The staff, instructors, and families of SEMILLA are excited to share their Guatemalan home with you. Beyond our campus, we believe you’ll find that Guatemalans are warm, friendly people who welcome travelers and will be there to aid you on your journey.
That said, travel in Guatemala requires awareness and savviness to optimize your safety.
While Guatemala has a history of insecurity, by taking reasonable precautions, visitors and students can safely enjoy and immerse themselves in the beauty of Guatemala. The chances of a visitor becoming a victim of violent crime is unlikely. Even so, we educate, guide, and mentor visitors so they avoid exposure to unnecessary risk. Below are some of the safety measures and guidelines we recommend all visitors follow.
Student and Guest Entry Cards
Upon arrival at SEMILLA, we will issue an official SEMILLA student and guest card. You must show this card at the campus gate every time you enter the campus.
Small lockers are available for CASAS students where such items as passports, plane tickets, and cash can be stored safely.
Carry a copy of your passport at all times, rather than your original passport. You may ask the receptionist at the front desk to have your passport copied. You can request a locker to store your passport and other valuables while at SEMILLA.
Carry CASAS phone numbers and complete address at all times. Your guest entry card includes this information.
Handling Important Documents and Money
If you must carry other important documents or money with you, make sure to have them in a secure, not obvious places (for example, in a front pocket and in two or different places on your body).
Do not take your money or your cell phone out while on the street and avoid wearing fancy jewelry.
In the rare event that you are approached for money or your cell phone, simply give the thief what he or she demands.
- Watch out for typical pick-pocketer tricks. These can take the form of someone asking you for time, for a favor, wanting to ask you a question, or asking if you dropped money. Thieves often work in pairs or threesomes or on motorcycles.
- Be cautious about giving money to strangers who ask for help. A simple “lo siento, no puedo,” is a fine answer.
- On the bus or in any situation where you are in a crowd of people, carry your backpack or bag strapped to the front of your body.
Mixed-Gender Travel for Safety
In Guatemalan society, “machismo” (a controlling and sometimes abusive male dominance) is the norm. In view of this, it is best to be in mixed-gender groups when outside the SEMILLA campus, whenever possible.