The U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City has significantly updated their Passport page to assist you so check it out!
US Embassy Web page
NOTE: Did you know that it’s faster to get a new passport through the embassy here in Guatemala instead of renewing in the States? It typically takes about eight days here in Guatemala and can take several weeks to a month or more in the states!
To get extra pages added to your passport…
Adding Extra pages has been eliminated. Get a new passport!
Here’s how to get a new passport added to your passport in the U.S. Embassy…
Visit the embassy page and download the Passport Renewal forms. Set up an embassy appointment. BE SURE TO PRINT YOUR APPOINTMENT CONFIRMATION. YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO DO THIS LATER. (Set your appointment early on so you don’t have to wait later.) Fill out the renewal form and get the photos you need. Print it and get ready for your appointment.
The Volcano Santa Maria; been there, done that…and it was tough!
Ever since I heard about the moonlight hikes of the volcano Santa Maria, I thought that it sounded like a blast!
Hiking through the moonlit darkness into the dawn and then seeing sunrise from the towering peak and viewing up to 11 other volcanic peaks including looking down onto the live crater of Santiaguito, sounded like a great adventure for this Kansas farm boy.
So, here’s the story of my volcanic hiking adventure…
Elevation increase from trailhead: Approx. 4,173 feet
I had been dreaming of doing this hike for two years so when I found out that some friends were interested I planned it for Nov. 15th, 2013 (technically a few days before the full moon but it worked better for our schedules). There were five friends from ASELSI and three guys visiting town from Michigan plus our friend Kevin, from Totonicapan, our guide, Hansy, two friends of his and two police officers for safety. (Apparently there have been some thieves prowling the trails and they recommend armed escorts to prevent attacks.)
In Quetzaltenango, we met up with Hansy near the stadium and his friend wowed us with a story of Hansy’s record ascent of the mountain (an incredible 45 minutes). Then we drove over to the central park where a van pulled up at about 12:30 a.m., and we headed out to the Santa Maria Summit Trail trailhead which ended up being quite a long ways from the foot of the mountain but, unless you’re on dirt bikes, that’s as close as you can get in a van. Continue reading →
One of Moore’s images showing immigrants crossing into Mexico from Guatemala.
Getty Images photographer John Moore took his coverage of immigration stories a step further when he traveled to the Mexico-Guatemala border, where Central American immigrants cross the Suchiate River, beginning their long and perilous journey north through Mexico. View his images here.
On my way to Tapachula to get a visa renewed, I witnessed people openly crossing the Guatemalan/Mexican border on rafts just below the bridge where immigration officers are checking documents for those who cross legally. They were going both ways.
Those headed north may have been just starting their journey to attempt a border crossing into the USA. Those heading south had loads of products, gasoline, etc. that they were not-so subtly smuggling into Guatemala where untaxed gas is openly sold along the highways at nearly $1.30 (US) cheaper than the going rate at legal gas stations.
Banking outside of your home country can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. With a little help and patience, you can transfer, access and use money anywhere in the world. Especially with online banking, it’s easier than ever to manage your finances from wherever your road takes you. Here are some tips from my experience as a foreigner living and banking in Guatemala.
How to get money from the U.S. to Guatemala
1) You can bring cash with you (Up to US$10,000 can be brought in with out declaring it.) but then you’ll have to go to the trouble of
keeping it and yourself safe until you can deposit it in a bank or use it. (Note: you’ll need your passport with you to exchange this money into local currency at the bank.
2) You can use an ATM card to withdraw up to your daily limit. Just be sure to notify your bank that you’ll be doing this or they’ll lock your card down like Fort Knox.
3) I recommend that you have a bank account in the U.S. that receives funds for you and then take checks with you to Guatemala. By writing a check to yourself you can deposit money to your account in Guatemala (see more on this below). Continue reading →
Here are some of the cellphone codes that I use regularly with my Tigo phone:
Check Voice Mail
Dial *77 to check messages (Press 3 to delete messages, 7 to listen again, and 5 to save the message for later)
Check Your Balance
Dial *256 to check your balance (You’ll hear three balances: 1) Your total balance. 2) Your principal balance (actual money you have on your account, and 3) Your promotional balance. Then you’ll hear the date that your promotional balance will expire unless you add money to your account.) Continue reading →
Here’s the story of our second baby that God blessed us with in Guatemala. You can read about our first birth story here.
Meeting little sister
Baby on the way
Monday, Dec. 31
At 2 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, Chrisi started feeling contractions (Her stomach getting hard, but this time with an uncomfortable feeling accompanying the hardness, just the exact same feeling as when she was in labor with Hudson.) Chrisi let Michael know about the contractions, but she quietly walked or relaxed during each one and she went about her regular activities like reading her Bible, filling out Hudson’s milestone calendar, cooking, etc.
Knowing that Baby was coming soon, she had Juana, our house helper, cut up a lot of onions to make 2 pounds of black beans in the pressure cooker because she wanted Hudson and Juana to have plenty of food to eat while she and Michael would be at the birthing clinic having the baby. Chrisi took a shower around 6 p.m. to get herself ready as she knew that they would eventually be heading to the midwifes clinic which was about 15-20 minutes away from the apartment. Michael and Chrisi even played two games of “Regenwormen” with Juana at the kitchen table after Hudson went to bed. Continue reading →
Maycom manages the licensing of drivers in Guatemala.
Where can you get your drivers license in Guatemala? Here’s a list of Maycom offices where you can get your license. Remember that in some departments they Maycom only visits a couple times a year so you’ll have to check for local opportunities to get your license.
If you have ever sold a car in Guatemala, it’s important to make sure it is no longer legally in your name!
A fellow missionary, Marty, found out that a car he sold was still in his name. Read his story…
Last week I came face to face with this in an unexpected way. I purchased a used vehicle and in the process of the transfer (traspaso) of the title, I was told that one of my 3 vehicles was overdue for the calcomania payments for 2011 and 2012. But I only had 2 vehicles; or so I thought. I sold my 1992 Chevrolet Suburban. It turns out this buyer never completed the title transfer. When I found out he had not completed the transfer of the title, I de-activated the license plates. I could do this, since in the eyes of Guatemala law, I was still the owner. It cost me about Q1,000 for the 2 calcomanias for 2011 and 2012, a tramitador and several misc. expenses and almost two days of my time. ~ Marty
Marty said I could share his tips on how to make sure you really sell your car in the eyes of the government:
Here’s how to do it:
Go to any SAT office and simply ask for a “reposicion de tarjeta de NIT”. While there with the clerk, ask for a list of all vehicles in your name. If there is one still listed that you sold at any time in the past, and you have no idea where it is you should start the the process for “Inactivacion de placas”. You will want to apply for “Retiro definitive”, not “Retiro temporal” unless you know where the car is located and can convince the “owner” to complete the title transfer and pay back taxes and/or other unpaid expenses, if any. If you don’t deactivate the plates, you are legally responsible for any and all costs due to accidents, crimes, unpaid traffic violations, past due taxes (yearly calcomanias) and late tax payment fees related to a vehicle with a title still in your name.
Marty wanted to pass this along too…If anyone tries to sell this car to you or anyone you know, there may be problems in getting it licensed now that the license plates have been invalidated.
1992 Chevrolet Suburban 1500 S silver and dark blue
Serie (Serial number): 1GNFK16KXNJ325539
Poliza: 3292 ( Aduana in Santo Tomas de Castilla)