Health & Safety
CoEd’s Guatemala office has been operating tours in Guatemala since 1998 and none of our tour participants has ever been a victim of a serious crime. However, in Guatemala, as in other developing countries, traveling is not without risk. To better understand these risks, CoEd requires all Project Tour travelers to read the U.S. State Department’s consular information sheet and any relevant public announcements concerning Guatemala. These advisories give valuable information and suggest precautions visitors may take to mitigate risks.
First Time to Guatemala?
If you have not previously traveled to Guatemala, you might find it difficult to put these risks into context. The following statistics may help:
- Approximately 1.7 million tourists visited Guatemala in 2008 (Source: the World Bank).
- Less than 0.5% percent of tourists were involved in crimes serious enough to be reported to the U.S. Embassy (Source: the GlobalPost, May 2010).
- Based on the above statistics, a traveler’s chances of being involved in a serious crime in Guatemala are roughly 3 in 1,000.
We consider the risk of traveling to Guatemala comparable to that of spending time in high-crime areas within major U.S. cities. While traveling to any crime-ridden area can be at times unsafe—and one must acknowledge and accept the risks involved—it is our judgment that if appropriate precautions are taken, traveling to Guatemala on a CoEd tour is a reasonable risk to take.
Safeguards and Precautions
CoEd’s Guatemala office and its staff make every reasonable effort to assure the safety of its tours, including:
- Guiding the tours with veteran staff members, who have years of experience working and traveling in Guatemala.
- Traveling in multi-vehicle caravans with an escort provided by a private security firm.
- Maintaining updated lists of high-quality doctors and hospitals (specific to the itinerary).
- Fielding extra staff and vehicles, so that at any moment, one staff member and one vehicle could be dispatched to handle a medical issue. (This is different from “for profit” tour operators who send only buses and drivers with no support staff).
- Arranging airlifts from rural Guatemala in the unlikely case of serious injury.
Trip participants can also lessen their own chances of being targets of crime by:
- Leaving valuables (jewelry, watches) at home.
- Avoiding carrying large sums of cash.
- Not discussing your travel itinerary with strangers.
- Staying in groups during free time.
Overall, we believe that your experience in Guatemala will be a positive and memorable one, as it has been for the 500+ visitors to our projects that have come before you.
If you have any other questions or concerns about safety in Guatemala, please contact Jessica Stieritz at 513-661-7000, x. 105 or firstname.lastname@example.org.