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Opinion on travel route please

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Windsor, Canada
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74 posts
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Opinion on travel route please

Okay, I've done all my homework...thanks for all of the advice.

Now I just need one question answered.

We have 18 days, Here is what we plan to cover all by bus/shuttle:

Antigua first-Pacaya volcano overnight (only thing booked), Copan Ruins, Flores/Tikal, Rio Dulce/Livingston, and then chill at Lake Atitlan for the last few days of the trip.

I chose this order because I want to break up the long trip to Flores by visiting Copan on the way there and Rio Dulce on the way back...does this make sense or am I doing more backtracking than I should? Should I just do Rio Dulce after Copan on the way up to Flores and then suffer the long ride back to Pana in one shot?

Thanks in advance for any additional advice.

The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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1. Re: Opinion on travel route please

My first inclination is to recommend splashing out for the flight back from Tikal (Flores). If you can't do that, consider the overnight bus, a popular choice (though not for me).

The way you list it is a whole lot of time on the road, too much imo. I'm counting at least 7 days counting flight days of fairly heavy travel, some of them maybe too long to accomplish comfortably. Tikal to Pana is too long imo, though might be doable with a private shuttle (an hour from Tikal to Flores, 8-10 hours to Guatemala City, 4 to the lake). Unless you plan to spend at least 3 or 4 nights I wouldn't include Copán (much as I love it) - not worth all that extra time on the road for a 2.5 week trip.

I think I'd hit either Antigua or the lake first, then head to Copán (if you decide you have time), then Tikal, then home. The Rio Dulce area isn't my favorite but if you have a couple of nights to spend there you could head down the river to Livingston and back, a beautiful trip. Leaving the lake to the end works, just don't plan on making it there from Tikal in a day if you don't want to fly.

No matter what you do there will be back tracking and likely multiple stops in Antigua or GC. Try to average 3 nights/stop, less than that (imo) you're spending about half your days transitioning and only half exploring and enjoying. Good luck!

Windsor, Canada
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74 posts
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2. Re: Opinion on travel route please

Hi Hopeful,

Thanks for responding....you are the voice of reality!! It all sounds so 'doable' sitting at home on my couch with a map...but it might not be that enjoyable once there. We are used to very long road trips, and enjoy lots of driving around, but that is when we are behind the wheel. If the travel is interesting or scenic then we won't mind it too much. I was planning on 3 nights in each area so I guess we'll play it by ear as we go along and omit what we can't manage if it gets to be more work than play. That is the beauty of travelling with a plan but no commitments. The overnight bus doesn't appeal to me either because I can't sleep on planes/buses, reading gives me motion sickness and I won't be able to see any scenery. I checked the airfare and it is $156 each to fly back. Trying to keep the costs down, but if we start to run short on time at least we have that option. Thanks again for the help.

The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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3. Re: Opinion on travel route please

Maybe just leave Copán for near the end of your trip so you can decide to bag it if you only have 4-5 days to split between there and the lake or are sick of so many transition days. Honduras is worth a trip of it's own imo. Happy trails!

flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections (has my blog and travelogue links as well as my photos)

Bethesda, MD
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4. Re: Opinion on travel route please

I would do it in this order: start with the east, leaving from GC. Copan, RD, Tikal, then the bus back to GC and on to Antigua. Then the lake. Head back to Antigua or GC for your last night. I did the same three years ago, in about the same amount of time, except that I didn't go to Copan. Copan would likely be at least three days of your trip, and two of those would be traveling.

Windsor, Canada
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5. Re: Opinion on travel route please

Thank you for your input DonCraig! We head to Antigua first to climb Pacaya and then I think we will try your suggestion and travel east/north and then circle back to the Antigua and the lake. I think Flores to Pana will be too long so we will spend an extra night in Antigua on the way back. I'll let you all know how it works out when I'm back. Your advice was much appreciated...hope I can fit it all in...but it will be great no matter what!!

6. Re: Opinion on travel route please

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