Safety of Bringing Camera to Antigua, Guatemala

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by extremelyloud, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. extremelyloud
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    extremelyloud New Member

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    I'm going to be traveling to Antigua, Guatemala in February for two weeks with my school (I'm a high school senior). I want to bring my camera along, but I don't know if it will be safe. My camera is a Canon Digital EOS Rebel XT and it is definitely a precious item that I would not want to lose. Is Antigua, Guatemala a safe place to have a camera like this? And if so, what precautions/safety measures should I take to keep it safe? Thanks in advance!
  2. Infidel
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    Infidel New Member

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    No more dangerous than any other developing nation. Travel with a group, if someone threatens your life for it, give it up (the camera, that is), keep the strap across body or around neck, not just over one shoulder, don't get too drunk, don't follow any hot babes down dark alleys, keep a luggage lock on your backpack zippers, even while you're wearing it, don't lose your passport, etc, etc...you'll be fine. Have fun and take lots of pictures!
  3. Wesche
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    Wesche New Member

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    I live in mexico, and I went to guatemala recently, lovley place. Not very safe. But if you take care of it nothing will happen. Just dont leave it out of your site
  4. kami
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    kami New Member

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    Just be extra cautious. Like any developing country. People will want to get their hands on anything they can sell. Be discreet about having valuables in plain view. Even with a locked car, don't keep items visible.

    If people will see you're a tourist, they will follow you if they have bad intentions and will take advantage when you least expect it. But if you're extra careful, you'll be alright.

    I've been to the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and Mexico so I'm kinda familiar with this crap. I grew up in the Philippines as well.
  5. athreadofhope
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    athreadofhope New Member

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    Definitely take your camera with you, and have fun taking some wonderful photos! Guatemala is great for photographers. To add to the above comments:
    1. Homeowners or tenants insurance often covers things like cameras when one is travelling. Check your policy, and if it is stolen, which it likely won't be, file a police report and get a copy for your insurance claim.
    2. Never hand your camera to someone you don't know to take a picture of you.
    3. Never take photos of children without first asking their parents. You can take great photos of people's backs, or a group, then crop as needed. Be sensitive to people who already may feel objectified as indigenous people. Respect a person's wishes if they say they don't want their photo taken.
    4. I spend a lot of time in Guatemala. Sometimes I will ask a family if they would like a photo album of their family, something many people here simply could not afford. Then make sure to make the album and give it to them. There are lots of places to get photos printed in Antigua.
    5. Bring enough cards -- you'll be taking a lot of photos!
    6. Back up your photos of flash drives in case something happens with your camera. The camera is replaceable, the shots aren't.
    7. Don't forget the battery charger and an extra battery.
    8. Also the cable to download photos, if you will have access to a computer to transfer your shots to a flash drive. Otherwise, just bring extra cards and store the full ones somewhere other than with your camera.
    9. Antigua is generally fairly safe. But, in addition to the above advice, don't carry your camera around in plain site at night if you are alone. Rather than carrying a camera case, I use a foam and Velcro wrap available in most camera stores, and put my camera in my backpack -- below other stuff if I'm not going to need ready access to it.

    Enjoy your trip! You just might fall in love with Guatemala, as I have!

    Eliza
  6. John Mc
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    John Mc New Member

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    Get international Camera insurance!

    I had my camera try to get Stolen from me whilst on holiday in france, wasn't too happy as i sat it on the table about to eat but the strap was still around my neck. All i remeber is seeing a flash of red running past me and the next thing i knew i was on the floor on my back with a sore face as that where the camera had landed.

    So yeah,moral of the story,allways keep it around your neck or waist,its probably best to have it in your lap sitting for meal's :p
  7. tirediron
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    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member

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    In addition to all the great advice already posted, I will add: Buy a good, theft-resistant camera-strap. There are a number made that have a couple of strands of very thin aircraft cable woven into them. Works very well to prevent someone with a knife walking up behind you and cutting the strap. Yes, definitely take the camera!
  8. Trever1t
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    Trever1t New Member

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    In preparation for my vacation to Vietnam and Cambodia I gat a bit paranoid with storys of theives cutting straps or the bottom of bags and hotel losses. I went as far as lining the bottom of my bag so that if cut they'd get cardboard and foam (doubled as shock absorber) but in reality noone looked at me or my equipment as anything more than what it was, a new model.
    Don't sweat but use caution. Don't allow yourself to be taken unaware. Don't walk so close to traffic that one can just snatch and run. Use good common sense. No problem. If someone really wants your gear, they're gonna get it.

    I upped my homeowners INS to cover any loss or damage for the trip. Peace :)
  9. LoneWolfUSMC
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    LoneWolfUSMC New Member

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    1. Make sure your parents list the Camera and Lens on their Homeowners Insurance. If it gets stolen its easy to replace. I travel widely with rifles that are much more expensive than your camera. They are all covered under my homeowners.

    2. LISTEN TO THAT TINGLE IN THE BACK OF YOUR NECK. If something doesn't feel right, it isn't. I have been all over the world in some very nasty places. Humans are hardwired to protect themselves. When you don't listen to the instinct is when you get in trouble.

    I have not been to Guatemala, but I have been to many other third world and war torn countries. Keep your eyes open and your head on a swivel. Preying on tourists is a cottage industry.
  10. John Mc
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    John Mc New Member

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    He's Got a Point, Whilst most of us look at a Camera and Lens and see 1 item. Insurance companys will see two! and they'll only Shell out for what you've insured. So just be exact when you call up. Personally,i'd still look at Camera insurance, Mines only cost me £5 a month, around $8/9 and its cheaper then the increase they wanted to charge my parents to put it on home insurance.
  11. LoneWolfUSMC
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    LoneWolfUSMC New Member

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    Granted, insurance companies in Scotland and the US are probably different. For MY insurance it would not have increased my homeowners premium any at all to add a Rebel XT and kit lens.

    It was only after several thousand dollars of specialized belongings that I had to break it out, itemize it and pay an additional premium.

    The best bet is to have the parents call their insurance agent and ask. Additionally if the OP is under 18 he may not be able to enter into a binding contract (insurance) without parental signoff anyway.
  12. John Mc
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    John Mc New Member

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    It's not too much different,But it wouldnt have covered me as im learning and they class that as "Profesional" work, So instead of paying 6 times as much as i pay,it's safer to pay less. I Can understand if he's under 18 he wont be able to sign into a legally binding Contract,but his parents might, I suppose calling and asking is a good idea. The one thing i like about my insurance company,is if i get my camera/gear get's stolen or damaged,it'll be replaced within 48 hours in certain countries aslong as i can take my gear to a selected stores. which is peace of mind :)
  13. extremelyloud
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    extremelyloud New Member

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    Thanks everyone for your detailed and informative replies!

    I am leaning towards taking my camera, and if I can get insurance for it, I definitely will. And of course, I will take all of your helpful safety measures.
  14. Trever1t
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    Trever1t New Member

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    If you don't take it you will kick yourself at every missed photo-op. Just remember to bring lots of memory and back up often. Losing a camera sucks but losing your photos is heartbreaking.
  15. Wilsan
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    Wilsan New Member

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    Take the camera with you but just a couple advise.

    First do not exhibit that you have a camera.

    Second always stay with a group and be sure that you guys have a professional guide.

    Third Do not leave the camera on the hotel and if you have to for any reason put it
    on the safe with your laptop

    Fourth Take a lot but a lot of photos Guatemala is a beautifull pleace full of color and culture.

    Enjoy your trip.

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