Earth > Americas > Central America > Guatemala
|Language:||Spanish (de facto)|
|Hitchability:||<rating country='gt' />|
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|<map lat='15.580710739162123' lng='-90.439453125' zoom='6' view='0' country='Guatemala' />|
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!
It's always worth asking at the fire station. In Cobán, the firefighters were reluctant to let Zenit and Koen stay because their superiors had already left -- at 5.30pm. Camping is also fairly easy and safe once you're out of the cities.
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
Zenit seriously enjoyed hitchhiking in Guatemala. Waiting times were short, people were friendly, the country felt much safer than Mexico. In three or four days it only happened once or twice that somebody wanted money, and they were easily spotted right away.
two weeks romping around the carreteras of guate: 15 minute max waits, staying in people's homes when they incredulously protest your plan to sleep in the bushes somewhere tonight, and only a 200 Quetzal fine (dear French driver - and Guate resident-, don't forget your passport at home!), and plenty of curious passers-by. guate is as colorful as it is great for hitching! myself and a male friend rocked it this past october (2017). signing off -- two_string_sally , april 2018
Only good experiences - please give a few quetzales for gas if/where you can. Hitched all around the greater antigua area, to/from atitlan, to flores, 16 hours in a van with students - got to watch shaw and hobbes in spanish on that one. so common and easy, it felt very strange/cumbersome to actually take the bus. Hitched just me (sola female), with two girlfriends, with three people, paid only once 10Q ($1.25) because they saved our asses (2019) -- justgettingaround
Getting to Guatemala
There are of course many ways to get to Guatemala. The way you choose to go depends on where you want to travel. One of the most thrilling ways is by sailboat. You can find many sailing vessels in the Rio Dulce area. I traveled there using https://www.worshipsailing.com/guatemala.html. The more experience you have the cheaper your fare is. My ride was free and the experience was beyond what I ever expected.