This article got an update in 05/2022 (see for „update 05/2022“ or colored font/
Entering and traveling in Guatemala in times of covid
In the past few weeks, I received personal messages on various channels, be it Instagram, Facebook or e-mails directly addressed to me. Also in some Facebook groups concerning traveling in Guatemala, there were uncertainties about traveling in Guatemala in times of Covid.
For this reason, I decided to write an article in which I will give you all the necessary information about traveling in Guatemala in times of Covid.
Disclaimer: I wrote this article to the best of my knowledge and belief and according to the best of my ability. Nevertheless, I cannot give any guarantee that the information provided to be 100% correct. Changes may occur any time and rapidly.
Guatemala and Covid-19 restrictions
Basically, Guatemala has been „open“ since the end of 2020. This means that currently, there are no restrictions, such as curfews.
It is possible to travel around the country individually and without complications; hotels, hostels, restaurants and cafés are open as usual. Supermarkets and tiendas have also gone back to their normal opening hours.
((Update 01/2022: The ley seca – dry law – was introduced several months ago. According to this law, the consuming of alcohol is prohibited after 11pm. There have been several checks in bars and restaurants in the last weeks and many people were arrested.))
However, unlike pre-Covid times, when you enter a public place – be it a supermarket, restaurant, café or hotel/hostel – in most cases, your body temperature will be taken. In addition, there is either a device with disinfecting gel or at least a person handing out disinfecting gel at the entrance. In addition, there is sometimes even a disinfection carpet for shoes at the entrance.
Masks are compulsory at all times and everywhere. This actually applies from the moment you leave your own private space, i.e. your hotel room or your flat. The rule applies without exception – even when you are walking in the countryside or doing sports outside.
Update 05/2022: Masks are not mandatory outside anymore. As soon as you enter a closed space, you have to use a mask again.
The only time you don’t have to wear a mask in a closed space is when you are sitting at a table in a restaurant/café, having a meal or a drink. However, as soon as you get up from the table to go to the toilet, for example, you are required to wear a mask again.
The Ley Seca in Guatemala
The only exception with regard to restrictions at the moment is the so-called „Ley Seca“ (literally translated: dry law). What is meant here is a ban on alcohol, which starts at 9 pm. This means that the purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited after 9 pm.
For this reason, most restaurants close at 9 pm at the moment (May 2021). ((Update 01/2022: There were some weeks in the past when the ley seca was not active; as for January 2022, the drinking of alcohol after 11pm is prohibited.))
Update 05/2022: No ley seca is in place anymore.
Entering Guatemala – traveling in Guatemala in times of covid (until 12/2021) There are basically three ways to enter Guatemala: By plane, by land and by boat. Due to the fact that it is very unlikely that you will enter by boat, I exclude this option in my blog post about travelling in Guatemala in times of covid-19.
Entry by land To enter Guatemala by land via the land borders of El Salvador, Honduras or Mexico (I also exclude Belize, as Belize has not yet opened for tourism and it is unclear whether this will happen in the foreseeable future), you have the following options: an antigen test or a PCR test 72 hours prior to entry, a medical certificate that you have overcome Covid-19 and are healthy or proof of a complete Covid vaccination at least 2 weeks prior to entry.
Entry by air The same requirements apply for entry by air, but travelers coming from Brazil, the UK or South Africa will not be accepted. Guatemalans, people with residencia in Guatemala, diplomats or airline crew coming from these three countries are accepted in Guatemala, but must complete a quarantine of at least 10 days. In addition, a health pass must have been completed upon entry. This certificate is quite difficult to find on the internet.
((Update 09/2021: The health pass is not necessary anymore!))
Entering Guatemala from February 2022 on (updated)
The Guatemalan Health Pass
And because I also had problems finding the certificate, I wrote an e-mail to the Ministry of Health. Reliable as they are, I received an answer within 24 hours. The document is similar to the entry registration of Germany or the Health Passport of the USA. Once completed, you will receive a QR code, a number and a note that both – the QR code and the number – must be kept. Recommendation: Fill out the document on your mobile phone and take a screenshot of the QR code and the number. This is sufficient proof, because you will not receive an email with this information. Find the document here: https://sre.gt/es/
((Update 01/2022: The Health Pass is not necessary anymore.))
Covid test at the airport in Guatemala
Official sites state that there is the possibility to take an antigen or PCR test at the Guatemala airport for 25 USD.
This information is correct, but it concerns travelers leaving Guatemala and not travelers who want to enter the country. The laboratory is located at the area of the check-in desks. There – at the left end of the big hall – you can do an antigen test for less money than in the city. If you are entering Guatemala, there is no way to get tested before immigration.
((Update 05/2022: Be aware that the laboratory may be closed from one day to the other without official notice. This has happened several times in the past. Therefore, you cannot rely 100% to be able to do a test there.))
If you need to do a covid test, check this article.
Exit from Guatemala / onward travel to other countries
It is very likely that you will need to take another Covid test before leaving or travelling to other countries. I will explain how and where you can do a Covid test in Guatemala in this blog post.
Do you need information concerning your arrival in Guatemala that I did not cover in this article? Let me know! I will be leaving the country in some days again, coming back in some weeks and can focus on all your uncertainties when entering the country again.
General information about the airport in Guatemala, about traveling in Guatemala, transport, shuttles, places to stay in Guatemala City etc. can be found in this article. I can also provide you with the some information on how to get money in Guatemala.