Women Traveling Alone
As elsewhere in Latin America, men in Guatemala tend to be chauvinistic, particularly the country’s ladinos. Women traveling alone might find themselves the object of unwanted attention. Guatemalan women are accustomed to fairly constant harassment by men on the street, including catcalls, whistling, and horn honking, which they tend to ignore. This is usually the best tactic, though it’s somewhat difficult to put into practice.
Take a deep breath and count to 10. Your best bet as a preventive measure in this regard is to dress demurely, particularly in urban areas. Although much less likely, there’s also the possibility of having your butt or breasts groped by a passing stranger. It usually happens in an instant, with nary a second glance from the perpetrator.
If it should come to a case of a lingering pervert, some Guatemalan women will scream at the perpetrator, something along the lines of “cerdo” (pig), which usually scares them off. The last thing they want is to be confronted in public and they certainly wouldn’t expect it. Blonds and brunets tend to be the most common targets of dudes who just can’t keep their hands to themselves.
Solo female travelers should try to stick to the main tourist destinations in Guatemala and not venture too far off the beaten path. There’s really no reason to travel alone for too long unless you really want to, as you’ll probably make friends along the way thanks to an abundance of foreign visitors. After dark, take a cab, but try to find someone to share it with.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com