Children in Guatemala: Childcare and activities

Childcare and family activities in Guatemalas
Updated 2017-07-11 11:36

Guatemalans tend to have large families, especially in rural areas, so your children will not lack company, and moving there as a family can even help you feel even more welcome! However, finding reliable, quality daycare and primary education services in Guatemala can require a lot of research and often involves turning to the private sector.

Education system in Guatemala

Although primary education in Guatemala is provided free by the state and, in theory, compulsory for six years, actual school attendance is much lower, and only an estimated two-thirds of eligible children and enlisted in primary schools, primarily because families in impoverished rural areas can not avail themselves to such necessary supplies as school uniforms and books, or afford children's transportation fares, which are not covered by the government.

Education in Guatemala is currently quite under-funded and you may find that the teaching provided at the local public school doesn't fully meet your requirements.

Yet, the country is also home to numerous private international schools offering quality education, taught in English, Spanish, French or German, and leading to international baccalaureates.

Useful links:

Antigua International School
American School of Guatemala
Colegio Interamericano
Colegio Maya - The American International School of Guatemala
Lycée français Jules-Verne Guatemala

Preschool in Guatemala

Although some of the international schools listed above do offer day care and early childhood education, formal childcare options are actually very limited in the country, and most working mothers depend on informal daycare-givers such as relatives or neighbours. Even in Guatemala City, it is estimated that a quarter only of working mothers resort to formal daycare.

Private daycare centres tend to be are exorbitant by local standards, but the government is at work on a plan to develop public, affordable daycare services.

Children health in Guatemala

Given Guatemala's sanitary environment, you may want to take a few additional precautions with your little ones' health during their stay in the country.

Before leaving, ask your family doctor which vaccines are recommended for children in Guatemala. Once on the spot, make sure to feed your children fresh food and bottled water, pay extra attention to hygiene (thoroughly wash hands with sanitizer, especially before eating), and never forget your sunscreen!

You should not have any trouble finding baby supplies such as diapers, baby milk, or basic medication readily at hand in any pharmacy across the country.

Good to know:

The condition of pavements and sidewalks (when they even exist) makes it very hard to use a stroller, you should rather opt for another form of baby carrier.

Family activities in Guatemala

Here are a few recommendations of kid-friendly excursions for family days out in Guatemala:

  • Children typically love theme parks such as Parque Xetulul or the Xocomíl giant water park by Retalhuleu.
  • In Guatemala City, do not miss the Museo de los Niños, tailor-made for children.
  • You will find plenty of playgrounds and children activities in San Pedro and Panajachel, in the vicinity of lake Atitlan.
  • Last but not least, Antigua boasts a library solely dedicated to children!
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