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Re-assurance Needed about Safety and Crimes

San Juan, Puerto...
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Re-assurance Needed about Safety and Crimes

Hi,

My partner & I originally planned to go to Guatemala in 2009 but because of the crime and safety issues, we went to Peru instead.

So after reading some of the recent posts and trip reports, it seems it's "more or less" safe again to travel to Guatemala. But I would like to have some re-assurance from you the experts or locals who live there.

Here are my (kind of silly) questions:

1) So I should absolutely avoid using ATM, and use only pre-paid Visa cards. Anywhere OR outside GC and Antigua would be okay?

2) Should I exchange money at the bank or the hotels? I am a little leery because I read somewhere that robbers wait outside the banks to mug tourists.

3) How bad is the mugging on the street? The gun-point ones sound frightening. Does it happen during the day as well? And is it only limited to GC and Antigua?

4) Safe to take taxis in Antigua? Are Tuk-tuks the same as taxis?

5) Should I assume it's safe to take the shuttle from Antiqua to Panajachel since there are no more robbers on the highway?

6) Is it safe to leave electronics at the hotels? Anyone had bad experience otherwise?

Sorry for all these silly questions. In Peru I did encountered some pick-pockets. They were so organized that I could barely find out while crossing the traffic light on the street. Nothing happened 'cos I didn't bring any valuable while we were sight-seeing. : )

Bethesda, MD
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1. Re: Re-assurance Needed about Safety and Crimes

1. I try to avoid ATMs altogether and certainly would not use any in Antigua. I prefer to carry travelers checks.

2. Banks give much better exchange rates than hotels.

3. I've not heard about daytime muggings outside GC.

4. I'm not aware of any problems with taxis or tuktuks. If it's a concern, have your hotel call one for you.

5. Shuttles to Pana from Antigua should be fine.

6. Whether it's wise to leave electronics and other valuables in your room depends on your hotel. Generally speaking, I don't. And I don't bring any that I'm not willing to lug around with me.

Edited: 26 March 2012, 23:23
San Juan, Puerto...
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2. Re: Re-assurance Needed about Safety and Crimes

Thanks DonCraig. And the reviews as well. I enjoyed reading them. : )

The Dalles, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Guatemala, Belize
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11,815 posts
327 reviews
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3. Re: Re-assurance Needed about Safety and Crimes

Yes - what he said! I've pasted my personal safety guidelines below from previous threads. Have a great trip!

____________________________________________

Sometimes I travel alone, sometimes with one or more of my kids and/or my husband, sometimes with a group in tow. I don't feel overly paranoid but have never had a problem and would like to keep it that way.

Here are my concessions to safety when I travel in Central America:

:: I avoid the big cities as much as possible

:: I don't "party"

:: Where recommended I take specific transportation (ex: Hedman Alas in Honduras, avoid chicken buses on the mountain runs in Guatemala, take taxis after dark)

:: I know where I am and where I'm headed and make major transitions with plenty of daylight left

:: I don't wear jewelry (not even my wedding band) and try not to flash camera equipment or money around

:: Some trips I carry a “throw down wallet” with an expired card or 2 and the day’s cash in it

:: I keep important documents and cash under my clothes (except what I need for shopping, buses, etc. for that time period) and keep close watch on my things, especially in crowded places and when I’m tired

:: I ask locals about safety in an area - evenings, hiking, etc.

:: I travel really light so I don't feel vulnerable getting my bag off and on buses, shuttles, etc.

:: I continue to build skills in Spanish

San Juan, Puerto...
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4. Re: Re-assurance Needed about Safety and Crimes

Thank you Stacey for all the pointers and sharing all the photos. : )

The Dalles, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Guatemala, Belize
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11,815 posts
327 reviews
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5. Re: Re-assurance Needed about Safety and Crimes

No problem - all we ask in return is a review of your trip. :-)

Port Richey, Florida
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6. Re: Re-assurance Needed about Safety and Crimes

I suggest you read this recent post from the Lonely Planet forum

www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa…

San Juan, Puerto...
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41 posts
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7. Re: Re-assurance Needed about Safety and Crimes

Sure I would definitely write a trip report after. : )

I have our itinerary down but got a little stuck with flights to Tikal and may need your help again. It'a probably better that I start a new thread...

8. Re: Re-assurance Needed about Safety and Crimes

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