Do Police Escort Tour Buses ?

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#21
Maine
8,200 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Originally posted by Miss UK
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.
#22
224 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
Originally posted by elcuchio24
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.
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#23
Maine
8,200 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Originally posted by Miss UK
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!
#24
463 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Wow

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?
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#25
Maine
8,200 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Originally posted by Nakantia
Wow

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.
#26
1,437 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
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/...4/IMG_1118.jpg
http://i1201.photobucket.com/albums/...4/IMG_1218.jpg
http://i1201.photobucket.com/albums/...4/IMG_1075.jpg'
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#27
So California
5,702 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
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.
#28
South Carolina
28,503 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Originally posted by Hawaiidan
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.
How awful! Please do give us the details on what happened!
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#29
30 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by lovesublime
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
#30
Crown Isle, BC & Fort Mohave, AZ
26,722 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
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.
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#31
Washington State
2,862 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Originally posted by Putterdude
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?
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#32
Texas
1,821 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
Originally posted by oregonian cruiser
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.
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