10 Days in Guatemala 5/7-5/18

Old Apr 11th, 2008, 04:01 PM
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10 Days in Guatemala 5/7-5/18

A friend and I are traveling to Guatemala for the first time from May 7th to May 18th. Our intended destinations (and these are by no means set in stone)Guatemala City, Antigua, Chichicastenanga, Tikal, Lake Atitlan, maybe Coban, maybe Lago Izabal. At this point we are welcoming all suggestions and tips! As we begin to develop our trip we will be posting our notes and planned details. One of the suggestions we were considering looked like this:

5/7: Guatemala City
5/8-10: Lake Atitlan
5/11: Chichicastenango (for market day)
5/12-13: Coban & Alta Verapaz/ Lago Izabal
5/14-15: Tikal
5/16-18: Antigua

Obviously there's questions about how Tikal fits into that itinerary which consideration toward the commute. Suggestions?!?
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Old Apr 11th, 2008, 10:38 PM
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Hello -
10 days will fly by and I'd leave out Coban, the Verapaces, and Lago Izabal - too many long days on the bus.

I'd leave out GC and start with the 7th, 8th, and 9th in Antigua, then head to Chichi Saturday the 10th for 1 night and head to Lake Atitlán from there. After 4-5 nights head back to Antigua on the 15th or 16th, then fly to Tikal in the morning, staying in the park for one night and Flores for one night. If your flights cooperate you can fly from Flores to GUA the last day to match up with your flight home, as we did.

We bused to Rio Dulce for a few nights and to Tikal from there - too darn much time on buses even with a day off between. Those 5-7 hour bus trips really seemed like a whole day each. The boat trip between Rio Dulce town and Livingston is pretty but the towns themselves aren't all that and so I'd spring for the flights to and from Tikal and enjoy more time in Antigua and around the lake. We had more than 3 weeks so didn't need to push too hard.

Lots of photos below if you're interested. Keep us posted!

http://flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections
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Old Apr 13th, 2008, 04:06 PM
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Hi Hopefulist - your pics are amazing. We'd like to go to guatemala in june for 10 days, but have two questions...1) when they say rainy season, is it just an hour a day in the afternoon or real rains? 2) Is there a travel agent in GUA that you can recommend? Not sure we want to be driving, but would love to have it all sorted out before we get there. Ideas?
thank you so much!
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Old Apr 13th, 2008, 09:58 PM
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Hi, shothyme - I've been to Guatemala 4 times, always during July and August. Depending on the location it either rains mainly in the night or starting late afternoon in my experience. We've found it to be a great time to visit.

It's easy to arrange shuttles between places once you're there unless you're heading way off the beaten path. I wouldn't rent a car - roads and drivers are crazy and you'd have to restrict your lodging choices to places with protected parking.

The only thing I've used a tour place for was booking a flight between Flores and Guatemala. We used Rainbow Travel because it was recommended on another forum:

http://www.rainbowtravelcenter.com/

Keep us posted!
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 11:20 AM
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I whole heartedly agree with Hopefulist on dropping those places.

Do you know what time you get in? You might be able to catch an inexpensive shuttle the day you arrive to go directly to Panajachel. If you can get there on the 7th Chichi has a market day on Thursday as well. Friday is market day in Solola and is very different. We were the only North Americans in Solola market the day we went. If you can't get there until the 8th you can still do Solola Friday, tour Lake Atitlan on Saturday and do Chichi on Sunday. Check out Maximon in Santiago de Atitlan and the church. Great bargaining at the little shops there as well. Go to at least one other small village to get a contrast.

We have used Turansa on our trips. They have private transfers as well as shuttles. Elizabeth Bell Tours has shuttles and transfers as well. I know there are generally shuttles at the airport but I can't say how they work for certain. Hopefully someone will come on with that info.

It really is best to fly up to Tikal. It is a long way. Do try to see a sunrise or sunset from the top of one of the temples. There is an early morning flight out of the Tikal area which works out great for us to catch a mid afternoon flight back to the states. We generally have about a 5 hr layover between flights but it means not having to stay in GC.

If you can't get to Atitlan the first day I would go to Antigua first if you can. No need to stay in GC any longer than you have to.

One last thought would be to fly up to Tikal first then catch a shuttle to Atitlan when you return to GC then finish in Antigua where you can catch a shuttle to GC to catch your flight home if it is later in the day.
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 05:15 PM
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We weren't really planning on staying in GC any longer than we had to, but we get in at 9pm on the 7th and plan on leaving first thing in the morning. We leave at 2pm on the 18th. After we do a little research i'll post some of our findings.

>hopefulist: thanks for the pics!
>suzie2: I had heard sunrises are amazing and fully plan on experiencing that as well!
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 09:09 PM
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9 pm isn't too late to catch a shuttle or a taxi to Antigua for the night - that's what I'd do. Keep us posted!
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Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 02:53 PM
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I thought that I would update everybody on our itinerary as it now stands.

5/7 Arrive in Guatemala City that night
5/8-10: Flores/Tikal (flying in early on 5/8 and leaving early 5/10)
5/10-14: Lake Atitlan (with a day trip to Chichi on 5/11, a market day)
5/15-18: Antigua (flying out of GC at 2:00 on 5/18)

At this point we have booked all our flights and our hotel for the first night in GC. Any thoughts on what more we should book before arriving and what we are better off leaving until we get there? I think we will at least try to book a few more hotel rooms so we know where we'll be staying, but I don't plan to arrange any shuttles or tours until we arrive. Thanks to everyone for their advice so far.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 09:59 PM
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hi: my name is alan. I'm retired. Our eldest son and I were in Guatemala for a week, last month (March/08). We spent the entire time in, and around, Lake Izabal (Isabel)-- specifically at Denny's Beach on the south shore: lovely, quiet and a great spot to stay. I have a couple of strong recommendations. Contact Denny's Beach (google "guatemala and lake izabal and dennys beach" then browse) to stay at least 2 and preferably 3 nights there, and they can arrange a driver and AC'd van from Guat. City (about 4.5 hours, that's what we did) if you wish. One of the several nice day outings was in one of their boats -- a few of us staying there paid for the gas, went east down the lake and Rio Dulce to Livingston. Had a really interesting lunch, looked about town, put our feet in the Caribbean and were back at the Beach for afternoon drinks then the usual nice supper and companionship. Good accommodation too; very inexpensive accomm. is available in a dormitory there as well, if you wish -- not for me, at this age, thank you, I like a good bed and my own bathroom. The Beach is also a good branching off place to Tikal (overnight there recommended to see the sunrise over the jungle and site). Denny, or his manager Roberto, will sort out transportation and accomm. to there for you-- or anywhere else in the country.
Enjoy. My wife and I are planning a trip, to Denny's Beach first then Tikal and subsequently on to Antigua,in January.
Hasta la vista.
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Old Apr 25th, 2008, 07:55 PM
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Our plan is to go straight from the airport in Flores to Tikal and spend the night at one of the hotels in the park so we can take full advantage of our time there and see the sunrise/sunset. We'll then plan on spending most of our second day around Tikal before heading back to Flores for the night and catching our early flight back to GC.

Does anyone have any advice on which hotel to pick among the 3 in Tikal or where to stay in Flores the following evening? Also, what is the best way to fully experience Tikal? Should we schedule a tour with one of the agencies in Flores? Get a guide at the visitor's center in the park? Is there anything else that we should make sure to see or do while we are up there?

As always any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you
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Old Apr 25th, 2008, 09:58 PM
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I've read on this forum several times about a fabulous guide for Tikal and surrounds named Luis: [email protected]

I've stayed at 2 of the Tikal hotels, the Jaguar Inn and the Tikal Inn and enjoyed both. The latter was a bit nicer and I enjoyed having a pool. My friend and I paid $75 last August for a huge double room plus dinner and breakfast.
www.tikalinn.com

In Flores we chose Casona de la Isla and loved it, $52/double.
www.corpetur.com/english/hotels.htm

I'd book the Tikal trip before you go, either as a package or at least the flights which tend to book up. We used Rainbow Travel in Antigua and they're very accessible online.
www.rainbowtravelcenter.com

Your itinerary sounds great. Happy trails!

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