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Arriving in Guatemala City Without My Backpack

Broken Bottles for Burglar Protection

Central American Burglar Alarm System>

The baggage claim conveyor belt finally stopped, and my backpack was nowhere to be seen. I had just arrived in Guatemala City (aka “Guate”) to start my official year around the world. But now I didn’t have any belongings.

Well, that isn’t entirely true. I did have the clothes on my back, a light jacket, and a daypack with my laptop and camera in it. Talk about traveling light!

Initially, my plan had been to jump on a shuttle to a small town called San Pedro and start 3 weeks of intensive Spanish classes.

But the town was hours away, and I wanted to be near the airport for when my travel backpack finally arrived, 3 or 4 days later.

Old Pickup Truck

Old Beaten-Up Pickup Truck

So I found a guesthouse a short walk away from the airport and checked in. The broken glass you see in the photo above is cemented into the perimeter walls of the guesthouse. I saw this in Mexico too, it’s a cheap way to protect your property from robbers.

All the homes and business in the area are protected by 10 foot high walls, razor wire, and gates. It looks like a prison complex, but rather than keep people in, it’s meant to keep people out. I had to walk through a military checkpoint to get to the guesthouse as well. Welcome to Guatemala City!

Local Guate Family

Guatemalan Family That I Met On My Walk

The air was colder than I was expecting, around 60 degrees at night. After spending one night in the guesthouse, I walked back to the airport to fill out a new lost baggage claim form, because the one the airline gave me contained wrong information.

Along the walk, I passed a local family heading to the airport too. I was photographing the neighborhood, and they asked to be in the photo. Looks better with them in it!

Since I was going to be in Guate for a few more days, I decided to leave the expensive guesthouse ($30 a night) and move into a hostel dormitory ($15 a night) in the city center to save money. Now all I have to do is wait. My travel adventures have officially begun!

[su_box title=”Travel Planning Resources for Guatemala City” style=”noise” box_color=”#333333″ title_color=”#FFFFFF” radius=”3″ class=”resource-box”]

Packing Guide

Check out my travel gear guide to help you start packing for your trip. Pick up a travel backpack, camera gear, and other useful travel accessories.

Book Your Flight

Book cheap flights on Skyscanner, my favorite airline search engine to find deals. Also read my tips for how I find the cheapest flights.

Rent A Car

Discover Cars is a great site for comparing car prices to find the best deal. They search both local & international rental companies.

Book Accommodation is my favorite hotel search engine. Or rent local apartments on Airbnb ($35 discount!). Read my post for tips on booking cheap hotels.

Protect Your Trip

Don’t forget travel insurance! I’m a big fan of World Nomads for short-term trips. Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. Read more about why you should always carry travel insurance.


Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:

The Travel Fool

Friday 4th of November 2011

Just remember it's not a job it's an adventure.


Sunday 12th of December 2010

It took that many days to get your bag back? Anytime they lose anyone I know's bags, they have them the next morning! (I'm an American, living in Guatemala for the past 9 years.)

Matthew Karsten

Monday 13th of December 2010

The airline I used (Spirit) didn't have any flights into the city until 4 days later.


Tuesday 7th of December 2010

Oy! What a way to begin the journey! Hope it's there quickly!

Mase Ubico

Monday 8th of November 2010

Love your blog! Have fun!

Jill - Jack and Jill Travel The World

Sunday 7th of November 2010

That sucks about your luggage. Does the airline at least know where it ended up? At least you have your laptop/camera :p

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