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Is Guatemala Safe for Female Travelers?
When I told my friends and family that my next solo trip was to Guatemala, the common question was, “Guatemala, why Guatemala?” The second question was, “Is Guatemala safe for female travelers?” Well, after showing them pictures of where I was going to spend my Guatemalan vacation, Lake Atitlan and Antigua, along with explaining that those areas were safe and tourist-friendly, it was clear why Guatemala.
Safe Places For Female Travelers In Guatemala
Guatemala, like many Central American countries, has the reputation of being unsafe for tourists. Similar to traveling here in the United States, you have to be selective in the cities and destinations you choose to visit.
Two safe Guatemalan cities for female tourists are Lake Atitlan and Antigua. While in both destinations, I felt as safe as any other country that I have visited.
After touching down in Guatemala City, my first stop on my Guatemala vacation was Lake Atitlan. Lake Atitlan is a drop-dead gorgeous volcanic lake set with the silhouette of three volcanoes in the background. On the lake’s perimeter sits several quaint villages and towns, making it a safe tourist attraction for females.
Safe Ways to Get to Lake Atitlan
The trek to Lake Atitlan from the airport was pretty easy. For safety purposes, it’s recommended that you use a reputable transportation company. I personally used Carlos (What’s App: +502 5650 2212), a taxi service provider recommended by another solo female traveler.
There were two transportation options, private or shared. The shared option was $50, and it was open to all, including locals. Whereas the private option was $125.
I took the shared option where a private car drove me from the airport to Antigua. From Antigua, I took a shared shuttle to Lake Atitlan. Both experiences felt comfortable and safe.
Water Taxis around Lake Atitlan
My shuttle dropped me at Panajachel, the largest town along the lake leaving me to truly experience what it meant to live around Lake Atitlan. Once you arrive in Panajachel with intentions to stay in a village around the lake, you have to take a water taxi, public or private.
The public water taxis cost about $3.25 while the private taxi prices varied, starting at $25. The public taxis stop running at 6:30 PM, if you arrive after that you’ll have to take a private taxi.
Luckily, I arrived in Panajachel just in the nick of time to grab the last boat. Guatemala doesn’t observe Daylight Savings Time, so it was dark, and I was nervous due to the lack of light. If arriving at a new destination during the evening makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, you’ll want to plan to arrive at Lake Atitlan during the daytime so you can get the lay of the land in the light.
Where to Stay in Lake Atitlan
👉 Lush- Lake Atitlan Hotel
I arrived in San Marcos La Laguna twenty minutes after leaving Panajachel. The boat dropped me at the dock and I was left to walk to the hotel, which was about a 10-minute walk.
Since I arrived at night, I was on high alert. I was questioning if Guatemala was indeed safe for female travelers as I felt super vulnerable walking after dark in an unfamiliar area.
Luckily, Google Maps lead me directly to the hotel without any issues.
My fears and my guard immediately dropped as I entered the grounds of Lush. Even in the dark, it was a sight for sore eyes, lush like its name and gorgeous. Not only did it feel beautiful, offering spacious and unique rooms, but it also felt very safe for a solo female traveler.
✔️ Click here to book your stay at Lush ✔️
👉 San Marcos La Laguna
San Marcos, the village of Lush, is a quaint town located right on the Lake. It’s known as the hipster paradise, as it’s home to many yogis, hippies, and spiritual philosophers.
There are no cars in San Marcos but everything is within walking distance. For some reason, I felt safer as a solo female traveler in Guatemala knowing that everyone was on foot and bike, like myself.
On my last night at Lush, I ventured out to eat. I landed at Giardino II, a vegetarian restaurant, with an ambiance that makes you feel like family from the moment you step in. Plus, the food was absolutely delicious.
The next morning, as I walked to Circles Cafe & Bakery, I realized the homey, friendly feeling I felt at Giardino II was a norm in San Marcos La Laguna. Everyone I encountered was very friendly, and many spoke English.
👉 Tzampoc Resort– Lake Atitlan Hotel
Looking for a hotel around Lake Atitlan with a pool? Tzampoc Resort is your option.
Tzampoc Resort provides a safe atmosphere for solo female travelers to let down their hair to enjoy the pool, food, drinks, and view. The price for the day pass is $25, and a reservation is required to reserve the day.
Note: Tzampoc is on the top of a steep hill and some tuk-tuks have trouble getting to the top, meaning you may have to walk it.
Although the walk isn’t for the faint of heart, it felt safe. There wasn’t a moment that my safety was in question, although I couldn’t say the same for the condition of my heart due to the heat and incline 😜
✔️ Click here to book your stay at Tzampoc Resort ✔️
Antigua is a charming city filled with Spanish colonial architecture. The city is surrounded by volcanoes which make the most beautiful backdrop. When walking the cobblestoned-lined streets, a feeling of nostalgia and happiness overcomes you as you walk past the friendly locals.
As a female traveler, I felt extremely safe in Antigua, Guatemala.
Where to Stay in Antigua
👉 Santo Cielo by Casa Santo Domingo
Santo Cielo for Casa Santo Domingo offers luxurious airstreams and containers.
Casa Santo Domingo is a well know and respected hotel in Antigua. Many celebrities and dignitaries stay there. So I knew Santo Cielo would be safe for me as a solo female traveler.
When I entered Casa Santo Domingo to check in, I quickly realized the airstream was not on the same property. After checking in at the hotel’s front desk, you have to take a ten-minute car ride to Santo Cielo.
Note: Transportation from Casa Santo Domingo (check-in) to Santo Cielo’s Airstream & Containers is not provided by the hotel.
Upon arriving at Santo Cielo Airstreams, I felt as if I had entered another city while in Antigua as it’s nestled on a hill in a secluded neighborhood.
Once I passed security, a concierge met me in a cherry red, open-air Jeep Wrangler to escort me to my private oasis. Each airstream and container has a hot tub, an outdoor bed overlooking the beautiful view, smart TV, in-room safe, daily housekeeping, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
I felt completely safe enjoying time in nature Guatemala as I knew a concierge was close by.
✔️ Click here to book your stay at Casa Santo Domingo ✔️
👉 Somos Hostel
Somos is located right in the midst of the action in Antigua. It’s a perfect way to be within safe walking distance to many of Antigua’s attractions.
This hostel, compared to the popular Mayan Monkey Tulum, is on the smaller side. Despite its size, it still has a bar, hot tub, and amenities of most hostels. I believe the size of Somos created a feeling of community and safety that some of the larger hostels miss.
Similarly, most of the staff are also guests. This gave me a sense of security as a solo female traveler knowing that most staff members are also travelers. Plus, the front desk workers are a concierge of sorts, arranging affordable adventures to various tourist attractions throughout Guatemala and neighboring countries like Honduras and El Salvador.
If you are a female traveler looking for a safe way to enjoy Antigua and other parts of Guatemala and Central America, Somos is the perfect resource.
In fact, I used their services to book my excursion to Pacaya Volcano.
Safe Things to Do in Guatemala for Female Travelers
✔️ Hike an Active Volcano- Pacaya Volcano
Did you really have a Guatemalan vacation if you didn’t climb an active volcano?
As mentioned, Somos books volcano hikes for some of the best prices in Antigua. The tour to Pacaya Volcano, the easiest hike of the Guatemalan volcanoes (which also offers the option to ride a horse up), was $20 for a car ride, entry, and guide. It was a shared tour but luckily for me, I had the van and guide to myself.
✔️ Click here to book your tour to Pacaya Volcano from Antigua ✔️
To ensure safety, especially since this is an active volcano, be sure to have a guide.
Your guide will escort you to big blocks of black lava that have been burning for days but is still hot enough to roast marshmallows.
Imagine that; roasting marshmallows on an active volcano. It’s a memory that will indeed last for a lifetime!!
✔️ A Visit to Hobbintenago
If you’ve done any research on things to do in Guatemala, you will see Hobbintenago listed. Without proper research, it’s easy to think that it is just the mano gigante (gigantic hand).
Well, I was that person; I thought it was just the mano gigante! Imagine my eyes when I got there and realized there was so much to see and do for only $5.
Hobbintenago is filled with multiple restaurants and activities, including swings, horseback riding, games, hikes, and more. There are also vendors selling local souvenirs. You can literally spend hours there.
Hobbintenago is filled with tourists and locals who are there just to have a good time, making this Guatemala hot spot safe for female travelers.
✔️ Eat Local Food
If you’re a foodie like me, Guatemala won’t disappoint!
Local Guatemalan food is filled with various meats, rice, gravies, and flavor.
One of my favorite experiences was with my driver Carlos. He took me to Rincon Tipico, a highly recommended and delicious eatery in the heart of Antigua. I had soup, meat, two sides, and dessert for only $5 or so.
If you’ve never tried food in Guatemala, make sure you do so. Ask a local about the yummiest and safest restaurants for you to try as a solo female traveler.
✔️ Guatemala Vacation Photoshoot
With over three dozen volcanoes and colorful Spanish colonial architecture, Guatemala is the perfect place to commemorate your solo female trip with a photo shoot.
The great thing about a photo shoot is that it gives you the opportunity to explore Guatemala with someone that lives there.
Not only does it make me feel safer exploring Guatemala as a female traveler, but also, photographers normally recommend some of the most unique and iconic places as a backdrop to your photos. This is also the perfect time to get a local’s perspective and suggestions on things to do and places to go in Guatemala.
My photos at Museo Efrain Recinos and the infamous arch turned out wonderful. If a photoshoot is on your Guatemala itinerary, check out my photographer, Fernanda.
✔️ Relax in Nature
As mentioned, Guatemala has 37 volcanoes, so the backdrop is so picturesque.
It’s a great opportunity to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. Personally, I had the opportunity to enjoy nature both in Lake Atitlan, taking in the views of the Lake with a glass of wine, and the airstream in Antigua, relaxing in the hot tub, surrounded by nature.
Safe Transportation in Guatemala for Female Travelers
When I travel as a solo female, I’m particular about the transportation I choose to use. I normally like to use a local transportation company, recommended by someone who has used them, if possible.
- I used a taxi recommended by another solo female traveler, Carlos (What’s App: +502 5650 2212)
- Carlos speaks English and is a great resource
- Uber is also available in Guatemala. Use the same safety precautions you’d use at home.
- For trips to/from the lake and other further out destinations, there are shared shuttles.
- Shared shuttles are used by both locals and tourists
- Carlos can be a resource to set up this transportation
However you choose to get around Guatemala, it’s important to use a reputable source and let someone else know where you’re going, even if they’re back home.
Safe Travel Tips for Female Travelers in Guatemala
There are three safe travel tips that I applied as a female traveler in Guatemala:
- Access to at least one local- which is normally my transportation provider
- Share my itinerary and lodging info with someone who loves me
- Stay aware of my surroundings
The combination of being within a phone’s reach of a local, knowing someone at home would know where to look for me, and being alert to my surroundings made me feel safe to explore Lake Atitlan and Antigua, Guatemala.
These are great tips to apply no matter where your travels may take you.
✔️ Get more tips on feeling safer as a solo female traveler in this post ✔️
Guatemala IS Safe for Female Travelers
From my personal experience and the experience of many female travelers who have been, Guatemala is safe to travel to. Plus, it exceeded my expectations!!
It was such a peaceful and unique experience. So much so that I cannot decide which was my favorite city. Between the beauty of Lake Atitlan and the charm of Antigua, I was happy I chose it for my solo female vacation.
I most definitely would visit again, maybe with my kids in tow! Who knows?
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