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Questions about Guatemala

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Costa Rica
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25,654 posts
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Questions about Guatemala

You might consider me the "Queen of Prep" but I like to know as much about a destination as possible before I arrive. I have done some searches on this forum but would like to ask a few questions:

1. Do I need to keep a copy of my passport with me if I am staying at a hotel and just going places around the area? I will have other ID with me. Are there any random "passport checks" ? Would the copy need to be a color copy or would B&W do just as well?

2. I read in a couple of posts that people who tip, usually tip something like 10%. Would you tip a shuttle driver? Someone who does your laundry? Hotel maids? Other tipping recommendations? Guides?

3. Could you give me an estimated range of cost for having laundry done? I won't be staying in any fancy hotels so probably just a local laundry or lady.

4. Tough one -- estimated food costs per day. I usually eat simple meals and like to eat where locals eat. Nothing fancy. Even a range of estimated costs would be helpful.

5. Could you advise me of any cultural "do's and don'ts"? I am usually respectful about taking photos of people, asking "Con permiso?" beforehand. Any other things you can think of?

Thanks so much for your help.

The Dalles, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Guatemala, Belize
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327 reviews
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1. Re: Questions about Guatemala

1. I keep a b&w copy of my passport with me but in 9 or 10 trips have never been asked. I also email a scan of it to myself before a trip.

2. If I'm happy with the service of a driver, guide, etc., I tip generously, often more than 10%. Most don't seem to expect it in my experience but are grateful.

3. Varies by area. I think I've usually paid about $3 for a medium load, dried and folded.

4. Too subjective because it doesn't speak to how much you eat or whether you'll prepare some meals yourself, which we normally do. You could do <$10 a day that way but $15 would be more fun and on up from there.

5. You could consider a book like "Culture Smart Guatemala" but are unlikely to need it if you're from Costa Rica:


My photos and recommendations are below if you're interested. Happy trails!


Bethesda, MD
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36 reviews
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2. Re: Questions about Guatemala

I've never been asked for my passport. But having a copy on you is a good idea.

I tip in restaurants, and occasionally tip guides. I tip drivers if I've used them several times, but not for a one-off.

Laundry costs depend on how much you're washing, but $5-6 tops.

You usually can eat pretty well -- nothing fancy -- for $25/day, not including liquor.

Ask for taking pictures. Don't show a lot of skin -- no shorts, tanktops, etc. Never presume that people around you don't know any English.

That's all that comes to mind at the moment.

Costa Rica
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3. Re: Questions about Guatemala

Thanks to both of you for your excellent advice. Noted.

4. Re: Questions about Guatemala

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