Is Travel to Guatemala Safe?
7 Tips for Safe Travel at Lake Atitlán, Guatemala – Your Ultimate Guide to Enjoying the Beauty and Serenity of the Lake
Are you planning your trip to Guatemala but worried about safety concerns?
We understand that safety is a top priority for travelers. That’s why we’re here to provide you with the information and resources you need to make the most out of your trip while remaining safe and secure.
Lake Atitlán: A Gem in the Guatemalan Highlands
Guatemala is a vibrant and culturally diverse nation. From its ancient Mayan ruins and colorful colonial architecture to its lush jungles and towering volcanoes, Guatemala has something to offer for everyone.
If you are still wondering whether you should visit this stunning country, read this article: Why Visit Guatemala? 10 Reasons to Fall in Love with This Stunning Country
Thousands of tourists travel to Guatemala’s Lake Atitlán each year, because of its spectacular beauty. With its crystal-clear waters and majestic volcanoes, it’s no wonder that this destination is a must-see for many travelers.
Our town is called San Marcos La Laguna, which is famous for its laid-back, bohemian vibe. Lake Atitlán, located in the highlands of Guatemala, is one of the most stunning and tranquil places on earth. The lake is surrounded by three towering volcanoes and dotted with charming villages.
But is travel to Guatemala safe?
Like any foreign destination, it’s important to take precautions and use common sense to ensure your safety while travelling.
In this post, we’ll provide advice on how to travel in and around Guatemala, and especially Lake Atitlán, safely. So pack your bags and get ready for a memorable journey in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
How safe is it to travel to Guatemala?
While Guatemala has experienced some security issues in the past, the situation has improved in recent years, and millions of tourists safely visit the country each year. The most common crimes reported are robbery, theft, and assault. However, the vast majority of tourists who visit Guatemala experience no problems. Many of these crimes occur in urban areas, and most tourists visit the more rural regions, such as Lake Atitlán, where crime rates are generally lower.
Lake Atitlán is a well-known tourist destination. There have been a few instances of robbery and assault, in certain areas, while the lake is mostly considered to be safe. The majority of these occurrences take place at night or in remote locations. Tourists can easily take in the beauty of the lake and its surrounds during the day as the region is generally safe and well protected by the police.
We collected some general safety measures to keep you safe on your travels.
Avoid Going Out At Night by Yourself
It’s always better to err on the side of caution, even if Lake Atitlán is normally safe. Just like in any other unfamiliar region, avoid going out alone at night, especially in places with poor lighting. Be cautious when travelling alone in distant locations and stick to well-traveled paths. Bring a torch since streets in San Marcos and other towns are usually not very well lighted.
Keep an Eye on Your Belongings
In tourist locations and public transportation, theft and pickpocketing may be issues. It’s wise to keep your valuables hidden and avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Carry your valuables on a money belt or store them in the safe to keep them secure. Keep valuable jewelry and devices out of sight to avoid drawing unwanted attention.
Drink Filtered Water and be Cautious with Street food
It is important to be cautious about the source of water and the food you consume to prevent any potential health issues. Opt for drinking filtered or bottled water to ensure its safety and avoid consuming tap water, as it may contain harmful bacteria or parasites. At Eagle’s Nest, we provide water filters to keep you hydrated.
Additionally, when enjoying the vibrant street food scene, exercise caution by choosing vendors with clean and hygienic food preparation practices. Look for busy stalls with a high turnover of customers, as this indicates freshness, and ensure that the food is cooked thoroughly. Around Lake Atitlan, you can find many safe restaurants and shops to indulge into the culinary world that Guatemala has to offer.
Curious about the local cuisine? Check out this article: Top 10 Mouth-Watering Traditional Guatemalan Food You Must Try
Use Reliable Transportation
Use reliable and licensed transportation services while traveling around the lake. It is not advisable to hitchhike or use unlicensed taxis. It is also important to be cautious while using public transport, or so-called “chicken buses” as there might be theft and pickpocketing. We are happy to help you organize shuttles to travel to lake Atitlán from Guatemala city or to other popular destinations. Check out our transportation page for more information.
Get a Guide when Hiking
When hiking volcanoes and mountains in the Lake Atitlán area, it is recommended to engage the services of a knowledgeable guide. A guide not only ensures your safety by navigating treacherous terrain, selecting suitable routes, and being prepared for emergencies, but also provides local expertise. The local guides offer deep insights into the region’s culture and ecology, you would might otherwise miss. With their guidance, you can discover hidden gems, and have peace of mind, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes while prioritizing your safety. Ask our reception for help to organize a guide for you.
Pay Attention to Boat Schedules
One of the best ways to explore the lake and its surrounding villages is by boat. It is likely that you will take a boat from Panajachel to San Marcos La Laguna when you first arrive to the lake.
The public boats, or “lanchas,” are an excellent choice because they operate on a regular schedule. They connect all major towns around the lake, such as San Pedro, San Juan and Panajachel.
Be aware of the schedules before going to the dock because it can change depending on the time of day and the day of the week. Most boats start running at 6:00 or 7:00 am and continue until 5:00 or 6:00 pm depending on the destination. Schedules may change depending on the season. Ask our reception for the details if you plan a trip.
Private boats cost more, but they provide greater freedom and privacy. At the docks or by contacting a neighborhood tour company, you can rent a private boat. If you want to alter your plan and spend extra time in a specific place, this choice is great.
Respect The Local Culture
Guatemala is home to a myriad of indigenous communities, each with its own unique customs, languages, and artistic expressions. When visiting places of worship or cultural significance, be conscious of the local traditions and dress accordingly. Keep in mind that you are a visitor in another nation and show respect for their way of life.
Curious to learn more about the Mayan culture? You may also like this article: Mayan Tree Planting Ceremony: Empowering Nature’s Growth And Sharing Ancient Wisdom
Is Travel to Guatemala Safe?
Lake Atitlán, and especially San Marcos La Laguna, is home to a global community of travelers and local people alike. The majority of visitors to Guatemala encounter no issues. Travelers may enjoy the beauty and culture of Guatemala and Lake Atitlán without any problems by using common sense and adopting some simple safety precautions. Don’t allow safety concerns prevent you from visiting one of the most breathtaking regions of the world.
At Eagle’s Nest, you will find a place that feels like home and connect with plenty of solo travelers to share your experiences with. We are happy to advise you in case of any safety concerns.
We are looking forward to welcome you at Eagle’s Nest and help you with any further concerns or questions you may have. Check our rooms and book your stay here.
FAQs – Is Travel to Guatemala Safe?
Is travel to Guatemala safe, specifically Lake Atitlán?
Although Guatemala, especially Lake Atitlán, has certain security concerns, it is generally regarded as secure for those who exercise the appropriate caution. It is crucial to stay up to date on the situation, adhere to travel warnings, and take reasonable safety precautions.
What are the most prevalent safety issues in Lake Atitlan?
Petty theft, pickpocketing, and bag snatching are common safety concerns in Lake Atitlán. It’s also a good idea to exercise caution while going into strange places at night and to keep expensive items and significant sums of cash hidden.
Are there any specific Lake Atitlan neighborhoods or regions to stay away from?
Although Lake Atitlán is generally safe, it is advised to use caution when traveling through remote or sparsely populated areas, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area. For the most recent information on any areas that might be deemed unsafe owing to criminal activity or other concerns, it is advised to consult local authorities, your lodging, or reliable sources.
What security measures ought I to take while I visit Lake Atitlán?
Conducting thorough research before your trip, choosing safe lodgings, using dependable transportation, and being aware of your personal possessions are some crucial safety steps. It’s also critical to respect regional traditions and customs, keep up with local news, and heed any advice given by local authorities or seasoned visitors.
Is it safe to hike Lake Atitlan’s highlands or volcanoes?
Exploring Lake Atitlan’s volcanoes and mountains on foot can be exhilarating, but an experienced guide is advised. By offering knowledge, help with navigation, emergency preparedness, and insights into the local ecosystem and culture, they can secure your safety. It’s crucial to heed their advice.
Is solo travelling to Lake Atitlán safe?
While it is normally safe to travel alone in Lake Atitlán, it is advised to use caution and adhere to basic safety precautions. Stay in frequented places, let someone know your trip intentions, avoid going for a nighttime stroll alone, and use caution while speaking to strangers. Other ways to improve your safety and overall experience include signing up for scheduled excursions or looking for other travelers to travel with. At Eagle’s Nest you will find many solo travelers and make new friends to share your trip.