Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 5 January 2017, 14:15 NZDT
  • Still current at: 25 September 2017

Some Risk

There is some risk to your security in Guatemala due to violent crime and incidents of civil unrest and we advise caution.

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Violent crime
Guatemala has one of the highest violent crime rates in Latin America. Criminal acts often involve firearms and may include armed robbery, kidnapping, sexual assault and murder. The majority of this crime is drug and gang-related, however, violence can be indiscriminate and occur in areas frequented by tourists.

New Zealanders in Guatemala should remain security conscious and exercise a high degree of caution at all times. This includes in Guatemala City and other major cities, public areas and tourist destinations including Tikal, Peten, Antigua, Volcan de Pacaya and Lake Atitlan. Special care should also be taken in border areas with Belize, Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador and at border crossings.

Sexual assault remains a serious problem in Guatemala, including against tourists. We advise women to exercise a high degree of caution and avoid travelling alone, especially at night.

Inter-city travel can be dangerous, particularly after dark. There have been reports of armed robbery and bus/carjackings affecting tourists on a number of travel routes, including along main highways and the road to and from the international airport in Guatemala City. Criminals have been known to set up roadblocks and pose as police officers. If travelling by road, you should keep doors locked and windows up at all times. Wherever possible travel in a convoy and avoid all travel after dark.

Travel on public buses should be avoided for security reasons as there have been armed attacks and incidents of crime against foreigners on buses. Radio-dispatched or hotel taxis are the safest option as there have been robberies and assaults associated with unofficial taxis.

“Express kidnappings” have also been reported in Guatemala, where criminals abduct a victim for a short amount of time and force them to withdraw funds from their bank account. To reduce the risk of this occurring we recommend you use ATMs which are located within bank branches and during daylight hours only. We recommend you avoid displaying or wearing items that appear valuable, such as mobile devices and jewellery. No resistance should be given if you are the victim of crime as this could lead to an escalation in violence.  Victims have been killed and injured attempting to resist perpetrators.

When travelling to remote areas, including volcanoes, it may be safer to travel with others or a reputable tour company. The Guatemalan Government PROATUR service offers tourist advice and security escorts for travel around the country.

Civil unrest
Protests and demonstrations, including strike action and roadblocks, occur in Guatemala and have the potential to turn violent with little notice. We recommend you avoid large gatherings, monitor the local media for updated security information and follow any instructions issued by authorities.  Participation in demonstrations by foreigners is illegal and may result in detention and expulsionfrom the country.

General travel advice
New Zealanders in Guatemala should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.

New Zealanders in Guatemala are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips


The New Zealand Embassy Mexico City, Mexico is accredited to Guatemala

Street Address Jaime Balmes No 8, 4th Floor, Los Morales, Polanco, Mexico D.F. 11510 Telephone +52 55 5283 9460 Fax +52 55 5283 9480 Email nzmexico@mfat.govt.nz Web Site http://www.mfat.govt.nz/mexico Hours Mon - Fri 0930 - 1400, 1500 - 1700 hrs

New Zealand Honorary Consulate Guatemala City, Guatemala

Street Address 13 Calle 7-71, Zona 10, Guatemala City 01010, Guatemala Telephone (+502) 2360-8276 Alternate Telephone (+502) 2360-4961 Fax +502 2431 3742 Email kiwiguatemala@gmail.com

See our regional advice for Central/South America

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Accredited New Zealand Embassy Mexico

Street Address
Jaime Balmes No 8, 4th Floor, Los Morales, Polanco, Mexico D.F. 11510

Telephone: +52 55 5283 9460

Fax: +52 55 5283 9480

Email: nzmexico@mfat.govt.nz

Website: http://www.mfat.govt.nz/mexico

Hours: Mon - Fri 0930 - 1400, 1500 - 1700 hrs

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