How it works:
- Version 1: they work in a gang – one onlooker, one blocks, pushes, distracts, or engages you, one grabs and the final hides the loot under a cover (e.g. jacket/newspaper) and escapes.
- Version 2: bird poo scam – someone spills a white liquid resembling bird/pigeon poo on your clothes or jacket. Next, strangers appear to help you clean it. While you are distracted, they pick your pockets or steal any unattended bags.
Places to beware:
- Antigua: Cerro de la Cruz, Arco de Santa Catalina, The Plaza Central Park
- Chichicastenango: Mercado de Chichicastenango
- Festivals: Semana Santa, Holy Week in Antigua
- Guatemala City: Palacio Nacional, Catedral Metropolitana, Mercado Central, Plaza Mayor de la Constitucion
- Transportation: Aurora International Airport, bus stations, bus from Guatemala to Antigua
What to do:
- Passport: carry a photocopy instead of the actual one.
- Valuables: wallet in front pocket, small valuables in a money belt/hidden pouch, large valuables in an anti-theft bag.
- Travel insurance: get a good one that covers theft – check out the various travel insurance comparison platforms to find the best deal that works for you.