When preparing for departure, visitors from the U.S. and most of Europe do not need to file any paperwork before entering Guatemala and will automatically be given a 90-day tourist visa. These visas can easily be by leaving the country – most foreigners head to México to do this. That begin said, always check the visa situation and relevant travel advisories beforehand. No vaccinations are technically required for entry into Guatemala; no one will ask for your yellow WHO card at the border. However, as Guatemala is a developing country, there are diseases present that are not found in the developed world. As such, it is a good idea to check with your primary care physician or local travel department to see what vaccines may be recommended.
Many visitors hear ‘Central America’ and fail to realize that Guatemala is home to a variety of climates. It is very hot in the northern department of Petén, the coastal region, and the east. It is much cooler in the Western Highlands, and temperatures can get downright cold at higher altitudes. If you plan on traveling around the country, it would be a good idea to bring a combination of hot, cold, and wet weather clothing – layering is key. See the table below for a generic list of what to pack for a one-week trip to Guatemala.
Malaria is unfortunately present in Guatemala, but primarily in the hot and humid regions of the country. The most common malarial prophylactic is sold in any pharmacy as Aralen. Doxycycline (doxyciclina in Spanish) is also available, and both are relatively cheap. Be sure to speak with your doctor prior to departure to discuss the right option for you. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption and drink plenty of water while on either one.
Most travelers will enter and exit the country via Guatemala City’s La Aurora International airport. Many major airlines, including American, Continental, Copa, Cubana, Delta, Iberia, Mexicana, Spirit Air, Taca, United, and US Airways provide service in and out of this airport. With a valid passport, you should be able to enter Guatemala without paying a dime. Guatemala shares borders with Mexico, Belize, El Salvador, and Honduras.
1-2 pairs of jeans
Socks and underwear
1-2 pairs of shorts
Sweatshirt with hood
Insect repellent with DEET
Zip lock bags for electronics
Copies of important docs