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With its smoking volcanoes, imposing Mayan ruins and colorful cities, Guatemala is a photographer's gold mine. Film is easily found in most cities and towns, including both color and black and white (not that anyone really uses film camera anymore). For those who do in fact use roll film, there are also processing centers in most substantial cities. Digital cameras sold in Guatemala are a bit more expensive than you'd think, because of import fees. You can upload your digital images at some film processing centers and internet cafes. As in many other Latin American countries, try to keep your camera and equipment out of sight as much as possible, because they attract thieves.

Photographic etiquette is a salient topic in Guatemala due to the protective stance many Maya take over their children in areas not frequented by tourists. This attitude has to do with widespread rumors in rural Guatemala that foreigners steal indigenous children and sell their organs. Although this isn't grounded in much concrete evidence, there is a good deal of suspicion towards foreigners in many Maya communities. Exercise extreme caution when photographing Maya children, and do not try to touch them. A Japanese tourist was beaten to death a few years ago after attempting to pick up a Maya child. If you want to take close-up pictures of Guatemalans, asking for permission is necessary. Some may charge you a few quetzals, especially children. If it's a landscape photograph and there happen to be people in it, don't worry about it.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Guatemala: Minor Health Problems In Guatemala, When To Go, When To Go, Communications, Major Health Problems In Guatemala, Town Overview , Pepián - an authentic Guatemalan dish and Media.

By Eli Mangold
11 Aug 2010

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