Jul 11th, 2005, 05:27 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 3

I am wanting to go to guatamala in sept oct
this is the rainy season? Has any body been at this time, any sunshine? What are the best things to do in guatemala if you have like 3 weeks or a month....

Ant10 is offline  
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Jul 27th, 2005, 01:57 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 22
It's the end of the rainy may have occasional rainfall into October, but usually it's not bad after mid-September. And even when it does rain, it'll mostly be for a couple of hours in the afternoon/evening time anyhow.

With that much time on your hands, you can cover most highlights of Guatemala if you wish. The highlands are my absolute favorite, although Tikal ruines are a must and the boat trip down the Rio Dulce to spend a couple of days in Livingston is nice. Antigua is beautiful, but also has a bit of a Disney World feel to it - hordes of tourists and very westernized. A long weekend there does it for me, but some people love it and would gladly spend weeks. The Atitlan lake is stunning and should definitely be visited - easiest is arriving Panajachel and go by boat from there to other villages around the lake. Do not hike on the paths between the villages though, unless in a big group - there have been lots of assaults and robberies along them. I personally find the Chichicastenango market very is just as good in Panajachel (and prices slightly better), and as for authenticity try visiting San Francisco el Alto on a Friday instead.

Xela (Quetzaltenango) is worth a visit, not so much for the town itself but it's a good base to visit interesting villages like Zunil with it's Maximon worshipping, the sacred worshipping site of laguna Chicabal if you can do a half day hike, Fuentes Georginas hotsprings etc.

Even further up the highlands are the Cuchumatanes mountains - Todos Santos is the village that has gotten the most attention here, and should definitely be visited if you end up staying as long as November 1st...their Day of the Dead celebration is quite - special, for lack of a better word.
Also the so-called Ixil triangle, with Nebaj as it's most prominent village, is highly interesting but quite out of the way.

If you're feeling very adventurous and want to get off the beaten path, the mountain areas in San Marcos department are absolutely gorgeous. Went there on as an elections observer during last presidential rounds, and had a blast. Extremely friendly, no tourism whatsoever, stunning views...Sibinal, Tacana, San Jose Ojotenam etc. are neat villages in the area.

Oh, and there's Semuc Champey and the Lanquin caves near Coban... haven't visited myself, but it's on the schedule for my next time in Guatemala. Heard great things about Semuc.

With a month, I'd say 3-4 days Antigua, a week or so on the lake, a couple of days in Xela, with either a detour to Todos Santos or going to Nebaj and onwards to Coban (on this route you need either a private vehicle or a lot of patience for public transport) to visit Semuc Champey and Lanquin. From Coban it's possible to go via Sayaxche to Flores/Tikal - there are minivans from Coban, or rent a car if you want it a tad more comfortable. From Flores about 4 hrs to Rio Dulce, boat downriver to Livingston and some days there, then bus/car back to Guatemala City.

But it all depends on how much you want to move around, and not the least how you travel - renting a car or a driver is naturally very time-saving as opposed to Guatemalan public transport. But really - everyone should take an overcrowded chicken bus at least once =)

Happy travels.
kirikou is offline  
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Jul 27th, 2005, 06:45 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,441
thank you so much for all of the info! It is so hard to get any for Guatemala. we are planning on at least 10 days down there this winter and will keep your recommendations in mind.

How busy is it in Feb? Should we book now or can it wait a couple of months more.

We were thinking about La Lancha for a couple of days as we do want to visit Tikal. Any word on this place?

Have been reading that it is a little safer down there now compared to a few years ago. any thoughts on this?

Sorry for all the questions but so few people out there have anything to say about this country.

Our son spent a couple of weeks there and loved it but was viewing it as a college student (chicken buses and all) rather than a couple of older (but adventurous) folks.
Suzie2 is offline  
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Jul 27th, 2005, 01:20 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 22
February is not a busy time at all. But an excellent time of year for travelling Guatemala - prepare for cold nights in the highlands though. I can't really comment on the necessity of bookings...never spent more than USD 10 on lodging in Guatemala, and that was splurging - not exactly the kind of places you usually book ahead =)

Safety is an issue, but I still think reckless drivers are way more of a threat than crooks. In most areas of Guatemala city take extreme care (upper class zonas like 10 are somewhat less dangerous), don't walk alone after dark in any city - use taxis, don't hike alone or in small groups - particularly not around lake Atitlan, be aware of pocket theft in crowded markets, ask local advise on current security (there have been periodical robberies on certain walkpaths, certain volcano hikes etc - in Antigua tourist police used to accompany people wanting to visit a certain cemetery etc). Behaving sensibly all likelihood is you'll be just fine and love it. It's a beautiful country! Enjoy! =)
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