Self-driving in Guatemala With a Rental Car

by Ana Cetina, Apr 1, 2020

Thinking about driving on your own through Guatemala? To drive in Guatemala, you just need a valid driver’s license. We recommend to also carrying your passport with you just in case you come across a police checkpoint.

Like in any other country self-driving with a rental car has its advantages. Though keep in mind that driving in Guatemala is not as easy as driving in other countries. Road signs are not always present, some roads are dangerous or do not appear in the navigation apps. Be sure you do not mind driving long distance from destination to destination, sometimes heavy traffic, epic traffic jams, curvy roads or dealing with crazy drivers.

If you decide to drive and rent a car, we suggest that you drive during the day and plan to arrive at the destination before it gets dark. Stay on main roads, use a navigation app or Google maps (which can be downloaded prior to arriving and be used offline), play your favorite music and you are ready to go.


The road quality has improved a lot in recent years, but there is still much to do. Always remember you are driving in a third world country. Some roads are not in good shape so do not rush, drive slowly and enjoy the ride. The best is to have enough time to go from one destination to the next with lots of time to enjoy Guatemala’s beautiful landscapes.

Self-driving and private transfers give you freedom and increases your range. You are not exposed to public transportation and won’t have to take tourist shuttles either. Most tourists visiting Guatemala arrive by air and all flights arrive in Guatemala City. Navigating in this largest of Central American countries can be challenging. The city is spread out and gets a lot of traffic, especially during rush hour. Sometimes driving can be frustrating, and you can be in the car for hours and hours. Better than renting a car is to hire a driver which knows the way around so you can just sit back and relax.

You will find gas stations on every main road but in remote areas it can be challenging to find a gas station. We recommend having your tank full before long drives and fill your tank regularly.


Driving laws in Guatemala are similar to the ones in the US and Europe. The speed limit varies depending on the road, traffic and pavement conditions. Usually speed limits are sign posted or you can check your navigation app; otherwise just go with the flow of traffic.