The currency in Guatemala is the Quetzal (GTQ). Foreigners will often state prices in ‘Q’, but Guatemalans will say Quetzales. At the time of writing, the exchange rates for the Quetzal were Q7.70 to the US dollar and Q9.62 to the Euro. The Quetzal is issued in bills of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 or coins of 5 centavos (cents), 10 cents, 25 cents (una choca), 50 cents, and Q1. One-cent coins are still out there but are basically worthless. Guatemalans often refer to cents as len.
On the whole, Guatemala is a very affordable country to visit. Almost everything except for electronics and automobiles is significantly cheaper than it would be in the United States or Europe. Even compared to other Central American countries like Costa Rica and Panamá, Guatemala is quite cheap. Tourists on a strict budget can reasonably expect to get by on Q200 (US $26) a day not including park entrance fees, souvenirs, and beer. This quote will be considerably more for tourists who pay for private shuttle services and more comfortable hotels.
Basic Prices in Guatemala:
Night in basic guesthouse Q40-80
Night in most nicer hotels Q100-200
Public transportation per hour Q10
Bag of water Q.50
Set-menu meal in a comedor Q12-20
Can of beer in a store Q5
Meal in a restaurant Q30-50
Bottle of beer in a bar Q15-20
Bottle of water Q41
Week of Spanish classes Q1000-1600
15-minute taxi ride Q50
Exchanging Money in Guatemala
ATMs offer the best rates for exchanging your money. They are very common in large cities and tourist destinations but limited in more rural areas. Most municipalities will have at least one, but it’s always good to plan ahead. On the whole, it no longer makes sense to bring a ton of cash and hope to exchange it during your trip. You would be better off just finding an ATM. The most common banks in Guatemala include Banco Industrial (BI), Banrural, Banco Agromercantil (BAM), and Banco G&T. If anyone still uses traveler’s checks these days, they are probably more hassle than they are worth in Guatemala.