Overland Guatemala Travel
Currency to display:
Entering Guatemala with a Car or Motorbike
Correct as of: February 2012
- Passport of registered owner (original and 1 copy).
- Vehicle registration (original and 1 copy).
- Drivers license of registered owner (original and 1 copy).
Process at border
(For people, see Guatemala Visa and Passport requirements at the World Travel Guide)
- Your vehicle will be fumigated, which costs $3.00 USD. Be sure to get a receipt.
- The owner of the vehicle gains entry at immigration (migración), including a stamp in their Passport.
- The owner must show the new passport stamp, drivers license and the original vehicle registration to customs (aduana).
- Pay the required fee of Q160.00 GTQ at the nearby bank. Be sure to get a receipt.
- The owner is issued a temporary import permit for the vehicle.
NOTE: You will encounter pushy locals offering to help you with paperwork to get across the border. See Border Crossing Helpers for advice.
Cost of entry
- $3.00 USD for fumigation.
- Q40.00 GTQ for the vehicle entry.
NOTE: The CA-4 stamp that most nationalities get allowing entry to Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua for 90 days is supposed to be free, but some customs officials will ask for money. Politely ask for a receipt, and do not pay unless you are given a receipt for this.
Permitted length of stay
90 days. Guatemala is part of the CA-4 Border control agreement. This agreement grants travel between Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua for a TOTAL of 90-days. The number of days remaining on your CA4 is written in your passport as you travel from country to country. The 90-day limit begins when you enter any country that is part of the CA4 agreement. To avoid penalty and fines, Exit the CA4 countries and enter into Costa Rica or Mexico/Belize before the 90-days limit expires.
Extension of stay
Describe the process to extend the permitted length of entry for the vehicle, if possible.
Storing a vehicle and temporarily leaving the country
Describe if/how a vehicle can be stored, and for how long.
Also mention if the owner / temporary importer can leave the country while the vehicle is in storage.
Exiting with a vehicle
- The registered owner presents the temporary import paper to customs.
- The registered owner is stamped out of Guatemala at immigration.
NOTE: As with entering Guatemala, you will definitely encounter very pushy locals offering to help you with paperwork to get across the border. See Central America Border Crossings for advice.
Driving in Guatemala
Insurance is not required in Guatemala.
Cost of insurance
Where to purchase insurance
Technically an International Driving Permit is required.
In reality, showing a license from anywhere in the world seems to be good enough.
Driving side of road
Right hand drive vehicles are permitted without problem.
Mandatory items in vehicle
General Road quality
Roads in Guatemala vary greatly. The Pan American is paved and good quality for the length of the country, as are most other highways. Lesser roads are gravel and can be very bumpy and rutted. Towards the center of the country, roads are extremely bumpy and slow-going. During the rainy season meany roads are impassable.
Road signs are uncommon, and can not be relied upon.
Bribery in Guatemala
Police bribery is relatively common in Guatemala, so you should expect it to happen. See the bribery tips page for advice.
Traveling with pets
List the entry requirements and anything else required to travel with a pet.
Gas and Diesel price in Guatemala
Last updated: February 2010
Currency and unit to display:
|Regular||Q28.00 GTQ per Gallon (US)|
|Normal Diesel||$0.73 USD per Liter|
|Diesel (low sulfur)||??|
Gas and Diesel Availability / Frequency
Gasoline is common.
Gas and Diesel Quality
Accepted to be low quality. Sulfur content of diesel is unknown, but probably high.
Safety and Security Considerations
Driving at night
Driving at night is absolutely not recommended in Guatemala, due to safety considerations.
- The North of the country near the Belize border is known to be especially dangerous.
- Driving all the way around Lake Atitlán (Lago de Atitlán) is not recommended - numerous Overlanders have encountered bandits along the road to the South.
Find a secure parking lot to park for any length of time. Price unknown.
Special driving considerations
Like most Central American countries, you need to expect the unexpected at all times.
Security advisories and information
- Country Specific Information - U.S. Department of State
- Travel Reports and Warnings - Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
- Travel advice by country - Foreign and Commonwealth office (U.K.)
- Travel Advice for Guatemala - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Camping in Guatemala
Camping is not popular in Guatemala, though you will find the odd spot if you keep a lookout. Roadside camping can be OK in the smaller out-of-the-way places.
The Police in Antigua offer a free campground in the middle of the city - a popular meeting place for Overlanders. See Overland Travel Interest below
Camping guide books
Tap water in Guatemala is not safe to drink.
The Mexico Road Atlas also has maps of Guatemala. It can be bought at gas stations within Mexico for around $20.00 USD. It is updated yearly, and is in Spanish.
GPS Maps of Guatemala
- Open Street Map: Appears to have good coverage.
- Garmin: Apparently no map of Guatemala beside Garmin WorldMap.
- TomTom: No map of Guatemala. 
GPS co-ordinates for camping, propane, gas, repairs, etc. in Guatemala
- Camping Sites: Guatemala - Detailed list of campsites and propane filling with description, directions and GPS co-ordinates. Some at hotels (lists facilities and price), some roadside and free.
- Central America Camping Locations - List of campsites, with basic directions and GPS co-ordinates. Mostly free sites.
- Camping Log 1: Central America - List of campsites, shopping, fuel, propane and border crossings with excellent descriptions and GPS co-ordinates.
- White Acorn camping log page - GPS co-ordinates and excellent description of campsites]
Special Overland Travel interests
- Camping in Antigua is free at the walled and guarded Tourist Police compound. Toilets and cold showers are free also. You are guaranteed to bump into other Overlanders here. The exact location in town is marked on the map in the Lonely Planet, or ask any Police officer for the Police Touristica
Travel Guide Books
4x4s / Trucks
- Toyota Global Dealer Locator
- Land Rover International Dealer Locator
- Mercedes Benz International (select country on bottom right)
- Jeep International site locator
Add known good mechanics here.
Buy or sell a car or motorbike in Guatemala
Describe how a foreigner can buy a vehicle. List any difficulties or limitations on where the vehicle can be driven.
Describe how a foreigner can sell a foreign-plated vehicle, or list not possible.'
- ↑ Antigua | The Road Chose Me
- ↑ fuel price - anybody ? - The HUBB
- ↑ OpenStreetMap Guatemala
- ↑ TomTom Map availability
- Guatemala: Visa and Passport requirements | World Travel Guide
- Health Information for Travelers to Guatemala - Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- Guatemala travel guides at wikivoyage
- Guatemala - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Guatemala Overland | Overland Sphere Overland travelers currently in Guatemala