26 Top Guatemala Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

26 Top Guatemala Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring
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Guatemala has the largest population of any country in Central America. As a sought-after destination for those wishing to experience an incredibly welcoming and vibrant culture along with a diverse and gorgeous climate. There are tons of activities – think swimming holes, hiking trails, volcano exploration, visiting Mayan ruins – there’s so much to see that it can be hard to know what to pack!

This guide was put together to make planning your trip easier. We’ll help you decide what to bring, what NOT to pack, what to wear in Guatemala, and the answers to other FAQs. Enjoy your trip, and be sure to bring an open heart and mind, and a carefree smile!

26 Top Guatemala Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring
See our product selection criteria and guidelines here.

What to Pack for Guatemala – 26 Essentials

  • 1. Neck Wallet

    Particularly in some of Guatemala’s more touristy destinations, you’ll need to be wary of pickpocketing and petty theft. Avoid this by wearing a neck wallet beneath your clothes to secure all your valuables. We love this one because it’s large enough to hold your phone, passport, and wallet!

    Available on HeroTravelSupply.com with an exclusive 15% discount using the coupon code “HERO”.

    neck wallet

    Or view on Amazon.com ➜

  • 2. Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

    You’ll never have to worry about your phone or camera running out of battery when armed with this lipstick-sized portable charger. It’s small enough that you won’t notice the extra weight in your daypack or purse when you’re out and about for the day, and will come in handy when you need it most!

    Lipstick-Sized Charger

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 3. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    Cybercrime is common in Central America, and you’ll want to protect yourself from being vulnerable to the millions of eager hackers. Using a VPN when connecting to Wi-Fi in public places like cafes, airports, and hotels – is essential. By encrypting your data and adding a layer of security, you can easily protect your sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card numbers, to avoid online theft like we suffered in Europe before we had a VPN.

    Our go-to VPN is NordVPN because they are reliable, affordable, and offer unlimited data from thousands of servers around the world. They can even increase your online access so you can reach your favorite websites (even if there is regional censorship). It is the best way to have a private web experience for only a few dollars per month.

    Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    View NordVPN.com Options ➜

  • 4. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    A microfiber towel is a traveler’s best friend. It’s compact and dries exceptionally fast (10x faster than cotton in fact!) It works great for the beach, the pool, or just hanging around the hotel. And because it comes in a convenient sack, it can even be substituted as a pillow if you need one. We find a ton of uses for it and don’t recommend visiting Guatemala without it.

    Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 5. Activated Charcoal

    It’s always good to have activated charcoal tablets on hand, just in case you fall victim to food poisoning or Giardia. Traveling in Guatemala tends to involve lengthy bus journeys where the opportunity for bathroom breaks is scarce. Activated charcoal tablets will come to your rescue if you happen to fall sick on a travel day and will detoxify harmful bacteria from your system more quickly.

    Activated Charcoal

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 6. Travel Insurance for Guatemala

    Travel insurance is one of the most important things you can obtain before leaving the country – especially since your domestic provider generally does not follow you overseas. It is highly recommended to cover yourself in case of unexpected issues like health concerns. It would cost a fortune to pay out-of-pocket for international hospital bills. Travel insurance also covers you in case of flight delays, baggage loss, theft, international medical care, and even entire trip cancelation. We’ve been really blown away by Faye because of their mobile app that makes reimbursement a piece of cake!

    For Guatemala in particular, if you’re using any public transportation, often you will be separated from your bag (which is placed in the luggage compartment under the bus) during your journey. In the event that you and your luggage are not reunited at the end of the trip, you’ll be glad to have the insurance coverage to fall back on. If anything goes wrong, you’ll be thankful for a support team in your pocket that will swiftly reimburse you through a digital wire transfer.

    Travel Insurance for Guatemala

    Get a quote in less than 60 seconds with Faye ➜

  • 7. Cooling Towel

    A good portion of Guatemala is dominated by jungle, which means hot and humid weather. Whether you’re exploring Mayan ruins, going zip-lining or having fun in the water – bring a cooling towel to help stay cool even in the heat. All you do is wet the towel, wring out any excess water, and it instantly becomes 20-30 degrees colder than the air temperature! These towels are super compact and chemical-free, making them easy to bring along on practically any activity you have planned in Guatemala.

    Cooling Towel

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 8. Luggage Straps

    Millions of bags are damaged due to mishandling each year, and you can’t expect your delicate zippers to withstand all of the pressure. These luggage straps adjust to fit nearly any bag and ensure everything stays shut as it moves through a very bumpy journey! TSA and airline staff are more gentle with your bags than the internal conveyor belt system (but that isn’t saying much!)

    These straps are like a safety net for checked bags, and work great to cinch-in your carry-ons so they fit in the overhead compartment (even if you stuffed it full of souvenirs!) You’ll also find your bag way quicker with the vibrant straps and built-in name tag for identification. With heavy-duty belts and a lightweight design, they’re backed by a lifetime replacement guarantee, so you can trust the quality.

    luggage straps

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 9. Filtered Water Bottle

    Tap water in Guatemala is not safe to drink. While single-use plastic bottles are usually available, the Grayl is invaluable if you find yourself without access to bottled water. It’s an environmentally-conscious option for plastic waste, and can purify your water on-the-go. By simply pushing down the lid and cleansing the water through a filtration system, it will remove dangerous bacteria, viruses, microplastics, chemicals, sediment, and other organisms that could be harmful. It’s a real lifesaver and worth the investment for a country in Central America.

    Filtered Water Bottle

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 10. Deodorant Wipes

    A day of exploring in Guatemala’s humidity can leave you feeling (ah-hem) less than fresh! Toss these handy deodorant wipes in your purse or daypack for an easy way to refresh while staying on the move. These are especially great if you’re on a long bus ride or overnight stay with no access to a shower.

    Deodorant Wipes

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 11. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    Guatemala’s rainy season extends from May to November, but showers are possible all year round. On top of that, when it rains in Guatemala, it pours. Be sure to pack a windproof travel umbrella like this one to throw in your daypack if you see rain clouds brewing in the distance.

    Windproof Travel Umbrella

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 12. Waterproof Phone Pouch

    Between the Caribbean beaches, lake sports, jet skiing, kayaking, and water bikes – you’ll appreciate having a waterproof phone case in Guatemala. Come prepared with this phone pouch which will protect your cell from the elements, simultaneously allowing you to take underwater videos! It’s way better than having to replace your phone because it got ruined by water.

    Waterproof Phone Pouch

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 13. Affordable Action Camera

    Whether you’re strolling through the streets of Antigua, browsing in the market of Chichicastenango, or scaling ruins at Tikal – you’ll surely want to snap some photos to commemorate the trip. Expensive smartphones can make you a target for pickpockets, so consider this compact and inexpensive alternative. As a bonus, it’s waterproof, so you’ll be able to trek through caves with it at Semuc Champey as well.

    Affordable Action Camera

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 14. Packing Cubes

    If you don’t already use them, packing cubes are about to change your life! Keep organized and avoid overpacking by separating your clothes and belongings into these convenient and vibrantly colored cubes. You’ll never have to dig through your luggage searching for that one specific t-shirt ever again.

    packing cubes

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 15. Universal Power Adapter

    If you’re coming from the U.S., you likely will not need to use a power adapter to plug in your electronics in Guatemala. However, if you’re coming from Europe or anywhere else, a universal travel adapter will be essential. This one is awesome because it works all over the world and includes several USB ports so you can charge multiple devices at once. The quality is also backed by a lifetime replacement guarantee! So you won’t have to buy another universal adapter ever again.

    Universal Power Adapter

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 16. Packable “Just in Case” Bag

    We’ve all experienced the common mistake of travelers – not bringing enough bags! This “just in case” bag remedies that conundrum by offering you a built-in carry-on bag that can count as your personal item on the flight home! Fill it with Guatemalan goodies like local jade, coffee, textiles, spices, and the regional liquor, Quetzalteca.

    Packable “Just in Case” Bag

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 17. Discounted Tickets for Guatemalan Tours

    Get Your Guide is our preferred booking service for finding the most authentic local tours that are still safe and reputable. By partnering with local tourism companies, GYG helps you find the best of the best, backed by a flexible cancellation policy.

    While in Guatemala, make time to visit the natural wonders of Acatenango Volcano and Pacaya Volcano. The Tikal Ruins are absolutely magical and worth the trip to marvel at! And for a more relaxed traveler, a lakeside boat cruise is the perfect way to slow down and take in the sights.

    Discounted Tickets for Guatemalan Tours

    See all Guatemalan attractions at GetYourGuide.com ➜

  • 18. Insect Repellent Wristbands

    Taking precautions to avoid bug bites is critical in Guatemala. Much of the country consists of dense jungles, and some areas are even subject to malaria warnings. Additionally, bug bites can become infected quickly in the warm, humid climate, so it’s best just to avoid them altogether. These wristbands last for up to 300 hours, so you can just throw one on and forget about it!

    mosquito repellent wristbands

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 19. Spanish Phrasebook

    Spanish is the official language of Guatemala, and English is not widely spoken. If your Spanish is rusty or lacking, a phrasebook will be your best friend. Sure, Google Translate works most of the time, but your need to communicate doesn’t cease when the WiFi connection does. This pocket-sized edition is great and easy to carry around!

    Spanish Phrasebook

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 20. Daypack

    A daypack is essential in Guatemala. It will come in useful for excursions during the day, such as volcano hikes or exploring Mayan ruins. You’ll also be glad to have it on travel days when the rest of your luggage is stowed in the hold under the bus. Keep your valuables (passport, wallet, phone), a water bottle, an umbrella, and some snacks in your daypack so they are easy to access during your bus journey.


    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 21. TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

    We take more precautions after having something stolen out of our checked luggage on an international flight. When your bags are out-of-sight for long durations on flights, cruises, or when you leave them in the hotel all day – it can offer peace of mind to attach luggage locks. This set is TSA-approved so it won’t cause you delays at security checkpoints, but we use them for anything from backpacks to tents to public lockers!

    TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 22. Dry Shampoo

    Guatemala is a developing country, and as such, there are times when water is scarce, cold, or simply unavailable. Dry shampoo will keep you looking fresh even when the luxury of a shower is unavailable to you. Use it to quickly freshen up and look and feel a bit cleaner than you actually are!

    Dry Shampoo

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 23. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    This is one of our top picks on this entire list. If you’ve never tried a hanging toiletry bag, you’re in for a treat! Instead of throwing your self-care items all over the bathroom at your accommodation – use this hanging bag to stay organized and prevent any leaks. It has 4 giant compartments for makeup, haircare, skincare, face towels, and more. Hang it on any pole (or branch if camping!) and you’ve got an immediate pop-up storage system.

    Hanging Toiletry Bag

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 24. Female Urination Device

    You never know what kind of bathroom situation you’ll run into in Central America. It could be a formal abode, it could be a squat toilet (basically a hole in the ground). Ladies, for those times that you don’t want to squat – use the female urination device to be able to pee while standing up! While it may seem a little odd, I promise you won’t regret having it if you run into a bathroom that is less-than-hygienic.

    Female Urination Device

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 25. Convertible Hiking Pants

    We love these convertible hiking pants that have temperature-controlled material to ensure you don’t overheat. For long hikes in the jungle or colder days, use the full pant legs. But if they get muddy or wet around the ankles, just unzip them at the knee to create a shorts-look. They are great for any season and have tons of pockets so you don’t need a bag.

    Convertible Hiking Pants

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 26. Travel Sheet

    A travel sheet is ideal for ensuring that wherever you sleep is clean and hygienic. You’ll be sleeping on trains, planes, buses, and possibly automobiles! So use this silky fabric as a barrier between you and public places. This brand is super lightweight and packs into a compact pouch that fits easily inside your luggage. Additionally, the material is soft and breathable which keeps you feeling cool and fresh during warm nights.

    Travel Sheet

    View on Amazon.com ➜

What to Wear in Guatemala

Your wardrobe in Guatemala will vary depending on what your itinerary includes, but generally, casual clothing is in order.

Guatemala’s temperature averages about 70 degrees throughout the country, though it may be slightly cooler at high altitudes, and warmer along the coast. It can be quite humid, especially in the mountains, so lightweight clothing is ideal.

What to Wear in Guatemala
You won’t find much need for formal clothing in Guatemala, but there are high-end restaurants to be visited in some cities, like Antigua. A simple, composed outfit is perfectly suitable for dinner out. Think, chinos and a button down for men, and a maxi, or knee-length dress for women.

Remember, the temperature can drop at night, especially in the mountains, so be sure to pack a sweater and a pair of pants or leggings for the evenings.

What should WOMEN wear in Guatemala? – (Click to expand)

Women in Guatemala typically wear casual, but conservative clothing. Dresses or slacks paired with a blouse are an everyday ensemble. Some women dress in traditional attire, which consists of a full-length skirt paired with a cotton blouse and a shawl if the weather is cool.
Because the standard dress is casual, packing for Guatemala is pretty easy. Visiting women should plan to bring layers, as it can be cool out in the evening. Leggings or sweats are ideal, paired with a long sleeve shirt or sweater. During the day it can be quite warm, so shorts or sundresses will be the most comfortable

What should MEN wear in Guatemala? – (Click to expand)
Guatemalan men typically wear slacks or jeans paired with a tee shirt or button-down shirt. Visiting men should feel comfortable doing the same. Though, visitors won’t be as acclimatized to the heat and humidity so shorts may be more comfortable than pants.

As for footwear, because the streets are mainly dirt or cobblestone, running shoes or sneakers are the best option. They’ll keep your feet clean and your footing sound. Sandals are just fine around town as well but probably aren’t as comfortable for long walks.

How to Dress for the Seasons in Guatemala

Rainy Season (May, June, July, August, September, October)

Guatemala’s rainy season is also the colder season. During this time of year you can expect heavy rain showers, but usually, they don’t last the entire day. The temperatures are typically warm (around 70 degrees) during the day but can dip into the mid 60’s after dark, especially at high elevations. If you’re visiting Guatemala during the rainy season a rain jacket is essential. Also be sure to pack synthetic clothing that will quickly dry if you get caught in a shower. Waterproof trail shoes are a great footwear option for this time of year, as they’ll help protect your feet and keep your footing in the mud. Temperatures average between 61°F to 80°F (16°C to 27°C)

Dry Season (November, December, January, February, March, April)

The temperature in the dry season is slightly warmer than during the rainy season, and won’t drop as much when the sun goes down. If visiting Guatemala during this time of year, you can expect plenty of sunshine. Shorts, t-shirts, and dresses are comfortable during the day, and long sleeves help keep the bugs off in the evening. Rain showers can still occur during this time of year, so take a rain jacket just in case. Temperatures average between 54°F to 81°F (12°C to 27°C)

Dressing appropriately for the activity
Walking Around Town​ – When exploring Guatemala’s colorful towns and cities, casual but well-composed outfits are your best bet. The locals always dress nicely, so you should do your best to look put together as well. Comfortable shoes are ideal because the streets are often dirt or cobblestone. If you’re planning to visit religious sites, take care to dress conservatively — skirts to the knee for women, and shoulders covered. A pashmina comes in handy for transforming a sleeveless outfit into a conservative one.

Hikes & Ruins​ – Guatemala is famous for the Mayan ruin at Tikal. This extraordinary archaeological site features numerous ancient structures which jut out from the top of the jungle canopy. You will spend much of the day in the direct sunlight while visiting Tikal, and you will do lots of walking (and climbing of ruins). Be sure to wear lightweight clothing, and take a daypack equipped with a water bottle and extra sunscreen. Secure sandals or running shoes will keep your feet comfortable as you walk around all day. The same attire is fitting for volcano hikes.

Semuc Champey ​ – This famous national park in Guatemala’s mountains consists of a renowned limestone bridge dotted with crystalline pools with delightfully refreshing water. Underneath the bridge is an underground river and plenty of caves to explore. You’ll want to wear water shoes, a swimsuit, and synthetic clothing for your day at Semuc Champey, as you’ll be in and out of the water a lot. A waterproof camera is ideal for helping you capture the experience.

Chichicastenango Market – ​Every Sunday and Thursday people from the surrounding area gather in the town of Chichicastenango and hold a massive market. You buy everything from textiles to leather goods, and, of course, food. When browsing the market women should carry a small, crossbody purse on the front of their body, as crowds are a feeding ground for pickpockets. Sensible shoes are also in order, to protect your feet from being trampled by strangers. If you take a daypack to carry your purchases home, be sure to keep your money in an inside pocket.

What NOT to Bring to Guatemala

  • 1.High Heels

    Heels are simply unnecessary for Guatemala. Between the dirt roads and cobblestones, wearing them is just too much of a challenge. On top of that, the typical dress in Guatemala is quite casual; wearing heels will make you look out of place. Leave the heels and home and use the extra space in your suitcase for souvenirs.

  • 2.A lot of jewelry

    Petty crime isn’t unheard of in Guatemala, and excessive flashy jewelry will only make you more of a target. Additionally, it won’t fit in with the low-key, down-to-earth style for which the local Guatemalans are known.

  • 3.Electronics

    ​It’s best to limit the number of expensive devices you carry with you on your trip to Guatemala. Not only do they put you at risk for theft, but, the wifi situation in Guatemala is spotty unless you’re staying within a major city. There’s no sense in porting around devices if you can’t even connect with a network to use them on! Keep your electronics to the bare minimum and save yourself the weight in your pack.

  • 4.Rolling Suitcase

    While there’s nothing wrong with bringing a rolling suitcase to Guatemala, it’s just not that practical. There aren’t very many places outside of the airport where you’ll actually be able to roll it. It will be much easier to port around a travel pack, which you can throw over your shoulder.

  • 5.Jeans

    With the humidity level, warm temperatures, and chance of showers, jeans just aren’t a practical clothing item for Guatemala. You’re unlikely to wear them outside of the airport, and they’re heavy to cart around. Lightweight travel pants or leggings are much lighter and will dry quicker if they get wet.

  • 6.Makeup

    Makeup isn’t essential in Guatemala. You won’t look out of place if you wear it, but you’ll blend in just fine with a bare face. It’s most likely going to sweat right off if you do attempt to wear it, especially if your itinerary involves hiking, or caving. If you do bring makeup, stick to the bare minimum.

What NOT to wear in Guatemala – (Click to expand)
You should also avoid bringing heavy cotton clothing, like jeans and sweatshirts. These items will perpetually feel damp in the humidity, and they’ll be far too warm to wear most of the time. Instead, stick to synthetic outer layers, and travel pants.

FAQs for Guatemala Travel

  • 1. What is the best time of year to go?​

    What is the best time of year to go?​

    The best time to visit Guatemala is between November and April, which is the dry season. The beginning of the wet season, which extends from May to October, can also be a pleasant time of year, as there aren’t as many tourists.

    The temperature is quite comfortable all year round, but the heavy rain during the wet season may cause roads to be impassable, and make it generally challenging to get around within the country. September and October are the peak months for tropical storms which can ravage the country and cause mass destruction.

  • 2. Do you need vaccinations to visit Guatemala?

    It’s best to ask your doctor for their recommendation of which vaccines you should get before visiting Guatemala. That said, the Centers For Disease Control recommends vaccinations for Hepatitis B, Malaria, and Rabies.

    None of these vaccines are required, but they may be worth considering depending on the nature of your visit. If you’re planning to spend a lot of time outdoors in nature, Rabies and Malaria may be a good idea.

  • 3. What is there to do in Guatemala?

    What is there to do in Guatemala

    Guatemala has many different types of activities to offer. It is a fantastic destination for adventurous travelers who enjoy hiking and spending time in nature. Many travelers base in eco-lodges in the mountains and spend their days exploring coffee plantations, hiking volcanoes, kayaking in lakes, swimming in rivers, or exploring Mayan ruins. There are also many colorful towns and cities to explore, from those surrounding Lake Atitlán to Antigua in central Guatemala. These towns are great places to base for weeks at a time. They draw visitors from all around the world who spend their days learning Spanish and immersing themselves in Guatemalan culture.

    We use Get Your Guide to find the best tours around the world!

  • 4. What is the best way to get around?

    Guatemala is easily accessible by chicken bus (most commonly used by the locals), shuttle, or, if you’re willing to spend some extra money, you can hire a private driver.

    Chicken buses are the cheapest mode of transportation, but, they aren’t necessarily the most comfortable. For journeys longer than a couple of hours you’ll probably be most comfortable in a shuttle. Shuttles are large vans that carry 15 to 20 passengers and often have air conditioning.

  • 5. What type of food do they eat in Guatemala?

    Most Guatemalan meals consist of meat served alongside rice and beans. A soup or stew usually precedes the main dish. Some dishes that you might recognize from Mexico such as tamales, and chiles rellenos, among others, can be found in Guatemala as well.

  • 6. How much does it cost to travel in Guatemala?

    How much does it cost to travel in Guatemala?

    A room in a mid-range hotel in Guatemala runs about $40 USD, while a bed in a hostel costs about $10. Of course, you can spend much more than that if you wish, but a mid-range hotel will provide a basic, but clean room.

    When it comes to eating the cost will vary depending on where you eat. Comedores, which are small eateries where you pay a fixed price for a set menu, will cost about $5 for a full meal. If you eat in a proper restaurant, you can expect to spend about $10 for an entree.

    Transportation costs in Guatemala are very low. A chicken bus will cost from $2 to $5 depending on the distance you are traveling, whereas a more comfortable shuttle bus will cost about $20.

  • 7. Can I pay for things with a credit card in Guatemala?

    Many large chains, hotels, and major restaurants will have the means to accept credit card payments, but your average independent store will not. In touristy areas, it is more common for businesses to accept card payments, but more often than not they will be cash only.

    It’s not wise to carry a ton of cash with you in Guatemala because petty crime is relatively common, so try to plan out your daily expenses and carry only the amount of money you expect to need.

    If your bank charges hefty ATM fees, withdraw a big lump of cash every week, and store it in various compartments throughout your luggage which you leave in your hotel. This way you can skip the ATM fees, and not have to be worried about carrying excessive cash on your person.