Guatemala Travel Tips

Know Before You Go: Although most of the planning and preparation is taken care of for you, there are still a few things you should know and some details you should take care of to ensure your comfort, safety and peace of mind. Please review the following information before your departure to ensure that any surprises along the way will only be pleasant ones.

Passports and Visas: It is each travelers responsibility to have a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of travel and a visa if required. Please check the information at. Please check the information at http://www.righttravel.info/page/visa-5.html for the specific country/region you are visiting for more details. IMPORTANT: Passengers who are not U.S. citizens must check with the respective consulate or a visa agency to determine what personal identification is required. Passengers who enter, leave and then re-enter the same country on their itinerary should check if they require a double-entry visa. Passport applications are available at most U.S. Post Offices, as well as at regional Passport Agencies. Passengers requiring visas, whether obtained in advance or locally upon arrival, should ensure that their passport has unstamped visa pages.

Trip Preparation: A little pre-planning can make your trip go a lot smoother. Several weeks before your trip, make a list of what you will need to take with you. Make sure your personal documents (passports, visas, and driver&rsquos license) are in order and that you have enough prescription medications to last through the trip. We suggest that you make photocopies of passports, visas, personal ID and any other important travel documents and pack them separately from the originals. Pack a list of medications including dosage and generic names. If you lose the originals while traveling, youll have copies for easier reporting and replacement. You may consider bringing a small supply of over the counter medications for headaches and/or anti-diarrhea pills (especially when traveling outside of the USA and Western Europe). We recommend that you pack a portable alarm clock. Avoid placing valuables such as cameras in your checked luggage. Airplane pressure can cause similar pressure in your body, most notably in ears, as well as liquid tubes and bottles. Your physician can suggest medication for decongestion. As for the liquid containers, we suggest that you squeeze out excess air from those containers and place into Ziploc bags to catch any leaks   

Cell Phones & Calling Cards: You may wish to carry a cell phone while traveling. Check with your cell phone provider if your phone will work in the destination(s) you are visiting. U.S. service is dominated by the CDMA technology standard, while most of the world uses the incompatible GSM standard. Some U.S. providers do offer GSM, but you may incur high international roaming fees. With GSM, however, you can often choose to have your phone unlocked and then add a local SIM card for lower fees. If you can access the Internet as you travel, you can take advantage of email or a Skype Internet telephone (VOIP) account for the best value. Alternatively, you may investigate renting a cell phone before you leave or buying an inexpensive phone locally.

When calling the U.S. from a foreign country, you may also use a prepaid calling card normally, the only additional charge (besides the prepaid long distance charges) is a local fee of a few cents and possibly a connection fee if you are using your card at your hotel. It is best to check with the hotel&rsquos reception desk prior to making phone calls to avoid unexpected charges.

Making Telephone Calls from One Country to Another: When dialing a number from one When dialing a number from one country to another, you should proceed as follows: dial your countrys Exit Code + destination Country Code + Phone Number.

For most countries, the exit code is 00. Exceptions include the USA and Canada (011), Hong Kong and Cambodia (001), Australia (0011), and Russia (8 Pause 10*). For Brazil, please consult with the local telephone company. If the international number you wish to call starts with a 0 (zero), you must this starting digit when dialing the number

Wireless Internet Access: Passengers traveling with Wi-Fi enabled devices (such as a personal computer, smartphone, tablet, or digital audio player) may be able to connect to the internet via a wireless network access point (or hotspot). Wi-Fi access in hotels and/or cruise lines often involves a fee which, in some cases, can be very expensive. Passengers requiring internet access can often locate free WiFi hotspots such as libraries or coffee shops. Hotspots can often be located and planned in advance via an online search. Planning ahead may help avoid unnecessary fees.

Staying Healthy While Traveling: All travelers should familiarize themselves with local conditions, such as high altitude or required immunizations, which could affect their health. We recommend you consult with your personal health-care provider, the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) and/or the World Health Organization (http://www.who.int/en/) for their recommendations.

There are several easy steps you can take to stay healthy while traveling which may help prevent contracting an illness while away from home.

  • Watch what you eat. Try new foods in modest quantities, and depending upon your destination, you may want to avoid street foods, salad bars, raw vegetables and fruits, unless they have thick peels like bananas or grapefruit.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink bottled water and avoid consuming ice cubes made with tap water.
  • If you have allergies to foods, medications or insect bites, or have any other unique medical issues, consider a medical alert bracelet and/or a physician&rsquos note detailing required treatment should you become ill.
  • Wash your hands regularly and carry hand sanitizer.
  • Where appropriate, pack sunscreen and insect repellant (for both active and warm destinations).
  • You may also want to bring a small first-aid kit with bandaids, antibiotic cream, pain killers, bug bite cream, digestive aids like antidiarrheal or anti-bloat medications, antacids, and cold medicine. This is in addition to any prescription medications which should be adequate for the entire trip.

Guatemala - While no inoculations are required, vaccination against yellow fever is recommended, vaccinations against hepatitis A and B are recommended and routine vaccinations should be up-to-date. For those traveling to rural areas, vaccination against typhoid is recommended. In addition, dengue fever is present in Guatemala, so please consult your physician before traveling to Guatemala.

You may encounter mosquitoes in both urban and rural areas, especially during wet seasons. Travelers are encouraged to bring insect repellant and consider wearing clothing that adequately covers arms and legs. Please note that Malaria can be found in rural areas of Guatemala with an elevation below 5,000 ft. Please consult a physician well in advance of your trip to determine if anti-Malaria medication is necessary.

In the event of illness in Guatemala, state funded hospitals are best avoided, so travelers should look for a private-clinic if possible. Treatment can be refused at any health facility without insurance, so good travel insurance is important

Climate & Clothing: We ask tour members to refrain from wearing colognes, perfumes and/or personal products containing excessive fragrance, in respect for other clients on the tour bus who may be allergic.

Guatemala - Guatemalas climate has two distinct seasons, rainy (winter) season and dry (summer) season. However, the climate varies more according to altitude rather than rather than by season. During the rainy season (May - Oct) you will usually see a few hours of rain each day between periods of sunshine. During the dry season, typically there are a few days of rain each month. Towards the end of the season weeks can pass without rain. It is important to remember that during both seasons, the tropical climate sees significantly more days and greater amounts of rain. The tropical climate region (Tikal, Flores, Quirigua, Pureto Barrios, Livingston, Yaxha, Ceibal), ranges from sea level to 3,330 ft. This region is hot and humid, day and night, throughout the year. Average day temperatures are in the high 80s, but can climb as high as 100ºF. Average evening temperatures are in the high 70s. The temperate region (Guatemala City, Antiqua, Lake Atitlan, Chichicastenango, Panajachel), ranges from 3,300 ft to 6,600 ft. This region experiences medium humidity level, but average daily temperatures are in the hight 70s. Evenings in this region can get much cooler, ping into the high 50s during winter months.

Bring comfortable shoes, lightweight clothes you can layer and an all-weather jacket. Some activities involve hiking through jungle terrain. It is advisable to pack clothing appropriate for these excursions, and possible a change of clothes for later in the day. Evenings in the highlands can be quite cool, so it would be advisable to bring a good jacket and warm clothes for sleeping. Hotels in Guatemala may not have modern heating systems. Sunscreen and a hat or sunglasses are also recommended. Note that all military clothing is illegal

Airline Seat Assignments: As a courtesy service, airline seat assignments are requested on your behalf and, when available, are displayed in order of Passenger #1, #2 and so on. Assignments reflect the best available seats at the time of booking. Some airlines and/or fare types do not allow for pre-seating and require this be done at airport check-in only in which case the display shows &ldquoN/A&rdquo. Seats are subject to change by your airline(s) including, for example, when there is a schedule change or equipment change after your initial booking this may cause seat assignments to be changed or even cancelled. In the event that you change seat assignments directly with your airline, changes will not be reflected on this display. At the time that Right Travel documents are issued, the currently assigned seats will be listed based on the assignments stored in your airline reservation at that time. Even when seats are pre-assigned, we recommend that you contact your airline directly to reconfirm your seats approximately 72 hours prior to departure. Should you have questions regarding your assignments, please email to info@right-travel.com

Luggage: Although luggage sizes are now fairly standard, each airline does have specific requirements based upon the route and aircraft size. Please visit http://www.righttravel.info/page/luggage-9.html for general luggage guidelines, and contact your airline for specific requirements.

Right Travel land tour packages allow for one piece of luggage per person plus a carry-on bag. Right Travel is not responsible for loss or damage to luggage and personal belongings. Therefore you must report any loss or damage immediately at the time of the incident and obtain a written report from the local authority for submission to your insurance provider. Avoid placing valuables in your checked luggage. If your luggage is lost or damaged by the airlines, a baggage claim form must be filed with the carrier before leaving the airport. Any cost to retrieve luggage will be your responsibility and you should retain receipts to submit to your insurance provider. See http://www.righttravel.info/page/luggage-9.html for Important Baggage Information for U.S. Travelers.

Guatemala - Due to the size of the plane on flights between Guatemala City and Flores, there is a weight restriction for luggage of 40 lbs. For each passenger, there is no charge for luggage 20 lbs. or under. A fee of $1 will be charged for every pound over 20 lbs.

Code-share Flights: If your flight itinerary displays a flight as &ldquoOperated By&rdquo another carrier, you should check-in at the desk of the &ldquoOperated By&rdquo airline. When you arrive at the airport, check the airport monitors for updated check-in desk listings.

Airline Flights: Please check in at least three hours prior to the scheduled departure time for international flights and two hours prior for domestic flights. Many airlines do not permit check-in less than one hour prior to the scheduled departure time.

Passengers connecting from another point within the USA should check their luggage through to their final destination. Although problems with lost luggage have been minimal, it is a possibility. Certain carriers do not allow baggage &ldquointerlining,&rdquo and luggage must be checked separately for each flight. When you check your luggage, please verify where your luggage is being sent. If you are connecting from a domestic flight which is delayed for any reason, causing you to miss your international flight, ask the airline for assistance in getting you to your destination. Since all airline tickets are issued on special fares which carry restrictions and penalties if changed, you must have the airlines responsible make alternate arrangements on your behalf as Right Travel has no authority or control over airline activities and policies. Do not leave the airline check-in desk until an alternative itinerary has been confirmed.

The Transportation and Safety Administration: The (TSA) has increased security measures drastically since September 11, 2001. Plan to arrive no fewer than two hours prior to a domestic flight and three hours prior to an international flight. Check the TSA website www.tsa.gov. to find out the current list of acceptable items you may bring on a plane before packing.

Foreign Domestic Flights: If your tour program includes foreign domestic flights, and those tickets are not included together with the e-ticket itinerary in these documents, a separate voucher(s) confirming those services will be included. You will receive those tickets at your destination from a Right Travel representative.

Avoiding Jet Lag: In order to minimize fatigue and general restlessness caused by jet lag, there are a few steps you may take including switching to your destination time zone when you board the plane, by sleeping and eating according to the new schedule, avoiding heavy eating, caffeine or alcoholic beverages before or during your flight, and by drinking plenty of water and/or fruit juice while flying. Try to sleep on overnight flights and then, upon arrival, avoid the temptation to nap until nighttime.

Frequent Flier Programs: Passengers are responsible to contact their airline directly regarding mileage eligibility and accrual. Airline frequent flier programs determine whether to award miles in part or total based on their own rules which are updated frequently. Some discounted or promotional airfares as well as some code-share flights are not eligible for mileage accrual. Some private airfares, such as a &ldquoRight Travel Airfare&rdquo, are not eligible for mileage or may qualify for reduced mileage, even if the same airline class of service is eligible for full mileage when sold as an &ldquoInstant Purchase&rdquo published airfare. Not all published airfares are eligible for mileage. Right Travel will record frequent flier numbers when provided by the passenger prior to travel documents being issued. However, the addition of frequent flier numbers to airline records does not guarantee mileage eligibility which is at the sole discretion of each airline. Airline schedule changes may result in flights which were originally eligible for mileage accrual no longer being eligible. We highly recommend passengers to provide their frequent flier account information whenever checking in online and/or at the airport check-in desk. After travel has commenced, it is often not possible to apply for frequent mileage credit. Passengers are also responsible to determine whether previously earned mileage may be applied to flights to secure upgrades.

Hotels: Right Travel has carefully ed each hotel based on overall quality, location, price, food, service, and cleanliness. All rooms are standard twin-bedded (two single beds) rooms with private facilities, unless you have specifically requested and paid for an upgraded room category. Special requests such as bed types, smoking preference and connecting rooms are subject to availability. Room ion in all cases, unless otherwise reserved, is strictly at the discretion of the hotels management on a run-of-house basis. Triple rooms consist of standard twin beds or one double bed plus a sofa/folding bed or cot for third person except in the U.S. and Canada, where triple rooms often consist of two double/queen beds for three persons a fee may be charged by the hotel for the addition of a cot/rollaway. The number of persons accommodated does not dictate the room size. Hotel check-in time is generally not before 4:00 p.m. and check-out time is prior to noon.

Hotel Check-in/ Check-out: Check-in time is usually 4pm or later. Check-out time is 12 noon. If you will be arriving early in the day or departing in the evening, hotels will usually allow you to store your luggage in their luggage room. Ask at the front desk if the hotel can check you in earlier, or let you stay later.

Eco & Sustainable Tourism: We support global efforts to create a more eco-friendly world, intolerant of any forms of cruelty, abuse and intentional environmental destruction. To that end we ask that our clients maintain a watchful eye as they travel, and report any abuses they may encounter. One of the many benefits of tourism is the shared cultural knowledge and ultimate elimination of negative behavior through education. We rely on your good feedback to enable this element of symbiosis. As you travel to and learn about foreign cultures, we ask first and foremost that you practice tolerance and respect for local customs.

About Your Sightseeing: To ensure a pleasant and fair experience for passengers on our escorted tours, there is a mandatory seat rotation policy on our motor coaches which will be organized by your Tour Manager. When travel dates coincide with religious holidays and national celebrations, some monuments and sites may be closed, sometimes without prior notice. On these occasions, escorted touring itineraries may be amended to reflect these closures. Occasionally, during holidays and certain periods, and/or due to other unforeseen circumstances including weather conditions, there may be last-minute changes, sometimes after arrival, which may affect the sequence of the tour and locations visited. National monuments and tourist sites regularly undergo renovations, which can obscure the monuments view. No tour will be canceled due to renovations, however Right Travel will decide based on the conditions whether to amend an itinerary.

Land Only Passengers (Escorted Tours): Your tour manager will contact you after your arrival at your hotel. Passengers who have not purchased arrival transfers from Right Travel should proceed directly to the hotel for check-in. The details of the hotel can be found in your documents.

Purchasing Tours Locally: On escorted tours, the guides will generally sell optional tours to passengers who have not pre-purchased them. Payment can be made by cash or credit card, unless otherwise noted below. This does not apply to Independent packages.

Independent Activities &ndash Right travel itineraries may contain suggestions for activities for your leisure time these suggestions do not constitute a recommendation nor an endorsement of any specific service provider and the decision to participate in any such activities should be made independently and with due consideration. Right Travel is not responsible for any activities not expressly included in its programs. Caution should be exercised when ing certain activities that may require physical strength, coordination or exertion. Particular care should be taken when considering animal rides, such as on camels, mules or horses

Currency: We suggest getting a small amount of currency for the first country youre visiting before you leave the U.S. It is a good idea to carry a chart with you to help you convert U.S. dollars to the local currency. Its also a good idea not to carry too much money. Many countries have ATM machines that accept most U.S. ATM cards, but be sure you know your ATM password in numbers-the keypads on foreign ATMs dont always have letters. ATM machines will only dispense cash in local currency. Check with respective consulates to learn current currency allowances and requirements. Use your credit card whenever possible. Should you decide to carry cash or travelers checks, exchange them at banks where the rate is more favorable than at hotels or exchange bureaus. Please note that many banks and most vendors will not accept or exchange $100 bills. We suggest to carry $20 bills or smaller. In many destinations (except Western Europe), we suggest to bring between $50 to $100 in $1 bills which may be used to pay gratuities.

Guatemala - The Guatemalan Quetzal is the currency of Guatemala. It is recommended to use only new US dollars when exchanging money at banks in Guatemala. Traveler&rsquos checks are not widely accepted. Important: Due to reports of illegal scanning of ATM cards the US Embassy recommends to avoid using ATM machines whenever possible

Credit Card: While credit cards are accepted in most destinations, it is advisable to carry local currency. Inform your credit card company that you are traveling to avoid your card being blocked for security reasons.

Most US-issued credit cards rely on magnetic-strip technology rather than embedded microprocessor chips which are increasingly common overseas. These &ldquochip-and-PIN&rdquo cards require users to punch in a personal identification number (PIN) instead of signing for a purchase. For example, many automated ticket kiosks, such as those commonly found at train stations, gas pumps and parking garages, don&rsquot accept cards without a chip and PIN. Most cash registers are equipped to handle American cards but if you encounter difficulties, offer an alternative credit card or politely insist that the cashier keep trying to swipe the credit card. ATMs typically recognize and accept US issued debit cards. For travel to Europe, should you anticipate using ticket kiosks or purchasing train tickets locally, you may consider buying tickets and other basic purchases prior to departure.

US Customs & Shopping: You may carry items with a fair retail value totaling $800 into the U.S. Taxes may be applied to the next $1,000 worth of merchandise. U.S. Customs determines the value of your items, often honoring a genuine sales receipt. Items which are shipped home are always subject to duty when received in the U.S. (in addition to shipping charges). Some shops may offer to include shipping and duties in the price but this typically means shipping only to the customs facility closest to you and payment only of the export duties you would still need to collect the item and pay U.S. import duties. Please be aware that it is illegal to import products made from endangered animal species. U.S. Customs & Border Protection will seize these items, as well as most furs, coral, tortoise shell, reptile skins, feathers, plants, and items made from animal skins.

Guatemala - Guatemala is known for its textiles, handicrafts, jewelry, leather goods, ceramics, and baskets. A great place to purchase these items is at a market, which are abundant Guatemala City and Chichicastenango both have famous markets. Please note that bargaining is expected by vendors and is the best way to get good deals. Guatemala City also offers many modern shopping centers, which are typically open seven days a week.

Your Safety is Very Important: Prior to your trip, if you are traveling overseas, we strongly recommend that you visit the website of the U.S. Department of State at www.travel.state.gov, specifically the section which addresses International Travel. You should read the tips for foreign travel and travel warnings for the country or countries that you plan to visit.

It is also important that you do not allow your common sense to take a vacation while on your trip. Here are several tips which, if followed, will save much potential hardship:

  • Be aware of potentially dangerous places and situations as you would be at home. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry and carry your valuables concealed in inside pockets or hidden pouches. Your objective is to avoid drawing attention and to blend in with the crowd
  • Dont put all your valuables (money, credit cards, passports, etc.) in the same place (in case one wallet is stolen, you should have other valuables and identification in another safe place) 
  • Do not leave valuables laying loose in your room. Use the hotel safe. Keep copies of your passports, credit card numbers and travelers checks numbers in the hotel safe 
  • Credit cards are generally accepted everywhere and are safer than traveling with large amounts of cash 
  • Do not pack valuables (cameras, computers, jewelry, etc.) in your checked luggage. Keep hard-to-replace valuables with you in your carry-on bag
  • Keep wallets safely tucked into front trouser pockets and/or wear a money pouch inside your clothing 
  • Carry handbags close to your body, shoulder bags the cross-body method with the bag in front of your body.

If you have purchased an escorted tour program, your travel documents will include telephone numbers of local Right Travel representatives who will do their utmost to assist you in the event of an emergency. The numbers are printed on your Right Travel vouchers. Please copy the numbers. Once you relinquish the voucher, you will not have this information. Passengers traveling independently should employ the services of hotel concierges and local authorities.

Tourist Street Scams: Pickpockets and thieves can destroy an otherwise wonderful holiday. Be mindful of these precautions to help avoid being scammed or robbed:

Guatemala - While we recommend that you apply reasonable caution and common sense when traveling in any country, please be aware that in Guatemala, there are significant issues with theft against tourists in public places. Always keep valuables in a safe place and avoid walking alone. It is advised that travelers avoid contact with children, including taking photographs, especially in rural areas. Passengers should not travel alone after dark. Do not take public transportation on vehicles that resemble U.S. School buses as these vehicles are targets for robbery. We recommend that taxis be reserved via the hotel concierge desk, and that you do not ride alone when possible. When not possible, we recommend that a hotel, restaurant, or shop call a taxi. Due to reports of illegal scanning of ATM cards the US Embassy recommends to avoid using ATM machines whenever possible. As in most parts of the world, be aware of your surroundings and keep to well-lit and populated areas. Travel outside of major cities is not recommended, especially by bus.

Tourist Street Scams: Pickpockets and thieves can destroy an otherwise wonderful holiday. Be mindful of these precautions to help avoid being scammed or robbed:

  • Remain alert and cautious. Be wary of any unusual contact or commotion in crowded public places, including train stations, markets, subways and tourist sites.
  • Be especially careful when traveling independently, or leaving your tour group to explore on your own. Try not to travel alone, especially at night. Avoid narrow alleys and poorly lit streets.
  • Use only official taxis and check the change you receive from all taxi drivers and vendors.
  • Beware of pickpockets often working with an accomplice who will distract you by spilling something on you, ping a wallet or other seemingly valuable object, or tripping and falling down in front of you.
  • Beware of aggressive street vendors who may approach you offering a demonstration which may end with you being pressured to purchase an item or act as a distraction for another pickpocket 
  • Don&rsquot tip beggars 
  • Wear the shoulder strap of your bag across your chest 
  • Carry modest amounts of cash (US dollars) in small denominations so that you can avoid flashing large bills when paying for small items 
  • ATM machines can be a convenient way to carry less currency. However those machines too can be used for robbery. Be wary of anyone who can look over your shoulder when inputting PINs. Another scam involves rigging the machine with a plastic which makes your card retrieval difficult the thief then removes your card after you walk away 
  • If you are confronted, do not fight back - give up your valuables. If your possessions are lost or stolen, report the loss immediately to the local police and keep a copy of the official report for insurance claim

Local Emergency Phone Numbers: Guatemala

  • Ambulance: 123 
  • Police: 110 

Languages: Guatemala - Spanish is the official language. Many indigenous languages are also spoken throughout the country. English is widely spoken.

Electricity: Please note: The U.S. uses 120 volts and you can purchase a converter and transformer at most hardware stores for your 120V appliances. Guatemala - The voltage used is 120 volts

Code of Conduct: Guatemala - Waving goodbye in Guatemala is unique. The wave looks similar to someone fanning themselves. Always ask permission before taking someones photo. Public displays of affection should be avoided, especially when traveling outside of Guatemala City.

Gratuities: Tipping is always a matter of personal discretion. For your convenience, please use the summary below as a guideline for recommended gratuity amounts. Gratuities may be paid in U.S. Dollars or local currency equivalent. Please be aware that tipping is considered by many locals to be a part of their normal remuneration and some may approach you for additional compensation. There is no need to be intimidated by the request, nor should you feel pressured to pay more than recommended. If you become uncomfortable by any behavior you encounter, please advise your tour manager or phone our local office. Numbers are provided in your documents for your convenience.

Suggested Tipping: Guatemala - It is customary to tip 10 in restaurants when service has not been included on the bill. Taxis drivers are not usually tipped, but hotel staff and tour guides do expect to be tipped for their services.

Food and Meals: As specified in each itinerary. Meals are based on the hotels or restaurants buffet or set menu. In general, beverages are not included, unless specifically stated. Although Right Travel cannot make guarantees, every effort will be made to honor special dietary requests submitted in writing at least 72 hours prior to departure to info@right-travel.com

Guatemala - While it is generally safe to eat fully cooked meats and vegetables, care should be taken to avoid undercooked meat and uncooked fruits and vegetables. It is advised to stick to food from reputable vendors. Because tap water is not potable, visitors should only drink bottled water or water that has been boiled and filtered. Avoid ice, as it is usually made from tap water.

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