Originally Posted by CNC-Charters
Is it safe in the local towns and is it the kind of place you want to stay for more than a few months?
Many cruisers come here and never leave. The Rio is a beautiful place, as is the entire country of Guatemala
-- just spectacular -- with loads of inland travel options. I've lived here since 2005 and love it. But, there is sometimes trouble in paradise. My perspective below:
(Hopefully this won't derail the thread too badly and it is a related subject)
Re "saftey". I love Guatemala
, but like any "developing" country, it is not without it's issues. Guatemala has some large scale issues, some of which I think have no practical solution. Most of these issues relate to the drug trade
(really a USA problem), gangs, and large scale socio-politcal-economic issues (a big complicated subject area). If you keep your nose out of these domains, and exercise common sense, then odds are good you can visit or live here fat, dumb, and happy. Violence here infrequently, relatively speaking, affects foreigners, but it does happen (interestingly: most robberies of foreigners here are not violent, but can go wrong of course). The most common issue which effects cruisers here on the Rio is theft of dinghy
motors. There have been armed robberies of boats (none of which were in marinas) and, over about the past 20 years, two gringos have been killed here. One is rumored to have been up to things he should not have been, the other was a robbery gone bad.
Re local towns: The primary population center on the Rio is Fronteras. This is also the town closest to most of the marinas
. It is a typical Guatemalan, dirty, noisy, gritty little truck stop kind of town....but it kind of grows on you...and the street vendors have awesome fried chicken! This is where you would normally go for routine shopping
. I've heard of a few petty thefts that have occurred here during the day-time (cash, cell phones...), but even this not very often. In contrast, I've left cash and cell phone
in tiendas here several times and always had them returned. In general, from a safety
perspective, visiting the towns in Guatemala is not unlike anywhere else on earth -- excercise common sense and don't go into areas where you should not be (like Zona 5 in Guatemala City for example).
From another presective: the average Guatemala, regardless of socioeconomic level, is hard working, honest, and quite likely to go out of their way to help you. I've had some wonderful experiences with the people of Guatemala.
For a view into the gringo cruising community here, and links to more info on Guatemala, visit: riodulcechisme.com - Home