Travel Tips

Puerta al Mundo Maya is a beautiful, colorful and diverse area. Because tourism is one of the main income activities of the local communities this is a relatively safe area. But there are some safety, health and culture issues you must consider when you visit Puerta al Mundo Maya and any other destination in Guatemala. Here are some helpful tips to make your visit a pleasant one:


  • Dangerous incidents are unpredictable and occur at random. Your best defenses against trouble are having updated information and exercising reasonable caution in every situation.
  • It is important to carry your money, passport and other valuables in a safe and hidden place when you are traveling. A pouch or belt underneath your clothes is recommended.
  • It’s a personal decision whether to undertake day trips with all your money and documentation on you, but if you leave your belongings at your hotel, be sure to put it in the hotel’s safe. If they don’t have one, hide it somewhere clever in your room.
  • We recommend you have at least one photocopy of your documentation and keep it in a safe place.


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  • Do not travel at night.
  • Do not wander alone in empty streets or isolated areas, especially at night.
  • Try not to travel alone on public transportation.
  • Do not leave your luggage unattended or in the care of strangers.
  • If you’re driving to Chisec, beware of the curved and steep road, especially when it’s raining because it can become very slippery.


  • Always drink boiled or bottled water, never from the bathroom faucets.
  • The heat of Chisec and Petén might cause dehydration, be sure to drink sufficient liquids.
  • Always take with you a first aid kit, especially if you suffer from a specific illness.
  • Always take with you mosquito repellent. If you can, take lots of vitamin B before and during your trip, mosquitoes hate it and won’t come near you.
  • Bring a pair of sandals or flip flops for the showers.
  • It is custom in Guatemala to throw toilet paper in a wastebasket, not in the toilets because they are easily tapped. It is also useful to carry your own stash of toilet paper everywhere you go.
  • Always be respectful of local people and their traditions.
  • It’s always recommended to ask for permission before you take a photograph of local people, they might get offended otherwise.
  • Tipping 10% to your guides or food service provider is optional, but follow the local practice of leaving at least some spare change.


  • The tour operators and community service providers we suggest offer guaranteed quality services. Beware of agencies in Flores and elsewhere offering low cost but low quality tours.
  • Be flexible with your planned schedule. Guatemalans are not well known for their punctuality.
  • Cell phone service operates normally around the town of Chisec.
  • Some useful items you can take with you are a flashlight for exploring the caves or if the electricity fails, disposable lighter or matches (for the same reason), pocket knife and an alarm clock (there is no wake up call service in most small town hotels).