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Travelling by car in Guatemala: all you need to know

If you're planning a trip to Guatemala, renting a car can be a convenient way to get around this beautiful country. Car rental in Guatemala offers the freedom to explore at your own pace. In this article, we'll cover the essential aspects of road trips in Guatemala, including traffic rules and necessary documents.

Car Rental in Guatemala:

Car rental in Guatemala is quite popular among tourists, and you'll need a few documents and conditions for a successful rental. Firstly, you'll need a valid driver's license issued by your home country, accompanied by an International Driving Permit (IDP). It's also essential to have a credit card in your name since many rental companies do not accept cash or debit cards as payment. A credit card is necessary for booking and may be required as a deposit when renting a car.

Traffic Rules in Guatemala:

Before embarking on a road trip in Guatemala, it's essential to familiarize yourself with local traffic rules for safe and comfortable travel. Here are some key road rules in Guatemala:

1. Right-Side Driving: Guatemala follows right-hand traffic, and all vehicles should be driven on the right side of the road.

2. Right of Way: The right-of-way rule applies at intersections, where the driver approaching from the right has priority. Ensure you yield to vehicles already on the intersection.

3. Speed Limits: The maximum allowed speed in urban areas is typically 30 km/h (18 mph), 80 km/h (50 mph) outside urban areas, and 100 km/h (62 mph) on highways. Pay attention to speed limit signs and adhere to them.

4. Child Seats and Seat Belts: If traveling with children, always use child seats or special safety devices. All passengers must wear seat belts.

The Need for an International Driving Permit (IDP) in Guatemala:

When traveling to Guatemala, you'll require an International Driving Permit (IDP). An IDP serves as confirmation of your right to operate a vehicle and can be handy when renting a car in Guatemala.ย 

Where to Go in Guatemala:

When embarking on a road trip in Guatemala, consider some of the most popular tourist destinations. Here are a few places worth visiting:

1. Antigua Guatemala: This historical city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Guatemala. Its beautiful colonial architecture, narrow streets, flowery courtyards, and views of volcanoes impress visitors. Explore local culture by visiting historical buildings, museums, restaurants, and handicraft shops.

2. Tikal: Tikal is one of the most famous Mayan archaeological sites in Mesoamerica. You'll find enormous pyramids, temples, and magnificent century-old structures surrounded by wildlife. A trip to Tikal allows you to immerse yourself in ancient Mayan culture and enjoy stunning views.

3. Lake Atitlรกn: Located in the mountains, Lake Atitlรกn is considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Here, you can go boating and enjoy views of volcanoes and fertile lands surrounding the lake. There are also many charming towns around Lake Atitlรกn, such as Panajachel and Santiago Atitlรกn.

4. Chichicastenango: Known for having the largest indigenous market in Central America, Chichicastenango is an excellent place to immerse yourself in local culture and traditions. You'll find a vast array of handicrafts, textiles, ceramics, and more at the market. You can also visit historical sites like the Santo Tomรกs Church and the cemetery.

5. Rรญo Dulce: This river in Guatemala is a fantastic destination for water-based travel. You can rent a boat to explore tropical forests, mangroves, and islands, all while enjoying the incredible wildlife.

These are just some of the many incredible places you can visit during a road trip in Guatemala. Having a convenient car allows you to move freely around the country and explore all it has to offer. Don't forget to check local weather conditions and be cautious of potential traffic or narrow road sections. Enjoy your trip!