I recently returned from a week in Guatemala and a week in Belize. I learned a lot from this forum and want to share some info from my trip with everyone. For some context - I am a guy in my late 20’s from New York – spent the first few days in Guatemala by myself and then met my uncle from LA who is 45 for the remainder of the trip. I do not speak Spanish. I flew from to Guatemala City and wanted to spend a couple days by Lake Atitlan before meeting my uncle in Antigua. Ordered a shuttle online from atitrans to panajachel. Waited an hour or so by the airport and eventually found someone who worked for the company and showed them the print out of my reservation. The shuttle generally goes through Antigua, but a girl there ordered a shuttle direct so we went together. I wanted to stay in San Pedro because I heard that is more for backpackers and even 20 minutes before arriving in Pana was not sure where I would stay for the night. Arrived at 6PM and ended up taking the last water taxi of the day to San Pedro. I would not suggest this to other people and I got to San Pedro and it was dark and no one was around. I started walking around looking for a place to stay and found a place called Hotel Fe. I got the last private room (~$15 a night including breakfast). This place is a little dirty but it was safe and amazing. The food at the small restaurant they have is really good and they sell cold beers for ~$1.5 each. That night I met a bunch of Australians staying there and we went to a local bar for some drinks. The next day they told me every Sunday there is a big BBQ in town so we all went over there. We spent all afternoon eating bbq, drinking beers and hanging out (the scene was backpackers in 20s, early 30s and older expats). It was a great time. Then spent the night with everyone at Buddha Bar watching sports and hanging out drinking. I slept 3 hours and got up at 3:30AM to do the Indian Nose hike. Amazing sunrise view over the lake – bring a flashlight if you have one. Back by the hostel I had breakfast and tried to arrange paragliding in Panajachel. Worked it out to go at 11AM so I caught a 10AM water taxi over to Pana. Met Gee there and we rode up on top of some cliff. Paragliding over Lake Atitlan for 30-40 minutes was another amazing experience. Walked around Pana, got some lunch and went back to San Pedro. Quick nap and then got some dinner and went to hang out at the bar. Passed out a 1AM and got up at 4:30AM to catch a 5AM shuttle to Antigua. Got there at 9 and walked about 20 minutes to the hotel I booked – Casa Antigua – to meet my uncle (he showed up 10 minutes after me). Had breakfast and walked around town. Arranged a hike up volcano Pacaya at 2PM. It was very worth it with great views, but more strenuous than I thought it would be. That night we stumbled onto Como Como for dinner. Service wasn’t amazing (2.5 out of 5), but food was pretty good (4 out of 5). Next day we walked around town, had lunch, got coffee at the refuge coffee bar and dinner at Bistrot Cinq. Took a taxi to Guatemala City and slept at Hotel Villa Toscana by the aiport. 5am taxi to the airport to catch 6:30am flight to Flores. Taca did not put our bags on the plane and we were staying at the Tikal Inn that night. Spent the morning hanging out in Flores and took a taki to the Tikal Inn around 1pm. We booked sunset / sunrise tours with Roxy. Tikal, the Tikal Inn and Roxy are all very worthwhile. Thankfully, our bags showed up at the Tikal Inn around 10pm that night (whew!). Did the sunrise tour and booked a 10:30am shuttle to San Ignacio, Belize through the hotel ($25 per person). Stumbled to Martha’s Guesthouse which was full, but she recommended Midas Hotel. We got a room there and they were very helpful. I accidentally left my ipad in the room at the Tikal Inn and was able to arrange to a tour driver to pick it up for me and drop it off at Midas! Was surprised that worked out. Booked the ATM tour with Pacz for Saturday and that was another amazing experience. Sunday morning arranged a shuttle to take us to the water taxi in belize city and we went to Caye Caulker. Went to seaside cabanas and booked rooms for three nights. We met some people doing the ragamuffin three day sailing tour and that sounded fun so we booked it for Wednesday. That ended up being canceled due to bad weather on Wednesday so we stayed in Caye Caulker for the week and did a full day of snorkeling on thanksgiving Thursday. After the three days had to change hotels due to space so we booked the next three nights at the plaza caye caulker hotel. Caye Caulker is a great low key place where we just walked around, hung out, drank, ate tons of fresh seafood (Roses most nights for dinner) and went swimming. You see the same people over and over due to caye caulker being so small. Took a 1:30pm water taxi to Belize City on Saturday and flew back to NY through El Salvador.
Hope this is somewhat helpful. Let me know if you have any questions!