The perfect mix of incredible scenery, Mayan culture and 720 bird species
Here is a little practical information about the destination to help with your planning, but please do contact us with any questions that you might have.
Guatemala City is the capital of Guatemala and the official language is Spanish, although there are still 23 widely spoken indigenous languages found in various areas of the country. English is spoken only in the main tourist areas.
Food is not one of the main reasons to visit Guatemala. It can be simple but it is tasty. The local people survive generally on a diet of rice, beans and tortilla, although you can get delicious fresh seafood on the Caribbean coast, usually cooked in coconut milk as a soup. There are plenty of lovely restaurants however in the larger cities such as Guatemala City and Antigua. The coffee in Guatemala s very good, especially that grown around Antigua in the highlands. Beer is often drunk at mealtimes and for those preferring spirits, rum is fairly commonplace.
No visas are required for UK, US, Canada or European passport holders for a visit of up to 90 days, but your passport must be valid for 6 months from the date of entry.
The local currency is the quetzal, named after Guatemala's national bird. Dollars are accepted and changed in all banks. Major credit cards are accepted in some hotels and shops although sometimes carry up to a 7% surcharge. Many ATM's will give cash on Visa, MasterCard, Plus or Cirrus. Always try to get small bills or change as in many smaller towns and local markets people don't often have change.
Tipping as a general culture in Guatemala isn't that common, but always highly appreciated. in restaurants, a 10% tip is usual where service is not already included in the bill.
The traditional dress of the indigenous people in Guatemala is beautiful, however, please be sensitive and ask people if they do not mind having their picture taken. You should avoid approaching or taking pictures of Guatemalan children without permission from the child's parent or guardian. When entering religious establishments, we recommend you dress respectfully. Generally, the Guatemalan people are very humble so dressing on the conservative side will attract less unwanted attentions for female travellers.
Our country specialists can advise on any safety concerns you may have. For current information, please refer to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website.