I know there have been posts on this matter before, but I am wondering if anyone has very recent experiences of travelling through Guatemala and how they found it?
I am planning to go there in February for 2 weeks from Manaus in Brazil to Guatemal city, travel to Antigua and the usual Mayan sites, and maybe the lake Atetlan, and then go to Mexico. I am travelling with my boyfriend, and we are really attracted to Guatemala because it really looks like it has a lot of interesting things to see and offer. But I have been reading reviews online, and also the tips for safety in Guatemala from the US, UK and French governments' websites, and it completly freaked me out... It seems like violence and crime has really increased in the past couple of years, and I am wondering if it is safe at all for us to go. We are not silly, so we wouldn't be the kind of people who walk about at night, or carry expensive jewelry and that type of things, and we have been travelling in south america already so we have experience with the general safety rules, but I am wondering if is still ok to go if you are careful..? My 2 big questions are:
-How safe is it to travel on inter-city buses? Does anyone have recent experiences of doing it? Is it ok if you travel on big companie buses during the day..? (I have read horror stories of buses being gun-assaulted and burnt, of women being raped on the bus etc...)
-How safe is it to cross the Mexican border by bus? (is going through Belize and then Mexico a safer alternative or the opposite?) Does anyone have recent experience and advice on the matter?
-Is it better not to stay in Guatemala city at all, even for one night before getting to Antigua?
Basically, I guess I am looking for a bit of reassurance after reading all those horror stories... If anybody has any tips, I would really appreciate. I would particulary be interested in hearing from people who have travelled there recently, or who live there.
Thank you so much in advacne for your help!