Guatemala City (locally known as Guatemala or Guate) , is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Guatemala, and the most populous in Central America.The city is located in the south-central part of the country, nestled in a mountain valley called, in Spanish, Valle de la Ermita. Guatemala City metropolitan population is believed to have reached at least 4.5 million in 2013.

Info Guatemala City


Guatemala City (locally known as Guatemala or Guate) , is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Guatemala, and the most populous in Central America. 

The city is located in the south-central part of the country, nestled in a mountain valley called, in Spanish, Valle de la Ermita. Guatemala City metropolitan population is believed to have reached at least 4.5 million in 2013.

Guatemala City became the capital after Antigua Guatemala had been destroyed by an earthquake in 1773. Guatemala City is the largest and most modern city in Guatemala. Guatemala City has attractions and restaurants, often with few tourists. Sunday evenings' gatherings of hundreds of locals at the main plaza is certainly an unforgettable experience.

POPULATION : City: 2,110,100 / Metro: 4,500,000
FOUNDED :  1776
TIME ZONE : Central America (UTC-6)
LANGUAGE : Spanish 60%, Amerindian languages 40%
RELIGION : Roman Catholic, Protestant, indigenous Mayan beliefs
AREA : 692 km2 (267 sq mi)
ELEVATION : 1,500 m (4,900 ft)
COORDINATES : 14°36′48″N 90°32′7″W
SEX RATIO : Male: 48.77%  
 Female: 51.23%
ETHNIC : Mestizo (mixed Amerindian-Spanish - in local Spanish called Ladino) and European 59.4%, K'iche 9.1%, Kaqchikel 8.4%, Mam 7.9%, Q'eqchi 6.3%, other 8.9%


Humans have long inhabited and settled in the areas in and around modern-day Guatemala City. Upon the advent of agriculture, some of these early Neolithic settlements grew to become large, stratified cities. Testimony of this can be seen in the western suburbs of Guatemala City, where the ruins of the central ceremonial center of the Preclassic Maya city of Kaminaljuyu are located.

Archeological evidence demonstrates that Kaminaljuyu was first occupied by the Maya around 1500 BC, with the site being continuously inhabited until around 1200 AD.

In Spanish colonial times, Guatemala City was a small town. It had a monastery called El Carmen, founded in 1628. The capital of the Spanish Captaincy General of Guatemala, covering most of modern Central America, was moved here after a series of earthquakes—the Santa Marta earthquakes that started on July 29, 1773—destroyed the old capital, Antigua. On September 27, 1775, King Charles III of Spain officiated at the moving of the capital. This move to a location at a significant distance from the volcanoes believed to have caused the earthquake dramatically increased the potential for expansion of the city. The new city was given the name Nueva Guatemala (New Guatemala).

Central Square was the civic and political center of Guatemala city from it foundation in 1776 until the beginning of democratic rule in 1985. Around the square were the main religious and political buildings of the country. The cathedral, on the east side, was built between 1782 and 1815, with the towers being completed in 1867. Its massive structure incorporates baroque and classical elements and has withstood numerous earthquakes. On the west side, the Royal Palace was the Executive branch headquarters for the Capitanía of Guatemala from the time the city was established in 1776 until the earthquakes of 1917 and 1918.

Guatemala City was the scene of the declaration of independence of Central America from Spain, and became the capital of the United Provinces of Central America in 1821.


On 31 January 1980, Guatemala got worldwide attention when the Spanish Embassy in Guatemala City was burnt down, resulting in 37 deaths, including embassy personnel and high ranked Guatemalan former government officials. A group of native people from El Quiché occupied the embassy in a desperate attempt to bring attention to the issues they were having with the Army in that region of the country, which was rich in oil and had been recently populated as part of the "Franja Transversal del Norte" agricultural program. In the end, thirty seven people died after a fire started within the embassy after the police force tried to occupy the building; after that, Spain broke its diplomatic relationships with Guatemala.

On 5 September 1980 a terror attack by Ejército Guerrillero de los Pobres (EGP) took place right in front of the Guatemalan National Palace, the headquarters of the Guatemalan government at the time. The intention was to prevent the Guatemalan people from supporting a huge demonstration that the government of general Lucas Garcia had prepared for on Sunday 7 September 1980. In the attack, six adults and a little boy died after two bombs inside a vehicle went off.

There was an undetermined number of wounded and heavy material losses, not only from art pieces from the National Palace, but from all the surrounding buildings, particularly in the Lucky Building, which was right across the Presidential Office.

The attacks against private financial, commercial, and agricultural targets increased in the Lucas Garcia years, as the leftist Marxist groups saw those institutions as "reactionaries" and "millionaire exploiters" that were collaborating with the "genocidal government".


Despite its location in the tropics, Guatemala City’s relatively high altitude moderates average temperatures.

Guatemala City is generally warm, almost springlike, throughout the course of the year. It occasionally gets hot during the dry season, but not as hot and humid as in the cities located at sea level.

The hottest month is April. The rainy season extends from May to October, coinciding with the tropical storm and hurricane season in the western Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, while the dry season extends from November to April. The city can at times be windy, which also leads to lower ambient temperatures.

The average annual temperature ranges from 22 to 28 °C (72 to 82 °F) during the day, and 12 to 17 °C (54 to 63 °F) at night.

Average morning relative humidity: 82%, evening relative humidity: 58%. Average dew point is 16 °C (61 °F).

Climate data for Guatemala City

Record high °C (°F)30.0
Average high °C (°F)24.3
Average low °C (°F)13.2
Record low °C (°F)6.0
Source: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia


Volcanic activity

Four stratovolcanoes are visible from the city, two of them active. The nearest and most active is Pacaya, which at times erupts a considerable amount of ash. These volcanoes lie to the south of the Valle de la Ermita, providing a natural barrier between Guatemala City and the Pacific lowlands that define the southern regions of Guatemala. Agua, Fuego, Pacaya and Acatenango comprise a line of 33 stratovolcanoes that stretches across the breadth of Guatemala, from the Salvadorian border to the Mexican border.


Lying on the Ring of Fire, the Guatemalan highlands and the Valle de la Ermita are frequently shaken by large earthquakes. The last large tremor to hit the Guatemala City region occurred in the 1976, on theMotagua Fault, a left-lateral strike-slip fault that forms the boundary between the Caribbean Plate and theNorth American Plate. The 1976 event registered 7.5 on the moment magnitude scale. Smaller, less severe tremors are frequently felt in Guatemala City and environs.


Torrential downpours, similar to the more famous monsoons, occur frequently in the Valle de la Ermita during the rainy season, leading to flash floods that sometimes inundate the city. Due to these heavy rainfalls, some of the slums perched on the steep edges of the canyons that criss-cross the Valle de la Ermita are washed away and buried under mudslides, as in October 2005.Tropical waves, tropical storms and hurricanes sometimes strike the Guatemalan highlands, which also bring torrential rains to the Guatemala City region and trigger these deadly mudslides.


Guatemala City, as the capital, is home to Guatemala's central bank, from which Guatemala's monetary and fiscal policies are formulated and promulgated. Guatemala City is also headquarters to numerous regional private banks, among them CitiBank, Banco Agromercantil, Banco Promerica, Banco Industrial, Banco GyT Continental, Banco de Antigua, Banco Reformador, Banrural, Grupo Financiero de Occidente, BAC Credomatic, and Banco Internacional.

By far the richest and most powerful regional economy within Guatemala, Guatemala City is the largest market for goods and services, which provides the greatest number of investment opportunities for public and private investors in all of Guatemala. Financing for these investments is provided by the regional private banks, as well as by foreign direct and capital investment, mostly from the United States. Guatemala City's ample consumer base and sophisticated service sector is represented by the large department store chains present in the city, among them Siman, Hiper Paiz & Paiz (Walmart), Price Smart, ClubCo, Cemaco, Sears and Office Depot.


Guatemala City is divided into 22 zones in accordance with the urban layout plan designed by Raúl Aguilar Batres. Each zone has its own streets and avenues, facilitating navigation within the city. Zones are numbered 1 through 25. However, numbers 20, 22 and 23 have not been designated to zones, thus these zones do not exist within the city proper.

Places of interest by zones:

Zone 1
  • Museums
  • Historic Downtown District
  • La Sexta boulevard
  • National Palace of Cultura
  • Biblioteca Nacional de Guatemala
  • Teatro Abril
  • Hogar Rafael Ayau
  • Spain Cultural Center
Zone 2
  • Guatemala Relief Map
  • "Hipódromo del Norte" park
  • "Simeón Cañas" Avenue
  • "Enrique Torrebiarte" Baseball Stadium
Zone 4
  • "La Terminal" market
  • "El Triángulo" building
Zone 5
  • Mateo Flores National Stadium
  • "Teodoro Palacios Flores" gymnasium
  • Olympic Villa
Zone 6
  • Cementos Progreso Stadium
Zone 7
  • Sitio arqueológico deKaminaljuyú
  • Parque deportivo "Erick Barrondo" (La Democracia)
  • Peri-Roosevelt mall′
  • Megacentro mall
Zona 9
  • Torre del Reformador
  • Parque de la Industria
  • Avenida Reforma
  • Obelisco
Zona 10
  • Universidad Francisco Marroquín
  • Museo Ixchel del Traje Indígena
  • Universidad Galileo
  • Museo Popol Vuh
  • Zona Viva
  • Jardín Botánico
  • Plaza Fontabella shopping center
  • Oakland Mall
Zona 11
  • Museo de Miraflores
  • Miraflores Mall
  • Tikal Futura
  • Hospital Roosevelt
  • Centro Universitario Metropolitano de la Universidad de San Carlos
  • Calzada Roosevelt
Zona 13
  • Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología
  • Museo de Arte Moderno
  • Museo de los Niños
  • Museo Nacional de Historia Natural
  • Zoológico La Aurora
  • La Aurora International Airport
  • Avenida de las Américas
  • Contraloría General de Cuentas de la Nación
  • Universidad del Istmo
  • Domo Polideportivo
  • Mercado de Artesanías
  • Reloj de Flores
  • Antiguo Aqueducto de La Aurora
  • Monumento aJusto Rufino Barrios
  • Monumento a Tecún Umán
Zona 14
  • Centro Recreativo UniversitarioLos Arcos
  • Las Américas Avenue
  • La Canada park
  • La Praderamall
  • Gerentes de Guatemala Association (AGG)
Zona 15
  • Latter Day SaintsTemplo de la Iglesia de los Santos de los Últimos Días
  • Bulevar "Vista Hermosa"
Zona 16
  • Universidad Rafael Landívar
  • Guatemala Military Hospital
  • Universidad Panamericana de Guatemala
  • Paseo Cayalá

Internet, Comunication


There are phone booths spread out generously over the whole city. Most of them are from the company Telgua, some from Telefónica, and most take only phone cards. Look for the sign Ladatel or Telefonica both on the phone booths and the places that sell the cards.

There are 3 cellular airtime service providers in this country. GSM frequencies used are 850, 900, and 1900 MHz. If you have an unlocked cell phone that can use one of these three frequencies, you’ll find prepaid SIM cards for sale. Should your phone be of the wrong sort to use locally, very cheap prepaid phones with airtime are said to be available for as little as 150-200 GTQ.


Internet Cafe

  • Servicios España, High speed internet, 20th Street 18-65 zona 10. Services include internet, scanner, photocopies, fax, document recording, selling of memory devices (memory sticks or disks), document editing, academic research. In-store designed cards for special occasions (bigger numbers, upon pre-ordered requests). Open Monday through Saturday 8AM to 6PM. Contact: [email protected]
  • Maber Cyber Internet, Internet of high speed; 8th street 33-51, colony Justo Rufino Barrios, Zona 21, Phone/Fax: +502 2449-9391, Q 8.00/Hour, Internet, Scan, Print,Works in Computer, Support and Technical service, sale of new equipment and accessories, and every thing that you need and want.
  • Jv Servicios, 1 calle 1-02 y 1-04 zona 1. Tel 2251-6543 Fax. 2251-6543 Q6.00-hour. Scan, Print, Burn, hardware new and used and suministries.
  • [email protected] Web, 2 Avenida 9-72, Zona 1. Tel 2220-4645 and 5689-7315 Q4.00-hour. Scan, print, burn, copy,
  • Y2K, 2 Avenida 13-17, Zona 10. Tel 366-4783/93. Mo-Sa 10:00-22:00, Su 10:00-15:00. Q16/hour. Scan, print, burn, copy.
  • EvolutioNet, 1 Avenida/12 Calle, Zona 10. M-F 9:00-20:00, Sa 9:00-15:00. Q15/hour.
  • Cafe Virtual, Centro Comercial Los Proceres, ground floor, at the main entrance, Zona 10. Tel 332-8027. Mo-Sa 08:00-21:00, Su 09:00-20:00. Steep prices, but includes coffee of your choice. Q20 for 1/2 hour (inc. coffee).
  •, Centro Comercial Los Proceres, third floor, locale 310 next to Bancafe. Tel 332-3439. Q15 1/2 hour, Q20/hour, cheaper with prepaid cards of 3, 7 or 10 hours.
  • Cafe Internet, 5 Calle 9-25, Zona 1. M-Sa 8:30-19:00. Q6/hour. Additional services like scan, print, burn cd.
  • Fátima Cafe Internet, 10 Avenida 7-23, Zona 1. M-Sa 8:30-18:00. Q7/hour.
  • Cafe Internet 2M, Edificio el Centro, basement, Zona 1. Q6/hour.
  • Internet Cafe, Local 207 (2nd floor facing 9 Calle), Edificio el Centro, Zona 1. M-F 8:00-17:00, Sa 8:00-12:00. Q6/hour. Sells computer accessories.

Internet, Local 5, Centro Comercial 6 Avenida, 6 Av. 9-27, Zona 1. M-Su 8:00-19:00. Q5/hour

Prices in Guatemala City



Milk1 liter$1.55
Tomatoes1 kg$1.05
Cheese0.5 kg$4.20
Apples1 kg$2.10
Oranges1 kg$1.90
Beer (domestic)0.5 l$1.10
Bottle of Wine1 bottle$8.00
Coca-Cola2 liters$1.85
Bread1 piece$1.40
Water1.5 l$1.05



Dinner (Low-range)for 2$17.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2$30.00
Dinner (High-range)for 2$44.00
Mac Meal or similar1 meal$5.30
Water0.33 l$0.65
Cappuccino1 cup$2.20
Beer (Imported)0.33 l$2.00
Beer (domestic)0.5 l$1.60
Coca-Cola0.33 l$0.90
Coctail drink1 drink$5.90



Cinema2 tickets$12.00
Gym1 month$40.00
Men’s Haircut1 haircut$6.00
Theatar2 tickets$28.00
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.$0.20
Pack of Marlboro1 pack$2.75



Antibiotics1 pack$
Tampons32 pieces$7.00
Deodorant50 ml.$3.80
Shampoo400 ml.$4.70
Toilet paper4 rolls$2.40
Toothpaste1 tube$1.80



Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)1$60.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M)1$54.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)1$100.00
Leather shoes1$90.00



Gasoline1 liter$0.80
Taxi1 km$0.70
Local Transport1 ticket$0.20

Tourist (Backpacker)  

35 $ per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • meals in cheap restaurant
  • public transport
  • cheap hotel

Tourist (business/regular)  

147 $ per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • mid-range meals and drinks
  • transportation
  • hotel

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

Guatemala City has one big airport called La Aurora International Airport (IATA: GUA) located in town, in the south side of town, in Zona 13. There are daily arrivals from the US, México, El Salvador, Honduras (San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa), Costa Rica (San José), Nicaragua (Managua), Panamá. The number of arrivals is in parentheses.

The online newspaper Prensa Libre has live arrival and departure information for the airport. [www]

There are always taxis at the airport. They operate with fixed prices (around $12US from the airport to Zona 10) that are 2-3 times higher than what you would pay for the same distance with an ordinary taxi. If your hotel is in Zona 10, chances are high that there is a free shuttle service.

Regular shuttles run to Antigua each day, several times a day from 6AM to 8PM (prices $8–12US per person).

There is also a bus route operating the road that passes the airport that will take you to Zona 10 at around La Reforma and 12 Calle. If you are going to the old city center (Zona 1), many buses go that way from La Reforma or from 7 Avenida that runs in parallel with La Reforma, one block away. The red city buses are not safe due high incidences of crime against the driver and passengers. It is recommended passengers use taxis locally.

Transportation - Get In

By car

Central American highways CA-1 and CA-9 run through Guatemala City.

CA-1 is part of the Pan-American Highway and comes from the border with Mexico near Tapachula through the western highlands. Within the city, CA-1 is first Avenida Roosevelt, then Boulevar Liberacion and then Bulevar Los Proceres. It then becomes Carretera an El Salvador outside of the city and it leads to the Chinamas border with El Salvador.

Transportation - Get In

By Bus

In almost any town in Guatemala, you will find a bus that eventually will take you to Guatemala City. The second-class extra-urbanos are often crowded and uncomfortable but cheap. Expect to pay around Q10 per hour if you are a foreigner. There are also various first-class buses from some of the larger cities and from neighboring countries (Belize, México, El Salvador and Honduras). Most buses end up in Zona 1 or Zona 4.

CautionNOTE: As of January 2007, there has been a transition to a new mass transit system that has more or less removed buses from their normal terminals in Zona 1 and Zona 4. Guatemala City is currently converting to a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, where intercity buses bringing in riders from other parts of the country drop them off at different stations at the periphery of the city, and the privately-owned municipal bus system brings them to their respective destinations within the city. Currently, intercity buses heading in the direction of Antigua can be found at the Plaza del Mariachi at the periphery of Zona 3. This arrangement is currently in flux, however, with the bus cooperative members fighting for a legal right to use the old terminals in Zona 1 and Zona 4 again. It would be best for travelers to consult locals to find out what the situation is instead of going anywhere for the buses.

Buses to all of Guatemala leave from various parts of the City. An overview is on this map:[www].

Destination (via)Comp/departureaddr.scheduletime/distprice
Antigua Guatemala (& San Lucas)Various
18 Calle/4 Avenida Z1
every 15min
1 hour
45 km
Panajachel(Chimaltenango, Los Encuentros, Sololá)Transportes Rebuli
21 Calle/4 Avenida Z1
every hour
3 hours
148 km
Puerto Barrios (El Rancho, Teculután, Río Hondo, Los Amates, Quiriguá)Transportes Litegua
15 Calle 10-40 Z1
every hour
5 hours
307 km
Q60 as of Jan 2009
Flores (El Rancho, La Ruidosa, Río Dulce, San Luis, Poptún)Fuente del Norte
17 Calle 8a y 9a, 8-46 Z1
every hour9–10 hours
506 km
 Autobuses del Norte (ADN)
Estación Central 8a Avenida 16-41 Zona 1
Once during the day and twice over night.9–10 hours
506 km
Q180 one way.


Transportation - Get Around

The city is divided into 21 zones (zonas). Zona 1 is the old historic center. Here are the national palace, the presidential palace, the cathedral, the main plaza, and the Central Market. South of Zona 1 is Zona 4, with many of the official buildings like the national bank, the national theatre, and the tourist board (INGUAT). Farther south is Zona 10 and Zona 9, divided by Avenida La Reforma. Zona 10 hosts most of the high class hotels, restaurants, bars, shopping facilities. A small part of Zona 10 is called Zona Viva (the lively zone) because of its nightlife.

Transportation - Get Around

By bus

The common way to get around in Guatemala City is by bus or taxi. If you walk, make sure to do so accompanied. Traveling inside the city by bus costs Q1.00, but a few routes cost Q1.10 (then, there is see a sign in the window), and all buses charge Q1.25 on Sundays). The buses end at 8PM It is not advisable to take the bus after dark as there are many robberies on the buses.

Recently, Guatemala Municipality has established a system of buses called "Transurbano" (blue& white) and "Trasmetro" (green) which is the closest thing to a 'Metro' but by a long articulated bus using a dedicated lane along the streets. To use this system you have to buy a pre-paid card in various places of the city, and there is a special card for tourists as cash is not accepted on board. You can also also pay with Q1 coins to the machines at the stations for the "Transmetro". Routes and stops are predefined and each trip costs Q1. There are transfer points in some places and they can reach almost any area of the capital city with this system. This system is constantly growing and is much safer than the traditional red city buses, with police surveillance, security cameras, panic button, GPS. You can check the routes and stops on the system websites for Transurbano and Transmetro

Transportation - Get Around

By Taxi

There are two kinds of taxis: the ones with a meter and the ones on which you have to agree on a price before the trip. Of the metered taxis, the best service is given by Taxis Amarillo (yellow cabs). It is not possible to hail them in the street so you have to call 1766. They will demand an address (they can sometimes by quite picky about getting an exact address: look around at nearby houses, and give the correct zona) and normally a telephone number, so it might be wise to have someone call on your behalf from a restaurant or so. With Amarillo, every trip is logged, and riding is considered safe.

The other kind of taxis are white. With these you have to negotiate a price, and as you are a tourist/foreigner, they most likely will demand more than the normal fare. Normally, the white taxis should be cheaper, but unless you negotiate well, the yellow taxis might actually be the cheaper choice. Also is also the question of safety. There are approximately 800 unregistered/unlicenced/stolen white taxis circulating the city. If you do find a white taxi who is decent, the driver will be happy to give you a card and pick you up if you call in advance; many locals who can afford the odd taxi have their favorite "taxista" whom they call, and the drivers themselves can refer you to another reliable driver should they be busy. The minimum price for a metered cab ride is 25Q.

  • Taxis Amarillo: [www] 1766. [[email protected]]
  • Taxis Mariscal: 2473 2441
  • Taxis Las Americas: 2362 0583
  • Servitaxis Rotativos: 289 5188
  • Blanco y Azul: 360 0903








Guatemala is famous for its textiles. In the city you should be able to find textiles from all over the country. If you are particularly interested in Guatemala or the Maya, you might find books (in Spanish) here that are hard to get anywhere else. For books in English, you get better prices at an online bookstore like Amazon in most cases.


  • In Nola, 18 Calle 21-31, Zona 10. Tel 367-2424/367-2655/59. Mon-Fri 8:30-18-30, Sat 8:30-13:30. Enormous selection of fabrics by the yard (prices from Q20-60 depending on quality/thickness). Wood, clothes, leather, ceramic, souvenirs, traditional costumes. You can also get clothes sewn there.
  • The artesania market, Zona 13.
  • Lin-Canola5 Calle 9-60, Zona 1+502 253-0138fax: +502 232-0858. Enormous selection of fabrics by the yard (prices from Q20-60 depending on quality/thickness). Wood, clothes, leather, ceramic, souvenirs, traditional costumes. You can also get clothes sewn there.
  • Centro guatemalteco de textiles, 5 Calle 9-41, Zona 1. Ceramic, wood and fabrics by the yard (Q15-25). Can't compete with the selection at Lin-Canola, but cheaper. In the same street you will find more shops with fabrics in the same price range, but none with the selection of Lin-Canola.
  • Central Market, between 8 and 6 Calle/8 and 9 Avenida, Zona 1.


You can rarely find travel guides for the region at these places (not even a Guatemala guide).

  • Sophos, 12 Calle 4 Avenida, Zona 10.
  • Artemis Edinter, Gémimis Center, 12 Calle/1 Avenida, Zona 10, or 5 Avenida 12-11, Zona 1, or Centro Comercial La Pradera, Zona 10.
  • Libreria del Pensativo13 Calle/7 Avenida, Zona 9,  +502 2332-5055.
  • Arnel, 9 Calle/7 Avenida, Edificio el Centro, Local 108 (basement), Zona 1.

Geminis Bookshop, 3a. Avenida 17-05 Zona 14, Edificio Casa Alta; 23661031. Books in Spanish and English.

Shopping Malls

  • La Pradera, Blv. Los Proceres, Zona 10
  • Los Proceres, 16 Calle/2 Avenida, Zona 10
  • Unicentro, Zona 10
  • Oakland MallDiagonal 6, Zona 10. The newest shopping mall in the city, boasting the first restaurant aquarium in Latin America going by the Nais Aquarium.
  • Tikal Futura, Zona 11
  • Miraflores, Zona 11
  • Pradera Concepción. In Puerta Parada, next to the road to El Salvador.

6 Avenida (Zona 1)

This street has undergone massive changes in the last year and is now free of street vendors. Now almost fully pedestrianized, it is best experienced on a Sunday afternoon or early evening. Several coffeeshops and restaurants.


Visa is the most common credit card for use in ATMs. In the main shopping areas, especially in Zona 10, you should have no trouble finding an ATM that takes Visa.

There is a Visa/MasterCard ATM at the south side of the central plaza 8 Calle 5-36, a Visa-only ATM at 5 Avenida 9-39, and a MasterCard only at the corner of 5 Avenida/11 Calle, all in Zona 1.

Note that ATM key pads can be oriented with the 9 at the top left with the numbers descending right and down, or with the 1 at the top left with numbers ascending. If you have a spatial memory and have memorized the motion of punching in your PIN instead of the actual numerical sequence, you might be in for a surprise!

Banks (International)

CitiBank or Citi is found throughout the country. The retail branch in La Antigua Guatemala is a fine place to bank and perform international transactions.


Fast Food

You can find quite an array of American fast food restaurants (McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, etc.) as well as Pollo Campero which is the most popular Guatemalan fast food chain. Fast food restaurants in Guatemala are very clean and accessible only to the middle class.

Street Food

Though a little risky, there are great street vendors that offer a variety of good local foods. Just remember to scope out the one with the best hygiene. This is the most more local.

  • "Shucos" can be found in carts that are usually parked in between "Estadio del Ejercito" and "Campo Marte" zona 5. They are comparable to a super charged hot dog with guacamole, meats such as "longaniza", "chorizo", bacon etc... Just make sure you get the one with everything (Con todo).
  • "Mangoes or Cucumbers with Salt, Pepitoria & Limón"You can also get sliced fruit such as magoes with "pepitoria" (roasted, crushed pumpkin seeds), salt, and lemon in a small clear bag. Or sliced oranges from carts all over the city.
  • "Gauchitos" are also good cart foods. They are basically a pattie with scrambled egg, "chimichurri" and some dressings on a bun. You can find them in various places throughout the city. One favorite is on the "Mirador" on Carretera an El Salvador. It sits adjacent to Cafesa, diner like restaurant, on an outlook overlooking the city. You can order a "Súper Gauchito", a soda, and sit and admire the hustle and bustle of the city below.
  • "Atol de Elote" Is a very local and custom drink made from a corn (maize) base. It's somewhat sweet and a drink you must try. It's very rich so if you're not too hungry you can substitute it for a meal. The best place to try it is on the outlook on the other side of the city leaving towards Antigua. Just before you get to San Lucas. Its also another place where you can sit and admire the city from atop a mountain.

Carretera a Antigua Guatemala

  • Restaurante La Abuelita, the best homemade food in San Lucas.

Zona Viva, between Avenida La Reforma, 6 Avenida, 16 Calle and 10 Calle in Zona 10 is the best place to find restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

Zona 10/Zona Viva

  • ONE Restaurant+Lounge14 Calle 4-74, Zona 10,  +502 2368-0724,+502 2337-3903. ONE is a contemporary restaurant and lounge with an avant-garde design. It offers Fusion Cuisine. For RSVP: +502 5736-6117.Main dish Q70-190.
  • Kacao, 2 Avenida between 13 and 14 Calle, Zona 10. A nice restaurant with waiters in traditional Mayan costumes, tables covered with huipiles, under a big thatched roof. Serves traditional Guatemalan food likePepián, Jocón, Suban-lek (ceremonial dish from the Cakchiquel royalty of San Martín Jilotepeque), Lomito Chiltepe. Q70-170.
  • Café de Paix, Hotel Intercontinental, 2 Avenida, Zona 10. Expensive French restaurant with typical dishes like entrecote and onion soup. Q90-190.
  • Hacienda Real,  +502 2368-1168, +502 2333-5408/9. 13 Calle 1-10, Zona 10. One of the best places for steak. Try the tortillas with guacamole, frijoles (beans) and chorizo for starters, and the steak pimienta as the main course. Main dish Q70-140. Serves a free, deliciouscaldo while you wait for the meal.
  • Tre Fratelli,  +502 2366-3164/68, e-mail: . 2 Avenida 13-25, Zona 10. . Mainly Italian food. Main dish Q40-80. Also restaurants at Unicentro, Tikal Futura, Miraflores and Las Majadas.
  • Tamarindos,  +502 2360-2815/35. 11 Calle 2-19A, Zona 10. Asian fusion cuisine, duck, ostrich, steak, shrimps, and maybe the best sushi in town. Try the Moo Shu Duck, the tuna dishes, and for dessert the bread pudding with ice cream and bourbon sauce, or the chocolate surprise. Main dish Q80-170. Expensive cocktails, Q45.
  • FRIDAS,  +502 2333-7473, +502 2368-0686. 3a AVE 14-60, Zona 10. Mexican food. Main dish Q35-60. Chicken fajitas, Tortilla soup, pechuga de pollo en salsa de mango, pay azteca, a la flauta flautas, and for starters the queso fundido mixto (melted cheese with mushrooms) are all good. The best margaritas in Guatemala, but watch out when they ask you what kind of tequila you would like in/with it - the price might rise from the normal Q29 to Q85.
  • Casa Chapina,  +502 2337-0143, +502 2368-0663. 1 Avenida 13-42, Zona 10. Traditional Guatemalan food. If you are lucky/unlucky (depending on your preferences) you might also be treated to the traditional marimba during your meal.
  • Donde Mikel, 13 Calle 5-19, Zona 10. Great place for steak and shrimps. Often full, so book in advance, or show up early.
  • Tapas y Cañas+502 2367-2166. 13 Calle 7-78, Zona 10. Spanish tapas. Try pinchos españoles, pinchos de pollo and albondigas de lomito. You have a choice between sitting in the restaurant or in the bar.
  • El Gran Pavo,  +502 2362-0608/9. 6 Avenida 12-72, Zona 10. Mexican food.
  • Inka Grill,  +502 2363-3013. 2 Avenida 14-22, Zona 10. Peruvian food. Main dish Q45-100.
  • Vesuvio, 18 Calle 3-36, Zona 10, close to Los Proceres shopping mall. Tel 337-1697. Great pizza made over open fire.
  • Saint Honore, Hotel Intercontinental, 2 Avenida, Zona 10. Maybe the best coffee in Guatemala City. Serves cakes and small dishes. Expensive.
  • Los Alpes,  +502 2331-4606. Zona 10. Swiss bakery, lunch dishes at Q30-45 (a bit boring), fancy cakes.
  • Zürich, 6 Avenida 12-52, Zona 10. Swiss bakery with cakes and chocolate. Also serves breakfast and lunch.
  • HOOTERS. Avenida La Reforma 16-01, Zona 10, local 18. The same as the ones in the USA.
  • Friday's, 12 Calle 1-25 Zona 10, Edificio Géminis 10 and 8 Calle 26-55 Zona 11, Parque Comercial Las Majadas and at Pradera Concepción shopping mall; the same as the ones in the USA.
  • El Ganadero, 20 Calle 2-19 Zona 10, across the street of Los Próceres shopping mall; excellent steaks.
  • tacontento, 2a Avenida 14-06, Zona 10, across the street from the Intercontinental Hotel. Serves excellent tacos for Q20-28 per set of three. Try the spicy pulled pork tacos. The crowd is a mix between hip locals and foreigners.

Zona 9

  • Chili's, Av Reforma/12 Calle. Big burgers and Tex-Mex style food. Slow service.
  • Del Tingo Al Tango,  +502 2334-2449. 12 Calle Esquina 4-08 Z-9 You'll find some of the best "lomitos" for very comfortable prices here. Some say the best stake house for the buck in the city.

Zona 1

  • Altuna, 5 Avenida 12-31, Zona 1. Stylish interior. Spanish and Basque cuisine, seafood and paella.
  • Hotel Pan-American+502 232 6807/8/9fax: 232 6402. 9 Calle 5-63, Zona 1. Noisy hotel with clean rooms, Spanish'influenced architecture, and cool tile flooring. Q60-100.
  • Hotel Ajau, e-mail: . 8a av 15-62, Zona 1. . Beautiful old hotel with decorations from around Guatemala. Nice restaurant with waiters dressed in traditional costumes. Q80.
  • El Rey Sol 8 Calle 5-36, Zona 1 (just off Plaza Central). Vegetarian restaurant, good value.

Carretera an El Salvador

  • San Ángel, Carretera an El Salvador. Great view of the city, especially at night; security is VERY tight, so you can eat with no worries. Try the lomito and the one called Mar y Tierra (Sea and Land): you get a large steak and big shrimps.

Santa Catarina Pinula (suburb just above Zona 10 and the airport)

This town is historically famous for its pork products, and the best tasting, cleanest, most authentic place around is "La Cabanita" which is a quarter block directly south of the cathedral. Fresh "carnitas" Guatemalan style, plus "chicharrones", "longanizas", etc... if you're a fan of those exotic dining-gems from the Food or Travel channels then you'll love this place.

Supermarket and food markets

  • Central Market, between 8 and 6 Calle/8 and 9 Avenida, Zona 1
  • Hiper Paiz supermarket. 9 Avenida 5-30, Zona 1, just one block from the Central Market
  • Hiper Paiz supermarket. 6 Avenida/13 Calle, Centro Capitol, Zona 1
  • Econo Super, Av Reforma/16 Calle (close to Obelisco), Zona 9
  • Gourmet Center, Blv. Los Proceres, Zona 10
  • Tiendas, little grocery stores (with any name imaginable) that you can find all over the city; you can get soft drinks, beer, bread, candy, combs, razors, pens, toilet paper, any kind of snack you can think of, phone cards (some of them), etc.; cash only
  • Wal-Mart (Supermarket), Pradera Conception mall, Pan American Hwy (CA1) near Colnia Los Flores

Sights & Landmarks

Antique churches provide the capital city with a very special historic and architectural touch, such as Cerrito del Carmen, Catedral Metropolitana, Calvario, Iglesia de Santo Domingo, Iglesia de Yurrita, and Iglesia de la Merced. The archaeological site of Kaminal Juyú is located within this capital city, which according to specialists, is a city buried under one of the most commercial areas of the city, comprising Zona 7 and Zona 11.

  • Mapa en Relieve+502 2254-1114. Located at Minerva Park, at end of Av. Simon Cañas, Guatemala Zona 2 Entrance is Q16 and it's open daily 9-5 This relief map depicting Guatemala's precipitous topography is so immense you have to view it from an observation tower. What makes it even more amazing is that it was built in 1904, before satellite or even aerial photography.
  • Ixchel Museum of traditional costumes,  +502 331-3638/34. 6 Calle final, Zona 10, at the campus of Universidad Francisco Marroquín. Mon-Fri 9:00-17:00 Sat 9:00-13:00. Q25 adults, Q15 students. A large collection of traditional costumes, information on weaving and dying techniques, the processing of the materials in use, the history and development of the traditional costumes and a collection of paintings by Carmen Pettersen. The explanations are in both English and Spanish. The museum also has a shop where you can get fine examples of Guatemalan artesania. The prices are higher than at the markets, but the quality is also higher and the selection is good. The shop also has a variety of books, including its own series of publications about the traditional costumes of Guatemala, hard to come by in other book stores, and also the book The Maya of Guatemala - life and dress (with text in English and Spanish) by Carmen Pettersen, for Q465 (raised because the book is now out of print).
  • Popol Vuh Museum,  +502 361-2301/11. 6 Calle final, Zona 10, at the campus of Universidad Francisco Marroquín. Mon-Fri 9:00-17:00 Sat 9:00-13:00. Q35 adults, Q15 students, Q15 for permission to take pictures (without flash), Q25 for video. The museum has no particular focus on the Popol Vuh as the name suggests, but has a rather nice collection of archaeological items from the pre-Hispanic Mayan world. There is also a room dedicated to Colonial items. The explanations are in both English and Spanish.
  • Archaeology and Ethnology Museum, 7 Avenida, Zona 13, just down the road from the airport. Presents an archaeological sample of the Mayan civilization. This is where you find the famous Tikal mask.
  • Museum of Modern Art, 7 Avenida, Zona 13. This is directly across from the Archeology and Ethnology Museum and the ticket from it should get people into both.
  • Aurora Zoo, Zona 13. See local and exotic animals in a decent environment. Make sure to listen to the songbirds that gather in the trees above.
  • Kaminaljuyu, Zona 7. An early Maya ruin right in the heart of the city. The buildings are mostly mounds, however, the excavations have opened up a lot of areas that are interesting to tour.
  • Museo Miraflores7 Calle 21-55, Zona 11,  +502 475-4621, e-mail:. Tu, Wed, Sun 9-19, Thu, Fri, Sat 9-20. Monday closed. Museum that focuses on the ancient city of Kaminaljuyú.
  • Parque Central and The Cathedral.
  • Palacio Nacional, Zona 1, can be seen via free guided tours (40Q if your not a Guatemalan citizen) that operate every 15 minutes, and last about 30 min. You can see the interior courtyards and official function rooms, decorative artwork and wall murals, as well as a small statue commemorating the end of the civil war: a pair of hands that hold a fresh rose.
  • National History Museum (Museo Nacional de Historia)
  • Museo Carlos F. Novella+502 2286-4100 ext 6435. Mirador Basin Museum is free and located inside a cement factory. 15 Avenida 18-01 Zona 6, Interior Finca La Pedrera. Go by cab to the front entrance and tell the guard you are visiting the Museo de la Cuenca Mirador.
  • Jardines BotánicoCalle Mariscal Cruz 1-56, Zona 10,  +502 334 6064. First botanical garden in Central America. Houses a large variety of indigenous and exotic plant species in a mature, well-maintained facility. The garden is part of the Museum of Natural History--a operation of UCA.

Museums & Galleries

There is plenty to discover in Guatemala when it comes to art. It is a city with a rich history and many Guatemala city museums to show it.

The National Museum of Modern Art

The National Museum of Modern Art was one of Guatemala’s first museums to showcase its citizen’s contemporary sculpture and paint pieces.

The National History Museum

The National History Museum is home to many of the art works that reflect the changes in Guatemalan economy, culture, and society since its independence in 1821. Like many of the museums in Guatemala, The National Museum of Archeology and Ethnology is located in Guatemala City and houses indigenous textiles and jade pieces that date back to the Guatemala Maya culture. Also in Guatemala City, you will find records from paleontology and geology at The National History Museum.

The Guatemala City Railway Museum

In the heart of Guatemala City, you will find the Guatemala City Railway Museum.  Located in the former main railway station of Guatemala City, this Guatemala museum features information about the railway development of Guatemala as well as a variety of classic steam and diesel trains and passenger trains.

The Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens of Guatemala City would make a beautiful day trip for any visitor. Peaceful and tranquil, these gardens are home to some of Guatemala’s most beautiful and nearly extinct species of plants, including some local and exotic plants. It was the first Botanical Garden ever built in Central America, as well as the only one ever construction in Guatemala.

Most Guatemala museums are open daily during the week, and some are open on the weekends. Most close at about 5pm and are located within the Guatemala City limits.

Things to do

Recreational activities can be done as well, from climbing volcanoes (Agua and Pacaya), to swimming in several recreational facilities, as well as water sports in Lago de Atitlán (lake).

For recreation, you can visit 4 Grados Norte: pedestrian roads that offer great entertainment, commerce and cultural activities, and Zona Viva, an area of Zona 10 that has become the main center for nightlife. Guatemala City is an urban center with cultural diversity, cosmopolitan as well as traditional, in which traditional and folkloric abundance stands out, with legends such as El Cadejo or La Llorona. The city offers the tourist all the services and commodities and is normally the center of operations to set out to any of the other destinations in the Republic.

  • Shopping at the Central Market
  • Every Sunday hundreds of People stroll at the Main Plaza ("Plaza Mayor")in Zona 1, where music, arts and food is provided


  • Magic Place, Avenida Las Americas, Zona 14.
  • Los Proceres
  • La Pradera
  • Miraflores.
  • Tikal Futura
  • Pradera Concepcion. Newest cinemas in Guatemala with IMAX Theater


If you want to experience a fútbol game in a fútbol nation, spend a Sunday morning/afternoon at Estadio Mateo Flores. You can catch a match of the most popular fútbol club in the country, CSD Municipal ("Los Rojos"). Tickets are cheap and you can get them at the stadium entrance. Go to [www] to see when there is a local match. "Palco" is the most expensive seating with ample spaced seats followed by "Preferencia", "Tribuna",where the "hinchas", or fanatics, sit and "General Sur y Norte" which are the cheapest. The first three are best for a good view.

The other big Guatemala City fútbol team is Comunicaciones ("Los Cremas"). If Municipal isn't playing, go see Comunicaciones play as they both share "Estadio Mateo Flores" as their home venue.about 12

  • LiveGuate (LiveGuate Tours), 16 Ave. 20-60 (Zona Viva), +502 4149-5025. 24/7. Visit the highlights of the city with this comprehensive and educational tour. Tours run daily, call in advance. Private transportation and tour service is available throughout the entire country.89.00.


  • Grados Norte. Is a cultural district located in Zona 4 in Guatemala City. It was a project of the municipality to convert this area into an attractive pedestrian area in 2002. Additionally, many green areas were created. Today the district also features bars, restaurants, shopping and cultural activities and has become one of the city's trendy and open minded areas, competing with Zona Viva in Zona 10.The most interesting places are perhaps the ones just outside the main street. More recently has become less popular and developed a poor reputation.
  • Bodegita del Centro, 12 Calle 3-55, Avenidas 3/4, Zona 1.
  • El Portal, inside the complex (entrances from 8 Calle, 9 Calle and 6 Avenida) facing Parque Central, Zona 1. Supposedly Che Guevaras favorite place when he lived in Guatemala City in the early '50s.
  • ONE Restaurant+Lounge14 Calle 4-74, Zona 10,  +502 2368-0724,+502 2337-3903. ONE is a contemporary restaurant and lounge with an avant-garde design. 25% off from 4PM through 8PM, Monday through Friday. Wednesday and Saturday is Ladies' Night with 2x1. For RSVP: +502 5736-6117. Main dish Q70-190.
  • El Establo, Zona 10.
  • Kahlua. Zona 10

The gay circuit in Guatemala is somewhat extensive, and it is growing every day.

  • GeneticNear 4 Grados Norte. 8PM - 1AM. It is Guatemala's biggest gay club, where you can get for free if you come before 9PM. It has two floors, and shows a variety of music: from Latin beats to europop.$12.00.

Things to know

If you have electrical equipment that need 220-240V 50 Hz input instead of the country's standard 110V 60 Hz, you can find a transformer at Electronica Panamericana, 3 Avenida y 11 Calle, Esquina, Zona 9. They have various models with prices depending on how much power you require. Q230 for a 500-Watts transformer.

Also, in the smaller hotels/motels, the electrical outlets only take 2-pronged plugs. So, if you have a laptop, for example, you'll need a plug adapter that will allow you to utilize the 2-pronged outlets.

Safety in Guatemala City

Stay Safe

Guatemala City has a high level of crime. These include carjackings on the road from the airport, robberies and assaults of tourist vans, and ordinary buses and cars.

Even though it has a high level of crime, if you use some common sense and good travel practices, you should not be exposed to any of it. Make sure you sharpen your street smarts because as with any other big metropolitan urban area, you might be exposed to crime. Just make sure you are aware of your surroundings at all times just as you would be in any big city around the world.

If you experience a robbery, please be advised to give away anything the robbers want. Though some would suggest to just stay inside in most places after sunset, at night you can have fun safely in Zona Viva (Zona 10), Zona 14, or 4 Grados Norte.

But despite some of its negative aspects, Guatemala City is the largest Central American capital city, and one of the most beautiful in Latin America, with varied and rich culture. It is important that visitors not return to their hotels too late, and that they don’t walk alone in dark places, but as long as they keep this in mind, they should have a beautiful stay.

Stay healthy

Guatemala City is at a somewhat high elevation (about 1500 m) in the mountains (plus the air is very polluted in Zona 1), so if you are coming from a location near sealevel, you might wish to plan to take it easy and get extra rest on your first day while your body adjusts to the altitude.

Also, make sure that any food that you eat is well-washed and well-cooked, or you might get quite ill.

  • Centro Médico, 6 Avenida 3-47, Zona 10. Tel 334-2157/384-2600/332-3555. 24 hour service.
  • Hospital Bella Aurora, 10 Calle 2-31, Zona 14. Tel 384-3535. 24 hour service.
  • Hospital Universitario Esperanza, 6 Avenida 7-49, Zona 10. Tel 362-8626.

Low / 3.7

Safety (Walking alone - day)

Low / 2.0

Safety (Walking alone - night)


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