If you don’t want to worry about closed banks on the airport, late night hotel search or unsafe zones of Guatemala City, take advantage of the airport pickup service of your school. Alternatively, there are hotels which offer this. There are the following three recommended options: (for other hotels, see also www.guatemalastory.com)
Posada Belen Museum Inn www.posadabelem.com firstname.lastname@example.org This is a comfortable and safe museum hotel in the historical centre of guatemala city. The cost for airport shuttle service and hotel room starts at $36.00
Dos Lunas: email@example.com Lorena can pick you up and take you to her hotel just two minutes from the airport. The next morning, after you have had breakfast, she will drive you to the bus station. The Dos Lunas service includes airport pickup, shared room, general bath, breakfast in morning, transportation to the bus and bus ticket. Options start at $27.00
Patricia`s Bed & Breakfast (502) 2331-0470 & (502) 5402-3256v 19 street 10-65 z. 13 Aurora II www.guatemalastory.com firstname.lastname@example.org Patricia charges $12.00 per person, this includes room, breakfast next morning and transportation airport – hotel, plus $5 to take you to the bus station next morning. Just call or better, send a mail.
You can contact hotels by phone, e-mail, or their web sites. Remember to include your name, flight number, and date and time of your plane arrival in Guatemala City.
I have been living in Guatemala peacefully since twenty years. During all that time the US government has warned tourists to travel in Guatemala. I have followed up numbers. Statistically, the risk to travel in Guatemala is about twice the risk of crossing a street in an EU country or in the US during the same lapse of time. So yes, the risk is higher, but not extreme.
Having said this, there are a few rules every traveller should follow: Adapt to safety measures taken by the local population, e.g.: In some urban areas, single women do not go out after 9 p.m. In Zone One of Guatemala City, do not carry expensive gadgets in public and watch your luggage. Beware of the surf in Monterrico, about six persons die there every year (without being mentioned in any newspaper or web site).
Spanish schools in-country constitute a very effective way to learn. Within a six weeks you may be fluent, and able to understand the average Spanish person on the street.
An absolute beginner needs three months to go through all grammar and be fluent. You can do it faster, but if you learn grammar without it becoming automatic you'll sooner or later lose it again. Many students commit the mistake of pressing their teachers to learn more advanced grammar without being fluent.
Native speakers of roman languages (Italian, Portuguese, French) can learn Spanish quickly: in three weeks you can be fluent in intermediate conversational Spanish. Other European language speakers and Africans need six weeks to achieve the same level of proficiency. Asian students and elderly persons need ten or more weeks for this.