Dating in Guatemala

Nestled in the heart of Central America, Guatemala is a country rich in cultural heritage and natural beauty. These elements extend to its dating culture, which is a fascinating blend of traditional customs and emerging contemporary trends. Let’s delve into the distinctive aspects of Guatemalan dating culture, which is as vibrant and diverse as the Latin American country itself.

In Guatemala, dating is traditionally a formal process, deeply rooted in the significance of family ties and respect for elders. This is particularly evident in the rural and indigenous communities, where families often play a significant role in approving relationships and marriages. In many parts of Guatemala, Mayan communities are still prevalent or at least the impact of traditional Mayan customs have an influence on dating, even if in a subtle way.

However, as Guatemala becomes more exposed to Western influences and as younger generations begin to challenge traditional norms, dating practices have started to evolve. Particularly in urban areas, like Antigua or Guatemala City, casual dating has become more common. Online dating platforms such as Facebook Dating, Tinder, and Badoo have gained some popularity among younger Guatemalans, providing a platform for more informal and diverse interactions.

Antigua Guatemala city, Central America, Guatemala

Machismo, a cultural construct emphasizing male dominance and power, is prevalent in Guatemala, impacting the dynamics of dating and relationships. Men are traditionally expected to be assertive and take the lead in dating situations. However, with ongoing societal change and the rise of feminist movements, these gender roles are increasingly being questioned and redefined.

While Guatemala’s LGBTQ+ rights are progressing, with anti-discrimination laws in place, societal acceptance remains a challenge.1 Dating can be particularly challenging for LGBTQ+ individuals, and while there are growing spaces and communities of acceptance, there’s still a long way to go towards full inclusivity and equality. This is especially true among local Guatemalans and in traditional rural areas – cities may have a more liberal approach to LGBTQ dating.

The dating culture in Guatemala is a vibrant tapestry of traditional customs and modern influences. From the family-centric courtship practices to the rise of casual dating and online platforms, dating in Guatemala is a journey of discovery and adaptation. As the country grapples with its machismo culture and navigates its path towards greater LGBTQ+ acceptance, the dynamics of dating and relationships continue to evolve, reflecting the changing face of Guatemalan society. Understanding these unique cultural nuances can lead to a deeper understanding of Guatemalan dating culture and a more enriching dating experience.

12 Interesting facts about dating in Guatemala

  1. Matchmaking: Traditionally, in certain Mayan communities, matchmakers were employed to ensure suitable marriages. Although this practice has diminished, it can still be found in some indigenous regions.
  2. Engagement Rituals: In traditional Mayan culture, engagement is a community event. The man’s family presents gifts to the woman’s family, symbolizing their ability to provide for their future daughter-in-law.
  3. Marriage Customs: Guatemala, marriages are traditionally arranged and celebrated with a big feast, including traditional music and dances. In urban areas and wealthier families, modern weddings are increasingly common. On the other hand, Mayan weddings are deeply traditional and involve several rituals. For example, in some communities, couples participate in a sacred maize (corn) ceremony, symbolizing fertility and prosperity.
  4. Spiritual Beliefs: Mayan spiritual beliefs often play a significant role in dating and relationships. For instance, some couples may seek the blessings of Mayan spiritual guides or ‘ajq’ijab.
  5. Traditional Attire: During dating and marriage ceremonies, it’s customary for Mayan individuals to wear traditional clothing. This includes the ‘huipil’ for women, a decorated blouse, and the ‘corte’ for men, a type of wraparound skirt.
  6. Chastity and Modesty: In some Mayan communities, chastity and modesty are highly valued, with couples expected to refrain from intimacy until marriage.
  7. Gender Roles: Traditional Mayan culture is patriarchal, with clear gender roles. Men are usually expected to be providers, while women are often responsible for household duties. These roles can influence dating dynamics, with men typically taking the lead.
  8. Religious Syncretism: Mayan communities often practice a syncretic blend of Catholicism and indigenous spiritual beliefs. This unique blend of traditions can influence relationship customs, such as the inclusion of Mayan spiritual rituals in wedding ceremonies. Religious Guatemalans may use Christian dating apps to find a partner.
  9. Respect for Elders: Respect for elders is a strong cultural value in Mayan communities, and this extends to dating and marriage. Elders’ advice and blessings are often sought in matters of love and marriage.
  10. Cultural Preservation: Despite the influence of Western culture, many Mayan communities in Guatemala strive to maintain their traditional dating and marriage customs, in an effort to preserve their cultural heritage.
  11. Formal Courtship: Traditional Guatemalan dating practices involve a formal courtship process. It typically starts with platonic friendship, progresses to formal courtship after gaining family approval, and eventually leads to engagement and marriage.
  12. Public Displays of Affection: In contrast to some other cultures, public displays of affection are common and generally accepted in Guatemalan dating culture.

Most Romantic Day in Guatemala

Dia del amor y la Amistad, one of the most romantic holidays in Latin America

In Guatemala, Lover’s Day, or Día de los Enamorados, is generally considered to be the most romantic holiday. It is celebrated on February 14th and is similar to Valentine’s Day in the United States. Couples exchange gifts and go out for romantic dinners or other special activities. In some circles, the day is also as celebrated as Día de la Amistad (Friendship Day). This reflects the importance of friendship and platonic love in latino culture, and many people use the holiday as an opportunity to celebrate all types of love, not just romantic love.

Typical First Date in Guatemala

The typical first date in Guatemala will vary depending on a few factors such as couple dynamics, socioeconomic factors, location or city, however there are some common elements that many dates share. The main emphasis of a first date in Guatemala should be on getting to know each other in a relaxed, informal setting. Whether it’s over a cup of delicious Guatemalan coffee or Mayan cacao, on the dance floor, or out in nature, the goal is to build a connection, check the vibe and see if there is potential for a deeper relationship.

  • Coffee or drinks: Many first dates in Guatemala take place in a casual setting, such as a coffee shop or bar.
  • Mall: In larger cities or urban centers, shopping malls are common date spots. The reason is for safety and the idea that it is a public setting. This could be a restaurant, bar or coffee spot inside a mall, or just walking around.
  • Outdoor activities: Typical dates in Guatemala may include social events, local cafes, and natural attractions. As Guatemala is renowned for its natural beauty, outdoor dates are popular, such as hiking in the mountains or visiting the country’s beautiful lakes and beaches.
  • Group dates: In some dynamics of culture in Guatemala, group dates are more common than one-on-one dates, particularly in the early stages of a relationship. This can be a way to get to know each other in a more relaxed, social setting among friends.
  • Dancing: Dancing is an essential part of Latin American culture. Dancing can be a common activity on a first date. This can include anything from salsa to reggaeton, depending on what music is trending in Guatemala and the couple’s interests.
  • Meeting the family: In some demographics and communities in Guatemala, it is common for couples to meet each other’s families early on in the relationship. This may happen on the first date, or shortly thereafter.

Dating etiquette

Latinos tend to be very passionate about dating and social life. When you are going on a date in Guatemala, it is important to consider the dating etiquette and manners. Here are some general tips to keep in mind when dating in Guatemala, they may also be applicable in other Latin American countries:

  • Punctuality: Though latinos are known for their mañana (tomorrow) attitude, punctuality still may be important for your date in Guatemala. However, it’s always a good idea to be on time for a date or at least let your date know if you’re going to be late.
  • Dress to impress: Dressing well is important in Guatemala. Make sure to put effort into your appearance for a date, and consider dressing up a little more than you might for a casual date in other cultures.
  • Family values: Family is often highly valued in Guatemala. Be respectful of your date’s family and take an interest in getting to know them.
  • Public displays of affection: Public displays of affection can be more common in some Latin American cultures than in others. Pay attention to your date’s body language and cues to determine what is appropriate.
  • Conversation topics: In some Latin American cultures, it is considered impolite to discuss certain topics such as religion or politics on a first date. Try to stick to more neutral topics and focus on getting to know each other.
  • Chivalry: Chivalry is often highly valued in Latin American cultures, and many men still practice traditional acts of chivalry such as opening doors or pulling out chairs for their dates. However, it’s important to respect your date’s independence and avoid being overly controlling or domineering.
  • Gifts: Bringing a small gift for your date, such as flowers or chocolates, can be a nice gesture in many Latin American cultures. However, it’s important to avoid going overboard or giving gifts that are too expensive or inappropriate for the level of your relationship.

The Importance of Spanish

With the exception of Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana and Suriname, Spanish is the dominant language in Latin America. As such, Spanish is incredibly important for communication in Guatemala, both in personal and professional contexts.

Keep in mind, that Spanish is not the only language of Guatemala. Guatemala has a multitude of languages which date back to Pre-Colombian times. Nearly 30% of Guatemalans speak a Mayan language, such as Qʼeqchiʼ or Kʼicheʼ (Quiché) among many others. Even Arawak and Garifuna (Karif) languages will be found amongst their communities.2

From a practical standpoint, being able to speak Spanish is also important for anyone dating in Guatemala will greatly enhance their experience. The vast majority of Guatemalans will speak Spanish, if even as a second language. While some people in Guatemala may also speak some English or other languages, being able to communicate in Spanish can help to build stronger relationships with locals and facilitate communication in a variety of contexts.

Is Guatemala gay friendly?

As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, Guatemala has made some legal advances towards recognizing and protecting the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, but societal acceptance varies.

Legally, homosexuality is not criminalized in Guatemala, and the country has anti-discrimination laws in place. In 2008, the country passed a law prohibiting “hate crimes” based on sexual orientation. In 2016, the Guatemalan government issued an executive order creating public policies against discrimination, including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.3

Gay latino couple, central america
Gay couple dating in a park

However, societal attitudes towards homosexuality in Guatemala can be conservative, particularly in rural areas and among older generations. Discrimination, violence, and stigmatization against the LGBTQ+ community persist, and activists continue to fight for greater acceptance and rights.

If you plan on using one of the gay dating apps in Guatemala, please not only keep these tips in mind, but also check the latest regulations from an organization like the ILGA.

Types of people attracted to Guatemala

Guatemala is known to have a rising tourism industry. While it doesn’t yet have as much infrastructure as Costa Rica or Mexico, there are many beautiful things to see in Guatemala. Further, as much as local Guatemalans date one another, foreigners may also date foreigners in the right areas. Similarly to Costa Rica, Guatemala tends to attract a few varieties of people:

Singles in Lago de Atitlan
Lake Atitlán is a common destination for spiritual singles
  • Holistic healers: stemming from its Mayan heritage, Guatemala has several destinations which are perceived to be magical. People interested in holistic living often find Guatemala on their list of places to visit. One such destination is Lake Atitlán, which is a majestic lake area surrounded by volcanoes. Each year, tens of thousands of hippie and free spirited living lovers flock to Lake Atitlán for spiritual healing, enlightenment and partying. Large festivals, such as Cosmic Convergence, draw singles from around the world. If you are in to spirituality and seeking an international lover, this might be your next destination!
  • Weekend getaway-ers: Guatemala is close to North American destinations like the United States, Canada and Mexico. With direct flights from many airports, it is an easy long weekend vacation for individuals and couples alike.
  • History lovers: Though a relatively small country, Guatemala has a very interesting history. Well before the arrival of conquistadors from Spain, there was a thriving Mayan civilization in Guatemala. The Yucatán peninsula which also includes destinations like Tulum, is full of remnants of Mayan life.
  • Backpackers: Guatemala is a common backpacking destination for people traveling through Latin America. Backpacker hostels are great places to meet singles.

Social cues

Dating culture in Guatemala can vary depending on the country and culture, but there are some common social cues to be aware of when on a date. Here are a few examples:

  • Physical touch: In many Guatemala countries, physical touch is a common way of showing affection, even on a first date. This can include anything from holding hands to a light kiss on the cheek. However, it is important to be respectful of your partner’s boundaries and comfort level.
  • Dressing up: In Guatemala, it is common to dress up for a date, particularly for a special occasion or a fancy restaurant. This shows that you are taking the date seriously and are making an effort to impress your partner.
  • Family and friends: Family and friends are often a central part of social life in Guatemala, and this extends to dating as well. It is common for couples to introduce each other to their families early on in the relationship, and for family and friends to be involved in social events.
  • Conversation: In Guatemala, conversation is often seen as a way of getting to know each other and building a connection. It is common to talk about a wide range of topics, from family and work to hobbies and interests.
  • Courting: In some Guatemala cultures, particularly in more traditional settings, there is a strong emphasis on courtship and romantic gestures. This can include things like bringing flowers or chocolates, writing love letters, or serenading your partner.

Gender roles

Due to the historical nature and influences of Latin America, traditional latino gender roles are well known and documented. This is no different in Guatemala. Though these roles are not universal and they are evolving rapidly, there are still stereotypes and common expectations.

  • Men are expected to be chivalrous but also take the lead: In Guatemala, men are expected to be chivalrous, show respect and courtesy towards women, but also possess masculine characteristics. This is where the term macho comes in to play. When it comes to dating, men are expected to take the lead. This can include making plans, choosing the location for a date, and initiating physical contact. Further, men should be polite and open doors, pay for meals, and offering to help with a woman’s coat.
  • Women are expected to be feminine and modest: Though many latinos are secular, there is a significant percentage of latinos who are religious with most practicing some form of Christianity. Coming from this historical influence is the ideal called marianismo. Marianismo, portrays an image of Mary, from the bible as being the ideal feminine way. Therefore within some traditional communities in Guatemala and other parts of Latin American, there is an expectation that women will be feminine, take care of their appearance and be modest in public. This can include wearing makeup, dressing in a feminine style and practicing conservative attitudes in person.

Best way to meet singles in Guatemala

Latinos are known for their warm personalities and being approachable. Meeting singles in Guatemala can be a fun and rewarding experience, especially in some of its social centers. By trying out a variety of different methods, you can increase your chances of meeting someone special and potentially finding a romantic partner in Guatemala.

Here are a few ways to meet new people and potentially meet partner or singles in Guatemala:

  • Social events: Attending social events such as parties, festivals, or cultural events can be a great way to meet new people and potentially find a romantic partner. These events are often lively and fun, making it easier to strike up a conversation with someone new.
  • Through friends: Meeting potential partners through friends or mutual acquaintances is a common way to connect with singles in Latin America. Ask your friends to introduce you to someone they think you may hit it off with, or attend social events with them to meet new people.
  • Joining clubs or groups: Joining a club or group centered around a shared interest, such as a book club, sports group, or language exchange group, can be a great way to meet new people and connect with potential partners who share similar interests.
  • Go shopping: Malls and shopping centers are great places to meet singles in Guatemala. If you are a big city it is likely that there will be at least one commercial center.
  • Volunteering: Volunteering for a local organization or charity is not only a great way to give back to your community, but it can also be a great way to meet new people who share similar values and passions.
  • Online dating: If all else fails, there’s always online dating. Online dating has become increasingly popular in Guatemala in recent years. These platforms allow you to connect with singles in Guatemala who could share similar interests and values.

Is it safe to date people in Guatemala?

Though dating life in Guatemala is vibrant, Latin America is not known for its safety. In general, dating in Guatemala can be a wonderful experience for you, latino or not, but it is important to take certain safety precautions to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable time. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Learn about the local culture: Learning about the local culture and customs, like you are doing now, can help you navigate dating in Guatemala and avoid cultural misunderstandings or faux pas.
  • Meet in a public place: When meeting someone for the first time, always choose a public place such as a coffee shop, restaurant, or park. Avoid secluded areas or places that are unfamiliar to you.
  • Tell someone where you are going: Before your date, let a friend or family member know where you will be and who you will be with. Arrange to check in with them at certain times throughout the date.
  • Validate your date: If you are meeting someone online, then learn more about them before agreeing to meet. For example, do they have other profiles which help to legitimize them.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption: Drinking too much alcohol can impair your judgement and put you in potentially dangerous situations. Pace yourself and avoid drinking too much on a date, especially the first few times you meet.
  • Use protection: If you engage in sexual activity, always use protection to prevent sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies.
  • Trust your instincts: If something feels off or uncomfortable, trust your instincts and take steps to remove yourself from the situation. Don’t hesitate to leave if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe.

Dating scams in Guatemala

Unfortunately, dating scams are not uncommon in Guatemala, much like many other places in the world. This can include both scams online and those which happen in person. In general, always be somewhat cautious when meeting new people until you have built trust with them.

  • Money scams: Scammers may create fake profiles on dating apps or websites and then ask their targets for money, either by claiming to need financial assistance or by asking for funds to help cover travel expenses to meet in person.
  • Catfishing: Catfishing is when a person pretends to be someone else online in order to deceive their target. This can involve creating a fake identity or using someone else’s photos to create a false impression.
  • Romance scams: Romance scams involve building a false sense of trust and connection with a target in order to exploit them for money or other resources. Scammers may claim to be in love with their targets, and then ask for money or other favors under false pretenses.
  • Identity theft: Scammers may use dating apps or websites to steal personal information from their targets, such as credit card numbers or other personal details.

Online dating in Guatemala

Relative to its size, the online dating industry in Guatemala has experienced significant growth in recent years, driven by a combination of factors including increased internet penetration, changing social attitudes towards online dating, and the rise of mobile technology. Latin America has a growing population and a high proportion of young adults, the region presents a huge potential market for online dating companies. However, it is worth mentioning that Guatemala is not a large market for the online dating industry and many online daters may be foreign tourists.

One of the key factors driving the growth of the online dating industry in Guatemala is the increasing popularity of mobile devices. As more people in Guatemala gain access to smartphones and other mobile devices, they are increasingly using these devices to access online dating platforms. Many online dating apps and websites have responded to this trend by developing mobile-first platforms that are designed to work seamlessly on smartphones and other mobile devices. Further, among religious latinos, there are also Christian dating apps.

Another key factor driving the growth of the online dating industry in Guatemala is changing social attitudes towards online dating. While online dating was once stigmatized as being only for desperate or socially awkward individuals, it has become increasingly normalized in recent years. In many communities of Guatemala, online dating is now viewed as a viable and legitimate way to meet potential partners.

However, there are also challenges facing the online dating industry in Guatemala. In addition to safety or security, one of the biggest challenges is the prevalence of fraudulent activity on some online dating platforms. In order to maintain user trust and safety, online dating companies must be vigilant in their efforts to detect and remove fake profiles and other fraudulent activity.

Despite these challenges, the online dating industry in Guatemala is poised for continued growth in the coming years.

Top dating apps in Guatemala

Across much of Guatemala, well known international dating apps such as Tinder, Badoo, Happn and OkCupid are quite popular with the mainstream online daters. By trying out different platforms and finding the one that works best for you, you can increase your chances of meeting someone special. There are also many dating apps or sites specifically for latinos, such as:

  • AmoLatina: AmoLatina is a dating website that is specifically geared towards connecting singles in Guatemala. The site offers a variety of features, including chat and video chat, to help users connect with potential partners.
  • Chispa: Owned by Match Group, Chispa is a dating app that is designed specifically for Latino singles. The app allows users to create a profile, swipe through potential matches, and send messages to those who they are interested in. It is growing in popularity in Guatemala.
  • LatinAmericanCupid: LatinAmericanCupid is a dating website that is geared towards connecting singles throughout Latin America with a presence in Guatemala. The site offers a variety of features, including chat and video chat, to help users connect with potential partners.


1 Source: Human Rights Watch, 2021 –

2 Impress your date with knowledge of their Mayan language. Mayan languages:

3 Gay life in Guatelmala. Human Rights Watch, 2021 –