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Impulse Purchase - Flight to Guatemala

Old Apr 4th, 2007, 05:50 PM
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Impulse Purchase - Flight to Guatemala

Hi - just found a great deal and purchased a flight to Guatemala City in May. Will have 4 non-travel days.

I know just about nothing of the area except some cursory internet searches I've done over the last couple hours and reading some posts on this site.

I get the impression that Guatemala City is no jewel, so I'd like to go elsewhere. I see Tikal and Antigua mentioned but have no idea how to get to these places. We arrive at 7:00 pm on a Thursday.

Also, I would LOVE to get in some beach time in Belize. HOW do you get to Belize from Guatemala? I can't find an airline or bus service that spells it out for a first-time Central America traveler. Is there an airline like Europe's Easyjet or Southwest that serves the local area?

Cost isn't much of a factor but I don't want to throw away cash either. We are a couple - young 30s, good shape, fluent in Spanish, husband has traveled extensively on shoestring budget in remote parts of Mexico.

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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 11:36 AM
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 11:39 AM
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I just did the same thing a few weeks back. Haven't been to Guatemala yet myself...also headed in May, but have been researching a lot since I bought our impulse tickets. Does your beach time necessarily have to be in Belize?

If not you could hit Antigua (only an hour's shuttle ride away from Guatemala City) for a day or two, hike Pacaya Volacano if you desire, then head down to the beach at Monterrico.

Alternatively, you could hop on a flight from Guatemala City to Tikal (Flores)...visit the ruins for a day or two, then bus it Belize. But then you'd have to bus back to Flores and fly back to GC...may be too much travel time for you.

Our you could do Antigua & a quick trip to Tikal and skip the beach.

If you decide on the Tikal area, there's a lot of info at www.lacasadedondavid.com - we're staying there on our trip.

If you decide on Antigua, Posada La Merced comes highly recommended and the staff has been VERY helpful in helping me plan our trip (www.merced-landivar.com).

Hope this helps get ya started!
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 11:43 AM
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By the way, round trip flights from GC to Flores (Tikal area) will run you in the neighborhood of $175 - $200 per person. May get a better deal if you buy the tickets on arrival, but I don't know for sure.

TACA is one of the major carriers to the Tikal area (www.taca.com).
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 01:13 PM
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Tropic Air flies to Belize from Flores. Your flights to/from Tikal and Belize may end up costing as much as your international flights to Guatemala City.

www.tropicair.com
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 02:14 PM
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Does anyone know how long it takes to get from Flores to Belize City by bus?

I can't find this info anywhere!
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 02:37 PM
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Seven hours to Belize City by bus. It is only a 45 minute flight.

Note Belize City is not nice. If you are looking for beach and snorkelling head to Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker or Placencia.
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 02:58 PM
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Excellent info. Thanks!

Caye Caulker is reported to be more laid back/quieter - is that an accurate description? That is definitely what I'm looking for.

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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 03:26 PM
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Yes, Caye Caulker is pretty quiet. The entire town can be seen in 45 minutes. I personally would get a bit bored there. Also, the beaches on Ambergris are a bit nicer. Just to forewarn you, most of the beaches in the Cayes have a lot of seagrass in the water and washed up on the beach. Also, the water is very shallow off many beaches. Thus for swimming people usually swim off piers. Some of the resorts on Ambergris clean their beaches and the water directly off shore from sea grass. The best beach on Ambergris is in front of Ramon's resort. On Caye Caulker most people swim off the dock on the cut in between the south and north island. I don't know of any resorts in Caye Caulker with good beaches but I haven't spent as much time there.
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 04:36 PM
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OK - maybe I should ask for something more specific then (didn't know about sea grass, etc.)
Where should I go for shore-type snorkeling and that "beautiful water, white sand" beach experience?

This trip is going to be somewhat of a whirlwind with trips within the main trip, which is usually how we travel.

Should we spend 1 day or 2 days in Tikal?
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 08:16 PM
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I didn't like all that sea grass off of Belize so headed out on boat tours to snorkel. We were in Placencia. Would love to know if there are beaches near any of the the main areas like Caulker, Ambergris where you can snorkle too.

Most people spend about 5-6 hrs touring Tikal with a guide. Ask around if you don't want to pay full price for one of them because often you will find people looking to share the cost. You don't have to have one but it does help you to understand more about all the different temples.

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Old Apr 6th, 2007, 12:52 AM
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Hi there,

So you bought the ticket to GC because it was cheap?

Congrats!! easily done and good for you.

But you only have four days, so can I be brutal? It will cost more time than you have to get to Belize cheaply. To get there quickly will cancel out the cheap international fare.

Caye Caulker is lovely but it is not white sands and beach umbrellas.

Tikal is spectacular but to bus it there and bus it back would eat up those 4 days. You could fly both ways - see above comment about abnegating savings made in the first place. Even if you flew and even if you could do that the day you arrived - what next?

What could you do with those two days that are left?

My advise to you is to head directly from GC to Antigua. That should be possible. Spend a day there. Then go to Lago de Atitlan.

It is a glorious place. Explore the lakeside villages - check out the markets (not necessarily to buy - just to be there).

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Old Apr 6th, 2007, 06:36 AM
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What about a loop to avoid backtracking? Fly to Tikal, fly or bus to Belize for Caye Caulker or Placencia, fly or bus down to PG and catch the water taxi to Puerto Barrios or Livingston, and then on to Antigua.
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Old Apr 6th, 2007, 06:40 AM
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There's always the overnight bus option as well...
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Old Apr 6th, 2007, 03:21 PM
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With 4 non travel days I'd just get to where you're going and stick there. It doesn't really sound fun or barely feasible to fly into GC, do Tikal justice, head to The Belize cayes, and make your way back to GC. IMHO you should just stick with Guatemala and start planning your next trip now.
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Old Apr 7th, 2007, 03:28 AM
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Agree with Hopefulist.

Tichatee. I'm a great believer in loops - always try not to backtrack. But have you ACTUALLY DONE the trip you suggest in four days?

I think not because it is impossible.
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