Most crimes directed at tourists in El Petén have been pickpocketings, muggings, and thefts from cars. However, there have been a number of incidents over the years involving armed groups stopping buses, vans, and private cars at Tikal park.
In town, don't wear flashy jewelry and watches, keep your camera in a secure bag, and don't handle money in public. Hire taxis only from official stands at the airport, outside hotels, and at major intersections. If you can avoid it, don't drive after sunset. One common ploy used by highway robbers is to construct a roadblock, such as logs strewn across the road, and then hide nearby. When unsuspecting motorists get out of their cars to remove the obstruction, they are waylaid. If you come upon a deserted roadblock while driving, don't stop; turn around.
INGUAT, the national institute for tourism, has voluntary security caravans to escort cars from Santa Elena-Flores to Tikal. To inquire about an escort, it is recommended to contact INGUAT directly by email at least three days in advance ([email protected]).
The increase in adoption of Guatemalan children has caused some people—particularly rural villagers—to fear that children will be abducted by foreigners. Limit your interaction with children you do not know, and be discreet when taking photographs.