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Safety of Roads to/ from Flores,Tikal and Guatemala city

Aussie travelling
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Safety of Roads to/ from Flores,Tikal and Guatemala city

Hey there,

As part of our first trip through Central America, my girlfriend and I were planning on making a trip at the start of June from Palenque in Mexico to Flores in Guatemala and than onto Tikal. Spending a night and than making our way to Antigua via Guatemala City.

I have read a lot of negative forums lately about the roads to and from Tikal and I am growing ever more worried about the roads in the area. We are travelling on a back packers budget so can't afford to have private accomodation or guards as has been suggested. I need some advise from people, preferably people who have been there recently, as to what to do or even whether we should even go to Tikal. I would love to visit the site and stay for a night but if there is a chance we could get robbed at gun point or hijacked I am not sure if it is worth it.

Also we were looking at getting a bus, possibly even a night bus from Flores to Guetamala city and than onto Antigua. Again I have read mixed reviews from people on the buses to be taken. The only reason we are looking at night buses is because we don't want to end up in Guatemala city at night. Has anyone got any advise on what buses are best to be taken through this journey?

Any advise would be greatly appreciated as I really do want to experience Guatemala and it's wonders but I don't want to put myself or more importantly my girlfiend at risk and am even considering skipping Guatemala all together. Again any feedback would be appreciated

Bethesda, MD
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1. Re: Safety of Roads to/ from Flores,Tikal and Guatemala city

You could get robbed or hijacked anywhere in the world. Please bear in mind that the huge majority of travelers to Guatemala experience no problems at all. I have been more than 30 times, probably totaling at least a year, and I've never had any problem at all. The night buses between Flores and Guatemala City are considered particularly safe. I've never read any problems with them. There are two companies running that route, Linea Dorada is one. I think the other is ADN.

Dallas, Texas
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2. Re: Safety of Roads to/ from Flores,Tikal and Guatemala city

My wife and I just returned from 3 weeks in Belize and Guatemala. We traveled from Belize city to Flores by mini shuttle through San Juan travel. From all the stories of robberies I have read, they all seem to be coming from San Juan travel. There is another forum post up right now about the roads not being safe as well.

We had absolutely no problems at all crossing the border, and travelling on to Flores/Tikal. Like DonCraig said, you are at risk anywhere you go with something happening to you unfortunately in any country you are in, but the amount of traffic, including tourists, that take these roads, and the small amount of people reporting these incidents just goes to show how often it truly happens. I too was paranoid about traveling to Flores/Tikal because of posts I had read on here, and really all it did was cause a bunch of worry for nothing. My wife even went as far as asking our driver before our departure about the fact that San Juan had reported robberies. The driver assured us that the ride was safe, and that the robberies had happened in the past, and there was a lot more security on those roads. We saw at least three trucks full of soldiers passing us on the road. I would say take these stories with a grain of salt, and just enjoy your trip. Worst case, if you are unlucky and get robbed, at least all the stories are reporting no injuries right? Stuff can be replaced, it's an inconvenience but it's just stuff.

Port Richey, Florida
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3. Re: Safety of Roads to/ from Flores,Tikal and Guatemala city

I agree with DonCraig because I don't know where you've read those horror stories about the overnight buses from GC to Flores, because I check on a daily basis guatemalan newspapers on line. And I haven't read of any bus hold ups on that road on any of the the bus lines that service that route www.lineadorada.info www.grupofuentedelnorte.com and www.adnautobusesdelnorte.com. Soldiers patrol the Peten area due to narcotraffickers landing their cessnas from Colombia, and not because of frequent armed robberies. And as far as I know, during the isolated cases in the past, it's true that people lost valuables but luckily nobody's been hurt. Overnight buses to Flores on the other hand are not chicken buses and are pretty safe because they take security measures doing a pre-boarding check for weapons and they don't make any stops along the route. And you have to buy your ticket before boarding the bus. Because that's why armed robberies are so frequent on chicken buses out of GC. You'll be fine.

Antigua, Guatemala
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4. Re: Safety of Roads to/ from Flores,Tikal and Guatemala city

Just another voice here to say that we've been to Guatemala about 14 times in the last decade and have not ever had one problem. We almost always ride buses, including the red capital buses (NOTE: we have given up that practice in the last year. I do not advise using them); we've rented cars on occasion. We spend a lot of time in Guatemala City, which we love (we have family there), including zones most travelers never see--zone 7, zone 18, etc.

We've traveled as well in many remote areas, and have never experienced anything but kindness and generosity.

This is not to say Guatemala does not have a problem, a problem that is increasingly a demand-and-supply problem, with the demand side of the equation arising in the US...there's also the problem of femicide, and of what happens in a poor country after a long and brutal "internal conflict." These problems are real and can't be ignored or whitewashed.

But as a tourist/traveler/backpacker etc. in Guate your odds are very high of not having anything bad happen to you. Just be careful and smart like everyone else has said.

The media really is sensationalistic and loves scaring people. Don't fall for the hype.

Aussie travelling
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5. Re: Safety of Roads to/ from Flores,Tikal and Guatemala city

I just realised I never replied to this. I am sorry I thought I did.

I thank you all so much for your advise. I did go to and still am in Guatemala. I have had a great time and am so glad I came. I am in Antigua at the moment and spent a bit of time around Flores and Tikal and would definately go back.

Cheers again for the advise very much appreciated.

The Dalles, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Guatemala, Belize
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6. Re: Safety of Roads to/ from Flores,Tikal and Guatemala city

Thanks for the update!

Canada
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7. Re: Safety of Roads to/ from Flores,Tikal and Guatemala city

*Firstly if you're from the developed world and this is your first time to a third world country, I would say to you the chances of encountering crime in Guatemala is real. The valuables on your person may exceed many times the average locals' monthly wage*

I just got back from Guatemala about 2 weeks ago. If you're taking the overnight bus from Guatemala City to Flores via ADN, the private bus station is in a sketchy part but there were 2 armed guards at the entrance guarding the buses (and hopefully their passengers too). There's a cheap restaurant/hotel across where you can grab a bite before boarding your bus. The bus itself is comfortable and at all times I felt safe aboard. The bus is mainly taken by tourists and is well air conditioned. You will drive through many rough neighbourhoods in GC but every street corner has police anyways.

For our journey in the morning the bus dropped us off near Flores (I think Santa Elena) and we were immediately approached by drivers offering to take us to Tikal. Most of the vehicles were unmarked so we couldn't tell if they were just entrepreneurial individuals. The trip to Tikal was about 45 minutes long and you pass by the airport and an army base. The road was deserted and I can see how a robbery could have happened in the morning. Once we arrived at the national park there were guards present (and many other tourists).

On the journey back we had to take Linea Dorada as ADN was full. Watch your bags as the baggage tags are only a formality and nobody checked in GC if you took your own bag. Bags taken on board the bus are searched (so don't take your souvenir knives aboard). There was no AC on the Linea Dorada bus which made the trip more difficult. Lastly there were few tourists on this bus.

Port Richey, Florida
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8. Re: Safety of Roads to/ from Flores,Tikal and Guatemala city

Well I'd say that you have a higher chance of getting your head cut off while riding on a bus in Canada than in Guatemala where believe it or not it's never happened www.canada.com/windsorstar/news/story.html…

9. Re: Safety of Roads to/ from Flores,Tikal and Guatemala city

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