I can´t count how many times people told me to avoid visiting Guatemala city. You´ll get robbed, there is nothing to see there, tourists don´t go to the capital for a reason, you will not find any hostels there etc etc.
With more than 4.5 million people, Nueva Guatemala is the biggest city in the country and I arrived there hoping to change some Bitcoin for Quetzales because even young guatemalans had more physichal money than me.
Yeah! Of course I went there, you thought I would listen to old wives tales about the capital? I am from México city mate, I was born in the third world among chaos and insecurity, molded by it. You, as a tourist, only saw chaos and insecurity when you were already a man, thus it scares you.
No seriously, I had to see it for myself, you know me. So I contacted a person on Facebook and got to stay with her – you´ll know about that story soon – and altought I stayed only 3 nights I was able to go to do the downtown area for two straight days and got to explore every corner of it.
I have to admit something. I am not white nor look as a tourist and I was still getting a lot of weird looks, even at some point I realized I was being assesed by two dudes to see if I could be a potential victim. You just know when someone is checking you out to see if you are worth the attempt. Luckily I never go anywhere without my five feet bamboo stick and I am usually not worth robbing due to the potential broken bones my weapon can cause. But I can relate to why tourists don´t like this city, if it was somewhat unfriendly for me I can´t imagine how it would be to blondie and her friends.
The architecture is amazing, it reminded me to México city but the style is different. I am not an architecture expert but you can see similiarities with my hometown. The vibe is what really differentiates onee from the other. And the gigantic flag, of course.
I can safely say that I walked through every street in these two days. I can assure you I didn´t miss any old buildings and I want to share with you some of the most beautiful pieces I saw. This is an old house that was turned into a market, for me this was the first I´ve seen like this. You can see it is an old building and they just modified it to adjust to their needs.
There were goats right in front of the Cathedral! I had to take a picture!
My veredict is, without question, that this city is one you should try to visit but with a lot of caution because the old wives tales are not tales at all, it is an unsafe city and you should take precautions.
It was a lovely part of Guatemala but not a visit I would do again if given the chance. Too much stress for a normal city.