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Guatemala with a side trip to Ambergris, Belize - help critique my ideas

Guatemala with a side trip to Ambergris, Belize - help critique my ideas

Old Nov 27th, 2011, 03:41 PM
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Guatemala with a side trip to Ambergris, Belize - help critique my ideas

It has been a few years since I came to you for advice. Past experience has always shown Fodorites to be so very helpful and right on the money with suggestions! So here goes:

Heading to Guatemala and Belize for 14 nights!!!! Late January into February. So excited, had this one on my list for several years. Hubby first wanted to go to Panama but is conceding to my desire to do GUA and BZE. Naturally he also wants to do this, but is not as excited about back tracking to a previous destination. I on the otherhand am looking forward to going back to a familiar locale.

Question: If flying into GUA at 12:21 (noonish) is is feasible to head directly to Lake Atitlan?

Tentative plan is to fly into GUA arriving around noon.
Then head to Lake Atitlan, Considering Posado de Santiago for 3 nights.
Then head to Antiqua, for another 3 nights. Considering Hotel Cirilo (looks amazing) but if in need of cutting expenses, possibly Casa Florencia Hotel??
Fly to Flores
Head to Tikal for 1 or 2 nights at Tikal Inn
Head over to La Lancha for another 2 nights (just always wanted to stay here)
Fly from Flores to BZE then onto Ambergris for a 5 night stay at Carribbean Villas (been here before enjoyed very much, looking forward to chilling out here, snorkeling and probably a trip up to Lamanai)

Transfer suggestions in Guatemala? Prefer shuttle, not necessarily private, but either will work.
Solola or Chichi Markets? as a day trip, not an overnight.
Antiqua - city tours, coffee plantation I LOVE COFFEE. What else for a 55 & 66 yr young folks!! LOL!
Atitlan - visiting the towns and possibly a market. What else is a must do?
Tikal - want to visit at sunset and sunrise.

Thank you for your input! All suggestions welcome!
Donna
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Old Nov 27th, 2011, 04:05 PM
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I'll start things off and others will chime in.

Question: If flying into GUA at 12:21 (noonish) is is feasible to head directly to Lake Atitlan?
YES. Adrenalina has a scheduled share shuttle from the airport to Panajachel leaving at 1:30; should arrive between 5 and 6. A private shuttle would be faster and more comfortable and is easy to arrange, either through your lodge or a provider like Adrenalina.
http://adrenalinatours.com/shuttles/#2

Here's my favorite hotel in Antigua:
www.casa-cristina.com

With 3 or 4 nights in the Petén you'd have time to visit other area ruins. Consider contacting archaeologist/naturalist Roxy Ortiz for tours - she's wonderful.
www.tikalroxy.blogspot.com

Sololá market is Tuesday/Friday and Chichicastenango is Sunday/Thursday - you could hit either as a day trip from the lake or when traveling between Antigua and the lake. You'll find the best shopping for gifts and souvenirs in Panajachel. Chichi is worth a visit for the Sunday church activities, one specific carver I like, and the gorgeous produce market. Sololá is a huge, packed locals market - very different experience and also great.

Consider a bike tour and/or cooking class in Antigua with this outfit - we loved our visit to the Filadelfia coffee plantation and class with them; they also do city tours:
http://www.donquijotecruisers.com/

You could check out a variety of towns around the lake; try to get to the market areas and not just the bits by the docks and the main roads leading uphill which cater to tourists. San Pedro La Laguna is one of the loves of my life but it's because of the people there. I have a nonprofit operating there - let me know if you're interested.

One activity in Belize that trumps others for most of us is the ATM cave trip; you'd have to go by road from Flores (or wherever you're staying) and make a stop in western Belize for that.
http://pacztours.net/actun-tunichil-muknal/

Also, the zoo is terrific and really unique.
www.belizezoo.org

My photos with blog, travelogue, and review links on the main page of each collection are below. Happy trails!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections
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Old Nov 27th, 2011, 06:36 PM
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Thanks Hopefulist! I have looked at your reports and pics before. I so appreciate your input! Will certainly look more closely at the non profit, Becca Project? is that correct?

Was considering a cooking class, thought that would be so interesting! Thanks for reminding me.

We visited Belize a few years back, spent some time in the San Ignacio area with beach time on AC. Had an interesting afternoon at the Belize Zoo, where our driver and one of the employees from our lodge joined us (thought we were going to have to adopt him!), fond memories. This trip back to Belize is truly just about the beach time and visiting Lamanai, which was missed on our last trip, just never enough time to do all we want to do!

Will check out all your suggestions.
Thank you so very much!
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Old Nov 27th, 2011, 06:46 PM
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www.becaproject.org
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Old Nov 27th, 2011, 06:49 PM
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We loved our cooking class and it combined well with a nice bike trip on big-tired California cruiser bikes. Sounds like a great trip, by the way!
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Old Nov 28th, 2011, 10:43 AM
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If you are interested in a cooking class, you may want to consider one in San Pedro de Laguna. It's located about .25 mile up from the Santiago dock on the left hand side of the street. There is a storefront rec center with the words: Kevin and Cindy Porter Center or something like that. On the gate next to it is a small sign for a cooking school. Sorry I don't remember the exact name of it.

I spent a wonderful morning there with Leti learning in her spotless kitchen to prepare an entire meal: Chicken Pepian, Vegetable rice, Radish salad, Melon Liquado, fresh Salsa, and I can't remember what else. The lesson was conducted in slow, clear Spanish and I remember it costing in the $20.00 range. I was the only student present, and afterwards, her terrific family joined us for lunch to eat our lesson. Her husband Luis is the director of the elementary school in nearby San Pablo.

As a result of this cooking lesson, I ended up volunteering a few days a week for the month and a half I was in San Pedro at Luis' school, and stayed with the family in their home for the last week I was there. They also are a homestay for one of the local Spanish schools and privately contract for persons not affiliated with the school.

If you are interested, give me your email and I will give you their contact info.

Ginger
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Old Nov 30th, 2011, 06:38 PM
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Thank you Ginger, that sounds very interesting! Sorry for the slow response - end of month! Working frantically!
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Old Nov 30th, 2011, 07:05 PM
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I just want to say Hi
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Old Dec 1st, 2011, 03:51 AM
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Congrats on your trip have done it in the past.

Usually go from GUA to aroundabtigua.com www.quintadelasflores.com then on to Aitilan

www.lacasadelmundo.commy fav there

Tikal Area La Lancha awesome for mor upscale or

www.jaguatikal.com

I like shuttles or driver/guides cheaper see more than air.

In Belize cavesbranch.com victoria-house.com best for me

robertsgrove.com more upscale Cozy-cornerBelizemore moderate

thebusschedule.com good resourcefor me... Have fun!
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Old Dec 1st, 2011, 04:38 AM
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email for Leti- cooking teacher in San Pedro de Laguna

[email protected]

tell them that Lina said Hola
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Old Dec 1st, 2011, 12:15 PM
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Just booked my airfare and got a heck of a deal! $399.50 each. Delta. Flying MEM to GUA then BZE to MEM. This is the best deal we have ever gotten for any of our trips! MEM just never has good deals.

HI PERCY! Long time!

Will check out all websites, thanks!

Now it is real! 14 nights - Woo Hoo! Airfare done, now to the rest of it.
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Old Dec 1st, 2011, 02:14 PM
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I can't believe the low fares for Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras in January and February - 1/2 off! When I retire I'll be able to take advantage of drops like that.
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Old Dec 1st, 2011, 05:34 PM
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Fortunately or unfortunately we can only travel in January and February. We farm and after Feb there is no chance to travel. Super excited to get this great airfare!

Got Caribbean Villas booked!!! YEA! our final destination of the trip. Love this place, only one on south Ambergris that has Trees and Birds! The original owners were birders and left the trees in tact.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2011, 04:33 AM
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We live just north of Caribbean Villas when we're on Ambergris. We put bird feeders on the railing of our balcony and really enjoy watching the birds that hang out at Caribbean Villas. Three different species of orioles, sometimes all at the feeder at the same time. Also, a few warblers, woodpeckers and cinnamon hummingbirds.

Come visit if you like, we'll be there......
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Old Dec 2nd, 2011, 11:30 AM
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Jean would love to meet you! You have been so very helpful in a couple of our trips!
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Old Dec 2nd, 2011, 12:30 PM
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Hi dfarmer ...yes a long time ,I was wondering where you were.

Nice to see you posting .
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Old Dec 2nd, 2011, 12:33 PM
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Definitely staying at Posado de Santiago on Lake Atitlan.

Question - should I book all transfers between locations prior to arrival? Or is that easily arranged once we are there?
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Old Dec 2nd, 2011, 12:44 PM
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Thanks Percy. Well been a couple of dry years, my son got married last year, which took all the extra funds !! LOL!

This year I put together a spur of the moment trip to Playa del Carmen, stayed in town at a great little place. Utilized a Playa forum to put that one together.

Just been away awhile. Love getting back in touch with my Fodors buddies!
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