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Why carry an IDP while driving in Guatemala?

Your IDP is a valid form of identification in 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information.

It translates your identification information into 12 languages — so it speaks the language even if you don’t. Guatemala highly recommends an International Driving Permit.

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Top Road Trip Destinations in Guatemala

Guatemala has a centuries-old culture that reverberates even up to this day. Mountainscapes and tropical forests await active souls to hike and trek its uneven walkways. Turquoise beaches of the Pacific and the Caribbean Sea shape disparate waves that give travelers joy who long for a calming dip as the sea breeze brushes their cheeks. Whatever your trip is, Guatemala has something great for you.

Mayan Ruins of Tikal

The Mayan Ruins are one of the archaeological sites found in Central America. It was occupied from 600 AD to 900 AD and exhibits more than 3,000 structures. The area has temples, pyramids, and old plazas. Tikal National Park can be explored, where you will see arachnids and monkeys. But if you don’t, you will hear their noise echoing in the lush forest.

A good time to go to Tikal is from December to February, where days are warmer than Guatemala’s usual climate. Note that you have to always keep your international driving permit in Guatemala with you. Tikal National Park has more than 800 species of trees and more than 500 species of birds living in the forest. You can spend a day or two exploring the Mayan ruins of El Mirador and the archeological site of Yaxka.

Driving Directions:

  • Continue to Boulevar Liberación/Pan-American Highway/CA-1.
  • Take 7A Avenida, 27 Calle, Calzada la Paz and CA-9 to 12 Calle. Take the exit toward San Rafael/Fuentes del Valle Norte/Los Olivos/Col. San Rafael from CA-9.
  • Continue on 12 Calle. Take Calle 6A to Carr. Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán/CA-9.
  • Continue on Carr. Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán/CA-9. Drive from Puente Gracias A to Aldea Ixlu.
  • Drive to your destination in Tikal.

If you still don’t have your international driving permits in Guatemala, online applications are accepted at the International Drivers Association’s website. Ensure that you provide a valid and correct delivery address with your zip code so your international driving permits will be shipped as soon as possible.

Lake Atitlán (Lago de Atitlán)

Lake Atitlán is known for its immense beauty. Travelers around the world visit this lake and come back to explore it more. It sits in a volcanic crater 1,538 meters above sea level and is surrounded by hills and volcanoes nearby. Some foreign drivers visit the lake for relaxation, unwinding, and a few yoga sessions while looking at the scenic views.

In the Mayan language, Atitlán means “the place where the rainbow gets its colors. You can enjoy different activities in the area like go handicraft shopping in the BoulevardChichi market, hike the Indian Nose, kayaking, and you can also take a dip in its calm waters. The best time to go to Atitlán is from November to April. Tracking your international driver’s license has never been easy. Just head to the IDA’s official website.

Driving Directions:

  • Continue to Boulevar Liberación/Pan-American Highway/CA-1.
  • Take Calz. Aguilar Batres/CA-9, Bulevar Principal de Ciudad San Cristóbal and Pan-American Highway/CA-1 to CA 1 Occidente / Libramiento Chimaltenango in El Tejar.
  • Continue on CA 1 Occidente / Libramiento Chimaltenango to Pan-American Highway/CA-1.
  • Continue on Pan-American Highway/CA-1. Drive from Carr a Patzún and RN-11 to Sololá. From there, you should:
  • Turn right.
  • Turn left at 3a Calle.
  • Turn right.

You can drive your way to Lake Atitlán with your international driving permits in Guatemala and download the PDF file, so you can save it on your computer or your mobile phone. You can check the status of your international driver permit for Guatemala by tracking it on IDA’s website, or you can call representatives from IDA through the number provided.

Pacaya Volcano, Antigua

Pacaya Volcano has been one of the active volcanoes resting in Guatemala. With more than 2,500 meters, its appearance has changed due to lava explosions emitted by the volcano. If you wish to visit Pacaya Volcano, there are scheduled tour guides that you can sign up or if this is already part of your itinerary, much better. You can roast some marshmallows in one of the hotspots in the area. And if you’re too lazy to walk, you can ride a horse to get to the top.

The best time to visit Pacaya Volcano is during November, as it is the beginning of Guatemala’s dry season. Besides the scheduled tour guides, you can go archaeological exploration, cave tubing, nature walk, and sightseeing.

Driving Directions:

  • Continue to Boulevar Liberación/Pan-American Highway/CA-1.
  • Drive from CA-9 to Palín.
  • Then you can drive to your destination.

Cut the hassle of passing physical requirements as international driver’s permits in Guatemala can be accessed online, where you can apply in the comfort of your homes. International driver’s permit form can be found on IDA’s website so head straight to your computers as soon as possible.

Livingston, Caribbean Coast

Livingston can only be accessed by lancha from Rio Dulce or Puerto Barrios, only if you’re coming from Guatemala City. The place is a little corner in Guatemala and was first populated by the escaped slaves, mostly from Garufina. Their white beaches captivate travelers where you can go fishing and snorkeling in its pristine waters.

This hidden gem on the Caribbean coast has crystal-like waters that sparkle whenever the sun hits it. The best to visit Livingston is from January 1st to 28th, perfect for foreign drivers who love to get tanned skin. The place is also excellent for history lovers and travelers who need to unwind and relax.

Driving Directions:

  • Continue to Boulevar Liberación/Pan-American Highway/CA-1.
  • Drive from Carr. Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán/CA-9, Puente Rio Dulce, Puente Cienaga and Puente Gracias A to Chacte.
  • Continue to Toledo District, Belize.
  • Continue onto Southern Hwy.
  • Take the ferry to Lívingston.

If you’re looking for a company that doesn’t require a test to obtain an international driver’s license, then the International Driver’s Association has got you covered. It provides worldwide express shipping to your correct address with your zip code of your international driver’s license in Guatemala to be successfully delivered.

Grutas de Lanquín (Lanquín Caves)

Lanquin Cave is located in the northeast of Coban. Inside, there is an underground river, lagoons, and peculiar rock formations. You will need a light source like a flashlight so you can see the walkway and the surrounding. Lanquin Cave is also home to more than a thousand bats, wherein they feed on the nearby forest. There is a religious shrine inside which is sacred to the indigenous people living nearby.

You can try to visit the cave around 6 PM, where hundreds of bats fly out of the cave. Tourists and travelers find this scene cool as they paint the sky with their population. Wait at the entrance of the cave and watch them exit and source out food from the trees.

Driving Directions:

  • Continue to Boulevar Liberación/Pan-American Highway/CA-1.
  • Drive along 11 Avenida and 5A Calle/CA-9. Take the exit toward Colonia Lomas del Norte/Canalitos from 5A Calle/CA-9.
  • Take Camino Canalitos, Los Ocotes a Canalitos and RUTA Instituto TEORICO PRACTICO DE AGRICULTURA to CA-9.
  • Drive from CA-14 to Cobán.
  • Take RN-5 to your destination in Lanqúin.

You will need a Guatemalan international driver’s license if you wish to reach Lanquin cave by car. There is no need for pesky requirements to obtain an international driver’s license; just go to the IDA’s official website and apply for your international driver’s license in Guatemala online for only 20 minutes.

Museo Popol Vuh, Guatemala City

The Museo Popol Vuh holds the oldest Mayan artifacts and other archaeological findings from the ancient civilization. It displays Mayan art and crafts such as pottery, masks, sculptures, and so much more. It is deeply educational to stop by if you want to know more about the Mayan culture and how they evolve time by time.

The museum is open to the public so that you can visit at your most convenient time; the museum won’t rush you anyway. You can check out the Guatemala City Archaeological and Textile tour to fill your mind with knowledge about the ancient civilizations that once lived in Guatemala. Online forms are accessed to apply for your international driver’s permit and download it as a pdf file should you need it for safekeeping.

Driving Directions:

  • Head north toward 9a Avenida.
  • At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto 8a Avenida/8 Av.
  • At the roundabout, take the 1st exit.
  • Turn right onto Boulevar Liberación/Pan-American Highway/CA-1.
  • Slight right onto Bulevar Liberación.
  • Slight left to stay on Bulevar Liberación.
  • Continue onto Av Las Américas.
  • Sharp left.
  • Drive to your destination (right, straight, left, right, left).

To freely access Guatemala City roads, an international driver’s permit should accompany your native driver’s permit at all times. If you’re already waiting for your international driver’s permit, check your address if it is correct. For more updates on your international driver’s permit, IDA’s website is open to your concerns.

Antigua Guatemala

Antigua Guatemala, also known as Antigua, is the former capital of Guatemala and is one of Central America’s most beautiful cities. If you’re planning to rest for a bit, then this is the perfect place for you. The town offers accommodations at justifiable rates, where they also have excellent food and spots to visit. If you stroll along, you can find old convents and museums open for tourists and travelers.

The best time to visit Antigua is from December to January. Central hotel accommodations every Easter and Holy Week are fully booked, so you might want to reconsider if the place’s available first. You can go to the Mayan villages from Puerto Quetzal or enjoy a relaxing spa to lighten up your mood. Acquire your international driver’s permit in Guatemala online and no requirements. Get yours as your international driver’s permit is your ticket to Guatemala City.

Driving Directions:

  • Take 8a Avenida, 5 Calle and 8 Calle to Calz. Aguilar Batres/CA-9.
  • Drive from Bulevar Principal de Ciudad San Cristóbal, Pan-American Highway/CA-1 and RN-10 to Antigua Guatemala.
  • Take Calle de Los Carros to your destination.

The hassle of processing your international driver’s license in the immigration ends now. Just head straight to the IDA’s website to fill out the form for your international driver’s license in Guatemala. Once you receive it, you will have the liberty to roam the streets of Guatemala City as your international driver’s license has got you covered.

Famous Delicacies in Guatemala

You can’t leave Guatemala without trying their local food. One of the perks when traveling is you get to taste traditional food from different places you visit. And Guatemala has the tastiest food among the bordering countries in Central America. Who doesn’t get excited when the food is a mix of Mayan and Spanish twist? It’s worth the money, so here are some of Guatemala’s local food that you need to try before leaving.

Pupusas

Pupusas is a traditional food that is served anywhere in the country. If you’re on a tight budget, then this food will save you from all the hassle. It consists of corn tortillas stuffed with different fillings; it can be refried beans, pork, or cheese. It will be fried again until the outside is crisp enough while the inside is soft to eat. You can add salsa and cabbage to pair with pupusas.

Chicken Pepián

Chicken pepián is one of the oldest traditional food in Guatemala. It is a spicy stew mixed with fruits and vegetables like squash, corn, pear, potato, and carrot. Chicken is typically added as a main ingredient, but locals also use pork or beef to go along with it, giving off a whole new taste on the stew. Guatemala doesn’t have a national food, but chicken pepián is probably the closest thing to it as every resident in the country knows its taste.

Empanada

Empanada is a pastry stuffed with meat (and sliced boiled egg sometimes) the fried until the outside becomes golden brown and crispy. The entirety of Central America knows this dish, and it’s best eaten when it’s freshly taken out of the stove. Others stuff it with vegetables, especially those who don’t prefer meat. Topped with onions, tomatoes, or guacamole, it’s a perfect dish for lunch and snacks in the afternoon.

Noodle Tostadas

Noodle Tostadas is popular street food in Guatemala. It has a taco at the bottom then topped with a lump of noodles, onions, radish, or guacamole, and tomato salsa to finish the dish. Some tourists find it an unusual local food as they haven’t tried that kind of procedure when preparing a dish. But it’s a total guarantee that you’ll love its taste and the mixed texture of guacamole and tomato salsa in your mouth.

Chocolate

Guatemala is considered the country that conceived the idea of chocolates. The history of the cacao bean and the early settlers has a long history to tell. The Mayan civilization regards it as “the food of the Gods” as the cacao was part of their centuries-old culture. The chocolates made in Guatemala are unprecedented, where it was formerly presented as a drink and not as a reliable food that we commonly eat and bite. Try it for yourself, and you’ll know.

Most Important Rules of Driving in Guatemala

Driving in Guatemala’s streets, you have to be mindful of the pedestrians and the other vehicle owners using the road. It is essential that you’re familiar with their road rules and which some of them are similar to the country of your origin. Follow them, and you will be guaranteed a hassle-free driving experience.

Know the General Standards of Driving

Before anything else, you should secure all the necessary documents such as your international driving permit in Guatemala, your local driver’s license, passport, rental, and insurance documents issued by your car rental company of choice. Check the car’s condition, like the brakes, side mirrors, car doors, and check if lock and unlock using the buttons installed on the key.

Do not use your mobile phones while driving. The use of a mobile phone while on the road falls under the "avoid driving while distracted "laws. If you’re under the influence of illegal drugs, it’s best not to venture onto the roads to mitigate any collision accidents. The police can arrest you if proven and face the consequences of breaking the law. The Pan American Highway goes through Guatemala, where a toll pay is required if your route is from Palin to Antigua.

Bring an International Driver’s License in Guatemala

An international driver’s license in Guatemala should accompany your native driver’s license so you can drive in the city streets and rural roads. Car rental companies are expecting you to present one before you can take the vehicle with you. You can acquire at the International Driver’s Association to get your international driver’s permit online to cut all the long lines and commute to different offices.

Drunk driving Is Prohibited in Guatemala

Drunk driving in any country is prohibited by all means, and Guatemala is no exception. The government has set the maximum blood alcohol level, which is 0.08% or 80 mg per 100mL of blood. Drunk driving has been one reason why casualties on the roads are increasing, and Guatemala is not considerate when it comes to this inexcusable behavior. You will be arrested and jailed because of drunk driving. And on top of that is a huge fine will be paid once you’re caught.

Follow the Parking Rule in Guatemala

Parking along the roadside is standard in Guatemala, but chances are your vehicle is not secured from any unwanted danger if you just park it there. Foreign drivers who rent cars choose metered parking or attended parking garages. It’s common in Guatemala to let a local kid look after your car while you’re gone and pay him for the service he has done. You can get an international driving permit in Guatemala online, by applying via the application page of our International Drivers Association’s website.

Regulate Your Speed Limit

Most local drivers and motorists casually observe speed limits in Guatemala, but it is not an excuse for you to imitate what they’re doing. The urban speed limit is 50 kph. The rural speed limit is 80 kph, while the highway speed limit is 110 kph.

Even though the Guatemalan government hasn’t installed any speed cameras at the side of the roads, you have to follow the designated speed limits as the police can issue you a ticket if you’re caught. You can overtake the vehicle in front of you as long as you’re mindful of the oncoming cars on the other side of the road. Always take the right side of the road at all times and watch out for road signages as you approach the secondary or rural roads of the area.

Explore the hidden gems of Guatemala as you drive around its city streets and experience tropical travel in one of Central America’s finest. A foreign driver should secure international driving permits when traveling to Guatemala City at the International Drivers Association’s website and make their initial plans come to life.

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