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I will have 3 full days in Guatemala. Can you give me suggestions on what to do?

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Jun 28th, 2007, 07:46 AM
  #1
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I will have 3 full days in Guatemala. Can you give me suggestions on what to do?

Good morning!

I am traveling with my son to Guatemala City, and I would like to use those 3 days wisely. I am not planning to stay in Guatemala City, since I would like to expose my son to a different culture and to places of natural beauty.

The question is, if you had only three days, what places would you visit?

We are arriving a Thursday night, and we will have Friday, Saturday and Sunday available. We are returning to the US Monday morning.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

Sandra
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Jun 28th, 2007, 08:01 AM
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With only three days, you don't want to go too far. I'd say head to Antigua and / or possibly on to the Lake Atitlan area.
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Jun 28th, 2007, 08:36 AM
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Thanks for your answer.

Do you know if there is a waterfall in that area? My son is looking forward to see one.

Also, what activities can be done in Lake Atitlan. Is kayaking a possibility?

Thanks again!

Sandra
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Jun 28th, 2007, 09:09 AM
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Yes, you can rent kayaks at Lake Atitlan. You can also take boat tours, and visit the various villages to expose your son to the culture. Here's a website w/ some more info: http://www.atitlan.com

Around Antigua you can hike Pacaya - an active volcano, if you are so inclined. If you feel the hike is two strenuous you can rent a horse to ride up and down for about $10. I highly recommend this trip.
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Jun 28th, 2007, 10:14 AM
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It sounds great! I am going to look at the website you recommended.

Does anybody knows of a waterfall close by?

I am looking forward to my trip. Thanks for your suggestions.

Sandra
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Jun 28th, 2007, 10:35 AM
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One more thing - there's a lot more people that can help you out w/ Guatemala advice over on the Lonely Planet forums...for some reason not much Guatemal advice on fodors.

http://thorntree.lonelyplanet.com
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Jun 29th, 2007, 03:25 PM
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I would go to Antigua and from there take a day trip to the Lake or some other place. Big advice DO NOT DRIVE yourself.
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Jul 1st, 2007, 03:34 AM
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I'd take a short flight to Flores (it was $60 a few years ago) and spend a day wandering around the ancient site of Tikal.
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Jul 14th, 2007, 03:05 PM
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I am planning a similar trip for August: arrive very early Friday morning and returning to L.A. on Monday morning.

Am considering the following plans:

A) Take a taxi/bus from GUA airport to Antigua. Spend three nights at an Antigua hotel (Casa Encantada or Meson Panza Verde). Sightsee in Antigua on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, take a bus tour to visit the market at Chichicastenango.

B) One night in Antigua and then on Saturday late-afternoon go to Chichi for the night. Sounds like it might be fun to be in Chichi Saturday night as they setup for the Sunday market. Can then be in Chichi at the market before tour buses arrive. Return to Antigua Sunday afternoon.

C) Plan A or B except that third night would be spent in Guatemala City at the Westin.

C) Not go to Chichi and either spend the day in Antigua or leave Antigua in the morning to go to Guatemala City for the day and night.

The Monday morning flight is at 7AM which part of my reason to stay in G.C. for the night before.
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Jul 14th, 2007, 03:10 PM
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And yes, I would like comments on any part of my proposed itinerary, particularly in choosing the hotel and whether spending the night in Chichi is worth it.

In my second option C, I should mention that I saw mention of a museum near the G.C. Westin and would consider visiting there if it is open on Sunday. Or maybe some other sights.
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Jul 14th, 2007, 07:28 PM
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If you are into markets the one at Chichi is great. We were there the night before the market and did watch them set up and enjoyed the market b4 the crowds descended. I love Antigua and have spent lots of time there, so staying there for your whole trip with the last night in Guat City would be fine. Not a fan of Guat City, so I'd spend as little time there as possible.
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Jul 15th, 2007, 01:51 PM
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I would say either Antigua or Atitlan. You can see some great culture in either place. I love the little villages around Atitlan and you can see several different mayan groups. It is interesting to see the different colors etc that the women wear. Santiago de Atitlan is very interesting and you might get to visit Maximon while there (do a wiki search to learn more about him). There is a waterfall at the smallish park near Panajachel. It is by Hotel Atitlan. Not the prettiest one I have seen but it is a waterfall. We saw a life list bird there. There is a small group of spider monkeys that have been brought there and the coatis come begging at one of the sitting areas. There is a zip line there as well.

AzoteA coffee plantation is an interesting tour from Antigua. You can just hire a taxi on the main square to take you there and wait for you. I also agree that Pacaya volcano is a good trip as well. I rode a horse up but they weren't letting the people ride down and it was rough on our knees because it is pretty steep. It was fascinating to see the recent hardening lava flows. If you go to Antigua do spend time just wandering around peeking into the courtyards. It is so beautiful in many of them. We went into a bookstore by the main square (near the bank and across from the church) and while walking around saw a door going out the back...wow...there was a beautiful garden with a fountain, a couple of gift shops, and a wonderful cafe with great coffee and food. We never would have known it was there if we hadn't just wandered into the book store.

If you aren't on a tight budget El Sereno restaurant is a nice place to have dinner overlooking the buildings up on the terrace. Ask to see the "cave" if it isn't in use. Nifu Nifa had great steaks. It is an Argentina restaurant. Again, doesn't look like much from the outside but the inside is dripping with flowering vines and there are fountains.

To get to either place you can take a shuttle that isn't too expensive or you can hire a driver. We used Turansa for our last two trips. Elizabeth Bell tours also does shuttles to Antigua.
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Jul 16th, 2007, 07:21 AM
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Suzie - I wonder why they didn't let you ride a horse down on the Pacaya trip? They let my wife do it on our trip in May...several others were as well.

By the way, how was your latest trip?
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Jul 16th, 2007, 07:25 AM
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mrwunrfl - If you're going to spend the night in ChiChi the day before the market, you should plan on getting into town before 2pm or most rooms will be full already...unless you reserve in advance at one of the nicer places that take reservations.
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Jul 16th, 2007, 01:19 PM
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Interesting trip. Will have to compare notes. Hope yours was good.

Don't know why I couldn't ride down. That hike down was tough on the knees but a pretty nice hike so I am glad I did it that way. I only paid $7 for the horse maybe that was the reason.
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Jul 16th, 2007, 01:49 PM
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I booked Meson Panza Verde for two nights and then the Westin in GC for the last night.

What are the travel times like: Antigua - Chichi and Chichi - GC? I suppose my options will be a tour bus, a regular shuttle, or a driver.
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Jul 16th, 2007, 02:11 PM
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Plan on at least 3 hours each way...maybe a little more depending on traffic, time of day, etc.
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Jul 16th, 2007, 05:30 PM
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Thanks. I just read the travel.state.gov CIS for Guatemala and it sounds like I should just hold my wallet out the window so that the robbers can grab it as we drive by. Save us all some time that way.
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Jul 16th, 2007, 09:29 PM
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Don't get TOO freaked out by the CIS. My wife was overly freaked when she first read it as well (took my a month to convince her otherwise), and once our trip was done she told me that she felt as safe in Guatemala as she had anyplace that we traveled.

Like any trip into an unfamiliar area...don't wander around aimlessly after dark, keep your valuables close, pay attention to your surroundings, keep your wits about you and use common sense and you shouldn't have any problems.

I don't think Antigua is any worse than any tourist city for the most part...and it's very beautiful. Chichi is a busy market...so like any busy market, watch for pickpockets.
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Jul 17th, 2007, 04:58 AM
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I was sure robbers were going to jump out from behind every tree the first time we traveled down there. We have never felt threatened at all.

We always ask locally about problem areas. We never used a bank. We brought travelers checks and cashed them at a little tienda in Panajachel. Our Turansa driver told us that there were people acting as spies in the bank lines who were texting tourist descriptions if they saw them taking out lots of money. The hotel driver at Polopo brought us to a tienda that he knew about. We changed some money at the airport as well.

Don't know if you have seen my pictures but they are under my Guatemala revisited posting. Just do a search for it if you are interested. They might help you decide.
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