Checkpoints and safety

I found in my time here in Guatemala that checkpoints are a good thing, as long as you are not hiding anything!!!:cool:

There have been a rash of robberies by people on motorcycles in Guatemala City. They find stop lights that have long, long lines of cars and two guys on a motorcycle drive up, one jumps off, taps on the window, asks for you money, cell phone, jewelry and then runs back onto the motorcycle and off they go.

Here motorcyles drive in between cars, on the left or the right and when cars are stopped they drive between them to get to the stop light so when it turns green they are off to the races. Just be careful. Do not show lots of jewelry, do not chat on your phone with the window open and just be alert.

These types of things do not happen in Antigua, Pana or Xela since they are smaller than Guatemala City. Walking around at night in Antigua for example is safe, just do not walk along, especially women. BUT then again that is common anywhere today.

That's good advice to anyone and a nice "heads up"! Every culture has its problems, but you do need to know the "Local" common sense procedures to avoid being robbed or worse.
  I will be down that way in late October, so all of this is good to know.
Thanks Steve.

Hiya Guategringo and Steve:

So what's the best response to those motorcycle thieves who tap on your window? I'm thinking that when they see MY gun, they will move on quickly.... ;)


I suggest you roll down the window and give them what they ask for, otherwise they might shoot you before you shoot them. I am very serious. You read in the papers how someone resisted being robbed and they were shot. Material things cannot be replace, your life cannot.

I personally don't like thieves! I live in a bad part of town in Tampa and I have visited Columbia, in Parada. I usually see trouble before most, but I would not give in--as my first choice!
Every situation is different and requires a smart mind and quick reflexes. If I felt I had no chance, obviously you can always fight another day. But the key is--avoid the situation in the first place. Give yourself some room on the road when traffic stops and its possible to be robbed. You're in a car--it's a good weapon all on its own.
P.S. for most tourists, defense is not an option. They tend to freeze when confronted with danger. For them,--yes, play the victim, play the sheep, smile and give them what they want. That will probably save your life ---- most of the time!

Hey Guategringo & Steve:

I understand both perspectives, and I must say I'm not wimpy nor accustomed to handing anything over to thieves. I would have to evaluate the circumstances before making a move. But my first response would NOT be to hand anything over. I do agree, that "stuff" is not worth your life, but at some point you have to say no and have the means to back it up.

I currently conceal carry, and have open carried; I plan on continuing the conceal carry when I relocate to Antigua with the proper paperwork as well. I am a firm believer in handling your own business -- cops never get there until stuff is over anyway.

I'll reserve judgment until I am in that situation then we'll see.... Hopefully the day never comes.


I would reconsider playing the tough guy. Most criminals here know that they will never get caught if they rob, steal or shoot someone and they will not hesitate to do so.

You might thinks its easy to use your car as a weapon, but these are two and three lane roads that are bumper to bumper with at least two light changes before you go through the light. Being able to move your car more than a few feet at a time is impossible. That is why the motorcyclists look for long traffic jams and usually, BUT NOT ALWAYS, women alone in cars....

Just sayin.... BE ALERT and if you do not need to be in the city do not go!!! I live here and I know what its like and I know when not to drive, and where not to drive!!!

Good heads up. Like I said, you have to be aware of the areas you are living in. You have first hand knowledge, I do not. It is always a good rule to not play or act "the Victim" in any scenario.
Single women in cars are an obvious target and I appreciate your candor!
  P.S. A bad guy is a bad guy. They have no respect for anything or anyone. It is not wise to classify the bad guys as "Your People"---implies you are one of them! I am sure most of the locals and citizens would prefer this problem did not exist.
  Some form of prosecution, in one form or another will have to be enforced to stop these criminals. If it was as dangerous for them to rob as it was to be robbed--it would probably become a smaller problem.
If you are treated like a God, you are a God! If you are treated like a Man, you are a Man. Men die, God's don't.


I meant to say MOST people

I just hope your bravado does not get in the way of your safety. My brother-in-law down here feels the way you do, make them pay if they steal from you. Roll down your window and have a gun, knife, baseball bat, etc., etc. To each his own.

It sounds like you will be in Antigua and Pana anyway and those types of things happen much less there than here in the city. By the way you might look on the internet for ATITRANS. They are a shuttle bus service that goes from the airport to Antigua and Pana daily. Very reliable service.

Alright Guategringo, you're off the crime lord list now lol :)

That makes a lot more sense. You had me worried for a minute.

apparently we'll have to go into town as a group, in our armoured vehicles....




Thanks, Guategringo. I'll take note of that shuttle service.

P.S. TheDQ ! I appreciate that sense of humor! I am a nut myself, but I do have a "well Hidden" mean streak. I prefer to be fun loving and playful, but I don't put up with bullies--never have.
If that makes me a "tough guy", so be it. Like Stallone say's,
" It's not how hard you can hit, it's how hard you can get hit--and still get up and keep on going!!"


Guys do not get carried away. It does not happen all the time and it does not happen every where.It has never happened to me and I have been here 20 years nearly 21.

Just want people to be aware of what could happen. I would never want to scare anyone away from this paradise...and I mean that!!!

Guategringo, you're not scaring us away! heh heh heh.... on the contrary.... (I think we've watched enough Stallone movies by now, we're ready for anything!!! lol)

and that other guy...."come and meet my little friend!".... lol


For advice I often listen to the locals when it comes to Safety. I have been in and out of Guatemala the past 4 years now and have never encountered any crime personally. My wife (Guatemalteca) and her family say just give the things if someone comes with a gun. We have tinted windows, keep them up, and doors locked. Feels weird to someone coming from Canada at first, but for Guatemaltecos it is just normal.

Just 3 weeks ago my Brother in Law was driving with his girlfriend in the Capital stuck in traffic, and he saw some flashlights behind his car.  He said in what feels like a split second, before he had time to react the back windows were smashed and 2 men with guns were inside the back seat. He did the right thing and just did what they wanted. He lost some documents and a samsung tablet, but he is alive.

The likely chance is you will fare like Guategringo and myself and never have to deal with major crime like this, especially around Antigua or Pana. Just remember those willing to do a risky robbery on a main road with other traffic around are probably willing to use the weapons they carry. The crime solve rate here is abysmal. 

I agree that Guate is a paradise. All countries have good and bad things, Guate has some crime, but the freedom, weather, lifestyle for me at least is perfectly worth it.

- Oscar

Again, great input. It's hard to imagine worse crime in the capital as in the surrounding areas! I would have thought the local police would have more control in densely populated areas, and more resources!