Travel Ideas

Guatemala City

Guatemala City is about a dangerous a place as the traveler is ever likely to pass through. The buses have bullet holes in them, gangs rule the streets and scars from the civil war and deaths squads of the 80’s (largely thanks to US financial and military backup) have left a legacy of violence that shows no signs of abating.

Just down the road from appealing Guatemala destinations like Lake Atilan and Antigua, Guatemala city is the kind of place you want to pass through for no more than about 20 minutes and then only in the morning. Every year backpackers make the mistake of walking down the street in search of a cheap hostel only to be mugged and possibly hospitalised after less than 20 metres.

Of course, you might not get mugged. There’s always the chance of just being beaten up, raped of even kidnapped, the latter being Latin America’s fastest growth industry.

That said, if you’re tough as shit, speak Espanol chingon and don’t mind walking around with a can of mace in each pocket, we’d rate your chances as 50/50. But whatever you do, don’t walk around after dark.

Chomsky on how the US helped with death squads in Guatemala