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Dating & Romance

If you harbour romantic fantasies of falling in love with a Mayan – good luck. They haven’t managed to resist integration for centuries by sleeping with the first white face to come along. Mayan communities are close, and an intruding outsider would be met with great suspicion, especially a man. If you sleep with a Mayan girl, you’re likely to land yourself in some very hot water with her father and brothers.

A Western girl with a pretty face would probably be in with a chance with a Mayan man, but would be seen as a guilty secret rather than girlfriend material. Romances do sometimes happen, but require taking some time getting to know the people and customs of the community. And marriage is expected. Worth it for true love, but not for a quick shag.

You’re much more likely to find yourself a partner among the Ladinos. They’ve seen the movies, they know how the whole dating thing works. But at heart they too are quite traditional, and you should take it slow unless you want to be seen as a disrespectful bastard (if you’re male), or a slut (if you’re female). Think old-fashioned courtship. A man should bring flowers and make elaborate declarations of his sentiments, a woman should be coy. And bear in mind that many are devoutly Catholic, so don’t necessarily expect to get lucky without some serious commitment. That said, there are a growing number of more liberal-minded young people in Guatemala, and it’s perfectly possible to find yourself a short-term romance. Quetzaltenango and San Pedro Atitlan are good places to look.

By far the most efficient way of getting laid in Guatemala is to head to the Caribbean coast, where an astronomically high libido is not only tolerated but expected, at least among the Garifuna community. It must be one of the few places on earth where hello, you’re looking extremely sexy today. I’d like to take you around the back of that shed and rag you senseless is considered an acceptable form of friendly greeting.

For a woman, all you really need is a face and functioning genitals. A good-looking man can get by with that as well, but if you’re older or less aesthetically blessed a few presents can grease the wheels. Nothing major, often a nice meal and a couple of drinks will do. It’s not prostitution exactly… but can feel unpleasantly like it. The Garifuna don’t see it as such, more as a mutually beneficial arrangement between a person who likes sex and nice things who doesn’t have much money (her), and a person who likes sex and nice things who has more money (you).

Whether you’re prepared to take advantage of this is up to you but whatever you do use condoms, because HIV is spreading.

Cat Rainsford