Trip to Guatemala - What do I need to know?

Old May 31st, 2002, 11:23 AM
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Trip to Guatemala - What do I need to know?

I will be traveling to Guatemala on business and have a few days free - I'll be staying in Guatemala City at the Westin and am interested in any comments about the hotel, travel from the airport, places to eat, a day trips from the city. Also, any comments on safety would be appreciated.

Old May 31st, 2002, 09:29 PM
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Was in Gaut. City a few years back. Would recommend an overnight in Antigua Guatamala it is a couple hours drive away. It is the oldest City in the Americas actually the first settled by the Spanish. No high rise buildings, a quiet tranquil town with lots of history. Terrific weaving brought in by the local Indians, also you can go to Lake Attitlan spent a couple days on the lake very tranquil and again a lot of Indian Craft. Took the local boat ride around the lake for $1.00 visited the Village on the other side. Then there is Chisticastengo {hope I spelt it right} two hour drive from Attilan and few hrs. out of Guat.City. They have an authentic market for the local people not for tourist again a number of terrific items to buy and mingle with local culture. Have fun
Old May 31st, 2002, 09:40 PM
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Also I would recommend a tour up to Tikal. Did an overnite flight that included hotel, tour to the sight and guide $100. good deal tho I wished I had booked my own hotel on Flores the little island. Like a little Venice with very inexpensive hotel rooms great atmosphere. I could walk to it from my hotel yet had to cross the Bridge.
If you can Stay on Flores or in Tikal itself. Nothing like waking up to the noises of the jungle the howler monkies, wild birds it is incredible.

Flores the little town is on a island in the middle of lake. The colour schemes of the houses are wonderful pastel colours. Watched a wedding procession walk over the bridge.

Tikal well the site is incredible. I climbed to the top of the pyramid tho I understand they no longer allow this.

What is interesting about Guatamala is that it has not been impacted by tourism as a result of the Civil War the last few years. Many of the Indians still retain many of the traditions of their Mayan Ancestors in their religious practices and the costumes. Each Village has its own pattern that they wear in their traditional woven Skirts, pants, blouses that Identifies them and their Village.
Old May 31st, 2002, 09:46 PM
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Was able to do Tikal, Antigua Guatalmala, Chistcastengo, Guatamala City in a two week period.

Guatamala by comparison to Mexico and other destinations is still very inexpensive and great value for your travel dollar but it is a vacation for a traveller not a tourist. If all you want to do is lay on a beach, and be catered to do a Mexican all inclusive.

Guatamala is for those who seek adventure, culture, history, scenery and a new experience. The colours arae incredible. Can't remember the name of the hotel I stayed in but it was just up from the Main Zocala (Center Square} an old house with central courtyard, live macaws, great restaurant and my room had a wonderful view of the volcano.

Rented a horse and guide for a day and toured the coffee plantions and small villages by horseback. The woman still gather their washing and water at the the main well in the center of the villages.
Old May 31st, 2002, 09:50 PM
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The description of the hotel and horse ride was the time I spent In Antiqua Guatamala.
On lake Attilan I stayed in A wonderful hotel right on the lake which . I had this view across the lake and over to the two volcanoes on the other side. The pool area had trees shaped into animals. The pool was cold so I swam in the lake. Just down from my hotel was a sign of the indicriminate lending policies of early 80's. Two high rise buildings just the outside shell done but never finished.

It easy to get around in Guatamala but would check with state dept. travel warnings as there has been problems the last couple of years.
Certain roads are not advised I believe.
Old May 31st, 2002, 10:26 PM
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When we were riding thru the coffee plantion many of the local children quite excited came running out to see the horses. My guide pointed out to me one person owns all this land and the people live like dogs. So it is the way with many latin american countries.
I saw their grass shacks and simple abodes.

I have a picture of myself and a older couple who invited me into their humble home. Yes me a stranger. Another guide who took me back to Antiguq told me his sister was a teacher and the threats she had received from the Army when she had been working out in the countryside.

I saw firsthand the presence of the Army. They were always there. Miltary Bases and troops moving thru Chisti. I have pictures of them.

Professor Snow was engaged in exhumations of mass graves and by examining the bones telling how these people {babies, woman, children, old people as well as man had died}

When I returned home the U.S. Congress just approved millions more dollars of the U.S. taxpayers dollars for arms to the guatemalan Army. This Army supported by the American government has been reputed to have massacred thousands of the poor villagers.
Prsident Clinton did offer an apology to the people of Guatemala for America's involvement in their War.
Too bad he couldn't have done more.

Look up Google for Professor Clyde Snow
"When The Bones Speak"
and do a google search Human Rights Abuses in Guatemala if you want insight into their very recent history.

Old Jun 7th, 2002, 01:47 PM
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I had a wonderfull once in a lifetime experience at the Peten Jungle. I visited Tikal and stay at the Chiminos Island Lodge in the Petexbatun Lagoon. The place was like living in paradise. I am looking forward for my return.
Old Jun 7th, 2002, 02:12 PM
Owen O'Neill
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At Tikal you can no longer climb to the top of Temple I but you can climb Temple III, Temple IV and the pyramid at Mundo Perdido - all three offer great perspectives in different ways. If you're there try to spend at lkeast one night in the park. Entering late afternoon, your admission ticket is also good for the following day. People staying in the park can enter the ruins starting at 5 AM - if the weather cooperates you can see sunrise form Temple IV, an amazing sight. best of all is that the park gates don't open until 9 AM and if you're up exploring early you have the park mostly to yourself (I was there last week oin a Sunday monring and there were only a few dozen of us in the park until well after 9 AM. The experience of going to sleep and awaking to the sounds of the jungle is haunting and incredibly memorable. Can't comment on Guatemala travel safety other than the fact that traveling after dark is strongly advised against. Tikal Park now has a substantial police presence throughout the park and is very secure.
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