Guatemala City is the capital of Guatemala and home to over three million people. Safety concerns change often in the city. State Department news can educate tourists on the current climate toward foreign travellers.
Generally, tourists should be cautious when driving through the city. Visitors should be wary of pickpockets and purse snatchers in tourist areas.
Car Rentals in Guatemala City
Drivers have choices when renting a car in Guatemala City. Car rentals are available at the airport and around town. Well-known companies include Alamo, Hertz, Budget, and Payless. Travellers can search for the cheapest car rentals and make reservations online.
Drivers must carry their driver's licences while driving a rental car. Car renters must provide proof of automobile insurance at the rental counter. International Driving Permits are also helpful when renting a car and driving in Guatemala.
Rental car drivers must fill the gas tank before returning a rental car. There are plenty of gas stations on main roads throughout the city. Drivers headed to rural areas should fill the tank on the way out of town. For extended trips, drivers can bring some extra gas in a canister.
Getting Around Guatemala City by Car
The layout of the city is divided into Zones, which makes navigation easier. Major roadways through Guatemala City include CA9, the Transoceanic Highway, and CA1, the Panamerican Highway.
Chaotic traffic is the norm in the city centre. Tourists should watch for buses that assume the right of way. Outside the city, there are few road signs. Drivers should study routes before taking a road trip, bring maps, and use a GPS device.
In addition, not all roads are paved or well-maintained. Renters who plan to tour the city should choose a four-wheel-drive vehicle, especially during the rainy season. This season lasts from April to October.
Night Driving in Guatemala City
Most roads have reflectors that make it safer to drive in the dark. Driving at night is not recommended for tourists, though. Animals roam the streets at night, and not all local vehicles have lights. People unfamiliar with the roads should only travel during daylight hours.
Places to Visit in Guatemala City
Nature lovers will enjoy the Jardin Botanico, a botanical garden just 2.8 kilometres from the city centre in Zone 10. Tickets also include admission to the National History Museum. The garden and museum are run by the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala.
Shoppers can stroll through three underground levels at the Mercado Central. The market is located in Zone 1 at 8 Calle and 8 Ave. Vendors sell produce, jewelry, leather goods, and crafts like woven baskets and blankets.
Thirsty travellers can tour the Cervecería Centroamericana in Zone 2. This brewery produces Gallo, the country's flagship offering, and other varieties of beer. Tours and samples are free, but reservations are required.
Renting a car is a convenient way to travel around Guatemala City. Drivers can explore the city on their own schedule and not worry about bus schedules or taxi fares.