Guatemala has one of the highest crime rates in Latin America. Specifically, violent crime, which travelers should be aware of. Although the majority of serious crime involves local gangs, incidents are usually indiscriminate and can occur in tourist areas. Theft and armed robbery are the most common problems encountered by overseas visitors. Travelers should be alert to criminals impersonating police officers. Express kidnappings do occur and are more frequent in Las Luces and San Jose Pinula. There have been reports of tourists becoming victims of theft, extortion, or sexual assault by criminals dressed in police uniforms. Car-jacking and armed hold-ups are increasingly common on the main roads between Guatemala City and the border with El Salvador.
Narco-trafficking, transnational organized crime groups, and gangs are present throughout the country and influence local and regional dynamics. It is advised to avoid traveling at night due to the increased likelihood of carjackings especially in remote areas and border locations. Driving standards are variable within the country due to unpredictable driving behaviors. Main roads are generally in good condition but road conditions can deteriorate when traveling on rural or minor roads. It is also important to note that road conditions do deteriorate significantly in the event of incremental weather. Heavy rains can flood roads and mudslides can block roads especially in the rainy season from June to November.
Guatemala is subject to various natural disasters such as volcanoes, minor earthquakes, and hurricanes. All of which can have a dramatic impact on the ability to travel. As part of our service all clients have free access to our ExploreSecure® eLearning Travel Security Training pre-departure.