I am excited to be planning a trip to Guatemala for this year. I generally travel in a country for 4-8 weeks but this is just a quick trip of only 3 weeks. I have just begun my planning and have purchased a guide book.
Who we are: We are a couple in our 40's, well travelled, intrepid travellers, love big cities like Rome, Istanbul and Bangkok as well as very remote villages. We don't travel so much any more to see cathedrals and museums unless they are absolutely exceptional. We prefer really getting to know an area rather than moving around every 2 days. Some of my top travel adventures have been being invited by locals to participate in their lives and I love to go to places where this may occur. We both love to have a good time, drink a few cold ones but don't want a hard core party scene.
We are flash-packers so we are not into dorm rooms but like budget accomodations with a charm factor that are nice, clean, friendly and, if possible, locally owned.
Now that you have an idea of who we are, I could use some help planning a trip for November.
I have started to read a guide book and so far I am considering spending 1 week in Antigua to take some Spanish lessons (I just did this in Cusco, Peru and loved it!). Another week we will probably spend around Lake Atitlan. We are considering heading to the Bay Islands for our third week.
Is one week enough to explore Lake Atitlan? Are we best to rent a place for a week and take day trips or is it better to stay in one area for a few days and then move on? We would prefer a quiet place of amazing natural beauty a bit off the beaten path. What town or village would you recommend?
It seems that the guide books recommend Antigua for Spanish lessons but we would consider another place if it is more appealing. We would prefer a 4 hour a day course and hope to find an instructor that is willing to take us around to learn rather than sit in a classroom for 4 hours. I find this a much more effective way for me to improve what I call my "Tarzan" Spanish.
I am sure I will have a million more questions but this will get me pointed in the right direction.
Cheers and thanks in advance!