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Traveling to the Guatemalan Highlands


I am supposed to travel to the highlands in Guatemala for a work-related trip. I heard from a couple of my colleagues that they felt nauseous on the journey there up the mountains. I suffer from vestibular migraine and meniere’s disease and very prone to motion sickness. I feel uncomfortable being on a high floor etc. Has anyone had experience traveling in Guatemala? Would you recommend against it or do you think that it is tolerable?


I think maybe the issue is altitude. Perhaps you can repost it as an altitude question and see if any of us has suggestions. (Nobody likes my trick which has to do with careful hydration with electrolytes, mainly because it’s high salt.)


try taking Diamox (Acetazolamide)…I used Diamox when i did Machu Pichu in Peru…but when i did it I was VM free and acclimating to the altitude was my only problem


Flutters has a point, that you may be more prone to getting dehydrated at the higher altitude. I know that’s true in Colorado. I’ve visited friends who live at high altitude and I made sure to drink lots of fluids while I was there.


Thank you for the responses so far. It is altitude and it is also windy roads or motion sickness. I avoid boats, theme parks, unpaved roads, etc. I am copying below an excerpt that I found online from a traveler who went there recently. My thinking is that if I am already very sensitive to motion sickness, would this cause a major vertigo attack? Or are there ways of taking precautions beforehand to avoid an attack?

"The elevation is some areas of Guatemala (like Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Chichicastenango and Xela) is very high and it can definitely affect your body if you’re not used to being at that level.

I got altitude sickness when I decided to embark on a very strenuous and steep uphill hike at Pacaya Volcano, near Antigua. About 15 minutes into the hike, I suddenly felt very dizzy, light-headed and extremely nauseous (like the puking kind). I actually thought that I was going to collapse and pass out and knew that I would if I kept going on the hike. Thankfully, there were horses available to ride up to the volcanic landscape and I chose that option.

I live in the Canadian Prairies in an area that is below sea level for elevation so I am thinking that altitude of Antigua and then going on a strenuous hike and gaining even more elevation on my second day in the country, was not a good idea. Altitude sickness is no joke and it sucks to experience. Make sure to research the altitude of your destination in Guatemala compared with the elevation of where you are coming from and read up on some tips to help you mitigate the effects.

Before attempting to climb a volcano or mountain, I recommend spending a few days taking it easy and letting your body acclimatize to the high altitude.

Bring Your Best Motion Sickness Remedy/Medication

Many of the roads in Guatemala are windy and have hairpin turns and steep switchbacks as they travel through the mountainous areas of the country. If you’re not used to this kind of landscape, I highly recommend bringing some sort of motion sickness remedy along with you.

The highway from Guatemala City to Antigua had lots of sharp turns and curves around the mountains. Guatemalans tend to drive pretty fast and I found myself feeling very nauseous in my private shuttle from the airport to Antigua after first arriving to the country. I also felt nauseous on the road from Antigua to Pacaya Volcano. But the worst road of all that I experienced, was the one leading from San Marcos La Laguna at Lake Atitlan to the town of Chichicastenango! It was a bumpy ride on a cramped and hot shared shuttle as we drove through the mountains on twisty gravel roads.

Needless to say, I was very glad that I had brought some motion sickness pills with me (I liked these natural ginger ones made by Gravol) and they were very helpful in calming my stomach. Before going to Guatemala, I had never experienced motion sickness before, so I wasn’t expecting to feel that way. Definitely plan on bringing something with you to help with motion sickness, especially if you already know you’re prone to this."


Yowza, could anyone here read that post and not feel a little sick?

Good luck, Violet! Have huge fun.