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How To Use ATMs In Guatemala – Finding The Cheapest ATMs


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Katherine Mcnew



Guatemala, with its stunning landscapes, rich Mayan heritage, and vibrant culture, is a popular destination for travelers from around the world. While enjoying all that this Central American gem has to offer, it’s important to have access to your funds conveniently and safely. That’s where ATMs come in.


In this article, we will guide you through using ATMs in Guatemala and provide valuable tips to help you find the cheapest options. Whether you’re planning a trip to the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal or exploring the colorful streets of Antigua, having a good understanding of the ATM system in Guatemala will make your journey smoother and more enjoyable.


With a reliable network of ATMs across the country, accessing cash in Guatemala is generally convenient. However, it’s important to note that the availability of ATMs may vary depending on your location. Major cities and popular tourist destinations generally have a good number of ATMs, while more remote areas may have limited options. It’s always a good idea to plan ahead and be prepared.


Before diving into the specifics of using ATMs in Guatemala, it’s essential to understand the local currency. The official currency of Guatemala is the Quetzal (GTQ). It’s advisable to carry some local currency for small purchases and to have a backup in case of any ATM issues. Most ATMs in Guatemala offer options to withdraw money in both Quetzals and US Dollars, but it’s best to check the exchange rate and any associated fees before making a transaction.


Now, let’s delve into the details of using ATMs in Guatemala. Keep reading to discover the factors to consider when choosing an ATM, how to find the cheapest options, and essential tips for using ATMs safely during your stay.


Understanding the ATM System in Guatemala

Guatemala has a well-established network of ATMs that are easily accessible for both locals and tourists. Most ATMs in the country belong to major banks, such as Banco Industrial, Banrural, and Bancafé, among others. These ATMs are usually located in commercial areas, shopping centers, and tourist spots.


When using ATMs in Guatemala, it is important to be aware of the various transaction fees that may be associated with your withdrawal. These fees can vary depending on the bank and the type of card you are using.


One thing to keep in mind is that the maximum withdrawal limit at ATMs in Guatemala is typically lower than what you may be accustomed to in other countries. The maximum limit can vary between banks, but it is usually around 2,000-3,000 GTQ per transaction. If you need to withdraw a larger amount, you may have to make multiple transactions.


It is also worth noting that ATMs in Guatemala often dispense banknotes in high denominations, such as 100 GTQ or 200 GTQ bills. This can be inconvenient if you need smaller denominations for day-to-day expenses or to pay for smaller purchases. However, many businesses and vendors in Guatemala accept credit cards or are willing to provide change for larger bills.


While most ATMs in Guatemala accept major international cards like Visa and Mastercard, it’s always wise to inform your bank about your travel plans in advance. This can help avoid any issues with your card being blocked due to suspected fraudulent activity.


Additionally, it is important to keep an eye out for any suspicious activities or devices attached to ATMs, as card skimming and fraud can occur in any country. Before using an ATM, take a moment to inspect the machine for any signs of tampering or unusual attachments. If something seems suspicious, it’s best to find another ATM or contact the nearest bank for assistance.


Now that we have a good understanding of the ATM system in Guatemala, let’s explore the factors you should consider when choosing an ATM for your transactions.


Factors to Consider When Choosing an ATM

When it comes to choosing an ATM in Guatemala, there are several factors to consider to ensure a smooth and cost-effective transaction. Taking the time to evaluate these factors can help you find the most convenient and budget-friendly options.


1. Location: Consider the location of the ATM. It is generally advisable to use ATMs located in well-lit and populated areas, such as shopping centers, banks, or busy streets. Avoid using ATMs that are isolated or in areas with a higher risk of theft or fraud.


2. Accessibility: Look for ATMs that are easily accessible to you. Consider the proximity of the ATM to your accommodation or the areas you plan to visit. Having an ATM nearby will save you time and energy, especially if you need to make multiple withdrawals during your stay.


3. Network Compatibility: Check if your card is accepted at the ATM you are considering. Most ATMs in Guatemala accept major international cards like Visa and Mastercard. However, it’s always a good idea to double-check with your bank before your trip to ensure compatibility.


4. Fees and Exchange Rates: Pay attention to the fees associated with ATM transactions in Guatemala. Different banks may have varying fee structures, including withdrawal fees, currency conversion fees, and ATM network fees. Additionally, inquire about the exchange rates offered by the ATM to ensure you are getting a fair deal.


5. Security Measures: Prioritize ATMs that have visible security features, such as surveillance cameras and well-maintained surroundings. Avoid using ATMs that appear compromised or have suspicious devices attached to them. It’s essential to prioritize your safety and protect your financial information.


6. Language Options: Check if the ATM offers language options that you are comfortable with, especially if you are not fluent in Spanish. Some ATMs in popular tourist areas may have language options for English or other commonly spoken languages.


7. Operating Hours: Take note of the ATM’s operating hours. While many ATMs in Guatemala operate 24/7, some may have specific hours of operation, especially in smaller towns. It’s best to know if the ATM will be accessible when you need it.


By considering these factors, you can choose an ATM that meets your specific needs and preferences. Now, let’s move on to discovering how you can find the cheapest ATMs in Guatemala.


Finding the Cheapest ATMs in Guatemala

While accessing cash through ATMs in Guatemala is generally convenient, it’s important to find the most cost-effective options to avoid unnecessary fees and charges. Here are some tips to help you find the cheapest ATMs in Guatemala:


1. Research Banks: Different banks in Guatemala may have varying fee structures. Research and compare the fees charged by different banks for ATM transactions. Look for banks that offer low or no withdrawal fees to save money.


2. Check with Your Bank: Before your trip, contact your bank to inquire about any partnerships or preferred networks they have in Guatemala. Some banks may have agreements in place that allow you to use affiliated ATMs without incurring additional fees.


3. ATM Network: Make use of ATMs that belong to your bank’s network. Using in-network ATMs often comes with lower fees or no fees at all. Check with your bank to see if they have any partner networks in Guatemala.


4. Avoid Dynamic Currency Conversion: When using ATMs in Guatemala, you may be given the option of dynamic currency conversion, where the ATM converts the transaction amount into your home currency. This convenience comes with high exchange rates and additional fees. Opt to withdraw and transact in the local currency to avoid these extra charges.


5. Local Recommendations: Seek out recommendations from local residents or fellow travelers who have recently visited Guatemala. They can provide valuable insights on the cheapest ATMs in the area, saving you time and money.


6. Utilize ATM Locator Tools: Online platforms and mobile apps provide ATM locator tools that can help you find ATMs near your location. These tools often show additional information such as fees and the available services. Familiarize yourself with these tools and use them to identify the cheapest ATMs in your vicinity.


7. Plan Your Withdrawals: Minimize the number of withdrawals you make by planning your cash needs in advance. Withdrawing larger amounts less frequently can help reduce the total fees incurred.


Remember, while finding the cheapest ATMs in Guatemala is important, always prioritize safety and security. Opt for reputable banks and ATMs in well-lit and populated areas, even if they may have slightly higher fees.


Now that you have an understanding of how to find the cheapest ATMs in Guatemala, let’s proceed to the next section where we’ll cover essential tips for using ATMs safely during your stay.


Tips for Using ATMs in Guatemala Safely

Using ATMs in Guatemala, like in any other country, requires a level of caution and awareness to ensure the safety of your transactions and personal information. Here are some essential tips to keep in mind:


1. Choose Secure Locations: Opt for ATMs that are located in well-lit, busy areas, such as shopping centers or bank branches. Avoid using ATMs in isolated or poorly lit locations, as they may be more prone to theft or fraudulent activities.


2. Be Cautious of Skimming Devices: Before using an ATM, inspect it to ensure there are no suspicious devices attached. Skimming is a common scam where criminals install devices to capture your card details and PIN. If you notice anything unusual or suspect any tampering, find another ATM or notify the authorities.


3. Protect Your PIN: Always shield the keypad when entering your PIN to prevent others from seeing your code. Avoid using obvious PINs like birth dates or sequential numbers, and change your PIN regularly. Memorize your PIN instead of writing it down.


4. Carry a Backup Card: It’s a good practice to have a backup card in case your primary card gets lost, damaged, or compromised. Keep the backup card in a separate location from your primary card, such as in a secure hotel safe.


5. Inform Your Bank: Before traveling to Guatemala, inform your bank about your travel plans. This will help them monitor your account for any suspicious activity and prevent your card from being blocked due to suspected fraud.


6. Be Mindful of Your Surroundings: While using an ATM, be aware of your surroundings. Avoid distractions and keep an eye out for any suspicious individuals. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, trust your instincts and find another ATM or seek assistance from local authorities.


7. Keep an Eye on Your Transaction Receipts: After completing a transaction, always take your receipt and verify that the withdrawal amount matches what you intended. Keep your receipts in a secure place and dispose of them properly to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.


8. Monitor Your Account: Regularly monitor your bank account statements and transaction history. Report any unauthorized transactions to your bank immediately. Taking proactive measures to safeguard your finances is crucial.


By implementing these safety tips, you can minimize the risks associated with using ATMs in Guatemala. Remember, it’s always better to prioritize your personal safety over fees or convenience.


Now that you are equipped with valuable tips for using ATMs safely in Guatemala, let’s wrap up this article.



Using ATMs in Guatemala can provide you with convenient access to cash during your travels in this beautiful country. By understanding the ATM system, considering important factors, finding the cheapest options, and prioritizing safety, you can have a smooth and secure experience.


In Guatemala, it’s important to research and compare the fee structures of different banks, utilize network affiliations, and avoid currency conversion scams. Planning your withdrawals and seeking recommendations from local residents or fellow travelers can also help you find the most cost-effective ATMs.


However, while searching for the cheapest options, it is crucial to prioritize your safety. Choose ATMs in secure locations, be cautious of skimming devices, and protect your PIN. Inform your bank about your travel plans and monitor your account for any unauthorized transactions.


As you explore the breathtaking landscapes, immerse yourself in Mayan culture, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Guatemala, having access to reliable and cost-effective ATMs will enhance your overall experience. Stay vigilant, be mindful of your surroundings, and take proactive measures to safeguard your financial information.


We hope that this comprehensive guide has provided you with valuable insights and practical tips for using ATMs in Guatemala. Remember, while it’s important to find the cheapest options, your safety should always be the top priority. Enjoy your time in Guatemala and have an amazing adventure!