Travelers who enjoy exploring off-the-beaten-track roads will enjoy renting a car in Guatemala, where rural public transportion services can be slow and infrequent. The country is also on the Pan-American Highway, an iconic route that includes possible stops in Panajachel, Guatemala City, Palin, and Antigua.
Parking is an important topic to understand when renting a car in Guatemala, especially since theft and break-in rates are high. It is highly advised to not leave valuables on display in your car and to avoid parking in poorly lit urban areas when possible. Most hotels are able to offer a secure parking zone; otherwise, paid and serviced car parks are a reasonable option.
There are no laws on the use of child seats in Guatemala, but those who choose to rent a car here are advised to seat children under 12 in an age-appropriate restraint. Agencies are able to provide different sizes of seats if you book in advance, and daily fees will apply. These can vary widely, from around 23 GTQ (3 USD) per day with Budget, to 46 GTQ (6 USD) per day with Enterprise.
Most agencies allow clients who rent a car in Guatemala to travel into neighboring countries; however, additional insurance and fees are required for this service. Avis, for example, charges between 300 GTQ (30 USD) for a cross-border permit to Honduras or El Salvador, and 3845 GTQ (500 USD) for cross-border travel to Mexico.
Book your car hire in Guatemala at least 1 day before your trip in order to get a below-average price
Economy car hires in Guatemala are around 24% cheaper than other car types, on average
FAQs about hiring a car in Guatemala
Economy (Hyundai Accent or similar) is the most frequently booked car hire type in Guatemala.
Based on ratings and reviews from real users on KAYAK, the best car hire company in Guatemala is Alamo (7,4, 83 reviews).
Travelers who rent a car in Guatemala will encounter different types of road surfaces in different areas of the country. Major highways are generally in good condition and include occasional toll roads—for example, the highway between Palin and Antigua. Rural areas, however, can have poor driving conditions, including rough surfaces, wet weather, free-roaming livestock, and plenty of potholes. Driving is in the right lane in Guatemala, and it is advised to avoid driving at night in all areas.
While the minimum age for Guatemalans to drive is 16, to rent a car in Guatemala a driver will need to be at least 18 years old. Many agencies, such as Avis, have increased this limit to 25, while others, like Alamo, charge an additional fee of around 77 GTQ (10 USD) for drivers ages 21 to 24. A valid domestic driver’s license that has been active for at least 1 year is required to rent a car in Guatemala.
Petrol stations are common in urban areas of Guatemala, but it is recommended to keep well fueled in rural areas. Most petrol stations are serviced and operate from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm, while some highway stations open 24h a day. Prices are around 7.4 GTQ (0.90 USD) for a liter of petrol and 6.1 GTQ (0.80 USD) for a liter of diesel.
There are three main speed limits that apply in Guatemala, depending on the type of road you are driving on. The maximum limit in urban areas is 50 km/h (31 mph), while rural roads have a top limit of 80 km/h (50 mph). Highways have a maximum speed limit of 110 km/h (68 mph), but are not always in good condition. It is usually best to travel slower to minimize risk.
The rates displayed include all taxes and fees for hire cars for the class listed and were found by KAYAK users in the last 24 hours. Offers are subject to change and may not be available on all car hires listed or dates of travel. Some hire car providers charge additional fees for other services (GPS, infant car seats, etc.). Please check the website of the respective hire car provider.