HEAD guatemala







5.4. - 6.4. 2013, travel book part I.


Why to go to Guatemala City

Guatemala City isn’t really a tourist destination, there’s virtually nothing interesting to see apart from the central square and on top of that it’s not a very safe place either. Despite this I decided to spend the night in Guatemala City after my arrival and to go for a short walk into the city centre the following day.


How to get to Guatemala City

The flight to Guatemala takes really long time. The city itself is further from mid Europe than for instance Peking. You have to change the plane either in London and Miami or in Frankfurt and Houston. I chose the latter as there were only two hours for transfer in Miami and as the airport in Houston is definitely less busy. I got on the plane at 6 am, got on board of a huge Airbus A380 in Frankfurt and landed in the USA in the afternoon. I waited in a really long line to immigration where the officers scanned me, took my photo and only then let me enter into the USA just so that I could thereafter wait in all the lines again to leave the USA. That’s the reason why it’s necessary to have a valid visa or the ESTA registration. I landed in Guatemala City at 10 pm while at my home it was by this time again 6 am.


Acommodation tip

A safe oasis in Guatemala City is a hostel called Quetzalroo The hostel is located in a quiet zone 10 near the airport. You can either stay in a shared room with bunk beds for 18 USD or a private room for 35 USD. It’s a clean hostel in an apartment building. Manuel, the owner, is a young guy who’s willing to help and give you good advice. I felt very much at home in this place. Quetzalroo offers a tour for those who want to have an organized walk around the city. Manuel takes you to a local public transport, you can visit historical Central Plaza, market and Gallo brewery (7 USD).


My experience in Guatemala City

When I landed in Guatemala City at 10 pm and came outside the arrival lounge I was surprised as the air was quite cool. Which was a change to a wave of hot air so typical for these destinations. I quickly realized this place is higher than the highest mountains in country. I pre-arranged a ride from the airport with Quetzalroo but unfortunately nobody was waiting for me. I didn’t want to get in a taxi in Guatemala city at night so I called the hostel to remind them about me and I steeled myself to be patient. They came for me one hour later in a van loaded with my Brazilian roomies. They were just returning from a binge so we became friends in like 5 seconds.

Guatemala Central Plaza Guatemala City

Central Plaza Guatemala City

I had a chat with one young Canadian in the morning who was asking me how does the Western Union work. She didn’t have money and to make it even more interesting her passport was somewhere at the embassy. Maybe 20 minutes later she stood up and left to use the bathroom. When I also went to the bathroom some time later I found out she didn’t flush the toilet...and it was such a pretty girl.

My plan was to go on a city tour (7 USD) with Manuel in the morning but I found out that the tour is a matter of a whole day. It started when everyone woke up, which is to say before lunch. I arranged a shuttle from Panajachel to pick me up in the hostel in the afternoon. The shuttle came from Posada de los volcanes, otherwise the last regular service leaves from the bus station at 10:30. I had no other choice than to book a licensed taxi wit a taximeter and went for a walk to the city centre on my own. The taxi driver came, locked me in so that nobody could steal me from outside and off we went towards Central Plaza (40 QTZ). He was very polite so we arranged to meet at the same place in two hours. He told me maybe 10 times which street I can walk along and where I cannot go and that I should watch out for passing motorcycles.

Guatemala Central Plaza Guatemala City

Central Plaza Guatemala City

I got off at Central Plaza and the first thing I noticed were policemen who held a big plastic shield in one hand and in the other had something like a wooden baseball bat. I went to Parque Central, National museum, a local cathedral and a market. I tried not to stand out as a tourist and headed to Avenida 6 and Calle 18 (streets in Guatemala City don’t have names, they only have numbers and they create a network of diagonal streets - Avenidas intersect Calles). The weather was very nice while I walked along the Avenida to a historical government building and watched policemen with shotguns as big as bazookas standing outside small shops. I met with my taxi driver at the arranged time and he drove me around the city and took me to a view on a hill overlooking the city.

Guatemala Guatemala City

Guatemala City

I was back in the hostel in the afternoon and the shuttle from Panajachel was to get me at 2:30. I went outside to wait for the shuttle but Manuel said: ‘Don’t you wait in the street, wait in the yard!’



zeme 100



km 100

48 560


dny 100