Planning to visit Guatemala? Excellent choice. The country you are going to see and experience is simply wonderful, and it is one of the most traditional and unspoiled places places in Central America. But before going, before experiencing the beauty of Lake Atitlán, climbing to the summit of a volcano or playing at being an intrepid explorer at the Maya site of Tikal, you need to prepare your suitcase, taking care not to forget anything.
Where clothes are concerned, you will need to take a little of everything. Firstly, ensure you have some light items with you to enable you to cope with the sweltering heat of Petén and the coastal areas. Also take some warmer clothing with you, as the temperatures are chillier in the Altiplano regions. And no matter what the conditions, you will need to take something to help you cope with the rainfall and humidity. Be very careful not to forget anything; you will find it difficult to get hold of things once in the country.
As far as your first aid kit is concerned, simply ensure it contains the usual items to treat everyday aches, pains, upsets etc. as well as something to treat travellers' diarrhoea. Standards of hygiene are not always what they might be in Guatemala, much to the chagrin of our sensitive European stomachs. Malaria is actually present in the country, though the strain involved is relatively benign. If you find the preventive treatment too inconvenient or too expensive, simply take mosquito repellent, a mosquito net and long clothing that covers your arms and legs.
Also remember to take something to enable you to record your experiences, i.e. a camcorder, a camera and memory cards to ensure you have plenty of photos/videos to bring back with you and with which to impress your friends and colleagues and make them jealous when you get back. Be especially careful not to forget to take an internationally accepted credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, etc.), and make sure you check the withdrawal/spending limits before you set off. If you are planning to rent a vehicle once in the country so you can travel around in complete freedom, don't forget to take your international driving licence with you.
Finally, and this counts for all your travels, be sure not to leave your thirst for discovery and sense of adventure behind at home!
What to include in your suitcase
- A tremendous sense of adventure to enable you to get the most out of visiting and exploring the amazing Mayan site of Tikal
- Your international driving licence so that you can hire a vehicle once in the country
- A camcorder or camera so that you'll have some wonderful souvenirs to bring back with you
- A torch to help you find your way around if any power cuts occur
- An English-Spanish dictionary so you can communicate with the locals
- A credit card so you can withdraw money
- A photocopy of your passport in case you lose it
- Mosquito repellent, and perhaps even a mosquito net
- Something to treat stomach upsets
- A first aid kit to treat the usual range of aches, pains and ailments
- Rainproof clothing due to the high humidity
- Long clothing that covers your arms and legs to protect against mosquito bites
- Light clothing: it gets hot in Guatemala