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bodhijack Nov 10th, 2007 07:23 PM

march trip to antigua & lago atitian- some questions
we plan 4 nights (3 full days) at each place. does that sound ok, or should we stay longer at either or both locations? any opinion on which to do first? how do we get from place to place without renting a car? i've heard that there are group busses. how can i find out more about them?

hopefulist Nov 10th, 2007 09:29 PM

4 nights each will work but you might want to spend more time at the lake or a night in Chichicastenango before market day. Antigua is lovely but not a very "real" taste of Guatemala. Some of the villages around the lake are quite traditional and there are some lovely markets. Do you have a guide book? I recommend the Rough Guide to Guatemala. If you're interested in my photos and travelogues they're here:

Keep us posted and happy trails!

bodhijack Nov 12th, 2007 07:27 PM

thank you, hopefulist! now we are thinking 5 nights in each place (4 full days). any other opinions?

hopefulist Nov 12th, 2007 08:17 PM

Are you planning a visit to Tikal? It's easier with flights both ways which jumps up the cost, but it's an absolutely amazing place. Hard to imagine a visit to Guatemala without seeing it.

5 nights would have been too much in Antigua for me; we spent 3 there in August and that was plenty - a day and a half around town plus a climb up Pacaya. We had bits of 2 other days, too, before heading further into the highlands. Antigua is lovely but way too touristy for my taste and almost seems more like Europe than Guatemala in many ways.

If I had 10 nights I think I'd head 1st to Antigua for 3 or maybe 4 nights, then head to the lake. You could take in the Chichicastenango market as a day trip from either but it's closer from the lake. If the day you're heading out from Antigua is a Wednesday or a Saturday night you might consider an overnight in Chichi - we loved that. We watched the market set-up activity the night before, ate dinner on the balcony of the produce market, enjoyed the early morning church step and market activities the next day, and took off before the day trippers arrived.

Tikal can be done as a day trip from Antigua or Guatemala City but deserves an overnight in the park IMO. It's wonderful to have the cooler evening and early morning hours to explore when you practically have the place to yourselves and the wildlife is active.

Keep us posted!

Suzie2 Nov 13th, 2007 11:14 AM

To answer your question about transportation.... there are shuttle buses that you can take that are pretty reasonable if you aren't as free spirited as hopefulist. Wish I could talk my husband into some bus travel. I would love to travel like she does. He likes more creature comforts. There are usually some shuttles lined up outside the airport from what I understand. We set things up with Turansa for transportation. They have private drivers and shuttles.

It would be a shame to miss Tikal if you are going all that way. One night in the park would be great. There is nothing like the sounds of the forest at dusk and dawn, not to mention the views from the temples. If you aren't an early riser, temple 4 is also a great place to watch the sun set from. Make sure you bring a flashlight.

If you can't time your trip to Atitlan to visit Chichi, Solola has a market day as well. We went to Solola and it was smaller than Chichi from what I understand but it still had tons of great weavings to buy and we were the only tourists there. It was interesting being able to see just mayans going about their business on market day, bad side was we were hounded to buy things.

I still love walking around Antigua and discovering the beautiful gardens hidden behind those walls. It is pretty touristy but there is a lot of history. Grab a taxi to take you over to AzoteA coffee plantation. It is a very good presentation. As Hopefulist mentioned, Pacaya is a very good hike up if you want to climb around on a very live volcano.

Unlike hopefulist we head directly to Atitlan and then go to Antigua. It is a much shorter ride to the airport for the flight up to Tikal so we can take a morning flight. Downside is that it does take longer to get to Atitlan after several hours of international flights.

bodhijack Nov 13th, 2007 12:00 PM

thank you, suzie!

Suzie2 Nov 14th, 2007 06:15 AM

We did that trip two years in a row and can't wait to get back. The colors and sights of Guatemala are awesome!

Have a wonderful trip no matter where you start.

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