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Guatemala Travel Information

Guatemala Travel InformationDue to the coronavirus, no foreign travelers will be allowed to enter the country. Keep track of information from local authorities for extraordinary entry requirements. Please note that information may change quickly. For more information about coronavirus, see the entry Entry and Health.

Safety

Norway is represented by an Honorary Consulate General in Guatemala City. The Norwegian Embassy in Mexico City is responsible for the Norwegian embassy. Contact information for consulates and the embassy in Mexico can be found under "Emergency".

One should not openly bring valuables and no more money than is reasonable for today's consumption. Luggage and personal belongings should be carefully monitored at airports, bus stations and the like. Electronic equipment and mobile phones are especially sought after. Valuables should not be left in hotel rooms. If there is no safety deposit box in the hotel room, the reception will usually help with this. Be in possession of ID at all times, possibly photocopy of passports.

Ask the hotel for advice on what precautions you should take in your area. If you are subjected to robbery or assault, it is not recommended to provide resistance, as most offenders carry weapons. The police are not necessarily reliable or helpful. Bribes are often expected. Reporting theft or abuse can be bureaucratic and time consuming.

Politically and economically motivated kidnappings and abductions have shown decline, and it is the local population who is most at risk. Abduction of foreigners happens occasionally.

The drug-related violence in Guatemala is very serious. The violence is brutal and merciless, and even though it is mainly a matter of internal settlement, innocents are also affected. There have also been cases of armed robbery in Antigua Guatemala (the old capital) which is one of the most touristy cities in the region. A good advice is to stick to the city center streets and use the recommended taxi companies in the evening. It is always reassuring to be with others.

  • Countryaah: Guatemala City is the capital of Guatemala. Check to find information of population, geography, history, and economy about the capital city.

Copying (cloning) of bank cards both from card vending machines and at bars/ restaurants/shops is frequent and it is recommended to regularly check their online banking to check that the card has not been misused. ATMs should be used inside bank premises, hotels or airports and avoid ATMs in the street. Avoid cubicles that must be opened with the debit card.

The political situation is considered clear, but can quickly change due to growing dissatisfaction among people.

Risk of terrorist incidents in Central America is considered low.

There is right-hand traffic throughout Central America. Traffic accidents are a frequent cause of death and accident that also hit tourists. The roads are of varying quality.

Local buses in Guatemala have evolved into an arena for armed robberies and killings of bus drivers and passengers. In addition, local buses are usually in poor condition and congested. There is a high frequency of accidents involving local bus traffic. For long bus journeys, established bus companies are recommended with comfort, although this is more expensive than the local buses. Roads are subject to armed robbery and you should avoid traveling at night. In larger cities it is safest to use taxis. When using a taxi, prices should be agreed in advance and the taxi should not - as is often the case - bring other passengers on the trip. Tourists should also be wary of people begging at traffic lights and generally keep windows and doors closed and locked.

There are no rail networks in Central America. There are frequent flight connections, including to remote locations, but when using small airlines, it is recommended to use those who partner with or are part of the larger international airlines in the region.

Guatemala is particularly prone to volcanic and earthquake activity, as well as tropical rainstorms and hurricanes.

Guatemala and all over Central America, lie above three tectonic plates (continental plates). The region has grown as a result of volcanic activity between these plates. This geological foundation explains the high volcanic and earthquake activity. The country very often experiences weak shaking.

Guatemala's location between the Caribbean Gulf and the Pacific makes the country particularly vulnerable to tropical rainstorms and hurricanes with subsequent floods and landslides, especially during the rainy season that stretches from May to November. Hurricanes usually hit the coastal regions hardest, while floods and landslides due to heavy rainfall also hit the highlands. The last major natural disasters the country has experienced are Hurricane "Mitch" in 1998, and the "Stan" rainstorm in October 2005.

With the exception of Belize, relationships between two people of the same sex are legal in all Central American countries. However, most residents have a conservative relationship with homosexuality, and it is recommended that gays exercise discretion to avoid getting into unpleasant situations.

Norwegian citizens staying for a shorter or longer period in Central America are encouraged to register at http://www.reiseregistrering.no/.

Norwegian citizens are encouraged to have valid travel insurance. Make sure that the insurance also covers hospital stays and be aware of the type of activities that are not covered.

Local emergency number is 110. Local tourist police - police - can be contacted on phone number 1500.

In case of crisis and emergency, Norwegian citizens are encouraged to contact the Norwegian Embassy in Mexico on +52 (55) 50 47 37 00. The embassy's central table is open Monday-Thursday from 09:00 to 15:00 and Friday 09: 00-12: 00.

Outside office hours, you can contact UD's 24-hour operating center on tel: +47 23 95 00 00 or by e-mail: UDops@mfa.no

Norwegian citizens can also contact Norwegian honorary consulates and general consulates for assistance. There are Norwegian honorary consulates in Belize City (Belize), Guatemala City (Guatemala), Managua (Nicaragua), San Salvador (El Salvador) and Tegucigalpa (Honduras). Updated contact information can be found here.

Entry

Please note that entry regulations may change. The Foreign Service is not responsible if the following information on entry regulations or visa requirements is changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for entry and to familiarize themselves with the current entry rules for each country.

Due to the coronavirus, no foreign travelers will be allowed to enter the country.

Norwegian citizens do not need a visa for tourist and business stays of less than 90 days in Guatemala. The passport must be valid for up to six months after the scheduled departure date.

It is possible, for both tourists and travelers with business visas, to extend their stay beyond 90 days once. Alternatively, you can leave the country for at least 72 hours, but you must then travel to a country outside CA-4 (a Schengen-like agreement between Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua). Of countries sharing borders with Guatemala, only Mexico and Belize are not included in CA-4. There are direct flights to Mexico, but the flights to Belize are poor. A fine must be paid for any illegal stay.

For up-to-date information on entry rules, travelers are encouraged to check with Guatemala's nearest embassy.

Although Norwegian citizens do not initially need a visa to travel to Central America, only a passport (including an emergency passport) is the approved identification document. The passport must be valid for at least six months after scheduled departure.

One cannot enter Guatemala with emergency passport. If the passport is stolen or lost in Guatemala, you can return to Norway on an emergency passport, but not through the United States. If you need to travel further, you must go to the nearest embassy to apply for a new biometric passport.

It is the traveler's responsibility to ensure that travel documents are valid and that entry and stay regulations are complied with.

Health

Coronavirus (covid-19): Due to the coronavirus, no foreign travelers will be allowed to enter the country.

Norwegian travelers should keep abreast of the development of the coronavirus in the country. Follow local authorities' advice, guidance and instructions on how to deal with the situation.

Also, keep track of information from local authorities for exceptional entry regulations. Please note that information may change quickly.

You can find more information and guidance from the Norwegian health authorities on the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. See also UD's answers to frequently asked questions about travel and coronavirus.

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There is acceptable medical and hospital quality in all the major cities. Offers outside cities are limited. Public hospitals often lack basic medicines and equipment, so Norwegian citizens are advised to use private services. It is common to have to pay before treatment takes place.

Main numbers for ambulances are 122 (volunteer corps) and 123 (municipal), but private ambulance services such as Alerta M¨¦dica (tel. +502 249 31 800) and Care (tel. +502 511 10 000) are recommended, although these can be quite expensive.

Malaria occurs. Therefore, one should guard against mosquito bites with clothing, mosquito nets and/or mosquito spray, possibly also with malaria tablets, in areas where there is a lot of mosquitoes. In the highlands, where The capital and Antigua are located, there is normally little mosquito prevalence, and the risk of malaria is minimal. Therefore, malaria tablets will not be needed here. However, one should consider the use of these when visiting the archaeological sites of El Pet¨¦n (including Tikal National Park), Rio Dulce and the mangroves on the Pacific coast.

Bottled drinking water should be purchased. Supermarkets in major cities can buy chlorine for disinfecting raw vegetables and fruits. It is recommended to avoid buying food on the street (in stalls, etc.) or in places where you have doubts about hygiene. If in doubt or have no choice, choose well-cooked and cooked dishes and avoid raw vegetables and fruits without peel.

Dengue is a growing problem in the tropical regions. There is the greatest risk of infection in Izabal county, but it also occurs in the rest of the country. The number of infected with both traditional dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) has increased dramatically, and more have died. There are also zika in Guatemala. For official health professional travel advice and health professional guidance, you can contact the Institute of Public Health.

No vaccines are required for entry into Guatemala. For information on travel vaccines, see the recommendations of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

The access to medicines is acceptable. There are no official rules for the import of medications for personal use only.

Practical information

Guatemala is one of seven countries that form Central America. The official language is Spanish.

There is tropical climate in the lowlands, colder in the highlands including the capital. The rainy season lasts from May to October.

Guatemala has many beautiful churches to visit. One should dress with respect for religious customs when visiting these (avoid only shoulders and short skirts / shorts). The same is true if one visits holy Mayan places. In the region in general, it is common to be easily dressed on beaches and in the immediate vicinity of these. On the other hand, more formal clothing is expected in modern urban areas and public places.

The indigenous people, mainly Maya, with their colorful and beautifully woven and embroidered regional suits, are sought after photo objects. However, one should always ask for permission before taking pictures/filming the locals, and preferably ask an adult before taking pictures of children. About 60 percent of the population is indigenous.

In addition to Spanish, there are 21 Mayan languages ​​in Guatemala. In all major places/tourist places the population speaks Spanish. The proportion of English-speaking people is small but growing. It is an advantage to have some Spanish skills if you are planning to take a longer trip in Guatemala. Many cities offer Spanish courses; the most popular are Antigua (the ancient capital), and Quetzaltenango.

The local currency is called quetzal. Visa is more or less universally accepted, both as a means of payment and for withdrawals at ATMs. Mastercard, American Express and Diners Club are accepted to a lesser extent. Better hotels generally accept the most common types of credit cards, as opposed to smaller, less expensive hotels/hostels.

The area code for Guatemala is +502. The telephone and mobile networks are stable. The Internet domain of Guatemala is.gt.

The usual opening hours for shops are 9-20, while banks and public offices usually open 8 and close around 17. Shopping centers are normally open on Sundays. This also applies to many smaller shops.

Public holidays: January 1 (New Year's Day), Easter Sunday (half day) through Easter 1st Day, May 1 (Workers' Day), June 30 (Military Day), September 15 (Independence Day), October 20 (Revolution Day)), November 1 (All weekend), December 24 (half day) and December 25, December 31 (half day).

In addition, all municipalities and counties have their local holiday and festival, dates vary between the different municipalities.

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