The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Guatemala

The country of Guatemala has a number of different attractions that appeal to vacationers. When you visit, you may want to visit some of the historic ruins, such as the Tikal National Park, and Casa Santo Domingo. You could visit beautiful Lake Atitlan or the Pacaya Volcano. Those who want to enjoy an amusement park in Guatemala City can visit Mundo Petapa Irtra.

Renting a car in Guatemala

In order to drive in Guatemala, you are able to use your country of origin’s license for up to 30 days. Those who are going to be staying on vacation longer will need to have an international driving permit. In order to rent a vehicle in the country, you need to be at least 25 years old and have at least a year’s driving experience.

When driving, you need to carry your passport, license, rental documents, and insurance documents. Having a rental car will make it easier to visit the locations you want to see on your vacation.

Road conditions and safety

The roads are in decent condition in the populated areas of Guatemala. However, you will notice that there are a number of speed bumps on the roads, and in many cases, they are not marked. Be aware of this so you do not hit the bottom of the car due to driving too fast. There are a number of roads outside of the city that are dirt or gravel, and they can be difficult to drive on, especially during the rainy season (April to October). You should get a 4WD if you are going to be heading outside of the city.

Most of the streets in the cities have lighting, but once you get outside of the city, the roads may not have any type of lighting at all. Try to avoid driving at night when you are outside of the cities.

You drive on the right side of the road in Guatemala. Seatbelts are mandatory, and you are not allowed to use a mobile phone while driving unless you have a hands-free system. In Guatemala, it is illegal to make right turns while the traffic light is red. When entering a traffic circle, you need to yield.

The local drivers do not always conform to the normal rules of the road. They may go far too fast for the condition of the road. They might not use turn signals and they may not always stop at red lights or stop signs.

You may see hitchhikers on the roads frequently. Never stop to pick up one of these hitchers though.

The toll road

The Pan American Highway goes through Guatemala. There is a toll when going from Palin to Antigua. The price of the tolls can vary, so check the latest prices before getting on the toll roads.

The speed limits

The speed limits in Guatemala will often depend on the condition of the street as well as the amount of traffic. Try to stick with the flow of traffic, and err on the side of going slower. There are a number of police checks on the roads, and they look for speeders.

Having a rental car will make it easier for you to get to all of the interesting areas you want to visit in Guatemala.


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