Guatemala help - only have nine full days

Jan 4th, 2009, 09:45 AM
  #1  
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Guatemala help - only have nine full days

My 21 yr old daughter and I will be traveling to Guatemala in late March/April.

We are fairly active, enjoy hiking, food, live music, exploring and experiencing different cultural experiences. If possible we would like to stay around 4 days in Antigua and 5 days on Lake Atitlan. We would really like to visit Tikal but it seem like a lot to cram into such a short time and we would like to avoid moving from one hotel to another.

1. Has anyone ever done one of the one day trips to Tikal from Antigua? It sounds a bit exhausting to me, but it would allow us to stay put in Antigua for a few days, before moving on to Lake Atitlan for the rest of the trip.

3. Has anyone ever stayed at La Casa del Mundo? Is it a good base to explore the lake and surrounding villages? It seems to be very popular but I'm worried it may be a bit too remote. Is it true that you're stuck there at night or can you take a taxi to the other villages? Do water shuttles operate at night?

I'm at the very beginning stages of planning and would love some feedback.

thanks,

Monica
MonicaKD is offline  
Jan 4th, 2009, 10:23 AM
  #2  
 
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If you think this might be your only trip to Guatemala then do not miss Tikal. In my opinion a 1 day trip is way too much travel time and stress for so little time at the ruins. You'd have to shuttle to the airport, fly to Flores, shuttle the hour or so to Tikal, look around with the crowds during the hottest few hours of the day, and do the trip parts in reserve. If you spend the night you get to explore in the cooler evening and early morning hours when the wildlife is active and you practically have the ruins to yourselves. If your flight leaves GUA after noon you could do as I did - spend a night at Tikal and your last night in Flores before flying to GUA the morning of my flight home.

In my opinion 4 nights is a lot for Antigua. It's really beautiful but a bit too tidy and touristy for my taste. One full day of exploring the ruins and museums and a day to visit hike the Pacaya volcano and visit a village is plenty for me. You'd still have parts of the arrival and transition day, too. I've read great things about La Casa del Mundo but have not stayed there. I'm not much of an all inclusive person. You could take boats around the lake during the day but in my opinion you'd be stuck there for dinner every night (not bad for some but not my travel preference).

Lots of photos linked below, additional Tikal photos in the Belize collection. There are travelogue links on the main page of each collection. Happy trails and keep us posted!

http://flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections
hopefulist is online now  
Jan 4th, 2009, 01:25 PM
  #3  
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Hi Hopefulist,
Thanks for your advice. With so many places to visit, who knows if we'll do a second trip to Guatemala, so I think we will squeeze in a 2 day visit to TIkal in the middle of the trip or at the beginning.

Do you have a trip report posted?
If not, how did you get to Tikal and where did you stay?
Do you know anything about the Overnight bus to Tikal?

We arrive in GUA at around 8pm so we could take the 10pm Luxury bus to Tikal to avoid getting a hotel room at the airport. If we could actually sleep on the bus, we would wake up in Flores. On the other hand if we weren't able to sleep our visit to Tikal could be a nightmare. Has anyone had any experience with the overnight bus?
MonicaKD is offline  
Jan 4th, 2009, 03:55 PM
  #4  
 
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If you click on the Guatemala 2007 collection at the link above there's a travelogue link.

In 2007 we bused up to Tikal (stopping a few days in the Rio Dulce area enroute) and flew back. In 2003 we shuttled across from Belize. The night bus is a popular, inexpensive option but I haven't done that. Honestly I don't sleep well on planes and buses, even nice ones, so I haven't been tempted. I might be, though, with your flight timing. I recommend you splash out for a hotel in the park, head there, check out the shopping and museums, then check into your hotel and sleep under a fan until 3:30 or so, then hit the ruins. The day trippers will be gone and your ticket should be good for that afternoon/evening and the next day also if purchased that late in the day (be sure to ask).

I've been to Guatemala 4 or 5 times, starting in the 80's when we brought home our son Carlos who was 4 at the time. He's 23 now and will be in the group of educators I'm taking with me for Spanish study this summer - here's to traveling with grown kids!

Keep us posted!
hopefulist is online now  
Jan 4th, 2009, 07:18 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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We entered from Belize last week for a day trip to Tikal and had lunch at the Jaguar Inn, which I think is the cheapest of the 3 lodges at the ruins. I was impressed with the lodging and would recommend it.
Hoyas is offline  
Jan 5th, 2009, 05:42 AM
  #6  
 
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www.jaguatikal.com

Bus shuttle for me night bus ok but

day shuttle from

www.aroundantigua.com much better

Allow at least 1 night

For me www.lacasadelmundo.com

well worth it...

www.gotmyfare.com

good value GUA tours including air

less hassle...

Have fun,
qwovadis is offline  
Jan 5th, 2009, 08:52 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 26
While I like Antigua a great deal I agree that 4 days of a 9 day trip is too much. While in Antigua do the Pacaya trip, its a 1/2 day and not to be missed. The atitlan area is beautiful and has plenty of hiking possibilities, but check with the locals on any safety issues. The water taxis do not run at night and Casa del Mundo which is in the small village of Jaibalito is isolated from the rest of the villages. Atitlan has plenty to see and do and all of the villages on the lake offer interesting cultural snapshots.
jpan is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 06:13 AM
  #8  
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Thank you all for your feedback and suggestions. I've decided to skip Tikal as I will only be in Guatemala for 6 nights now and due to my daughter getting a new job, will now be traveling solo.

I'm thinking of spending 2 nights in Antigua and 4 nights somewhere on Lake Atitlan - I'm leaning towards San Marcos, but welcome any suggestions from travelers who have been before, especially single women.

Also, I don't speak any Spanish and even though I'm going to try to learn as much as possible before I go, I'm pretty hopeless when it comes to learning new languages.

In the meantime, I'm going to reread the threads to get some ideas.

Thanks again,
Monica

MonicaKD is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 11:33 AM
  #9  
 
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Have a wonderful time and be sure to tell us all about it!
hopefulist is online now  

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