Going to Xela
November 9, 2011 6:38 AM   Subscribe

Going to Xela in about a month, tell me what I need to know

Thanks to responses here I decided to go to Xela. I'll leave in about a month, for one week. I will be studying at Sakribal. Tell me anything you think that I need to know. I just purchased the Rough Guide to Guatemala. Some questions:

Should I get immunizations? (Soy de los Estados Unidos :) )
I am an amateur photographer. Should I bring my DLSR (which would be a hassle: big, bulky, lenses, expensive) or just my point'n'shoot?
I'll probably bring my Macbook. Do I need an converter for electricity?
The family I stay with may have children. Is it appropriate (or just nice) to bring gifts for them (I'm thinking books).
posted by allelopath to Travel & Transportation around Quetzaltenango, Guatemala (9 answers total)
According to this, you don't need a converter for electricity (which by the way you don't need for the macbook anyway) but you may need an adapter if you're using the three-pronged grounding plug or the polarized plug where one prong is wider than the other. I bought an adapter kit from Apple that has adapters for nearly all countries but a generic adapter can be picked up at any hardware store if you don't want to invest in the kit.
posted by shoesietart at 6:53 AM on November 9, 2011

Oh, and always bring gifts to children. I would do books and toys, i.e. a Thomas the Train book and a train, Spiderman book and a Spiderman figurine, Dora the Explorer book and puzzle, dinosaur book and dinosaur. T-shirts are good for older kids. My two cents and assuming that's not too expensive for the number of children.
posted by shoesietart at 7:06 AM on November 9, 2011

When I visited my travel doc prior to my Guatemala trip, they recommended typhoid as well as Hep A/Hep B. I got the typhoid shot at my doc, but my boyfriend got one at the local Health Department.
posted by cabingirl at 7:44 AM on November 9, 2011

I'm going to be in Nahualá — which is maybe an hour away by bus — until December 14. If you're just there for a week you'll probably be pretty busy the whole time, but MeMail me if you want to meet up. I love Xela and I'd be all about coming in for lunch one day.

You'll be at a high enough altitude that you won't need to take malaria pills. Just get vaccinated for whatever the CDC recommends — right now for Guatemala that's Hep A, maybe Hep B, and Typhoid.

My experience was that basically anyplace catering to tourists (which includes anyplace you can get WiFi) will have three-pronged American-style outlets. Your host family might have two-pronged outlets at home. In any case, shoesietart is right, the voltage and frequency and all that will be the same as in the US, so at most you'll need one of those little 50-cent adapter things. There are electronics stores near the Parque Central that sell them if you discover you need one.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:19 AM on November 9, 2011

Tetanus and typhoid shots are the ones I got. Also, the doctor may ask you to take a prescription of cipro antibiotic, but really it's easy to get much less intense antibiotics in Xela itself that don't destroy every last thing in your body. Something to keep in mind.
posted by kensington314 at 9:30 AM on November 9, 2011

Also, I love Xela and I'm so jealous. You didn't ask for suggestions on stuff to do, but mefi me if you'd like thoughts from someone who's been.
posted by kensington314 at 9:31 AM on November 9, 2011

Yay, Xela!

I don't really know if immunizations are super important, but I was glad to have them if only for peace of mind. Lots of people do get sick while there, and it's good to know that you've protected yourself to the degree that you can.

I would not bring the DSLR, personally. I found that even a small camera was distancing from people, and a big one would have been a big thing to worry about/protect, and kind of alienating in any social situation.

Definitely bring gifts for the kids! My experience is that kids love anything "American" -- toys, books, tshirts, CDs.

Also happy to share pointers on fun stuff to do while there, though you hardly need help finding them. Have fun!!
posted by rosa at 11:18 AM on November 9, 2011

Bring your DSLR. Guatemala is one of my very favorite countries for photography. I only had my point-and-shoot and I PINED for my "good" camera, despite its bulk and inconvenience. In fact, I may take another trip there just for photography.
posted by mkuhnell at 12:41 PM on November 9, 2011

Response by poster: If I get books for children, should they be on Spanish or English?
posted by allelopath at 1:30 PM on November 9, 2011

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