I Got Robbed at Gunpoint in Guatemala


It was just a matter of being in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

I’ve lived abroad for four years, the past two of those years in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, dubbed “The Most Dangerous City in the World.” I’ve traveled to some of the most poverty-stricken areas of Central America, and until this past December, I had never had a problem.

But while in Antigua, Guatemala with two of my girlfriends over our winter break, on our way to dinner, we were robbed at gunpoint.

We were walking together on a busy street, when a man approached us, took a gun out of his pocket and demanded our bags. Living in Honduras we have been conditioned to immediately give a robber whatever he wants, so all three of us handed over our bags right away. The entire incident was over within a minute. It was terrifying, but this isn’t the most important part of our story.

What Happened Next

After we got back to our hotel, spoke with the police, and filed a report, we were shaken, to say the least.

But then the most beautiful thing happened: we were instantly surrounded by strangers offering to help.

People we had met traveling in Semuc Champey offered to help us get a bus ticket or buy us dinner. Other travelers who had just arrived offered to give us money to make sure we could get back to Honduras. People around our hostel offered moral support, which was especially helpful after the incident. While the three of us were smart travelers and left enough money in our room to get us home, I will never forget the offer of generosity from these people.

I was blown away by how wonderful complete strangers could be.

This got me thinking about the traveling community, so I asked them why they were willing to give us money. They simply responded that if it was them or their sister that had been robbed, they would have wanted someone to help. What goes around comes around.

There were no cultural divides while we were recovering. The people who offered us support were German, Guatemalan, Israeli, and Australian. Generosity came from all nationalities.

So, yeah, it was a bad situation. But, it could’ve been a lot worse.

In the end, the power of the traveling community and the Go! Girl belief that people in this world are mostly good, ended up shining through. Thank you to all of the strangers in Antigua who offered to help us. You have some seriously good karma coming your way!

Have you ever been in a bad situation abroad? How did you get out of it? 


About Author

Samantha is a travel addict and nomadic teacher currently living in Shanghai. Any chance she gets, she is getting off to a new location or explore, either in China or somewhere with a great deal on tickets. Before China, Samantha spent two years in San Pedro Sula, Honduras and two years in Doha, Qatar. During her time abroad she has had the wonderful opportunity to travel all over Central America, central Asia and some of Eastern Europe. As much as Samantha loves to travel, she also makes time to return home to Florida to see her family whenever she can. Her current ambition is to travel to and explore 40 different countries by the time she is forty. Only 12 to go!


  1. I was in a group of 9 people in a van when we got ambushed and robbed at gunpoint in Guatemala just outside of Antigua by 6 masked men. As I write this it was only a week and a half ago and my first trip out of the US. After being so shaken and leaving the country the day after it has left a dark cloud over the beautiful days that I spent there previous to being attacked. I hope, with time, the cloud will lift and I can more fully appreciate the wonderful people and experiences of the rest of my trip and travel more in the future.

    • So sorry to hear that Heather but it will get better with time! The most important thing is your safety. Items and things can always be replaced, they will be missed, but as long as you’re ok you can move on. I’ve gotten robbed 2x and it sucks, feels like it’s not real, but then I get past it. It really can happen anywhere so remember not to judge a destination because it happened there, sometimes it really is bad luck. You being with 9 people I’m surprised they tried it – guess they had some real bad ass balls. But they’re gone so try to think of the happy thoughts and I bet your next travel experience will be a much better one without such an unfortunate event.


  2. I was robbed by the police around 11pm. I was in my car eating when the police pulled up. They started searching my car for I don’t know what.
    I don’t even smoke
    The then put me against the wall and too my wallet which had $300 in it.
    I Asked them what had I done. They were talking in Spanish. I couldn’t understand
    They then left me there and drove away with my money. I reported the next day. They said they will investigate.
    Some of the cops is doing it to tourists because of the language barrier.
    Be careful.
    I am never coming to Antigua again.

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