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-   -   Guatemala or Ecuador? (https://www.fodors.com/community/mexico-and-central-america/guatemala-or-ecuador-1671668/)

Brian_Brooklyn Sep 11th, 2019 03:28 AM

Guatemala or Ecuador?
 
Hello!
I am planning a solo 8- or 9-day trip for February 2020 and have narrowed it down to two choices: Guatemala and Ecuador. I realize they are pretty different countries in a lot of ways but do people here have any preferences?

For Ecuador, I'm thinking of a trip centered around Quito and Cuena (with a few side trips to national parks, market towns, etc.) while in Guatemala I'm considering stays in Antigua, Lake Atitlán and possibly Tikal.

I'm in my 40s, fairly well-traveled, and enjoy colonial cities, ancient ruins, markets and dramatic scenery. I speak just a little Spanish (though I'm working to improve it). Also, I'm hoping for some nice weather (this being February), which seems doable in Guatemala; I wonder if Ecuador is less consistent in that department? (I've also posted this on the Ecuador thread.)

Thank you in advance for any thoughts or suggestions.

mlgb Sep 11th, 2019 06:26 AM

Rain would be more likely than not for Ecuador in February.

I'd go with Guatemala if you can brush up on your Spanish a bit. I've been only to Antigua but thought it was wonderful.

Quito is very hectic, Cuenca less so.

Ecuador is a bit thin on ruins. Guatemala of course has Tikal.


mlgb Sep 11th, 2019 06:29 AM

Rain would be more likely than not for Ecuador in February.

I'd go with Guatemala if you can brush up on your Spanish a bit. I've been only to Antigua but thought it was wonderful. Note that Guatemala is on itineraries for the Panama Canal transit cruises, so you might run into cruise passengers in Antigua during the day. Fewer passengers go to Tikal.

Quito is very hectic, Cuenca less so.

Ecuador is a bit thin on ruins. Guatemala of course has Tikal.


catspajamas Sep 11th, 2019 07:33 AM

Guatemala! You can spend 3 days in Antigua and 3 days at Lake Atitlan and still have time to make a day trip to Tikal. You will be fine with any Spanish as there are plenty of English speakers. The weather will be great in February (it is the Land of Eternal Spring for a reason).

hopefulist Sep 11th, 2019 10:14 AM

Guatemala would have my vote, too, plus it's easier to get to. I wouldn't consider a day trip to Tikal but you could fit in an overnight if you fly and/or use the overnight buses so don't lose a day each side to travel.
My photos with blog links on the main page of each collection are below in case you're interested - all my recommendations are embedded there.
Happy trails!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections

Brian_Brooklyn Sep 11th, 2019 05:54 PM

Thanks very much for your thoughts. That's helpful to know about the weather in Ecuador. I've got a Spanish class on my agenda starting next month.

Brian_Brooklyn Sep 11th, 2019 05:58 PM

Thank you all for the feedback. That's very helpful.

catspajamas I like the time allotment you suggest.
hopefulist Yes, definitely an overnight + flight for Tikal. Thanks too for the link!

I'll weigh this out some more but Guatemala is sounding good. Any other thoughts are appreciated!

Jeff_Costa_Rica Sep 11th, 2019 07:06 PM

Ecuador also presents some major issues with altitude adjustment: Quito (9,300 ft) and Cuenca (8,300 ft).

hopefulist Sep 11th, 2019 08:18 PM

Guides for Tikal - I always book in advance. All time favorite is archaeologist/naturalist Roxy Ortiz, absolutely amazing: TIKAL ROXY'S TOURS
Marlon Diáz is another great one: www.gemtrips.com

Here are 2 transportation providers I’ve been pleased with in Guatemala for share shuttles, private transfers, and flight arrangements:
Adrenalina Tours: http://www.adrenalinatours.com
Rainbow Travel: http://www.rainbowtravelcenter.com

Our favorite private driver, Alfredo Garcia, is bilingual, personable, prompt, and safe, and has nice vehicles: [email protected]

Happy trails!

Brian_Brooklyn Sep 12th, 2019 10:51 AM

hopefulist Thank you for the guide and tour info. I will keep this on hand.

Jeff_Costa_Rica Good points. I believe only La Paz is higher in terms of South American capitals.

AdventureGal323 Sep 14th, 2019 01:46 AM

Gotta thank you for all this - I'll use it when I return to Guatemala! Very helpful!


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