Health & safety
Street crime, including armed robbery, has increased in recent years. Use normal urban caution (behaving as you would in, say, Manhattan or Rome) : don’t walk down the street with your wallet bulging out of your back pocket, and avoid walking downtown alone late at night. Work out your route before you start so that you’re not standing on corners looking lost or peering at a map. It’s safe to walk downtown in early evening, as long as you stick to streets with plenty of lighting and people. Stay alert and leave your valuables in your hotel. Don’t flaunt anything of value, and be aware that women and children swell the ranks of thieves here. The incidence of robbery increases around the 15th and the end of each month, when workers get paid.
The area around 18a Calle in Zona 1 has many bus stations, and hosts the lowlife and hustlers who tend to lurk around them. Nearly half of Zona 1 robberies happen here, the worst black spots being the intersections with 4a, 6a and 9a Avs. This part of town (also a red-light district) is notoriously dangerous at night; if you are arriving by bus at night or must go someplace on 18a Calle at night, take a taxi.
The more affluent sections of the city – Zona 9 and Zona 10, for example – are much safer. The Zona Viva, in Zona 10, has police patrols at night. But even here, going in pairs is better than going alone.
All buses are the turf of adroit pickpockets. Some armed robberies happen on buses, too, though mainly in the city’s outlying zones.
Never try to resist if you are confronted by a robber.
Guatemala City has many private hospitals and clinics. Public hospitals and clinics provide free consultations but can be busy: to reduce waiting time, get there before 7am.
Clínica Cruz Roja (Red Cross Clinic; 3a Calle 8-40, Zona 1; 8am-5:30pm Mon-Fri, 8am-noon Sat) This public clinic charges for consultations but is inexpensive.
Farmacia del Ejecutivo (2338 1447; 7a Av 15-01, Zona 1) Public pharmacy. Open 24 hours and accepts Visa and MasterCard.
Hospital Centro Médico (2332 3555, 2334 2157; 6a Av 3-47, Zona 10) Recommended. This private hospital has some English-speaking doctors.
Hospital General San Juan de Dios (2253 0443/7; 1a Av at 10a Calle, Zona 1) One of the city’s best public hospitals.
Hospital Herrera Llerandi (2334 5959, emergencies 2334 5955; 6a Av 8-71, Zona 10) Another recommended private hospital with some English-speaking doctors.
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