Flag of Guatemala Guatemala
|Language:||Spanish (de facto)|
|Hitchability:||<rating country='gt' />|
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Guatemala is a country in Central America.
It is recommended to go to the exit of whatever town you're in, in the direction of your destination. It is preferable to wait by speed bumps (tumulos) and point towards your destination as thumbing is more likely to incite an enthusiastic thumbs up in return, not a ride.
Be aware that many of the small vans and pick-ups function as local buses/taxis. The word for bus in Guatemalan Spanish is camioneta which means "a small truck". Camioneta serves as a main transportation service for local (rural) population. When you hitchhike, they will usually stop for you, too − in that case strictly say "No" (you might need to repeat it a few times).
Many private car drivers that pick you up might also ask you to contribute to the fuel. It is also a good idea to ask "¿Es un ride, no eres taxi?" ("This is a ride, you aren't a taxi?") before you get in the car so that you don't get into a misunderstanding later on: if you don't negotiate a fare (free or otherwise) before you get in drivers often demand some kind of extortionate price once you want to get out − is it then too late for the "No" answer. Same is valid for local taxis and other kinds of transport. The good thing, though, is that fares are very low, almost always less than 2$, some hitchhikers chose to take one of the pick-ups or a bus and to pay this small amount. This is what locals do, anyway − and they often are very poor people, so it is quite normal that from you as a travelling foreigner some cash will be expected − such fees subsidize the cost of owning a vehicle for the drivers in this country. So basically, if you want to hitchhike in Guatemala, you can expect some combination of free and low cost rides.
It's also worth noting that the standard bus fare in Guatemala as of this writing (9/18/13) is Q10 per hour. You can use this to calculate a fair contribution.
Furthermore, if you see a truck that has a metal frame built into the back, it is probably operating as a bus and thus you will be charged.
Like in all of Central America, the dirty-hippy look is not appreciated at all! People here wash every day, wear clean clothes and change them as often as possible. Not doing so is seen as a sign of the utmost disrespect and bad education, and is not recommended if you hope to get anywhere hitch-hiking, however hard it might be to find a shower and some place to dry clothes every day!
I have been hitchhing as my primary means of inter-city/village transport for the last year in Guatemala. It's been a great experience so far; its the best way to take in the country. I've updated a bit of the info above drawing from my personal history. If you have any questions or are interested in reading more I wrote a full guide to hitchhiking in Guatemala and posted it on my website jasonridesabike's guide to hitchhiking in Guatemala - jasonridesabike
I hitched on two different occasions in Guatemala. The first time I made it through the tourist belt, to Semuc Champey at Lanquin. The second time through I hitched with a trucker who brought me to the Salvadoran border, letting me sleep in the bunk the whole 9 hour nighttime ride. Just watch out for mudslides. - Chael