Just recently returned from Guatemala and will give a brief summary:
My purpose in going to Guatemala was to study Spanish in Antigua for a week but yet be able to see some of the country as well. I have traveled to 5/6 other Latin countries and have studied Spanish in a couple of other schools Each time for a week.
I flew to Guatemala City (GUA) on a Fri. nite and was met my the school driver who drove me an hour to Antigua where I checked in with a family which was classifed as a 1 br B&B. Great family and great house!
On Sat at 4 a.m. a van came to my house with some other students and drove me back to GUA where we caught Tikal Jets to Tikal. We flew to Flores and were met by a guide and some other tourists and were driven about 1- 1/2 hours to the ruins in Tikal where we checked into the Jungle Inn. Jungle Lodge was very nice and exceeded my expectations. All meals were taken in the dining room there and the quality of food and cleanliness was great!
We had a guide that took us on a 4 hour hike through the ruins which I must say are absolutely fantastic!! Incredible. When the hike ended it was about 2 p.m. in the afternoon and we had lunch in the Jungle Inn then rest or just walking around for the afternoon. Around 7 p.m., the group met up for dinner in the dining room.
Since we were not leaving Tikal until 2 p.m. on Sunday I had about 5 hours the next a.m. to visit the musuem (which I recommend) and then go back into the park and climb many of the pyramids in the cool mornings. It is a wonderful hike through the park. The history of this area is incredible! The musuem is not to be missed. While small, it has a lot of info about Tikal.
We left at 2 p.m. to go back to Flores for the 5 p.m. flight back to GUA. Our driver met us at the GUA airport and then took us back to Antigua where I arrived around 7 p.m.
Since my B&B only provided breakfast, it was up to me to take my meals in Antigua. I went downtown on Sun. nite and ran into some of the people that were on the tour and had dinner with them.
On Monday, I started 1 on 1 Spanish classes at the PLFM school which is really a great school. It is 1 on 1 instruction for 7 hours a day. It really helped polish off a lot of my skills. I can speak a little Spanish but by no means am fluent. School was about a 8 block pleasant walk every morning. Lots of photo opps along the way. A large volcano looms over the city and is very impressive to look at in the a.m.
Antigua is a great city and there were a lot of European tourists there as well as a fair amount of Americans. The shopping is fantastic. Actually quite overwhelming.
I walked everyplace and felt very safe there. Even at night after getting used to the dark streets I was ok but I think a person should always be cautious/aware. My house was about 4 block from El Centro.
I found the food in Antigua to be of excellent quality with many restuarants to choose from. Most lunches and dinners ran from $4 to $12. Plenty of internet cafes to call home using VOIP on the computers or send messages via e-mail.
I had my laundry done at a laundry near the school. I have found it better to take only carry on luggage and have my laundry done while I am in these places.
during my stay I met many nice people, many students, and the business owners were all very nice people.
Mid week I went to Chichicastenango with a day trip with the school. The school sends a teacher along with you so you don't miss any learning opportunities. I really liked that because it keeps you speaking Spanish the entire time and you really get some good conversation. Chichi is a fantastic place with an incredible market. Having a teacher with you helps you navigate the market better and receive some recommendations about bargaining, etc. After 2 hours in Chichi, we continued our tour to.........I'll break it into another message so this doesn't become too long
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