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GUATEMALA: Rental car or buses and shuttles in Guatemala?

GUATEMALA: Rental car or buses and shuttles in Guatemala?

Old Jun 11th, 2012, 09:00 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2012
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GUATEMALA: Rental car or buses and shuttles in Guatemala?

We will be in guatemala for 9 days and would like to take in;
Tikal
Semuc Champey/Lanquin
Lake Aititlan, visiting several towns: Saniago, San Marcos, Pana, etc.
Xela
Antigua

IS this too ambitious?
Would you recommend a rental car? Is it safe? OR better to bus and shuttle?

Thank you in advance for any suggestions....
gimmerumi1 is offline  
Old Jun 11th, 2012, 11:52 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 4,220
With 9 days pick 3 spots at most - more than that and you'll be racing around without time to explore and enjoy. Semuc Champey needs a full day of travel coming and going so 3 days total for 1 day to explore - I'd leave that out or save it for a future (longer) trip. Tikal is also a long ways but there are express buses including night buses and flights to speed things along in comfort. I'd also leave off Xela - it's Guatemala's 2nd biggest city and not especially atmospheric imo; the surrounding mountains are nice but you won't have time for them.

So that leaves you 3-4 nights in Antigua, 3-4 nights on the lake (explore add'l villages from 1 base) and 2 for Tikal.

I'd use shuttles instead of renting to get to and from Antigua and Lake Atitlán and then fly or bus to Flore/Tikal (or 1 of each).

Loads of photos and ideas below. Happy planning!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections/
hopefulist is offline  
Old Jun 11th, 2012, 12:35 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 516
9 days - let's see...

Agree that you do not have time for Semuc. Or Xela, probably.

I don't know where you are coming from, but i was able to fly from the US to Flores/Tikal, with 2 plane changes, in a day. So you could start off there in the jungle. Arrive in the evening, wake up early, see Tikal. You could spend another night in the jungle, or spend a night in Flores, which is pretty cool itself. Or both. Then fly from Flores to Guatemala City (Guate) and get a shuttle straight from the airport to Panajachel.

For this distance, and your limited time, flying is better than driving or taking the bus.

Spend a few realxing days in Pana, with day trips across the lake. People like to complain about Pana but it isn't bad. Good selection of hotels and restaurants, decent shopping, the best transportation hub on the lake, and great views across the lake, especially for sunsets. Also fairly easy to organize a trip to Chichi for the market.

Then shuttle to Antigua for a few days. Beautiful and vibrant and historic. Great hotels and restaurants.

Antigua is only 45 minutes from the Guate airport, so, depending on when your flight leaves, you may be able to spend your final night in Antigua. If not, just get a shuttle or even a taxi to Guate in the afternoon, stay in Zona 10, have drinks and dinner there, and catch your early flight home the next day.
robertino is offline  
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