Cathedral of Xela
Safety in Xela

Safety in Quetzaltenango Guatemala / See also Hot Tips / How to get Xela

Theft in Guatemala is generally no more prevalent than most other places in the world. Like everywhere in the world, please take proper precautions, particularly in crowded places such as markets or buses. If students keep things in a money pouch, it should be under clothing. Note: We highly recommend carrying a copy and not your original passport so as to avoid paying $50.00 and waiting 3 days in Guatemala City to receive a new one in the case that you lose it!! When travelling, carry with you a photocopy of your passport. If you are going to be traveling on unknown bus routes, please ask in the office about the safety of the area.

One very serious caution to women: At any hour of the day you should be cautious of men who like to touch. Local women are aware of this and walk alert every second aware of the fact that they can be quickly groped or grabbed in the breast or butt (usually quickly and nothing more, not even a second look from the perpetrator). This is especially true for women with blonde or brown hair. Some guidebooks suggest you ignore such harassment, but women we know who have angrily confronted it say they were able to literally scare off the perpetrators. If however you don't feel confident and/or safe in a sexist environment, you may consider carrying Mace. Another note is that the men here whistle, shout, or mumble words to women very frequently - not only to tourist women, but local women as well. Be aware that you will experience stares, and potential harassment on a regular basis. Wearing make-up, sun dresses, tight or other clothing that the locals do not use does little more than invite this sort of thing to happen on a more than tolerable frequency.

Xela is a relatively safe city. People generally feel safe walking around until 9PM or later. However, after dark following the "stay away from deserted streets that aren't lit" rule is always a good idea. Please remember to look both ways before crossing the street, as pedestrians do not have any manner of claim to the road. In fact, we recommend paranoia as a companion while traversing the streets here. We encourage visitors and students to walk each other home after nighttime activities. Always remember that a taxi is a good value for the safety it can give.
Getting Around Quetzaltenango

Although disconcerting at first, it is pretty easy once you feel you way around. Local buses are good for long distances and only 1 quetzal. However, most places can be reached on foot in less than 45 minutes. The buses basically go in two directions: to the Minerva terminal or the Rotonda and most pass by Parque Central at some point. It is always best to ask. Buses going to Minerva terminal can be caught in 8a Calle at the intersection of 12 Avenida. They either go out 4a Calle (El Calvario) or up 14 Avenida and nearly all pass through or near La Democracia. Going to the Rotonda, buses stop at 10a Calle near 11 Av.


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