20 year old female travelling alone to Guatemala
Replies: 34 - Last Post: Oct 4, 2012 12:08 PM Last Post By: primavolta
Oct 2, 2012 4:34 PM
15agreed that it's high time for a "safety in Guatemala" FAQ - in fact the last time I see Guatemala mentioned in the FAQ thread is back in 2008 (in a post about San Juan la Laguna).
But until somebody actually writes one, let's stop sending people there, huh? Kind of ironic telling people to read the FAQs when we so obviously haven't...
Oct 2, 2012 4:40 PM
Oct 2, 2012 4:54 PM
17Let's say there are 60 robberies per day in Guatemala. That would mean that your chances of being held up are about one in 200,000 (with approximately 12,000,000 people living here). I for one would be willing to run that kind of risk in view of all the good stuff Guatemala has to offer. I've lived in Guatemala for years and I was held up once - in Mexico. But if you're still skeptical, there is one other way to stay safe: stay home.
Oct 2, 2012 5:12 PM
18Maybe a Safety Sticky Thread at top, with a regional overview and also country overviews and issues? I will request this from the Moderators, but someone is going to have to write a nice concise post for Guatemala? Anyone, Anyone? Ferris, Ferris Buehler...
Oct 2, 2012 5:25 PM
19Tim, I recall a time, a few years back...before you ever stepped foot into Guate, seems to me you were always tooting Costa Rica's horn (one country by the way, which I shall never return to). Now after one trip you are the expert on Guate. Give the girl a break. I applaud her for volunteering.
laterkaterz, I have been to Guatemala four times, twice as a single female traveler. Never had any problems. Just use your street-smarts. You will be fine. And you will have lots of new friends to hang with whom you will meet in your volunteer group.
Relax, you will love it!
Oct 2, 2012 5:29 PM
Oct 2, 2012 5:33 PM
21post # 12 wasn't necessary :)
She's nervous, okay? I am sure she is hearing all about the dangers of Guate from people who have NEVER been there before. Happens all the time.
I am going back to Mexico for my twelth trip, next month. People say "oh my God, isn't it dangerous?" People who never leave the States are always the first ones to chime in on the "dangers of traveling" to those of us who actually do travel. Go figure?
Oct 2, 2012 5:45 PM
22ha ha, like I told everybody at work, if I don't make it back, then you can say, "Mexico IS dangerous!"
Oct 2, 2012 5:53 PM
Oct 2, 2012 8:05 PM
I am an older individual so I have different safety concerns than you, but I do have safety concerns. On my last trip to Antigua the sketchiest neighborhood I had to deal with was the one around the airport in Phoenix the night I flew out. I have walked the streets at night in Antigua, visited with locals, traveled in the country around Antigua and never once felt threatened. The people you run into are much more likely to help you than to hurt you. I can't count the times that I have had to rely on the kindness of strangers in both Central and South America. Use common sense and expect to enjoy your trip, and you will. Antigua is one of my favorite places just to lay back and enjoy life. Happy travels.
Oct 3, 2012 7:47 AM
Just to add to the pile-up, I concur that you shouldn't be worried. I'm 24 and have been traveling through Central America since I was 5. I've done it with my family and on my own, and everyone from my 57-year-old mom to my (then-) 21-year-old sister has done the same, alone, with travel buddies, and as a family. The only trouble we ever had was in Mexico City, 19 years ago.
Many of the women in my academic department travel alone to Guatemala every year, and to far more remote and sketchy corners than Antigua. As far as I know, none has ever had to deal with more than a little wolf-whistling. I will be there for several months this summer, and am immensely looking forward to it.
Does Guatemala have safety issues? You bet. The other posters rightly point out, though, that most American cities have crime stats that far outnumber Guate's. I live in New Orleans, which is far sketchier than anything you'll find outside of Guatemala City, to the best of my knowledge.
The best way to ensure you stay safe in Central America is to exercise the same street smarts you know from home, with one major worth-noting addition:
Many backpackers and volunteers come to Latin America with an idea that it's the ideal place to experiment, since consequences are less likely to follow them home. If you want to try on a new identity I say go for it, but stay the f*#& away from any kind of drugs, since the crime goes where they go, the criminal penalties are far worse than they are in the US, and you make yourself a target. The same goes for getting drunk around people you don't know, including other travelers. It's a dumb idea whichever way you slice it, and not doing so will remove the vast majority of openings for something to go wrong.
If you follow those general guidelines, you should be just fine. By all means follow through with your program; odds are you'll completely fall in love with Antigua and find yourself--like many of us did--deciding to come back again and again.
Fair winds and happy travels.
Oct 3, 2012 9:22 AM
Oct 3, 2012 12:04 PM
Oct 3, 2012 1:09 PM
28To allay apprehensions of going into unknown territory, do a lot of (what I call) "virtual travelling" which includes research, contingency plans, and itinerary planning. start a "guatemala" file on which to copy paste and edit bits you get from here and other sources under different categories.
Oct 3, 2012 1:30 PM
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