American Express -- In Guatemala, Clark Tours (tel. 502/2412-4700; www.clarktours.com.gt) is the official representative of American Express Travel Services. Their main offices are in Guatemala City at Clark Plaza, 7a Av. 14-76, Zona 9. They also have desks at the downtown Westin and Marriott hotels.

Babysitters -- Hotels offering regular, dependable babysitting service are few and far between. If you'll need a babysitter, make sure that your hotel offers this service, and be sure to ask whether the babysitters are bilingual. In many cases, they are not. This is usually not a problem with infants and toddlers, but it can cause problems with older children. Babysitters charge between Q15 and Q45 ($2-$6/£1.05-£3.15) per hour.

Banks -- Many banks have branches right on the Plaza Mayor or within a 2-block radius, including Banquetzal, 4a Calle Poniente and 5a Avenida Norte (tel. 502/7832-1111); Banco Industrial, 5a Av. Sur, #4 (tel. 502/2420-3000); and Bancafé, 4a Calle Poniente, #1A (tel. 502/7832-4876). All of these have ATMs, will change money, and make cash advances against a credit card.

advertisement

Bookstores -- There are several good bookstores in Antigua. The best one for tourists is La Casa del Conde, 5a Av. Norte, #4 (tel. 502/7832-3322), located in a small shopping complex on the west side of the Plaza Mayor. Also try Librería del Pensativo , Calle del Arco, #29 (tel. 502/7832-0729) for literature; or Rainbow Café and Bookstore, 7a Av. Sur, #8 (tel. 502/7832-1919).

Currency Exchange -- All banks will exchange money for a nominal service charge. Almost all of the hotels, restaurants, and shops in Antigua will also accept U.S. dollars and euros, though many give less than advantageous exchange rates.

Dentists -- Try Clínicas Ovalle, 2a Av. Norte, #3 (tel. 502/7832-0275); call your embassy, which should have a list of recommended dentists; or ask at your hotel.

advertisement

Doctors -- Contact your embassy for information on doctors in both Antigua and Guatemala City, or ask your hotel for a recommendation. Also, see "Hospitals."

Drugstores -- A drugstore or pharmacy is called a farmacia in Spanish. There are scores of farmacias around Antigua, and you can probably find one simply by walking around. Farmacia Fénix, 5a Calle Poniente, #11C (tel. 502/7832-0503), offers free delivery and has several outlets.

Emergencies -- Dial tel. 1500 from anywhere in Guatemala. This will connect you to Asistur, which will have a bilingual operator who can put you in contact with the police, fire department, or ambulance service.

advertisement

Express Mail Services -- Many of the shops around Antigua offer courier shipping of your purchases. If you want to do it yourself, head to DHL, 6a Calle Poniente and 6a Avenida Sur (tel. 502/7832-3718; www.dhl.co).

Eyeglasses -- There are several ópticas (eyeglass stores) around Antigua, including Optica Santa Lucía, 5a Calle Poniente, #28 (tel. 502/7832-7945); and Centro Visual G&G, 5a Av. Sur, #20A (tel. 502/7832-9263), both of which have resident ophthalmologists.

Hospitals -- For tourists, the best hospital is Hospital Privado Hermano Pedro, Av. La Recolección, #4 (tel. 502/7832-1190), a modern 24-hour private hospital offering a wide range of services, including emergency and trauma units.

advertisement

Internet Access -- There are a host of Internet cafes around Antigua, and a growing number of hotels are offering Wi-Fi. Roy.com, 4a Calle Oriente, #8 (tel. 502/7832-2990), has a couple of branches around town; or try Conexiones, 4a Calle Oriente, #14 (tel. 502/7832-3768; www.conexion.com); or The Funkey Monkey, 5a Av. Sur, #6 (tel. 502/7832-4195). Rates run Q3 to Q8 (40¢-$1.05/20p-55p) per hour.

Laundry & Dry Cleaning -- Most folks use their hotel's laundry service, but if your hotel can't do it or is too expensive, try Detalles Dry Cleaning & Lavandería, 6a Av. Norte, #38 (tel. 502/7832-5973), which has coin-operated machines as well as wash and fold options. Rainbow Laundry, 6a Av. Sur, #15 (tel. 502/7832-2745), offers pickup and drop-off service.

Maps -- The city map in this book should be just fine, but you can also ask your hotel or go to the Guatemalan Tourism Commission, INGUAT, 5a Calle and 4a Avenida Sur (tel. 502/7832-0763), to pick up a useful city map.

advertisement

Photographic Needs -- There are a host of photo shops and 1-hour developing outfits in Antigua. If you have camera troubles, your chances of having any serious repair work are slim. Your best bet is Foto Angel, 5a Calle Poniente, #3B (tel. 502/7832-2919).

Police -- The main Antigua station is at the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales (tel. 502/7832-2266), right on Plaza Mayor. The tourism police (tel. 502/7832-0532 or 502/7832-0533) is a division of the larger police force with bilingual officers trained specifically to deal with tourists. Their office is just around the corner on 4a Avenida Norte, and is open 24 hours.

Post Office -- The main post office (tel. 502/7832-2164) is located at 4a Calle Poniente and Alameda Santa Lucía.

advertisement

Restrooms Most hotels and restaurants will let travelers use their facilities, although they are happiest about providing the service to clients.

Safety -- Antigua is one of the safest cities in Guatemala, and has a strong police presence. Both regular police and specialized tourist police patrol the city, particularly around the central downtown core. The farther away from Plaza Mayor you venture, the greater your chances of encountering trouble. Be especially careful about hiking to the Cerro de la Cruz without a guide, large group, or tourist police escort. Practice common sense. Don't wear flashy jewelry or wave wads of cash around, be aware of your surroundings, and avoid any people and places that make you feel uncomfortable.

Useful Telephone Numbers -- For directory assistance, dial tel. 555-1524. To get an international outside line, dial tel. 00 before the country code. To make an international collect call, dial tel. 147-120. To make a local collect call, dial tel. 147-110. Most of the international phone companies have direct access numbers. If you have a calling plan, you can connect directly to AT&T (tel. 9999-190); MCI (tel. 9999-189); Sprint (tel. 9999-195); Bell Canada (tel. 9999-198); and British Telecom (tel. 9999-044).

advertisement

Water -- Drink only bottled water in Antigua.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.