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Getting Robbed, Mugged, & Pickpocketed in Guatemala


I just want to thank Lonely Planet for officially getting me scared for my upcoming adventure in Guatemala. I know it is their job to point out anything that might be of importance to travelers – but man, every other page in this Guatemala guide book is stating where I shouldn’t go!

guatemala chicken bus

I know Guatemala is a developing country, and I know that I will have to watch my back. I knew this when I started planning a long time ago. Now, however, I’m rethinking taking my big DSL camera with me for fear of it getting jacked! I just purchased a pocket camera off ebay, so I won’t be camera-less, but I do fear missing out on some of the amazing photo opportunities that might present themselves along the way. I’m definitely not a professional photographer, but without practice I will never become one either.

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So, what do you all think? Ditch the DSLR and rely on the pocket cam? If it helps at all, the majority of my time will be spent in the Antigua and San Pedro (language school) areas.

And while we’re on it, do you all put your bags on top of the chicken bus? Do you secure it with anything to the bars? Would it be possible for my to take my Osprey Ariel 55 onto the bus with me (and stick the bags under the seat or in my lap)?

So many little questions and second guesses running through my mind! Ah, only 20 days!

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5 Responses to Getting Robbed, Mugged, & Pickpocketed in Guatemala

  1. Craig December 7, 2007 at 11:07 am #

    I say don’t ditch the DSLR! You would get robbed in Illinois if you were in the wrong place at the wrong time and not paying attention. I say just be careful not to be in bad places after dark, get it covered by insurance, keep it close to you at all times, and be sure that people can tell you are not alone…Also, you could just give them the evil eye if you catch em lookin at your stuff!

  2. Alex December 8, 2007 at 10:16 am #

    Went to Guatemala a few months ago, I say you might as well bring the camera, but make peace with losing it. In fact, make peace with losing all your stuff in general when you travel. A lot of people have things stolen because they are careless, but other times its completely random, one of those “I did everything I could” situations Paticularly in regard to guarding your valuables on buses — there will be times when your bag has to be out of your sight (on top of the bus or below it) and its pure luck whether it all works out well for you. Spontaneity and unpredictability are the best and worst parts of travel. Sure you’ll lose some stuff a long the way, but generally you gain way more than you’ve lost:)

  3. Gloria December 10, 2007 at 8:50 pm #

    Personally, when I am going to areas known for potential violence, including cities within Illinois, I prefer not to look like a target or attract special attention. Blend in, if possible, and don’t flash possessions that attract attention, whether electronics or jewelry. If you take the camera, be careful about when you have it out, and when you have it carefully stashed. I agree with the other posters that if you take it along, make peace with the possibility of parting with it.

  4. Doris December 13, 2007 at 4:01 pm #

    Safe travels in Guatemala! Ignore the guidebook and just use common sense. 🙂 I may be transversing Central Asia during summer ’08. Keep this site posted with where you are!

  5. hashimotogirl December 26, 2007 at 10:17 am #

    Hey Brooke! I hope you get this in time! Bring the big SLR and the little one. I didn’t bring mine but my friend did and never had a single problem. Just make sure you have a good bag or something. Honestly I would not bring it for a night out in Antigua (very dark) but for daytime and the rest of the the time you spend in San Pedro you will be just fine! Use the small one for times when you want to be more discreet or when heading out and don’t want to deal w/ a large camera. Have fun!!!

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