Guatemala

Central American volcanoes, cities and markets; Mexican Mayan history and Caribbean beaches and rainforests.

Moderators: sinecure, TravelFun, ballu, jimshu, JaliscoJudy

Guatemala

Postby flipflops » Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:12 am

Hi,

Wondering if anyone has done the Guatemala tour? Enjoyed? Not so much?

I'm thinking of the one that starts on Dec. 31. I have never done one of these trips before. I have travelled, but never on my own with a group tour...and have no idea what to expect...

For Guatemala, do you fly into Guatemala City and find your way to Antigua?

What are the hotels like? Is this a trip that caters to younger or older people? I'm in my late 30's...

Thanks for any advice you can give.
flipflops
User Rank: Daytripper
User Rank: Daytripper
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:07 am

Re: Guatemala

Postby travelers_spirit » Wed Dec 07, 2011 3:46 am

Hey! I just did a Guatemala / Belize trip in the spring of 2011. I too wasn't quite sure what to expect at first but had a blast!

I did a YOLO trip which was for 18 - 39 year olds but G has all sorts for any age range. YOU MUST check out my video that I just came on her to post, it will give you a good idea of what a trip like this will be like.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XhTLY8A3Ws

Mayan Sun
Trip Code: CGAC / CMCA
Trip Style: YOLO
Service Level: Basic
Max Group Size: 15
Duration: 16 Days

This was a trip that I didn't expect to be as exciting as it turned out to be! I was completely blown away by everything that we got to exprience. I highly recomend it, just keep in mind that because its a Basic service level, not much was included in terms of meals or activities. Go down with at least 750 dollars (that will vary from person to person... but thats the minimum).
WHAT'S BEEN MY EXPERIENCE WITH GAP ADVENTURES?

Galapagos Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVFIo4wNFGI
Thailand Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTe59cqMHSI
Guatemala / Belize Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XhTLY8A3Ws
travelers_spirit
User Rank: Traveller
User Rank: Traveller
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:55 pm

Re: Guatemala

Postby travelers_spirit » Wed Dec 07, 2011 3:49 am

Oh and to your questions. Yes deffinitely fly into Guatemala City as Antigua is very very small. Its about 10 streets by 10 streets! But the airport is fairly close by and there are a lot of transfers you can take. G also allows you to arrange a transfer throug them.

When it comes to hotels, the trip I did was a YOLO / Basic - so I went in expecting very very basic and got very very basic. Id say for the most part they were ok. I wouldn't rave about them, but appart from the first one I wouldnt really complain about them either. Remember this is Guatemala... and the standards are very different in this country than others.
WHAT'S BEEN MY EXPERIENCE WITH GAP ADVENTURES?

Galapagos Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVFIo4wNFGI
Thailand Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTe59cqMHSI
Guatemala / Belize Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XhTLY8A3Ws
travelers_spirit
User Rank: Traveller
User Rank: Traveller
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:55 pm

Re: Guatemala

Postby ballu » Wed Dec 07, 2011 10:31 am

I did a Guatemala trip a few years ago with G Adventures...I think the itinerary is slightly different now but similar enough...

You have to fly into Guatemala City. Antigua is about a 45 minute ride away. You can book a airport pickup through G Adventures or find your own ride which will be cheaper. For me...I always book the airport pickup. After a full day of flying to a country where I don't always know how things work, I like knowing I don't have to worry about it.

Hotels were nice...not 5 star, but clean and well run. The front desk should be able to help you arrange activities if you arrive early and want to explore and pretty much anything else you need (directions, restaurant recommendations).

I did a classic style tour and my group ranged from 19-50something so you'll likely be right in the middle.
EMBRACE THE BIZARRE
http://www.gadventures.com/about-us/gadventures/

I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list

If you never get lost, you never get found


Image
User avatar
ballu
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 2781
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:13 pm
Location: Halifax, NS

Re: Guatemala

Postby flipflops » Wed Dec 07, 2011 8:22 pm

Gah, unfortunately flying down from Toronto is a freaking nightmare. At least two stops, if not three. Hate that...:(
flipflops
User Rank: Daytripper
User Rank: Daytripper
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:07 am

Re: Guatemala

Postby ballu » Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:37 pm

Really? I did it with only one layover...but I flew Mexicana...not sure if they're still in service. Now that I'm in Halifax, I've got three flights for my next Central American trip in Nicaragua...
EMBRACE THE BIZARRE
http://www.gadventures.com/about-us/gadventures/

I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list

If you never get lost, you never get found


Image
User avatar
ballu
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 2781
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:13 pm
Location: Halifax, NS

Re: Guatemala

Postby lizwright » Thu Dec 08, 2011 2:18 pm

Hi,

I am on the trip leaving from Antigua the 31st. Not sure what to expect from Guatemala but have heard good things from friends who have visited some of the places listed on the itinerary. I am leaving from CO and flying into Guatemala City arriving in the afternoon and taking a taxi to Antigua. I am in my mid 20's as is my s/o. Let me know if you decide to go- sounds like it should be a great trip.

Best of Luck
lizwright
User Rank: Daytripper
User Rank: Daytripper
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 2:33 pm

Re: Guatemala

Postby nataliedou » Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:29 pm

wow travelers_spirit , that video was amazing!! Really got me excited! I am off on the mayan sun this thursday. Hope we get as much sun as you though! Bit worried about the forcast!!
nataliedou
User Rank: Daytripper
User Rank: Daytripper
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:45 pm

Re: Guatemala

Postby sundance77 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:51 pm

Any experience about Safety in Guatemala? Will start Mayan Sun on saturday and read now a lot of concerning Things about Crime, rapes and other Bad things... How did you all feel? Bit worried now :cry:
sundance77
User Rank: Daytripper
User Rank: Daytripper
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:47 pm

Re: Guatemala

Postby ballu » Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:45 pm

I assume you're starting in Antigua? Like any city on any trip, use normal caution...I would suggest a money belt that you wear under your clothes for your cash and cards, when you use an ATM go inside where the guard is when you withdraw your money, don't be overly flashy with your camera (especially if you're alone...not a big deal in a bigger group), if you're walking through a crowded market wear your backpack on the front of you...maybe even clip the zippers together so it's enough of a deterrent for a pick pocket to go after someone else, I've even used a twist tie (mostly pick pockets are looking for an easy target, don't be one and you'll likely be okay), don't walk down dark alleys alone when it's late at night.

Obviously there are no guarantees, but chances are very slim anything bad will happen. Once you meet with your group you'll not be a solo person walking around. During the day you'll be fine, again with ATMs, go inside the bank and withdraw where the guards are. If you get there before the tour starts, don't be afraid to go out for dinner at night, stick to the main streets and leave your valuables at the hotel. Antigua is a small and easily walkable place on a grid system, street signs are a little difficult to come by...but once you figure out the street that goes from the yellow church under the arch, past the Irish pub to the main square, everything falls into place.
EMBRACE THE BIZARRE
http://www.gadventures.com/about-us/gadventures/

I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list

If you never get lost, you never get found


Image
User avatar
ballu
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 2781
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:13 pm
Location: Halifax, NS

Re: Guatemala

Postby moviegeekjn » Sun Sep 09, 2012 5:56 pm

There were not enough people to make a G Adventures trip for Semana Santa in 2011, so I did the trip on my own--followed similar itinerary and used the same Antigua hotel that G Adventures books with. Plenty of transfer vehicles to Antigua at Guatemala City airport (cheaper than what G Adventures can arrange beforehand).

Of course, use common sense and you should have a great time in Guatemala. Really loved the time I had there and considering returning to Antigua again on my own to participate in a Spanish language school. Note: you do NOT want to spend any time in Guatemala City!
User avatar
moviegeekjn
User Rank: Nomad
User Rank: Nomad
 
Posts: 144
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2008 1:16 pm
Location: Arizona

Re: Guatemala

Postby Alpine_Resort » Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:25 pm

I just got back from a tour of Mexico and Guatemala and flew from Toronto. American Airlines has lots of flights that stop only in Miami so it's not that bad. Just make sure for the flight home you allow plenty of time for the connection as you'll have to pick up your bags and go through customs in Miami.
Taxi from Guatemala city to Antigua cost $30. Try to arrive during day light. It's safer that way. Antigua is hard to navigate at night too as there are no signs.
Guatemala is awesome. This was my second trip there as I loved it so much. Antigua is beautiful. Rio Dulce, amazing. Tikal is not to be missed. Yup. It's a great tour. Go for it.
Jodi from rural Ontario, Canada
Alpine_Resort
User Rank: Nomad
User Rank: Nomad
 
Posts: 136
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2008 11:47 am
Location: Roseneath, Ontario, Canada

Re: Guatemala

Postby dinabwilson » Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:22 pm

My husband and I are leaving to Guatemala on Dec. 31 also! (I'm hoping things will be open on New Year's Day.) We are meeting a friend on a G-Adventure trip there. I was in this area 2 years ago on a girls trip and vowed to return. Our hotel in Antigua has transportation to pick us up at Guatemala City airport. We will also be visiting the villages at Lake Atitlan. I found the area to be quite safe but of course, we didn't wander the streets at night and didn't ride the chicken buses. We traveled in tourist vans, first-class buses, and the occasional Tuk-Tuk during the day. I have been reading on other forums to never use the ATMs in Guatemala because they are not secure, even the ones at the bank. Months later your bank account could be cleaned out. If you do use an ATM, change your PIN immediately at home. Get money directly from the teller instead. Banking on Wi-Fi there is not safe. I also have a wallet with expired credit cards, just in case. In crowded markets, I carried my backpack in front of me. Overall, nothing bad happened to us and we had a wonderful time in this lovely part of the world.
dinabwilson
User Rank: Daytripper
User Rank: Daytripper
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:07 pm

Re: Guatemala

Postby Alpine_Resort » Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:42 pm

Lots of people used ATMS there with no issues. I've also ridden chicken buses. That too is an experience not to be missed! Just don't put anything of value in the over head shelf. Carry it on you.
Jodi from rural Ontario, Canada
Alpine_Resort
User Rank: Nomad
User Rank: Nomad
 
Posts: 136
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2008 11:47 am
Location: Roseneath, Ontario, Canada


Return to Central America, Mexico & Caribbean

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests