Natural disasters

Rainy season/landslides

The rainy season in Guatemala normally runs from June to November, coinciding with the hurricane season in the Caribbean. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation and the National Hurricane Centre. For more general information see our Tropical Cyclones page.

Heavy rains cause frequent flooding, landslides and collapsed roads and bridges throughout the country. Monitor local media and consult your tour operator and PROATUR as travel routes are likely to face disruption.

Volcanoes

The possibility of eruptions always exists.

Take care if you are near any active volcano. Monitor local media and seek advice from your tour operator in case of possible travel disruption.

Four of Guatemala’s volcanoes are currently active and the local authorities issue alerts in response to increased volcanic activity.

There have been several armed attacks on tourists climbing mountains. It is safer to go with others and hire a guide or take part in a tour with a reputable company. Contact the local tourist authority PROATUR for the latest information. Fuego, Santiaguito and Pacaya volcanoes are showing increased activity including lava and ash eruptions. Seek local advice before attempting a climb. You should avoid climbing volcanoes at night.

Take care when climbing the Tajumulco volcano. There have been incidents of unrest among local communities involved in land disputes. Contact PROATUR for the latest information before climbing the volcano.

Volcano climbs are rewarding but need careful preparation. Several of Guatemala’s volcanos are 4,000 metres high where temperatures drop to below freezing at night. Warm clothing and waterproofs are essential. Local tour organisers tend to underestimate the risks: six tourists died of exposure on Acatenango in January 2017. There’s no mountain rescue service.

For further information visit the website of the Guatemalan disaster agency CONRED (in Spanish).

Earthquakes

Guatemala is subject to frequent minor earth tremors and occasional earthquakes.

On 8 September 2017 there was an earthquake of magnitude 8.2 on the Richter scale off the coast of Chiapas, Mexico which caused severe damage in western Guatemala. If you’re in the area, you should follow the advice of the local authorities. See Natural disasters

Make sure you know what action to take if an earthquake strikes. Read the hotel earthquake instructions. During an earthquake, you should drop to the ground and take cover under sturdy furniture, in a doorway or next to an inside wall, away from windows or objects which may fall. Cover your head with a pillow or your arms and wait for the earthquake to stop, before moving to a safe area outside.

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake or tsunami.