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Planned Guatemala Itinerary for March-but Iím Struggling to Pull the Trigger

Planned Guatemala Itinerary for March-but Iím Struggling to Pull the Trigger

Old Feb 2nd, 2021, 12:44 PM
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Planned Guatemala Itinerary for March-but Iím Struggling to Pull the Trigger

I have been targeting to travel to Guatemala in early March for the past 6 months or so now. Iíve come up with the following itinerary which feels pretty good to me:

Day 1: Travel to Antigua. Overnight Antigua
Day 2: Tour Antigua. Overnight Antigua
Day 3: Pacaya volcano climb. Overnight Antigua
Day 4: Tour Antigua + Coffee Planation tour. Overnight Antigua
Day 5: Day trip to either Chichicastenango or out to the Mayan villages near Antigua. Overnight Antigua
Day 6: Get COVID antigen test. Clinic in Antigua identified and appointment will be made. Fly to Flores that afternoon for the overnight
Day 7: Tour Tikal. Fly back that night and overnight in Antigua
Day 8: Guatemala City. Overnight there
Day 9: Fly home to the USA with negative COVID test from 3 calendar days early

Iím comfortable traveling at this time (for the most part), having traveled to Croatia this past September. I realize however that flights will likely be more crowded than they were last fall and Delta is the only US carrier that is still blocking out middle seats. Unfortunately theyíre flight times are unacceptable, so I would probably need to fly American, whoís selling any seat they can.

I think whatís keeping me from pulling the trigger more than anything else is the uncertainty of the on-the-ground situation in Guatemala. Right now, retail and stores close at 7:00. Restaurants close at 9:00. Markets at 5:00 pm. But what is the likelihood of that changing/worsening? And what about sites and activities closing down between now and early March (Antigua ruins, the Chichi market, etc)? I rarely have a problem making a decision but the amount of uncertainty associated with traveling right now is having an uncharacteristic effect on my decision making skills right now. And what about the worst possible situation- the US government makes a change that results in antigen (i.e. rapid) COVID tests being no longer acceptable for re-entry home, with a PCR test becoming the requirement, which is very challenging to get back within 3 calendar days.

Perhaps I should take all of this as a sign that this just isnít the right time to travel? But damn, I really want to go.

I appreciate any feedback, positive or negative on my situation.

Last edited by MinnBeef; Feb 2nd, 2021 at 12:55 PM.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2021, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnBeef View Post
I have been targeting to travel to Guatemala in early March for the past 6 months or so now. Iíve come up with the following itinerary which feels pretty good to me:

Day 1: Travel to Antigua. Overnight Antigua
Day 2: Tour Antigua. Overnight Antigua
Day 3: Pacaya volcano climb. Overnight Antigua
Day 4: Tour Antigua + Coffee Planation tour. Overnight Antigua
Day 5: Day trip to either Chichicastenango or out to the Mayan villages near Antigua. Overnight Antigua
Day 6: Get COVID antigen test. Clinic in Antigua identified and appointment will be made. Fly to Flores that afternoon for the overnight
Day 7: Tour Tikal. Fly back that night and overnight in Antigua
Day 8: Guatemala City. Overnight there
Day 9: Fly home to the USA with negative COVID test from 3 calendar days early

Iím comfortable traveling at this time (for the most part), having traveled to Croatia this past September. I realize however that flights will likely be more crowded than they were last fall and Delta is the only US carrier that is still blocking out middle seats. Unfortunately theyíre flight times are unacceptable, so I would probably need to fly American, whoís selling any seat they can.

I think whatís keeping me from pulling the trigger more than anything else is the uncertainty of the on-the-ground situation in Guatemala. Right now, retail and stores close at 7:00. Restaurants close at 9:00. Markets at 5:00 pm. But what is the likelihood of that changing/worsening? And what about sites and activities closing down between now and early March (Antigua ruins, the Chichi market, etc)? I rarely have a problem making a decision but the amount of uncertainty associated with traveling right now is having an uncharacteristic effect on my decision making skills right now. And what about the worst possible situation- the US government makes a change that results in antigen (i.e. rapid) COVID tests being no longer acceptable for re-entry home, with a PCR test becoming the requirement, which is very challenging to get back within 3 calendar days.

Perhaps I should take all of this as a sign that this just isnít the right time to travel? But damn, I really want to go.

I appreciate any feedback, positive or negative on my situation.
Well, you know I just went in late December/early January and it was fabulous. Yes, wonderfully COVID protocols are in place. I honestly felt safer entering establishments in Guatemala than I do in the U.S. In the U.S., no one is ensuring the type of mask that you have on, making you use hand sanitizer and step on a foot sanitizer before you enter. We took a PCR test and got it back in 4 hours. Also, everyone was masked from the Mayan villages at the lake, in Antigua, outside of Antigua and in Guatemala City.

yes, the restaurant closed between 9 PM and about 9:45 PM. So of course we made sure that we started dinner between seven and 730 so that we didnít have to rush. No one forced us out as we were finishing our meal. The markets are so authentic and non-touristy that they exist for the locals. It is not a situation where they were closed down because of tourism. We always found that whatever site we wanted to see, we were able to do it within the timeframe that they were open. We just had to plan it out.

I see that you took off the lake after asking questions about it. Why is that? It was such a highlight. Antigua was wonderful as well so I am glad you were giving at the time it deserves.

itís a personal choice as to whether you go or not. But I will simply tell you that their Covid protocol is better than in the United States. Hands-down.

Good luck.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2021, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Lolazahra View Post
Well, you know I just went in late December/early January and it was fabulous. Yes, wonderfully COVID protocols are in place. I honestly felt safer entering establishments in Guatemala than I do in the U.S. In the U.S., no one is ensuring the type of mask that you have on, making you use hand sanitizer and step on a foot sanitizer before you enter. We took a PCR test and got it back in 4 hours. Also, everyone was masked from the Mayan villages at the lake, in Antigua, outside of Antigua and in Guatemala City.

yes, the restaurant closed between 9 PM and about 9:45 PM. So of course we made sure that we started dinner between seven and 730 so that we didnít have to rush. No one forced us out as we were finishing our meal. The markets are so authentic and non-touristy that they exist for the locals. It is not a situation where they were closed down because of tourism. We always found that whatever site we wanted to see, we were able to do it within the timeframe that they were open. We just had to plan it out.

I see that you took off the lake after asking questions about it. Why is that? It was such a highlight. Antigua was wonderful as well so I am glad you were giving at the time it deserves.

itís a personal choice as to whether you go or not. But I will simply tell you that their Covid protocol is better than in the United States. Hands-down.

Good luck.
Hi Lolazahra. I was hoping youíd weigh in. You are correct that Atitlan was in one of my original itineraries. But I want to keep my trip to 8 nights and my priorities for that are in order: Antigua, Tikal, hiking Pacaya and if I donít get freaked out by getting carsick, the Chichi market.

Glad to hear that you found the COVID protocol in Guatemala so strong. I remember reading that in your TR. IĒm not worried about COVID on the ground but more, from flying itself. When I flew to Croatia last September, none of my flights were more than 50% or so full. Now, I would not expect that to be the case. If I could fly Delta I would because they are still blocking middle seats through March. But the flight down from Minneapolis leaves at 5:20 am (ugh) and the return flight doesnít get me back until 11:15 pm. That leaves only 45 minutes for delay before my COVID test would become invalid. If I travel, it would be on American which is selling every possible seat. Since no proof of COVID free would be required on the flight from Minneapolis to Dallas, that leg worries me more than the leg from Dallas to Guatemala City. And the same for the flight home.

As I recall, you luckily didnít have to worry about the proof of COVID free when returning to New York. Iím not worried about getting the test but what if I were to test positive while in Guatemala. I then canít return home for potentially 2 more weeks until I can test negative. With all of the extra expense that would come along with it, not to mention the potential health concerns.

I think itís a packed American flight from Minneapolis to Dallas and then coming home from Dallas to Minneapolis that worries me the most. I have to decide how much of a risk that is vs, my desire to visit now what looks like a beautiful country.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2021, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnBeef View Post
Hi Lolazahra. I was hoping youíd weigh in. You are correct that Atitlan was in one of my original itineraries. But I want to keep my trip to 8 nights and my priorities for that are in order: Antigua, Tikal, hiking Pacaya and if I donít get freaked out by getting carsick, the Chichi market.

Glad to hear that you found the COVID protocol in Guatemala so strong. I remember reading that in your TR. IĒm not worried about COVID on the ground but more, from flying itself. When I flew to Croatia last September, none of my flights were more than 50% or so full. Now, I would not expect that to be the case. If I could fly Delta I would because they are still blocking middle seats through March. But the flight down from Minneapolis leaves at 5:20 am (ugh) and the return flight doesnít get me back until 11:15 pm. That leaves only 45 minutes for delay before my COVID test would become invalid. If I travel, it would be on American which is selling every possible seat. Since no proof of COVID free would be required on the flight from Minneapolis to Dallas, that leg worries me more than the leg from Dallas to Guatemala City. And the same for the flight home.

As I recall, you luckily didnít have to worry about the proof of COVID free when returning to New York. Iím not worried about getting the test but what if I were to test positive while in Guatemala. I then canít return home for potentially 2 more weeks until I can test negative. With all of the extra expense that would come along with it, not to mention the potential health concerns.

I think itís a packed American flight from Minneapolis to Dallas and then coming home from Dallas to Minneapolis that worries me the most. I have to decide how much of a risk that is vs, my desire to visit now what looks like a beautiful country.
I totally totally get it. I did take Delta to Guatemala for this very reason. And I try to take Delta anytime I have flown since Covid. My middle daughter rides horses and I have to bring her to Florida in the winter time and Delta has no flights after school. So I have ended up on JetBlue and it drives me absolutely crazy that they do not block seats. We wear two face masks, a shield, and gloves. I also wipe down the seats as soon as I get on. My only saving grace is that Iím traveling with two daughters so we are in a row of three together. With that said, the planes have been packed. We test as soon as we get to Florida and we test when we get back to New York. Luckily, we have been negative each time. When we flew to Guatemala, however, the plane was not full at all. So even if Delta was not blocking seats, we probably would not have been next to anyone. Of course, you cannot predict this. I really wish that the Delta option worked for you so that you could have some peace of mind. Perhaps you should wait if you think the risk outweighs the reward. Guatemala and all its beauty will still be there for you. Let me know if you have any other questions. Good luck.
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Old Feb 5th, 2021, 05:56 PM
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Hi Lolazahra. I pulled the trigger and booked my flights to Guatemala. I leave in early March and cannot wait!
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Old Feb 6th, 2021, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnBeef View Post
Hi Lolazahra. I pulled the trigger and booked my flights to Guatemala. I leave in early March and cannot wait!
Thrilled for you! I know you will love it as much as we did! Iím thinking of returning to the lake for my birthday in June. I honestly canít think of another place I want to go explore that A) is safe B) we are allowed to visit C) I can guarantee a quick COVID test D) that I know I will discover new and exciting things. But back to you ó yeah!!!!!
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Old Feb 7th, 2021, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Lolazahra View Post
Thrilled for you! I know you will love it as much as we did! Iím thinking of returning to the lake for my birthday in June. I honestly canít think of another place I want to go explore that A) is safe B) we are allowed to visit C) I can guarantee a quick COVID test D) that I know I will discover new and exciting things. But back to you ó yeah!!!!!
Thank you Lolazahra. I am super excited. And people are amazed at how beautiful Guatemala is when I show them photos of where I plan to go. I am looking forward to a terrific trip. Not to mention getting out of this country for 8 nights.
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Old Feb 19th, 2021, 11:32 AM
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Lolazahra/MinnBeef, what vaccines did you get for travel to Guatemala?
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Old Feb 20th, 2021, 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by bon_voyage View Post
Lolazahra/MinnBeef, what vaccines did you get for travel to Guatemala?
Hi ó we did big need any additional vaccines. Just a negative COVID test. I always check CDC guidelines before I travel and based on our locations, nothing was required that wasnít what we all have gotten in our lifetimes anyway.
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Old Feb 20th, 2021, 04:54 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnBeef View Post
Thank you Lolazahra. I am super excited. And people are amazed at how beautiful Guatemala is when I show them photos of where I plan to go. I am looking forward to a terrific trip. Not to mention getting out of this country for 8 nights.
So looking forward to hearing about your trip when you return!
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Old Feb 20th, 2021, 11:32 AM
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Thanks, Lolazahra. Sifting through my travel memories, Iíve realized that the destinations that have stayed with me have had an intensity, typically a combination of visual and emotional, and that Guatemala might fit this bill.
MinnBeef, I, too, will look forward to hearing about your trip!
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Old Feb 25th, 2021, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by bon_voyage View Post
Thanks, Lolazahra. Sifting through my travel memories, Iíve realized that the destinations that have stayed with me have had an intensity, typically a combination of visual and emotional, and that Guatemala might fit this bill.
MinnBeef, I, too, will look forward to hearing about your trip!
Hi bon_voyage. Like Lolazahra, the vaccines that are recommended for Americans (Hep A, typhus, etc) are ones that I either had years ago or in the case of typhus, had about 15 months ago before traveling to Mexico. Malaria pills are suggested by the US CDC if one is staying at altitudes below 1500m. For me, that will only involve my trip to Tikal. However, I will only be in Flores/Tikal for less than 24 hours and Iíve been told by my travel agency that malaria hasnít been an issue there for years. So I will plan to counter any risk with a long-sleeved shirt and pants and some good Off mosquito repellant.

I will do my best to post some trip impressions when I am back!
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Old Feb 27th, 2021, 03:50 PM
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Hi MinnBeef! Thanks for the info on vaccines, just getting some info on requirements before falling in love with the idea of Guatemala. And, of course, I’ll get the lowdown from the CDC/knowledgeable physician before doing anything concrete.
Have a wonderful trip!!
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Old Feb 28th, 2021, 07:25 AM
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You pretty much have to DEET up in tropical lowlands anyways, although if going in dry season less of a risk.

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