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Guatemala has a developing economy, characterized by wide income disparities. Hotels and other tourist facilities in the principal tourist sites most frequented by visitors from the United States are generally good to excellent. A peace accord, signed in 1996, ended a 36-year armed conflict. Violent crime, however, is a serious concern due to endemic poverty, an abundance of weapons, a legacy of societal violence, and dysfunctional law enforcement and judicial systems. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Guatemala for additional information.


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Image of Guatemala
Country Name: Guatemala
Continent: Central America
Capital City: Guatemala
Boundary Countries:
Recommended Hospitals in Capital:

Antigua:  Hospital Privado Hermano Pedro, Hospital Reina de los Angeles
Colonia Tecun Uman:  Sanatorio Nuestra Señora del Pilar
Guatemala City: Amedesgua Hospital, Hospital Angeles, Hospital Bella Aurora, Hospital Centro Medico, Hospital Herrera Llerandi, Hospital Maranatha, Hospital Santa Margarita, Sanatorio Nuestra Señora del Pilar
Napoles: Hospital Privado Napoles

Main Cities:

Guatemala, Flores, Cobán, Puerto Barrios, Villa Nueva, Puerto Quetzal, Escuintla, Mixco, Mazatenango, Huehuetenango, Puerto Santo Tomas de Castilla, Coatepeque, Quetzaltenango

Country Size: 108,890 sq km
Population: 12,728,111



Spanish 60%, Amerindian languages 40% (23 officially recognized Amerindian languages, including Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, Garifuna, and Xinca)

Currency: Quetzel (GTQ), US dollar (USD), others allowed
Predominant Religions:

Roman Catholic, Protestant, indigenous Mayan beliefs

National Holidays: Independance Dy, 15 September (1821)
Economic Status:

The distribution of income remains highly unequal with about 56% of the population below the poverty line. Remittances from a large expatriate community that moved to the United States during the war have become the primary source of foreign income, exceeding the total value of exports and tourism combined.


Army, NAvy, (includes MArines), Air Force

US Presence:
U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City
Avenida Reforma 7-01, Zona 10
Guatemala Ciudad, Guatemala
(502) 2326-4000
Document Requirements:

A valid U.S. passport is required for all U.S. citizens, regardless of age, to enter Guatemala and to depart Guatemala for return to the U.S. Even if dual nationals are permitted to enter Guatemala on a second nationality passport, U.S. citizens returning to the United States from Guatemala are not allowed to board their flights without a valid U.S. passport. Certificates of Naturalization, birth certificates, driver's licenses, and photocopies are not accepted by Guatemalan authorities as alternative travel documents. While in Guatemala, U.S. citizens should carry their passports, or a photocopy of their passports, with them at all times.

An exit tax must be paid when departing Guatemala by air. The exit tax (currently $30) is generally included in an airline ticket price, but may be charged separately. There is an additional airport security fee (20 Quetzales, approximately $2.50) that all travelers must pay at the airport.

Minors under 18 traveling with a valid U.S. passport do not need special permission from their parents to enter or leave Guatemala. U.S. citizens do not need a visa for a stay of 90 days or less. That period can be extended for an additional 90 days upon application to Guatemalan immigration. (If the initial period of stay granted upon entry is less than 90 days, any extension would be granted only for the same number of days as the initial authorization.)

A U.S. citizen whose passport is lost or stolen in Guatemala must obtain a new passport at the U.S. Embassy as soon as possible and present it, together with a police report on the loss or theft, to the Dirección de Migración (Guatemalan immigration agency), Sub-director de Control Migratorio (Sub-director for Migratory Control), in order to obtain permission to depart Guatemala. The agency is located in Guatemala City at 6a Avenida 3-11, Zone 4, Guatemala City. Office hours are weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; telephone 2411-2411. No fee is charged by Guatemalan immigration for this service.

In June 2006, Guatemala entered a “Central America-4 (CA-4) Border Control Agreement” with El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Under the terms of the agreement, citizens of the four countries may travel freely across land borders from one of the countries to any of the others without completing entry and exit formalities at immigration checkpoints. U.S. citizens and other eligible foreign nationals, who legally enter any of the four countries, may similarly travel among the four without obtaining additional visas or tourist entry permits for the other three countries. Immigration officials at the first port of entry determine the length of stay, up to a maximum period of 90 days. Foreign tourists who wish to remain in the region beyond the period initially granted for their visit are required either to request a one-time extension of stay from local immigration authorities in the country where the traveler is physically present, or to travel outside the CA-4 countries and reapply for admission to the region. Foreigners “expelled” from any of the four countries are excluded from the entire CA-4 region. In isolated cases, the lack of clarity in the implementing details of the CA-4 Border Control Agreement has caused temporary inconvenience to travelers.

For further information regarding entry, exit and customs requirements, travelers shouldcontact the Guatemalan Embassyat 2220 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008; telephone (202) 745-4952, extension 102; fax (202) 745-1908; or contact the nearest Guatemalan consulate (Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, or San Francisco).

Major Airports:

Airports:  450, Airports w/paved runways:  11
Guatemala City – La Aurora International Airport (GUA/MGGT)
Guatemala City Airport, Guatemala, Direccion General de Aeronautica Civil, Aeropuerto La Aurora, Zona 13, Guatemala CA 01013, GUTEMALA
Tel: +502 (0)2 600311
Fax: +502 (0)2 600311

Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:

Violent criminal activity continues to be a problem in Guatemala, including murder, rape, and armed assaults against foreigners. The police force is inexperienced and under-funded, and the judicial system is weak, overworked, and inefficient. Well-armed criminals know there is little chance they will be caught or punished. Traditionally, Guatemala experiences increases in crime before and during the Christmas and Easter holiday seasons. Large demonstrations occur throughout Guatemala, often with little or no notice, and can cause serious traffic disruptions. Although most demonstrations are peaceful, they can turn violent, and travelers should avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place. Particularly virulent rumors of child stealing and of murder for organ harvesting have been reported in separate areas of Guatemala frequented by American tourists. Due to uncontrolled drug and alien smuggling, the Guatemalan border with Mexico is a relatively high-risk area, in particular in the northern Peten Department.

Avoid gatherings of agitated people. Avoid close contact with children, including taking photographs, especially in rural areas. The number of violent crimes reported by U.S. citizens and other foreigners has remained high in recent years. Incidents include, but are not limited to, assault, theft, armed robbery, carjacking, rape, kidnapping, and murder. Criminals often operate in groups of four or more and are confrontational and violent. Gangs are a growing concern in Guatemala City and rural Guatemala. Beware of strong currents, riptides, and undertow along Guatemala's Pacific Coast beaches. Climbing in groups is still highly advisable for any volcano climb to reduce the risk of assault. Mudslides and flooding during the May to November rainy season often kill dozens of people and close roads. Both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Guatemala are also vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms from June through November.

Mortality Statistics:

Infant MR total: 29.77 deaths/1,000 live births
TOTAL 69.69 years(male 67.94/female 71.52)


Immunization Indicators:

Required : None

Recommended: Hep A&B, Maleria, Rabies, Typhoid, Yellow Fever
Boosters:  MMR, DPT

Infectious Disease Concerns:

Dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, onchocerciasis, and American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease) are diseases carried by insects that also occur in this region. Myiasis (botfly) is endemic in Central America.

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

A full range of medical care is available in Guatemala City, but medical care outside the city is limited. Guatemala's public hospitals frequently experience serious shortages of basic medicines and equipment. Care in private hospitals is generally adequate for most common illnesses and injuries, and many of the medical specialists working in them are U.S. trained and certified.

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 4
Referrals: 3
View Network Providers
Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:
Communications Info:

Country Calling Code:  +502
Internet Country Code:  .gt


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