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Car Hire Guatemala

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9.5 / 10 Number of reviews: 1969

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Car hire Guatemala

Guatemala Guide

Guatemala is best explored by rental car. Carrentals.co.uk has over 3 pick-up locations in Guatemala. This means there is always a pick-up location close to your destination.

Driving

Guatemala’s rich culture, diverse history, natural beauty and charming cities have been attracting visitors since the end of the civil war in 1996. There are small museums in every city, town and village, some fantastic local artists and a great music scene. By car, visitors can explore the beaches along the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, twist around the hills and valleys in the highlands, and discover the Mayan ruins tucked away in the jungle.

Driving Tips for Guatemala

The Pan-American Highway is well-maintained, while most other main routes throughout Guatemala are in good condition and offer a great way to whiz around the country. Smaller routes often suffer from potholes and poor signage.

Driving licences: UK drivers can use their UK driver’s licence to drive here for up to 30 days. After 30 days, an International Driving Permit is needed.

Which side does Guatemala drive on: the right.

Speed limits:
Motorways: 68mph (110kph)
Rural areas: 37-55mph (60-90kph)
Built-up areas: varies depending on road conditions

Alcohol limits: 0.08 per cent, as in the UK; hefty fines for offenders.

Driving age: 18 years.

Seatbelts: mandatory for all passengers; there are no laws governing the use of child seats.

Mobile phones and GPS: using a mobile phone while driving is illegal without a hands-free kit. GPS is allowed but most visitors find a road map more useful.

Cost of fuel in Guatemala: significantly cheaper than in the UK.

Car hire and fuel payment: most petrol stations do not accept credit cards for payment so be sure to carry small denominations of cash at all times. Major car hire suppliers, however, have credit card facilities.

Insurance:  included with car hire but it is recommended to purchase additional insurance.

Traffic and parking: parking rules are not always observed by locals and traffic congestion in major cities can be heavy. Visitors are advised to park in hotel or paid car parks.


Transport

Trains
There is a network of railroads but unfortunately, all train service was suspended in 2007. Visit the Railroad Development Corporation for more information or updates on the current railway situation.

Taxis
Taxis are readily available in all main cities and come in two varieties, yellow ones that are metered and white ones that are not metered. Yellow metered taxis must be called ahead of time, while white taxis can be hailed on the street. Before getting into a white taxi, be sure to negotiate a price. There are also cheap three-wheeled taxis in some cities. Taxis from the airport in Guatemala City to Zona 10 cost around £7.50.

Buses
Long-distance buses arrive from Belize, Honduras, Mexico and El Salvador, and usually terminate in Flores or Guatemala City. The colourful chicken buses (camionetas) are hard to miss and a fun and cheap way to get around the country. First-class buses cost more but are much more comfortable and run from most tourist destinations to Guatemala City. Most cities have inner-city bus services, such services in Guatemala City start at just £0.10 for a single fare, but rates can be triple in other locations such as Puerto Barrios.

Ferries
The Caribbean port at Puerto Barrios receives ferries from Punta Gorda (Belize) and is a major cruise ship terminal. It also has ferries to popular Guatemala beaches along the east coast. On the Atlantic coast, the port at Puerto Quetzal receives numerous cruise ships. Puerto Barrios is accessible from the capital by bus.

Airports
La Aurora International Airport serves Guatemala City and the rest of the country with flights from mostly North and Central American destinations. There is a secondary airport at Flores which receives domestic flights from Guatemala City. Flying into Mexico and taking a low-cost flight or bus is also possible, with airfares from Mexico City starting at around £60.

Explore

Exploring Guatemala

Guatemala City is the main port of entry and where most visitors start their Guatemala exploration. It is the largest city in the country and a great place to get a feel for the culture and history of Guatemala. Home to sites such as Kaminal Juyú, Palacio Nacional de la Cultura (National Palace of Culture) and Parque Zoológico La Aurora (Aurora Zoo), the city has plenty to offer visitors alongside magnificent architecture.

To the west is the popular Antigua, which is a World Heritage site that is filled with historical buildings, fountains, ruins and monuments. Hike up the Cerro de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross) for phenomenal views of the picturesque city.

The Pacific Highlands is home to the active Pacaya Volcano and the volcanic sandy beach of Monterrico. It is a great place to relax and is less busy than the beaches along the Caribbean coast.

Izabel makes up the Caribbean coastal region, which is where most of Guatemala’s most picturesque beaches are located. It is also home to the famous crystalline Las Escobas River, the magical Finca Paraiso hot springs and the beautiful Los Siete Altares Waterfall.

Petén is the largest department in the country and home to its best Mayan ruins. Tikal is the most famous archaeological site here, followed by Uaxactún, Aguateca and Seibal.

Weather

May to October is the wet season, which is prone to hurricanes, while November to April is the dry season. The Central and Western Highlands have a mild climate, while Petén and the Caribbean coastal region (Izabel) are generally hot and humid. The Pacific coast is the hottest part of the country, with March and April being exceptionally hot. Guatemala City, which is at the south edge of the Central Highlands, has an average annual temperature of between 15°C and 25°C.

Practical information

  • Currency
    Guatemalan quetzal
  • Driving direction
    Right
  • City speed limit
    60 km/h
  • Freeway speed limit
    80 km/h
  • Language
    Spanish
  • Popular car category
    suv
  • Popular rental companies
    Alamo Rent a Car

What most people want to know

The following questions and answers are a selection of the most popular questions. If you do not find the answer to your question, have a look at the Frequently Asked Questions page or contact us.
Is Carrentals.co.uk the cheapest? Yes, we offer a guarantee of the lowest price - because we compare various retailers, we can always offer you the best price in town. What do I need to do when picking up a car? To pick up your car, you will need your voucher, passport, driver's license and a credit card. It is very important that your driver's license and credit card are in the same name as the main driver. Keep in mind that the local rental company will reserve a certain amount on your credit card as a deposit. This requires the PIN code for your credit card. If your driver's license is foreign (for example, in Chinese), you must bring a translation with you. Only your original passport and driver's license will be accepted - a copy is not sufficient. Are there any additional costs? In general, our rates are all-inclusive. Should there be any additional costs, our booking department will get in touch with you before issuing the invoice. Should you object, you can always cancel your reservation with no obligations attached (at least 48 hours in advance). What kind of insurance is applicable to my car rental? In general, Liability Insurance, Fire Insurance, All-Risks Insurance and Theft Insurance are included in the cost of your rental car. What is a worry-free label? This label indicates that a rental car satisfies the following requirements: Unlimited kilometers, no excess liability (and no excess cover available), sustainable energy policy, and that the car rental company has a good reputation. Availability of cars satisfying these four requirements will speed up the selection of a suitable vehicle for you. How can I change or cancel my reservation? You can cancel your reservation through "My Account". We recommend contacting us by phone if your changes to your booking or cancellation takes place at short notice (48 hours or less). When will I get a confirmation of my booking? Most reservations will receive confirmation within minutes after payment takes place. We recommend contacting our Booking Department for last minute reservations (pick-up within 48 hours).
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