Even though there are guards all over with automatic weapons inside the park and there are military installations nearby, busses heading to and from Tikal are still robbed occasionally. The day that I left Tikal banditos stopped another bus and robbed everyone at gunpoint. They also took several of the women off the bus and raped them. In June a group that is still owed money from the government blocked all roads into Tikal, trapping many people there for a few days. They also took over the airport in Flores and I think they held several busloads of visitors hostage for a few days.
those are the adises of the Swiss bureau of foreign affairs about Guatemala in German. Translation into english follow as soon as i have time.
Guatemala zählt zu den Ländern mit der höchsten Kriminalitätsrate in Lateinamerika.
Taschendiebstähle und Gewaltverbrechen werden im ganzen Land verübt. Überfälle
und Sexualdelikte ereignen sich auch am hellichten Tag, wobei selbst Reisegruppen
nicht verschont bleiben. Auf Unterstützung durch die Polizei ist nicht immer Verlass.
Beachten Sie unter anderem folgende Vorsichtsmassnahmen:
Tragen Sie keine Wertgegenstände (Schmuck, Uhren, teure Kameras), keinen
Modeschmuck und nur wenig Geld auf sich.
Händigen Sie bei einem Überfall die geforderten Gegenstände widerstandslos
aus, denn die Gewaltbereitschaft ist hoch.
Begeben Sie sich nach Einbruch der Dunkelheit nicht auf die Strasse.
Auf vielen Hauptverbindungsstrassen operieren straff organisierte und extrem
gewalttätige Banden. Überfälle auf Busse in und ausserhalb der Städte sind an
der Tagesordnung. Unternehmen Sie nachts und während der
Stosszeiten keine Überlandfahrten.
Nach dem Geldwechseln bei Banken besteht erhöhte Diebstahlgefahr: seien
Sie in solchen Momenten besonders wachsam.
In der Hauptstadt finden die meisten Raubüberfälle auf Touristen im Stadtkern,
Zone 1 und Umgebung, statt. Als sehr unsicher gilt der Busbahnhof in der Zone
4. Aber auch in den besser situierten Residenz- und Geschäftszonen 9, 10, 12,
14 und 15 kommen Überfälle vor.
Das ganze Departement Petén wird als gefährlich eingestuft. Im Nationalpark
Tikal, in der Nähe von El Remate und im Biotop Cerro Cahui wurden mehrere
gewalttätige Überfälle auf Touristen (auch Vergewaltigungen) gemeldet. Dort ist
daher äusserste Vorsicht geboten. Besuchen Sie die Maya-Ruinen sowie die
Naturschutzgebiete nur in Gruppen und in Begleitung eines offiziellen Führers
und reisen Sie im Flugzeug hin und zurück (Tourbus bis zu den Ruinen).
Als besonders gefährlich gelten ebenfalls folgende Gebiete: Cerro de la Cruz
ausserhalb von Antigua, die Ruinen von Quirigua, die transamerikanische
Strasse (Carretera Panamericana) von der Hauptstadt bis zum
Atitlansee, sowie die Gegend in und um Panajachel. Tecún Umán, die
wichtigste Grenzstadt zu Mexiko, gilt als Kriminellen-Hochburg.
Besteigen Sie Vulkane, speziell die beliebten Pacaya und Agua,
ausschliesslich in Gruppen und in Begleitung eines lokalen Reiseführers.
Frauen wird davon abgeraten, das Land alleine zu bereisen
There are many brochures extolling the virtues of climbing one of Guatemala's many volcanos. What they don't tell you is that such an activity can be very dangerous. There have been several incidents of guides being in cahoots with bandits. The guide will lead a group up a volcano and then suddenly disapear. The bandits will arrive and steal everything from the group, including (in some reported cases) their clothes. Make sure that if you do climb a volcano, you use a guide from a reputable company - and be careful!
I was there 10 years ago and they will probably still be talking about a rape that happend 15 years ago on the way up to Pacya. Just remember traveling can be dangerous and your guide is not paid to take a bullet or knifing for you. what ever you do do not get involved with any politics, not smart.
Well, this may be less of a problem now...but when we were there, our bus was stopped by the police (my what big guns you have) and were asked to step out without our stuff. They rifled through our bags and let us go. The year prior, the bus driver of the same group got held up by the men. The director said it was pretty scary. The year after I went, some girls from a nearby school to me in Maryland went on a similar bus tour, and were raped. Do me a favor--DO not go by yourself, and try and get on a tour. I am pretty fearless, but I have some sanity. Again, it may have changed, so this maybe outdated!
Though the Guatemaltecos are extremely kind, there are some people after your money too. When I was travelling through this country I spoke to many people who had been robbed or threatened. I think it's advisable not to look 'gringo' (rich and western)
While I've felt relatively safe in Guatemala one must always be careful. Do not flash money and generally it is best not to give the impression you are rich. I generally prefer to travel with a native and have hired a guide or driver for a day. Now the caution: a friend of mine from Guatemala had her cousin kidnapped and killed recently -- the kidnappers demanded a ransom and killed him when they received none. This might happen in London or New York City so I do not wish to 'label' Guatemala but it points out the need to always be alert.
WE were told by everyone, including cab drivers, the Guatemala city is NOT safe. It did not feel safe.
Antigua was diferent and quite safe. So was Flores Island. However, we were constantly told about the risks at secluded places like hiking the volcanos. Go with a reputable firm and they will contact the government for escort to the volcanos. We just trusted our gut and played it very safe, unlike other trips where we feel confident venturing everywhere.
Be very careful of the FOOD! I got extremly sick with Ameoboas! 7 of us did from the food and water, and we were told that it's unavoidable, if you have a strong stomach you might not feel the effects, but I definately will never go back because of it!
Usually it is not hard to get a visa to Guatemala. Before you go it is recommended to get vaccinated, because
Guatemala is a tropical Land and has a lot of Tropical forests (Malaria, etc.). When you get there: By air Try using the Airport Shuttle to your hotel, or use a taxi.
Guatemala City is a large City, so you will have to take the precautions you normally take in a large city.
If you can avoid eating foods which are not prepared in a good restaurant it is better, you don't know how it is made. And when you travel into the country rent your own car or go by plane or on a tourist bus offered in the hotel. The other services are not so reliable, cheap, but not reliable. You don't have to worry talking to police officers or any other official, they are not corrupt.
Not that it happens a lot but, just because your tour-guides have guns on your trip into the jugle, it doesn't mean they will use it when in trouble. Word around is that they run faster than pumas...
These are the stairs you have to climb up and what some people seem to forget .... go down (which I think is worse) to reach the top of the temples. Boy they are steep and narrow.
Really beautiful and small. Close to parque central but not in the center of things. Nice...more
We stayed two nights here, choosing it because of its nearness to the ruins. The plan was to be able...more
Nice hotel in a comfortable safe neighborhood in Zone 9. An easy walk to the Los Procures Mall and...more
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