Guatemala City is the capital of Guatemala, a country in Central America.Guatemala City is located in the department (territorial division) of Guatemala, and it’s the capital of the country. All the main highways start at Kilómetro 0, located inside Palacio Nacional de la Cultura (National Palace), in Centro Histórico (Historic Center).Guatemala City became the capital after Antigua Guatemala had been destroyed by an earthquake in 1773. With a population of around 3 million people, Guatemala City is the largest and most modern city in Guatemala. It can be interesting to visit “Guate,” as it is also called by the locals. Guatemala City has plenty of attractions and pretty good restaurants. Sunday evenings’ gatherings of hundreds of locals at the main plaza is certainly an unforgettable experience. Guatemala City has one big airport called La Aurora in the south part of the city, in Zona 13. There are daily arrivals from the USA, Míxico, El Salvador, Honduras (San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa), Costa Rica (San Josí), Nicaragua (Managua), Panamá. The only domestic flight route (within the country) available is a flight between Guatemala City and Flores in Peten offered by TAG and Avianca (formerly Taca Regional). The number of arrivals are in parentheses.Any transportation option at the airport can be paid with US Dollars, so you don’t really need local currency until after you’ve left the airport. That being said, if you’d like to use the ATM before leaving the airport you will need to exit the departures area, cross the street, take an elevator to the third floor and reenter the airport arrival area. You may need to show your passport with your stamp from that day to enter the arrivals area. The ATM is somewhat hidden behind the stairs that lead up to the food court. The exchange kiosks that pepper the airport have an exchange rate that is worse than most (6.8 Quetzals/USD as of Nov 2014 in comparison to 7.4 elsewhere). Banrural (located next to the ATM) has better rates. In the city, BAC Credomatic will exchange currency for a reasonable rate plus a fee of Q12.There are always taxis at the airport. They operate with fixed prices (around $12US from the airport to Zona 10) that are 2-3 times higher than what you would pay for the same distance with an ordinary taxi. The minimum charge for a taxi in any direction is 70 Quetzals. If your hotel is in Zona 10, chances are high that there is a free shuttle service. Uber from the airport is much cheaper than a taxi, because there is no minimum. Uber picks up at the front of the arrivals, although the app says “by the coffee shop.”There is also a bus route operating the road that passes the airport that will take you to Zona 10 at around La Reforma and 12 Calle, although riding city buses in Guatemala city is considered by many to be unsafe. If you are going to the old city center (Zona 1), many buses go that way from La Reforma or from 7 Avenida that runs in parallel with La Reforma, including the safer Transmetro bus line. The nearest Transmetro bus station from the airport is a 30-45 minute walk from the departures exit.Regular shuttles run to Antigua each day, several times a day from 6AM to 8 PM (prices $8-12US per person).Central American highways CA-1 and CA-9 run through Guatemala City.CA-1 is part of the Pan-American Highway and comes from the border with Mexico near Tapachula through the western highlands. Within the city, CA-1 is first Avenida Roosevelt, then Boulevar Liberacion and then Bulevar Los Proceres. It then becomes Carretera a El Salvador outside of the city and it leads to the Chinamas border with El Salvador.These main roads are badly marked. Finding, for instance, the airport or a street address is not easy at all. Be aware that the city is divided into 24 “zonas”, or districts. An address such as 6 av. 13-43 is useless if you don’t know the number of the zona.If you have a mobile phone with data coverage and Google Maps, you can actually get around. As of 2016, Apple Maps and Garmin are of little use, but Google has a well updated map and the instructions can guide you to your destination.Getting lost with a car in an unknown part of the town can be dangerous, especially at night.In almost any town in Guatemala, you will find a bus that eventually will take you to Guatemala City. The second-class extra-urbanos or camionetas are often crowded and uncomfortable but cheap. They are known as “Chicken buses” as they are used to carry everybody and everything including live chickens going to market and were once American school buses. Expect to pay around Q10 per hour if you are a foreigner. There are also various first-class buses from some of the larger cities and from neighboring countries (Belize, Míxico, El Salvador and Honduras). Most buses end up in Zona 1 or Zona 4 but they can be located elsewhere in town too.NOTE: As of January 2007, there has been a transition to a new mass transit system that has more or less removed buses from their normal terminals in Zona 1 and Zona 4. Guatemala City is currently converting to a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, where intercity buses bringing in riders from other parts of the country drop them off at different stations at the periphery of the city, and the privately-owned municipal bus system brings them to their respective destinations within the city. Currently, intercity buses heading in the direction of Antigua can be found at the Plaza del Mariachi at the periphery of Zona 3. This arrangement is currently in flux, however, with the bus cooperative members fighting for a legal right to use the old terminals in Zona 1 and Zona 4 again. In 2012 they had opened a new bus station at CENTRA Sur (Central de Transferencias Sur) located 16km south, next to Colonia Villa Lobos II in Zona 12 with buses going south towards the Pacific coast and on shorter routes to/from nearby places of San Miguel Petapa, Amatitlán, Bárcenas, Villa Nueva and Cd Peronia south of Guatemala City. CENTRA SUR is also the southern terminus of the ‘orange’ line (T70,D70,D71) of the BRT Metro system. They also added another bus station at ‘CENTRA Norte’ (combined w/ a mall) at Km 8.5 de de la Carretera al Atlántico (CA-9) en Zona 17 for buses going north, such as to Peten, and northeast of the country. Chicken buses going to the western highlands leave from a series of stops (paradas) along Calle 41 between 6a & 7a Ave. It would be best for travelers to consult locals or the bus companies below to find out what the situation is instead of going anywhere for the buses.Most of the first class pullman bus companies have their own terminals located in Zona 1. The terminals are generally clustered in an area south of the Plaza Barrios (by National Palace) bounded north by 15 Calle, south by 20 Calle, west by 2a Avenida and east by 12a Avenida. They can also be located in other parts of the city or inside hotel lobbies instead. Some of the first class companies also operate second class chicken buses while others only operate chicken buses that have their own stations or lots. The area around the bus stations in Zona 1 is sketchy especially at night and it is advisable to get a taxi to get from one station to another or to wherever you need to go. With everything in a state of flux regarding their location it is BEST to verify locally before going to the stations as their locations may of changed and they may or may not update their websites to reflect these changes. See the list in the below and the boxed text in the above: If you are coming in from Coban or Puerto Barios on Banjo Blanca buses you will get dropped off in the NW part of the city. Your only option from there is taxi to Centro or chicken buses to outlying communities.Fixed fee 55 QTZ plus 9 QTZ fee (Jan 2017)to Zone 1 or 2. Catch a taxi at the north side of the terminal. Prepay the fare at the taxi kiosk.The city is divided into 21 zones (zonas). Zona 1 is the old historic center. Here are the national palace, the presidential palace, the cathedral, the main plaza, and the Central Market. South of Zona 1 is Zona 4, with many of the official buildings like the national bank, the national theatre, and the tourist board (INGUAT). Farther south is Zona 10 and Zona 9, divided by Avenida La Reforma. Zona 10 hosts most of the high class hotels, restaurants, bars, shopping facilities. A small part of Zona 10 is called Zona Viva (the lively zone) because of its nightlife.The common way to get around in Guatemala City is by bus or taxi. Hardly anyone walks (people might find it odd if you do). The below are what kind of buses are available:There are two kinds of taxis: the ones with a meter and the ones on which you have to agree on a price before the trip. Of the metered taxis, the best service is given by Taxis Amarillo (yellow cabs). It is not possible to hail them in the street so you have to call 1766. They will demand an address (they can sometimes by quite picky about getting an exact address: look around at nearby houses, and give the correct zona) and normally a telephone number, so it might be wise to have someone call on your behalf from a restaurant or so. With Amarillo, every trip is logged, and riding is considered safe.The other kind of taxis are white. With these taxis you have to negotiate a price, and as you are a foreigner, they will most likely try to get more money from you as you will be viewed as a rich foreigner, especially if you’re from the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, or Western Europe. Normally, the white taxis should be cheaper, but unless you negotiate well, the yellow taxis might actually be the cheaper choice. There also is the question of safety. There are approximately 800 unregistered/unlicenced/stolen white taxis circulating around the city. If you do find a white taxi who is decent, the driver will be happy to give you a card and pick you up if you call in advance. Many locals who can afford the odd taxi have their favorite “taxista” whom they call, and the drivers themselves can refer you to another reliable driver should they be busy. The minimum price for a metered cab ride is 25Q. Uber arrived in Guatemala in 2016 and is now a reliable option in the city. A car is almost always just a few minutes away and it is cheaper and safer than a taxi. Specially in late hours of the night, it is advisable to use Uber instead of hailing a cab in the street for safety reasons.As of September 2019, the Uber direction app does not seem very good in Guatemala, and the driver will often text to tell you that he is on the street and wants to know where you are. Try to call for an Uber at an easy-to-describe location (such as a supermarket, hotel, police station) so that you can respond to the driver with the name of the business. Also as of September 2019, Also, Uber seems to insert an zero into the license plate number that does not show on the plate (e.g., P0123456 when the plate is actually P123456), so look for the plate with and without the zero after the first letter.Antique churches provide the capital city with a very special historic and architectural touch, such as Cerrito del Carmen, Catedral Metropolitana, Calvario, Iglesia de Santo Domingo, Iglesia de Yurrita, and Iglesia de la Merced. The archaeological site of Kaminal Juyú is located within this capital city, which according to specialists, is a city buried under one of the most commercial areas of the city, comprising Zona 7 and Zona 11. Recreational activities can be done as well, from climbing volcanoes (Agua and Pacaya), to swimming in several recreational facilities, as well as water sports in Lago de Atitlán (lake).For recreation, Zona Viva, an area of Zona 10 that has become the main center for nightlife. Guatemala City is an urban center with cultural diversity, cosmopolitan as well as traditional, in which traditional and folkloric abundance stands out, with legends such as El Cadejo or La Llorona. The city offers the tourist all the services and commodities and is normally the center of operations to set out to any of the other destinations in the Republic.CinemaFútbolIf you want to experience a fútbol (football soccer) game in a fútbol nation, spend a Sunday morning/afternoon at Estadio Mateo Flores. You can catch a match of the most popular fútbol club in the country, CSD Municipal (“Los Rojos”). Tickets are cheap and you can get them at the stadium entrance. Go to [45] to see when there is a local match. “Palco” is the most expensive seating with ample spaced seats followed by “Preferencia”, “Tribuna”,where the “hinchas”, or fanatics, sit and “General Sur y Norte” which are the cheapest. The first three are best for a good view.The other big Guatemala City fútbol team is Comunicaciones (“Los Cremas”). If Municipal isn’t playing, go see Comunicaciones play as they both share “Estadio Mateo Flores” as their home venue.Some of the universities give courses open to the public. Check out their websites for more information.If English is your native language (with Spanish as your second language), you might find work as a private English tutor or translator. Look at the classifieds in Prensa Libre.Guatemala is famous for its textiles. In the city you should be able to find textiles from all over the country. If you are particularly interested in Guatemala or the Maya, you might find books (in Spanish) here that are hard to get anywhere else. For books in English, you get better prices at an online bookstore like Amazon in most cases.You can rarely find travel guides for the region at these places (not even a Guatemala guide). Geminis Bookshop, 3a. Avenida 17-05 Zona 14, Edificio Casa Alta

Airport: GUA La Aurora Airport Cities in Guatemala

Country: Guatemala