While Petén offers unparalleled natural beauty and ancient Mayan ruins, it is crucial to prioritize safety. Petty crime like pickpocketing is common, especially in touristy areas. More serious crimes like robbery and assault are not unheard of. Always be aware of your surroundings, avoid traveling at night, and use reliable transport services. Public acts of aggression towards women is possible. Despite all this, with proper precautions, you can still enjoy your visit.
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How safe is Petén?
Safety at nightUnsafe
Petén is laden with natural beauty worthy of exploration; however, night walks are not generally advised. Despite most locals being friendly and helpful, night time often sees a rise in crime rates such as petty theft, particularly targeted at tourists. Be sure to take taxis in the late evening hours, avoiding isolated streets, and always keep a firm eye on your belongings.
Public transportation in Petén, specifically buses and minivans is used often by locals and tourists alike. While generally it's safe during the day, it's advisable to avoid taking them late at night due to some petty crime incidents. Additionally, driving standards can be a bit erratic so some might find the journeys slightly uncomfortable. It's recommended to keep an eye on your belongings at all times and be aware of your surroundings. Overall, with sensible precautions, public transportation in Petén can be a viable option for travel.
In Petén, street harassment exists but is not as prevalent in comparison to some more densely populated regions. As with any location, experiences can be variable. Women may encounter catcalling and stares, especially when traveling alone. It's always advised to dress modestly and avoid unfamiliar areas at night. However, most locals are respectful and helpful, so don't let this discourage you from enjoying your travel. Remain cautious and trust your instincts.
Petén, although a remarkable location with stunning Mayan ruins in Guatemala, does experience a moderate-to-high level of petty crimes. The most common are pickpocketing, purse snatching, and theft from cars and hotel rooms. These crimes often occur in high tourist areas and crowded public places. It is highly recommended for travelers to stay alert, secure valuables, and avoid displaying expensive items.
While tap water in Petén is treated, it's highly recommended to drink only bottled or filtered water. The local water may contain bacteria or parasites that foreign visitors' bodies are not accustomed to, which could cause stomach upset or other health issues. Even locals often choose to drink filtered or bottled water. It's always safer to avoid drinking tap water when traveling in Petén.
Is Guatemala safe right now?
Travel advice: When considering traveling to Guatemala, it is essential to acknowledge the advisories from various government bodies. These include the United States, Canadian, and Australian governments, all of which recommend a high degree of caution due to high levels of violent crime. Additionally, be aware of the potential for civil unrest which can manifest in roadblocks, strikes, and demonstrations throughout the country. It's advised to stay current with local news reports, maintain vigilance, and ensure personal safety measures to mitigate any risks. Reconsider your need to travel to areas with increased risk. Keep friends and family updated about your travel plans.
United States Travel AdvisoryReconsider your need to travel
Canada's Travel AdvisoryExercise a high degree of caution
The Canadian Government advises exercising a high degree of caution in Guatemala. This is due to high levels of violent crime, along with roadblocks, strikes, and demonstrations that occur throughout the country. Check the full travel advisory.
Last updated: February 26, 2024
Australia's Travel AdvisoryExercise a high degree of caution