Correos — Mailing an International Letter


Not often mailing a physical letter makes sense these days but today was one of those days. I needed to send a nastygram to a company in the U.S. along with a copy of previous correspondence from them. So, paper sounded like the right answer.

This is the first time I have used Correos de Guatemala since it was re-established. (It used to be run by a private company and a few years ago the government decided not to renew their contract.)

I took Transmetro down to the main post office on 7 Ave at 12 Calle this morning. The new place to send (and, I think, receive) mail is right inside the main door, on the left. I’ve been in the building before — it is really nice and very old.

Entering the building there was the typical “gel and temp” station. On entering the correos part there was a metal detector that went off as each person entered and no one seemed to care.

I was offered regular mail or traceable. I picked traceable and was told I would need to pay Q53 in the bank four blocks down the street. I asked “can I pay here” and was told no. But, the story changed later.

My mail was in a regular #10 envelope. Not a choice — it needed to go into one of their official 9 x 12 inch envelopes which they handed me. It was like doing a FedEx envelope and I had to write on it my name, address, phone number and optional email. Then, the name, address, phone number and optional email address of the recipient. (Fortunately their phone number was on the document I was sending. Moral of the story — don’t seal your envelope until you are done filling out paperwork.)

She then took my envelope to someone to “verify the information”. Huh? Anyway, it was verified successfully. The next step was a printed form that I had to sign. Then the game changed. She said I could give her the money and “they” would take the money to the bank. OK.

Ten minutes later I got my Q2 change and a hand-filled form (where I again needed to sign). It contained a tracking code and she stapled to it a little note telling me where the web page was to track the package. I was done — in less than 30 minutes.

When I got home I decided to try the tracking page. Well, the information was actually there. So far, so good. Let’s see how long it takes.

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