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justhavingfun
January 4th, 2010, 08:43 PM
Hello, I hope someone can help me. I read on another post that, in Guatemala the police escort the tour buses, and that the police are on the pier. Is this true or has anyone else notice this. Thanks in advance.

Putterdude
January 5th, 2010, 12:38 AM
Yes they do, they are pretty hard to miss but quite frankly it wasn't until the next morning that while having breakfast with a retired British "bobby" that I found out that they were really escorting us....then finally everything I saw fell into place.:)

thescot123
January 7th, 2010, 04:52 AM
Was on the Nov 15th NCL Spirit cruise. Went on the city tour and did notice a blue pickup truck with police lights follow us around. I think that they have stepped up security since it was only two weeks after that tourist got murdered in the town.

Putterdude
January 7th, 2010, 11:45 AM
Last January there were two small pickups, each had 2 police officers in the cab and 3 heavily armed soldiers in the back. One truck was on our stern and the other in front....it didn't occur to me until the next morning why we could never catch up to the truck in front.:o

sloney
January 11th, 2010, 05:44 PM
Hello, I hope someone can help me. I read on another post that, in Guatemala the police escort the tour buses, and that the police are on the pier. Is this true or has anyone else notice this. Thanks in advance.


We just returned from Puerto Queztel and didn't see anything of the kind. I think the Pacific side is very safe.

Putterdude
January 12th, 2010, 12:13 AM
We just returned from Puerto Queztel and didn't see anything of the kind. I think the Pacific side is very safe.

That is where we were last January.

lovesublime
January 12th, 2010, 03:41 PM
We just returned from Puerto Queztel and didn't see anything of the kind. I think the Pacific side is very safe.


We just returned from Puerto Quetzel and we took a ship sponsored excursion to Lake Atitlan which is a 2 1/2 hour drive each way. Our caravan of three tour buses was escorted by two pick up trucks carrying heavily armed security. They were carrying machine guns. We were told by our tour guide that the route we were taking was dangerous and prone to hold ups by extortionists who kidnap, rape, rob and kill.

There really was no way of missing the line-up of black pick-up trucks in the parking lot awaiting the dozens of vans and buses to be loaded. As the tour vehicles exited the parking lot the security trucks would pull out in front and fall in behind.

CharismaticWoman
January 14th, 2010, 07:49 PM
Was on the Nov 15th NCL Spirit cruise. Went on the city tour and did notice a blue pickup truck with police lights follow us around. I think that they have stepped up security since it was only two weeks after that tourist got murdered in the town.


ooooooooooook. I'm sitting here looking for something to do at this port and I think this seals the deal for me. I think I'll stay on the ship.

howell
February 13th, 2010, 12:40 AM
ooooooooooook. I'm sitting here looking for something to do at this port and I think this seals the deal for me. I think I'll stay on the ship.

I am looking right now for a tour in Santo Thoma De Castella. I agree, staying on the ship sounds safe. We will be there2/24/2010. Just wondering , did you get off the ship??:confused::confused::confused::eek:

judy1960
February 15th, 2010, 06:12 PM
I was there in December on Island Princess. We took the Textiles tour which was all day with lunch. I loved Guatemala--it was my favorite port on the trip. I felt safe with all of the ships tours, but I would not book any on my own in these countries.

lynncarol
February 17th, 2010, 09:05 AM
My husband and I (in our sixties) have been on numerous cruises over the years. We have enjoyed all the ports and have never 'just stayed on the ship'. In January we spent 2 weeks in Guatemala on our own and felt perfectly safe. If, like us, you hesitate to take the ship's excursion due to the cost, check out reputable tour agencies online in the area and sign up. You don't want to miss this lovely country.

Wendy The Wanderer
February 17th, 2010, 10:05 AM
Don't stay on the ship in Santo Tomas. The country is just so beautiful. We did a Rio Dulce tour, with a side trip to Livingston, and never noticed police. But of course, we were on the water most of the time, or in the jungle school. Livingston seemed pretty safe, but it's a different kind of place, very interesting.

pjswan
February 18th, 2010, 01:02 AM
I am looking right now for a tour in Santo Thoma De Castella. I agree, staying on the ship sounds safe. We will be there2/24/2010. Just wondering , did you get off the ship??:confused::confused::confused::eek:
I was in Santo Tomas 2 weeks ago, took a local excursion, finished by 1pm. Took a walk into town, walked the streets, went to the local market, ate local foods and sat in a roadside restaurant drinking beer and watched tour buses drive by. The locals were very nice, i know very little spanish, but was able to get by. I felt very safe, the only time I was asked for money or even bothered was within 2 blocks of the guarded entrance. I am a 59 year old male, approximately 190 lbs.

tsg
July 9th, 2010, 11:29 AM
I have to say I'm a little shocked to read this. We were on the NCL Spirit right after Thanksgiving last year and stopped in Santo Thoma De Castella. I had no idea a cruise ship passenger had been murdered there just a few weeks before.

Maybe I should be glad I didn't though. The port was nothing to speak of, but we did the excursion to the Las Escobas Waterfall through NCL. I loved it and it was one of my favorite excursions ever. The rain forest was just amazing. I would have thought seriously about skipping it if I had known then.

I felt safe with the tour group and I never noticed any police escorts although I was in the middle of the bus so that could be why. I did see good police presence around the dock.

UKBayern
July 22nd, 2010, 09:56 PM
We went DIY in Guatemala with our backpack on the local bus for a month, through the jungle, eating, sleeping with the locals and never felt unsafe anywhere.

Security personnel is present everywhere in Guatemala. They get a kick out of it. It is prestige for a shop owner to have an armed guard in front of his store, that means he is well-off (he can afford the guy) and he must have beautiful goods in his store. McDonalds in Guatemala City even has an armed guard...

Please don't stay on board, you will miss out on a wonderful country with wonderful people. People are dead-poor, but very honest generally.

OCruisers
July 25th, 2010, 09:24 PM
We were in Puerto Questal for two port stops in February & March 2010. Always, armed security was with us on any tours we took. No problem or any problems ... maybe because they were with us and there were check points as well along the way. You may not notice ... but they are there.

For sure, don't miss the opportunity to see this wonderful country without fear for your safely! :)

Putterdude
September 22nd, 2010, 01:28 AM
For sure, don't miss the opportunity to see this wonderful country without fear for your safely! :)

I quite agree with this, we certainly never felt threatened in the least.

STARFISH*4
November 16th, 2010, 05:31 PM
of tour buses being escorted by police????

alexandra cruiser
December 1st, 2010, 11:02 AM
But they have police check when leaving port area,,,,and returning,,,came onboard and checked our ship passes....

Really nothing to do except take tour or stay in port area,,,,so plan accordingly.;)

Miss UK
February 14th, 2011, 07:32 AM
We watched a TV program last night about a woman from the UK who worked in Guatemala City as a paramedic for 2 weeks and it was unbeliveably crime-ridden. It has put my husband off from stepping off the ship when we reach Guatemala so I can certainly understand police escorts for tour groups. However there are other countries where as a tourist you are provided with armed guards such as Egypt.

elcuchio24
February 17th, 2011, 01:22 PM
We watched a TV program last night about a woman from the UK who worked in Guatemala City as a paramedic for 2 weeks and it was unbeliveably crime-ridden. It has put my husband off from stepping off the ship when we reach Guatemala so I can certainly understand police escorts for tour groups. However there are other countries where as a tourist you are provided with armed guards such as Egypt.

Please don't judge the whole country because of one city. That's like saying you will never set foot in Mexico because Mexico City is a blyte on the Americas. Guatemala City is a hole, to be sure, I have been there many times and it is not a great city. The current murder rate is aroud 6k a year. But many parts of the country are beautiful with some of the nicest people and places you'll ever find, so give it a chance.

Miss UK
March 1st, 2011, 08:15 AM
Please don't judge the whole country because of one city. That's like saying you will never set foot in Mexico because Mexico City is a blyte on the Americas. Guatemala City is a hole, to be sure, I have been there many times and it is not a great city. The current murder rate is aroud 6k a year. But many parts of the country are beautiful with some of the nicest people and places you'll ever find, so give it a chance.


I haven't judged the country just saying what I saw on TV, the same as any country there are good and bad areas. I am not narrow minded, I make a judgement and take sensible precautions. What I saw hasn't put me off going to Guatemala but you do need to be aware of the situation of the country you are visiting and take note of any special safety advice given. I have visited high crime areas in the past or areas that are volatile and with a high military presence, that doesn't put me off, it makes me interested to know why the country is that way. If armed escorts are provided to groups of tourists then obviously there are higher risks than normal that you need to consider and some people may not wish to take that risk. I was just adding to the thread and I am slightly offended by your comments.

elcuchio24
March 9th, 2011, 10:11 AM
I haven't judged the country just saying what I saw on TV, the same as any country there are good and bad areas. I am not narrow minded, I make a judgement and take sensible precautions. What I saw hasn't put me off going to Guatemala but you do need to be aware of the situation of the country you are visiting and take note of any special safety advice given. I have visited high crime areas in the past or areas that are volatile and with a high military presence, that doesn't put me off, it makes me interested to know why the country is that way. If armed escorts are provided to groups of tourists then obviously there are higher risks than normal that you need to consider and some people may not wish to take that risk. I was just adding to the thread and I am slightly offended by your comments.

Sorry if I offended, not my intention. Looking over my post I can't imagine what you'd take offense to. Just giving some real world info from the country, and telling you the areas to try and avoid. Hope you have a great trip!

Nakantia
May 27th, 2011, 12:28 PM
Wow :eek:

We visited Puerto Quetzal last month, and I don't recall having armed guards following the tour bus. Granted, I wasn't looking for them, but if they were there, they weren't very obvious. We didn't travel in a convoy -- I didn't see another tour bus until we arrived back at the port. We did see armed soldiers in various spots but this was true of most of the places we visited on the cruise -- kind of standard for Central and South America.

Guatemala was one of the highlights of our cruise and certainly the biggest surprise -- it was so beautiful and lush. We visited Antigua which is one of the most charming cities to which I've been. We never felt unsafe, and we were so taken by the country that we're planning on a land vacation there in the future.

Crime can happen anywhere, and any cruise that visits Guatemala is also going to visit other Central American and Mexican ports that have problems with crime also. Are you going to stay onboard for all of those ports too? Why not just book a different cruise?

elcuchio24
May 27th, 2011, 03:10 PM
Wow :eek:

We visited Puerto Quetzal last month, and I don't recall having armed guards following the tour bus. Granted, I wasn't looking for them, but if they were there, they weren't very obvious. We didn't travel in a convoy -- I didn't see another tour bus until we arrived back at the port. We did see armed soldiers in various spots but this was true of most of the places we visited on the cruise -- kind of standard for Central and South America.

Guatemala was one of the highlights of our cruise and certainly the biggest surprise -- it was so beautiful and lush. We visited Antigua which is one of the most charming cities to which I've been. We never felt unsafe, and we were so taken by the country that we're planning on a land vacation there in the future.

Crime can happen anywhere, and any cruise that visits Guatemala is also going to visit other Central American and Mexican ports that have problems with crime also. Are you going to stay onboard for all of those ports too? Why not just book a different cruise?

Antigua Guate might just be my favorite place in all of central/south america and the carribean. There are plenty of great hotels in town, and you can get a micro bus to take you to Lake Atitlan, one ofthe prettiest in the world, for cheap. Great food, bars, and market, too.

thescot123
June 3rd, 2011, 04:35 AM
Below are some pictures of the police escort during my Nov 2009 trip to Santo Tomas on the NCL Spirit. This was two weeks after a tourist was killed while touring the Belgium Cemetery. Some gang members in the back tried to steal his camera which he refused to give up. He was killed but his wife survived. This couple had used a private taxi to take this tour. The police truck followed our tour bus while we did the city tour. We stopped at the same cemetery.

Despite these problems which can happen in the USA, this country is amazing. I was saddened when the NCL Spirit from N.O decided to nstop going there. Instead we now go to Roatan which is also pretty but a lot safer.

http://i1201.photobucket.com/albums/bb355/thescot1234/IMG_1118.jpg
http://i1201.photobucket.com/albums/bb355/thescot1234/IMG_1218.jpg
http://i1201.photobucket.com/albums/bb355/thescot1234/IMG_1075.jpg'

Hawaiidan
February 26th, 2012, 04:25 PM
I have had friends who touted how safe it was. Well they wound up real dead with their throats cut.
Its a dangerous place in the best of times.

You, even at the lowest income are considered wealthy beyond reason, a mark, a target.

People do dumb things . Some survive, some dont. its total luck. If you roll the dice long enough your going to loose.

I will err on the side of caution.. I dont get off the ship in any Mexican, Guatamala or related port. Just look today at the robbery of a tour bus in Puerto Varta....

Count me safe.

OCruisers
February 26th, 2012, 09:20 PM
I have had friends who touted how safe it was. Well they wound up real dead with their throats cut.Its a dangerous place in the best of times.


:eek: How awful! Please do give us the details on what happened!

oregonian cruiser
March 12th, 2012, 06:12 PM
We just returned from Puerto Quetzel and we took a ship sponsored excursion to Lake Atitlan which is a 2 1/2 hour drive each way. Our caravan of three tour buses was escorted by two pick up trucks carrying heavily armed security. They were carrying machine guns. We were told by our tour guide that the route we were taking was dangerous and prone to hold ups by extortionists who kidnap, rape, rob and kill.

There really was no way of missing the line-up of black pick-up trucks in the parking lot awaiting the dozens of vans and buses to be loaded. As the tour vehicles exited the parking lot the security trucks would pull out in front and fall in behind.

Is the 2 1/2 hr drive each way to Lake Atitlan plus ferry ride worth it? Not cost but beautiful scenery? Considering Lake Atitlan vs Antigua for 1 day in Puerto Quetzal from cruise next month. In port from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Putterdude
March 12th, 2012, 07:21 PM
I have seen lots of beautiful lakes in my time but I have never visited a city quite like Antigua before and I would go again in a heart beat. It's is a step back in time and it's fascinating.

Jasperdo
March 16th, 2012, 02:10 PM
I have seen lots of beautiful lakes in my time but I have never visited a city quite like Antigua before and I would go again in a heart beat. It's is a step back in time and it's fascinating.We just booked a last minute Panama Canal cruise on Princess that stops in Puerto Quetzal. I've reserved the Antigua on your own tour, that gives us 5 hours of free time there. It looks like a fabulous town to wander around in.

What did you see when you were there? I'm very interested in seeing some of the church ruins, and just wandering around the plaza area and side streets. We'll need to have lunch while we're there. Do you have any recommendations?

lovesublime
March 18th, 2012, 02:31 AM
Is the 2 1/2 hr drive each way to Lake Atitlan plus ferry ride worth it? Not cost but beautiful scenery? Considering Lake Atitlan vs Antigua for 1 day in Puerto Quetzal from cruise next month. In port from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM




It makes for a long day, but we loved it. The drive to the lake takes you up into the Mayan Highlands. It's nice and cool up there and we saw a lot of how people actually live there. We saw lots of coffee plantations on the way up. We also saw the Mayan women walking home at lunch time with stacks of wood on their heads. We were told they use the wood to build fires to make lunch each day. The landscapes are quite beautiful. Lake Atitlan is beautiful as well. We really enjoyed our day and saw and learned so much about the Mayan people and the general culture of Guatemala as well. Would definitely do it again.