We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Is Tikal a relatively safe area at the moment?

Liverpool, England
Level Contributor
8 posts
120 reviews
Save Topic
Is Tikal a relatively safe area at the moment?

We last visited Guatemala in August, 2011, and plan to go again either later this year or early next year. In 2011, when researching our trip, I came across reports of very nasty things happening to locals in the Tikal and Flores area (drug related) and decided not to go there on that trip. I've not come across any such reports lately, so would I be right in thinking that the area has now gone back to being to a fairly peaceful place?

The Dalles, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Guatemala, Belize
Level Contributor
10,997 posts
327 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Is Tikal a relatively safe area at the moment?

In my opinion, yes. Even back then, tourists continued to visit the area without incident.

Bethesda, MD
Level Contributor
2,728 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Is Tikal a relatively safe area at the moment?

I'm one of those who went in June 2011, with a student group in tow - after full consultation with their parents. I still see the occasional reports of problems in Peten, but it's been quite a while since I've seen anything problematic concerning tourists and Tikal.

Port Richey, Florida
Level Contributor
2,546 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Is Tikal a relatively safe area at the moment?

Sounds you like you're making up those horror stories in your head.

"I came across reports of very nasty things happening to locals in the Tikal and Flores area (drug related) and decided not to go there on that trip". I'd like to remind you that making inflammatory comments can only scare other potential travellers to the region and thus hurt the local economy. I check guatemalan local papers on a daily basis and I've never read such a thing. Why can't you provide a link to what you found.

Edited: 19 April 2014, 15:08
Port Richey, Florida
Level Contributor
2,546 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Is Tikal a relatively safe area at the moment?

I've said this many times before. What happens many times is that foreign correspondents in an effort to impress their bosses back home and making them see that they're earning their pay check and not just enjoying piña coladas at the lobby of their hotel, travel to an area in conflict. There with the help of a local translator they interview locals. To what they were told with a good percentage of the real facts being lost in the translation they add their own touch of drama to sell the story. So after that, they feel they struck gold because now they have a sensational story worth reporting and selling to the rest of the world. Unfortunately people outside the country can't see this and think it's the local press trying to cover up for the local governments by not reporting the facts.

The Dalles, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Guatemala, Belize
Level Contributor
10,997 posts
327 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Is Tikal a relatively safe area at the moment?

There was a big drug related/retaliation event in Petén in 2011 that was grisly but didn't affect/impact tourists who visited - sad loss of life and loss of tourism for the folks who need that income.

Bethesda, MD
Level Contributor
2,728 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Is Tikal a relatively safe area at the moment?

The Zetas killed 27 people at a rural finca in La Libertad in April or May, and the US issued a travel warning.

Bethesda, MD
Level Contributor
2,728 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Is Tikal a relatively safe area at the moment?

Kyle, here's a link: boingboing.net/2011/05/16/guatemala-27-massa…

glendale arizona
Level Contributor
167 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Is Tikal a relatively safe area at the moment?

All figures below are for U.S. residents.

Cause of Death Lifetime Odds

Heart Disease

1-in-5

Cancer

1-in-7

Stroke

1-in-23

Accidental Injury

1-in-36

Motor Vehicle Accident*

1-in-100

Intentional Self-harm (suicide)

1-in-121

Falling Down

1-in-246

Assault by Firearm

1-in-325

Fire or Smoke

1-in-1,116

Natural Forces (heat, cold, storms, quakes, etc.)

1-in-3,357

Electrocution*

1-in-5,000

Drowning

1-in-8,942

Air Travel Accident*

1-in-20,000

Flood* (included also in Natural Forces above)

1-in-30,000

Legal Execution

1-in-58,618

Tornado* (included also in Natural Forces above)

1-in-60,000

Lightning Strike (included also in Natural Forces above)

1-in-83,930

Snake, Bee or other Venomous Bite or Sting*

1-in-100,000

Earthquake (included also in Natural Forces above)

1-in-131,890

Dog Attack

1-in-147,717

Asteroid Impact*

1-in-200,000**

Tsunami* 1-in-500,000

Fireworks Discharge

1-in-615,488

** Perhaps 1-in-500,000

SOURCES: National Center for Health Statistics, CDC; American Cancer Society; National Safety Council; International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; World Health Organization; USGS; Clark Chapman, SwRI; David Morrison, NASA; Michael Paine, Planetary Society Australian Volunteers

Port Richey, Florida
Level Contributor
2,546 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Is Tikal a relatively safe area at the moment?

Of course that awful massacre committed by the Zetas happened in Peten within a farm (finca) whose owner was suspected of having ties to the drug cartels. It happened near Sayaxche and not near Flores or Tikal. Peten has been known for having all kinds of landing strips for small planes coming from Colombia. But as long as US politicians are more interested in getting involved in wars where defense contractors stand to multiply their billions, the people in guatemala will have to continue paying the price for defending the US borders. Now, even though an awful crime against inocent people it was an isolated incident. And after government forces conducted raids and captured some of the perpetrators, life went back to normal for the rest of the people in Peten.

Liverpool, England
Level Contributor
8 posts
120 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Is Tikal a relatively safe area at the moment?

Thank you, Hopefulist and DC Chapin for your replies, and for your replies to Kyle - you got there before I did. I would just like to say to Kyle that I worded my question fairly carefully to try to avoid spreading alarm. I assumed that anyone who was an expert on Guatemala would know what I was talking about without my having to go into details. Besides, to be honest, I couldn't remember the details. My husband remembered that one of the things that put us off going to that district on that occasion was that we read that the area was patrolled by armed soldiers, and since we are not even used to armed police in the UK, we just thought we'd put off a visit till the next time we went to Guatemala. That's all. We're planning to go to Flores and Tikal this time. So thank you all for for your help.

Get answers to your questions about Tikal National Park