Best Time To Go: Oct-Nov
Worst Time To Go: Aug-Sept
Fly To: La Aurora International (GUA)
Visa?: Free 90 days
Cash?: ATM/Exchange On Arrival
Immunizations: Typhoid, Hep A
Tap Water: Bad News
Diarrhea Risk: Fairly High
Travel Insurance: Excellent Idea
Don’t Forget: A Windbreaker
Recommended Resources & Gear
Pimsluer Spanish (conversational)
How To Pack For Guatemala
The key to packing for any trip is to pack light. This is especially true if you’re planning on hiking the highlands or taking chicken busses.
If you’re on the road and realize there’s something you need, you can almost always buy it in Guatemala and usually for much cheaper than at home.
Below are a few essentials you won’t want to forget!
- Footware: 1 pair of sandals for the coast and 1 pair of shoes for climbing volcanoes.
- Bathing suit: for surfing Montericco or swimming in the Caribbean.
- Wind Breaker: combined with a light sweater is the perfect combination for staying warm on volcano hikes and during the evenings in the highlands.
- Long Pants: 1 pair of long pants is necessary on cool evenings and when visiting traditional Maya towns.
- Toiletries: I always recommend that you leave all liquid toiletries like shampoos and creams at home. This way you don’t have to check your bag and can avoid budget airline fees.
- Documentation: Passport photocopies, passport sized photos, vaccination pappers, travel insurance papers, and ticket information are all good things to carry.
- Technology: Unless you have to, I would recommend leaving your laptop at home. Almost everyone, aside from bloggers like myself, get by fine with nothing but a smart phone.
- Comfort: Ear plugs, sleeping mask to block out church bells, dogs, and angry grandmas.
For a more extensive guide to packing, check out How To Pack For Central America.
The Best Time To Visit Guatemala
Guatemala’s climate varies significantly between regions and by altitude. However, much of the country is characterized by two seasons.
- Summer season:Last from early November and lasts till around late May. This season is characterized by hot and dry weather.
- Winter/Rainy season: known as Inveirno (winter), lasts from early April and ends around mid October. This season is characterized by afternoon showers and cooler nights.
Although travel in Guatemala is great throughout the year, the best time of year to travel is right after the winter season. During the month of October the landscape is lush and the lack of tourists means it’s easier to bargain down prices for both market textiles and budget hotels.
Do You Need A Visa For Guatemala?
For the latest visa information for all nationalities check out the Ministerio De Relaciones Exteriores.
- Citizens of US, CA, UK, EU, AU, NZ: receive a free 90 day tourist visa on arrival at Guatemala City International Airport.
- Guatemala is part of the CA4: which means your tourist visa is valid for travel among Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua for 90 days (Not 90 days within each country). Although the CA4 is akin to the Schengen Zone, most borders do enforce passport control and some will even charge you an extra fee (ex/Guatemala >> Copan Ruins, Honduras).
How To Get To Guatemala
The cheapest airport to fly into is La Aurora International Airport (GUA) located in the heart of Guatemala City. Note that this airport is just a 1 hour shuttle from Antigua.
Additionally, you can also fly into San Salvador, which is a 5 hour shuttle away from Antigua.
For cheap flights from your location you can check out Skyscanner or the individual airlines recommended below.
- From North America: Spirit Air offers flights a low as 50$ from Ft. Lauderdale to San Salvador and 100$ to Guatemala city.
- From Europe: Your best option is to fly Norwegian Air from Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, or Gatwick to Ft. Lauderdale. These flights cost around 250$ on average. Then look for a connecting flight through Spirit air.
- From Oceania: If you’re coming from New Zealand or Australia, first try and find a cheap flight to Los Angeles. Then search separately for a connecting flight to Guatemala City. Again, check out Spirit Air.