Guatamala City, San Salvador, Managua -- safe?

Old Dec 28th, 2008, 02:02 PM
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Guatamala City, San Salvador, Managua -- safe?

So a long and very confusing turn of events has brought me to most likely be doing a program with study in these three cities in Fall 2009. However, reading the pages on the US Department of State ( has literally scared the crap out of me in that it portrays all three of these areas as very dangerous, even to foreigners. Now I know that they have done this program at least a couple times in the past and everything has gone fine, but am I right to worry? I read all these trip reports on here and it seems that everything goes problem-free, but the threat of robbery/carjacking/murder causes me great anxiety and I haven't even left yet! Any advice? It's not too late for me to look somewhere else if I act soon.
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Old Dec 28th, 2008, 02:45 PM
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Of the 3 I have only been to Guat city and was safe. It's a big city and we were cautious as we are in any big city. We have a friend who's family is from there and he advised certain areas to avoid. However, if u feel nervous now, I'd find another program. It's not worth it to be anxious for the next 9 months.
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Old Dec 28th, 2008, 02:55 PM
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Well, that's what I'm trying to figure out: whether or not I should rightfully be anxious. I live in one of the most dangerous US cities so I'm familiar with being "street smart," but the State Department paints those areas as being lawless and corrupt free-for-alls where you'll be robbed just for being American and travelling with luggage. I've never heard reports of study abroad groups getting into trouble (danger) in any country, although I'm sure it's happened at times. Anyway, thanks for the comments, and if anyone else has further advice it would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Dec 28th, 2008, 04:20 PM
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I don't think anyone here will be able to give you the information you need to decide; I think you need to talk to people who have done the program before and maybe find out more about what you'll be doing and where you'll be staying in each city. I take the US State department warnings with a small grain of salt because I love to travel in Central America and don't want to be scared off. That said, I avoid big cities in CA like the plague because street crime and gang violence rates are known to be high and I'm not much of a city person anyway. There are safe areas in each, though, and safe behaviors like not walking around at night to be learned.

The 3 countries are wonderful and it might be an amazing experience. I hope you'll tell us more and keep us posted. Happy trails!
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Old Dec 28th, 2008, 05:40 PM
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State Dept tends to err on the side of caution for understandble reasons.
The 'smart' areas of Guatamala City are pretty safe, use registered taxisat night.
I live in Managua- and I'm a 'foreigner- the safest capital in Cental America, never had any problems.
Use caution, but don't worry!!
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