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First trip to Guatemala -- lots of questions!!

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My boyfriend and I are going to Guatemala for 2 1/2 weeks in January. We want to see as much as possible (fairly cheaply) -- should we try to visit all the major regions (Highlands, Peten, Caribbean coast, Pacific coast, etc.) or is this too much for one trip? Can we easily stay in most towns for $10/night? Are buses fairly cheap and safe?

We arrive in Guat City at 10 pm -- where is a good place (that's not too expensive) to book in advance for this first night?

If we wanted a few days on the beach (Caribbean coast), should we stay in Guatemala or take a short (2-3 day) trip to Belize or Honduras (the islands)? How easy is it to get into these countries from Guatemala? By bus? By ferry?

The bus ride to Flores/Tikal (from Guat City) sounds long and a bit dangerous (true?). Are plane tickets expensive from Guat City? Any advice on how best to get to this part of the country?

Besides the obvious must-sees, any lesser known (less touristy, perhaps) towns, sights, vistas, ruins, markets, etc. that we shouldn't miss?

Thanks in advance for any info you have!!

Jessica

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