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Safety is a genuine concern for all travelers and tourists but in many developing countries such as Guatemala you may need to be a little more vigilant. Violent attacks are generally rare but some have been reported in the past, mainly in the larger cities such as Guatemala City and Antigua. Pick pocketing and petty theft are a lot more common so make sure to keep a close eye on your personal belongings at all times, especially cameras, laptops, iPods, handbags and cell phones.

Try not to walk around alone at night, or even in small groups. In the more populated areas there are usually plenty of taxis which don’t cost very much. Often your hotel or the restaurant where you are eating will call one for you. For women, walking around alone is not a good idea and it is best to avoid wearing flashy jewelery or expensive looking clothing, as these can attract unwanted attention in an area where they are not the norm.

When you are hiking or climbing around Guatemala make sure you are wearing suitable footwear for the terrain and that you let someone nearby know where you are hiking. Even better hire a guide if possible. They tend to have a better knowledge of an area and can make a hike or a climb much easier and more enjoyable. Also, be careful when swimming in the ocean or in lakes, don’t swim at night and try and stick to areas where there are other people swimming. Sea currents can be hard to predict and getting caught in one is not worth the risk.

When traveling around some of the more rural parts of Guatemala try to keep in mind that taking photographs of the local indigenous can be found offensive. Some tourists have experienced hostile reactions to photos been taken without permission or in an intrusive manner. Be especially careful if children are involved. Guatemalans can be very wary of westerner’s taking too much of an interest in indigenous children. Reported cases of small children being kidnapped have made many communities very protective indeed.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Guatemala: Etiquette And Dress, Things To See And Do, Safety, Disabled, The Verapaces Accommodation, Tips For Budget Travelers, Eco-lodges In Guatemala, Safety, When to go and Safety.

18 Aug 2010

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