How do you get a PCR test in Guatemala you ask?
The process is fairly simple once you know where to go! At first we didn’t, so we were just googling where to get tested and nothing was coming up.
Luckily, we were recommended a lab called Blue Medical that administers PCR and Antigen tests. Blue Medical has multiple locations throughout Guatemala City and the surrounding areas. We went to the location in San Cristobal. They also have a location a few blocks away from the Guatemala City airport, so if you’re catching a flight I highly recommend going there as you are guaranteed your PCR results within 5 hours via email.
To make an appointment you visit Blue Medical’s website and fill in your name, then select your testing location and a time slot for you appointment. They offer multiple appointments throughout the day in ten minute increments. Once this is all set Blue Medical will send you a confirmation email and a link to a form with preliminary questions that asks things like your name, why you are getting tested, whether or not you’ve been exposed to COVID and if you’re experiencing any symptoms. Send that form back to them and you’re all set to go in for a test.
The next step is to go to your appointment. When you arrive at the lab you’ll walk up to the entrance and a nurse will sanitize your hands, take your temperature and give you a second mask to put on over the mask you should already be wearing. After this he/she will ask for your identification to look up your appointment and welcome you in to the waiting room. The facility is super sterile and clean. The seats in the waiting room are distanced six feet and when we were there it was totally empty.
You’ll be asked to take a number and once your number is called you go up to a desk and verify your information with one of the clerks that works at the facility. The people who work at the facility are in head to toe protective gear. They wear face masks, hair nets, face shields and full scrubs. They also sit behind plexiglass glass shields so you do not come in to direct contact with anyone aside from the nurse who administers the test when she gets all up in your nose. But he/she will be decked out in protective gear as well. When your number is called your payment will also be collected. A PCR test costs $83.61 or 645 Quetzales. You can pay with a credit card.
Once you’ve paid and verified that your information is correct you’ll be instructed to go to the back where a nurse will have you sit in a cubicle and will administer your test. The nurse will stick the q-tip in both of your nostrils! It’s uncomfortable, but not painful so just suck it up! It’s over in like five seconds.
After this you’re done and you can head back to your hotel or wherever you’re going. Unless you think you have COVID then definitely go quarantine yourself!!!
Within five hours you’ll have your results emailed to you. You can print these out or do whatever you need to do with them. The PDF they send you also has a QR code on it that you can scan with your phone. I don’t know what the process is at airports, but this might come in handy in that situation. We needed our tests to cross land borders so we printed out multiple copies of the results to hand to officials at the El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua border crossings.
Please get tested if you’re traveling before and after. Keep yourself and those around you safe! The only reason I feel comfortable being on this trip is because we’ve been distancing the entire time, wearing masks everywhere we go and getting tested often!
I hope this was helpful. Please feel free to reach out via comment or message if you have any questions about the process and I’ll do my best to give you a helpful answer.
Take care and if you’re traveling do it safely!