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Trip Report Short summary of trip to Guatemala

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My wife and I were in Guatemala from Dec 30 to Jan 19. I will give highlights and places to stay and eat.

Spent the first night in Guatemala City at Hotel Stofella, a Best Western hotel in Zone 10. We were met at the airport by a cabdriver holding a sign with our name ($8 for the ride). Hotel is very nice, well maintained with lovely wood floors and walls. Internet and a good breakfast are provided. We had dinner at the Applebees across the street; very noisy, expensive for GC, and average food.
We spent some time at Monterrico on the Pacific Coast. Stayed at the Hotel Pez de Oro, separate bungalows, no hot water, but on the beach. Participated in sea tutle release in evening along beach at Monterrico. Went to Auto Safari Chapin near Escuintia (need car), surprisingly good place to visit. Very good bodysurfing in ocean (ocean is warmer than swimming pools).
In Antigua stayed at Dos Loros Inn a short walk from downtown, very nice, good breakfast, friendly staff, free internet. Had a second floor room with clear view of volcano spouting. Good restaurants were Fridas (mexican), Rainbow cafe,La Fonda de la Calle Real, Cafe Condesa.
Many things to do in Anbtigua. Also took chicken bus to Cento Cultural La Azotea. Spent a good 1/2 day there, met owner, bought coffee, went through museums (there is a cafe, but it does not serve food).
Took minivan to Lake Atitlan. Beautiful ride through villages and along Lake. It could be designated a scenic highway in the US. Stayed at Hotel dos Mundos in Panajachel. Convenient location, free but bland breakfast, swimming pool, nice rooms acing pool.
Went to Reserva Natural Attitlan, can either walk around or take zip lines (which we did; a lot of fun and quite safe).
Took ferry to Santiago on market day; many local vendors selling everything. Then took a lancha to San Pedro; interesting little village. the lanchas stop at a few villages between Santiago and Pana.
Had lunch one day at Hotel Villa Santa Catarina, 5 km around the Lake. No Lake ferry so took tuttut. Trip back to Pana was in the back of a pickup trip with the locals. Much more enjoyable than tuttut and cost about $0.50.
Volunteered at Mayan Families for two days. Very worthwhile; they are doing many things primarily for children.
Went back to Guatemala City for next day flight to Tikal. Stayed at Hostal Villa Toscana, very close to airport. Good price, good breakfast, free transport to/from airport.
Took noon flight to Flores/Tikal. Only problem was that at midday the taxi/minibus fare to Tikal was $60. In morning or afternoon it is $20 per person. However, by arriving at Tikal at late afternoon we only paid once to enter the Park after 3:30 and then again the next morning. Weather was in the mid 60s, perfect temperature for visit; however, slight rainfall both days. Stayed one night at Tikal Inn, breakfast and dinner included. Power is on from 6-10 PM and sometime in early morning before 7:30. At nighttime with no power it was the darkest I have ever seen. We walked around the Park both days with no guide. (During our tip the guide would have been valuable if you were interested in fauna. Since it was overcast the animals were "in hiding". Walked up all the temples and visited about every section of the Park. Took minivan back to Flores; no problem, many vans to take people to airport or town.
Spent last days in Flores. Stayed at Hotel Casa Amelia. Our window faced the lake and we had beautiful view of sunsets. Cost $45/day including breakfast for two, TV in room, and internet. Best restaurant is La Luna (1/2 block from hotel), much better than the others.
Not much to do in town; can walk perimeter of town in 30 minutes. Took a 2 hour lake tour.(Note: the time of the tour includes when you get out to see things on shore.) The zoo was surprisingly good, but boat ride around lake is beautiful.

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