antigua is cool in the early morning hours and evening, you'll want to wear long pants and a warm shirt. Antigua is also conservative, so you'll want to avoid flashy and/or sexy clothing. Local women don't wear shorts there, however there are tons of tourists in Antigua due to the many Spanish schools, so many foreign women do wear shorts and it is accepted. Some foreign women choose to wear ankle-length Hawaiian-style sarongs, however they seem to come off looking out of place. Ladies, don't wear high heeled shoes in Antigua: all their streets are cobblestone and your ankles will be twisted all out of whack (I know this from personal experience) and you will be dubbed 'la chica loca' by all shocked bystanders watching you spit curses at the street (again personal experience)!
Tikal is usually humid and hot, even when it's raining. Many people wear long pants and shirts because of mosquitos: I tried that, but after about 10 minutes I was peeling off my pants for shorts and mosquito repellant. The mosquito repellant worked and I don't remember getting any bites. Since Tikal is so remote and was an archeological site for so long, there are no social customs regarding clothing, so feel free to wear whatever's comfortable. Remember it's a rainforest so you'll probably want to skip the denim, and you will be doing a lot of hiking and climbing so bring good shoes. The early mornings (and I'm talking 4:00 a.m.) can be a little chilly if it's overcast, so bring a light jacket or sweatshirt if you're planning on getting up early to watch the sun rise. A poncho would be a good idea if you decide not to let rain deter your hiking.
Lake Atitlan is the vacation spot for most Guatemalans, and so attire is usually laid-back. You won't find very many people in swimsuits (or swimming for that matter) so it's a judgement call for you if you want to wear one. Again, due to the influx of tourists, foreign women can wear pretty much whatever they want without raising eyebrows; I would suggest a long sundress.
When visiting Mayan villages and churches, ladies should always dress modestly, wearing shirts with sleeves and skirts that come past their knees. Some churches require headcoverings, and shorts are not allowed inside churches for women or men, period.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Don't forget mosquito repellant. If you go anywhere near the coast or the rainforest, you're going to need it. However, if you do forget it, it can be bought there. If you're staying with a host family, most likely you'll be required to provide your own toilet paper. Toilet paper is sold in many stores, however if you like double-ply soft toilet paper, you'll probably want to bring some from home! Bring your usual toiletries, however don't worry if you forget something, if you're in a populated city such as Guatemala City or Antigua, you can find everything you need in the supermercados (grocery stores). Most mercados (basically a farmer's market, bazaar, flea market) around populated areas of the country sell everything you could possibly need as well, just be sure to stock up before you go to remote areas. Guatemala has many pharmacies which are well stocked with everything from prescription drugs to bandaids, so while it might be convenient for you to bring a first aid kit along, you're not in trouble if you don't. Again, be sure to stock up before going to remote areas.
Photo Equipment: Definately bring a camera, Guatemala is a beautiful country and you'll want pictures! You can easily buy many types of film in cities like Guatemala City and Antigua, but it is expensive so you'll probably want to bring your own. If you absolutely can't wait to have your photos developed, there are many Kodak and Fugi photo-processing centers that develop quality photos and have many options available. Their prices range from reasonable to expensive, so shop around. If your camera requires special batteries, you'll want to bring extras along, however in Guatemala City and Antigua you can find an abundance of normal AAA - D batteries for decent prices (if you haggle) in the mercados.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Camping isn't as developed in Guatemala as it is in the United States, however if you're dead set on doing it there's a few sites along the coast and near Tikal. I would highly recommend mosquito netting!!! You'll probably want to rent your supplies instead of lugging them on the airplane. There are a couple of companies that offer camping supplies and expeditions, you can go to any Inguat (Guatemala's tourism department) office and receive contact info.
Miscellaneous: While the local Guatemalan music is great, bring a portable cd player and your favorite cds if you want to hear music from home. Unless you like the Backstreet Boys, NSync, and Britney Spears; they're played in abundance there, so are The Eagles and Elton John. Bring your favorite snack treats from home: many of them can be found in Guatemala, however they're more expensive and sometimes stale. If you go to the smaller towns and villages, the local children will be delighted if you give them pens and pencils, so you might want to bring some extras. Bring pictures of your family and life back in the United States, people find it fascinating and it will help if you get homesick! Don't bring anything valuable or that has great sentimental value, you never know what will happen. Contact lense care supplies are hard to find in Guatemala, so be sure to bring extras. Everything else is pretty easy to find in Guatemala City and Antigua, so don't freak out if you forget anything!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: If you're going to the Southern region be prepared for lots of heat and humidity. Especially in the summer, take mosquito repellent, and bug bite lotion/ointment.
Miscellaneous: There is a $30 departure tax--be prepared!
Miscellaneous: Keep listen. The sounds of the jungle are electrifying. Parrots screach ideisms, while rain slaps and thunders its intent and arrival. Definetly nature's playground..
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