Guatemala: Useful Information
Land of Eternal Spring
Although Guatemala has its own currency, the Quetzal, US dollars are accepted by many businesses, but sometimes reluctantly.
- Visa credit and debit cards are accepted widely in Guatemala, but Mastercard is not.
- ATM machines in Guatemala accept only 4 digit PIN (personal identification) numbers.
- Travellers’ cheques are widely accepted in banks, but not in some small towns.
- There are hardly any coin-operated payphones in Guatemala, but you can use ‘phonecards in payphones, bought from nearby, to make national and international calls.
- Voltage supply is 120 volts, 60 Hertz and uses three types of plug: twin prong flat blade, parallel flat pins with an earth pin, or V-shaped flat prongs.
- Letters posted in Guatemala generally take about a week to reach North America and 2 weeks to reach destinations in Europe.
- Internet Access is widely available in Guatemala, with even the smallest villages having at least one internet centre.
- Illegal drugs carry severe penalties. Even if you think they seem to be tolerated in some areas, remember that as a tourist you are conspicuous.
- There are two English language newspapers, mostly available in Guatemala City: Guatemala Weekly and The Siglo News.
- Guatemala has 5 television stations, but reception is often poor. Cable TV provides access to some English language channels.
- There is malaria in Guatemala. The lowlands present the most threat, but the highlands are free of it.
- Guatemala is 6 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time.
- Tap water is definitely not safe to drink. Either you will need to purify the water with tablets, or drink bottled water, which is freely available.
- Guatemala is overwhelmingly a Catholic country. The other denominations in the country are principally evangelical Protestant. In many areas the Mayans adhere to their traditional religious rituals and customs.
- There is a 20% combined tax that is added to all hotel bills.
- Guatemalan shops usually open from 8am to midday and then from 2pm to 6pm. Hours may be shorter on Sunday, especially in smaller towns.
- Government offices usually open from 8am until 4pm from Monday to Friday. It is best to visit Government offices in the morning, if you need anything done.