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Initial itinerary

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Kure Beach, North...
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Initial itinerary

Hopefulist has already weighted in on this but I did want to see what other opinions were out there. My husband and I are in our late 60's and are very active and love to travel. We especially love to shop at the handicraft markets. I'm concerned that my time allocated to each town is "too much " or "too little". Any replies are greatly appreciated.

Day 1. Arrive in Guatemala City

2. Fly to Tikal

3. Tikal

4. Tikal to Guatemala City to antigua

5. Antigua

6. Antigua ---comalapa market

7. Antigua to Lake Atitlan--Panajachel

8. Panajachel --Solola or San Francisco del alto

9. Panajachel

10. Chicicastingo

11. Panajachel to Guatemala City

12. Home.

Any thoughts on day 8. Are they easy to get to and if so which one would you suggest.

Madison, Wisconsin
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1. Re: Initial itinerary

Your itinerary seems fine to me. I'm a little unclear on what you plan to do in Solola or San Francisco el Alto: were you intending on going to those markets?

If so, I would first say that the Solola market isn't that great. The only interesting thing is the people-watching, which you could do in any town around Lake Atitlan. If you simply want to see a traditional market you could visit the one in Antigua (next to the handicrafts market). Antigua's market is bigger, and always buzzing, even on non-market days. If you want to shop for handicrafts, you should buy them in Panajachel where they are cheaper, or skip the middlemen and buy them directly from one of the many weaving cooperatives or handicraft cooperatives in towns around the lake.

The San Francisco el Alto market is quite a trek from Panajachel. Are you sure you want to spend 2+ hours of mountain driving both there and back on the same day? Also, you you need to make sure that your "day 8" is in fact a market day for that particular market. I think San Francisco El Alto's market is once a week, on a Friday.

Here is a list of markets and market days in Guatemala that I found online: www.mayalandia.com/activities/markets.php

Personally, I would recommend that you replace at least one of your market days with hiking, walking, or biking out in the countryside. I would want to balance all the haggling and sensory-overload you experience in the market with a hiking, kayaking, or birding trip, or visiting a coffee finca.

Mi Wuk Village...
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2. Re: Initial itinerary

I hit all the markets since I buy in bulk. Comalapa market is not a big handicraft market. The town is noted for its style of naif paintings. For that though Santiago Atitlan has a much more interesting selection. Solola market is easy to reach from Pana. Pickups leave from the top of Santander. For a few Q you are there in minutes. I've been to San Francisco el alto... very few handicrafts but a huge market. From the lake it is a pain. Xela...while grungy.. is surrounded by lots of villages like San Francisco. Each has it's own market day. If you had a week you could operate out of Xela and take a bus each morning from the second class station to a different village. Best shopping given your time limits is Pana. If you are looking for a particular type of handicraft let me know. While in Antigua go to Nim Pot..under the arch. They have the best selection of high end huipils to be found anywhere. Not cheapest. But they have been buying for years from weavers that wouldn't sell to others.

Kure Beach, North...
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3. Re: Initial itinerary

Thank you both for your great input. We are looking forward to being tourist and handicraft shoppers---we are not into hiking, biking and our walking is tto visit historical sites and shop for crafts. We own three gift shoppes and buy things like jewelry,unique signs ,ornaments, and small piece of clothing for adults and children'--we also buy unique toys and things we thing will sell in the USA. This makes us totally different from all of our competitors. But that's why we like to visit markets. If this modifies your recommendations, we welcome your changes to our itinerary.

Mi Wuk Village...
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4. Re: Initial itinerary

As I said, I buy in bulk. Pana is a logical base for you. Some of the Pana merchants are wholesalers. Do you know about shipping and customs (US)?

Kure Beach, North...
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5. Re: Initial itinerary

How do you define bulk. What suggestions do you have on shipping and customs. What have you found most popular with your USA customers---we are in the South so cold weather things are not an option. thanks again.

Mi Wuk Village...
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6. Re: Initial itinerary

Bulk....couple hundred kilos on up. At that size economies of scale in air freight set in. Is that a quantity you are interested in? If so I'll go through the procedure. Otherwise I'll suggest other ways. Lengthy so don't want to type out a big list if you can't use it.

Kure Beach, North...
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7. Re: Initial itinerary

Wow that is way more than we need or buy--but I would be interested in what type of things you find in demand. Thanks

Mi Wuk Village...
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8. Re: Initial itinerary

Highest demand items...beaded jewelry, beanies are the tops. Jewelry is good due to high value to weight ratio. Hammocks sell but I don't deal in them due to the weight/value. Carved masks. Those you buy in Chichi. Beware of someone trying to steer you to a certain vendor. There are other wood items...brightly painted boxes and such. But again, tossing one or two in luggage isn't a way to make any money. Bags. Best sellers are the crocheted ones. Send best are those made from recycled huipils. Table runners. Leather...belts go well. A good place for higher end leather is Pastores...village just outside Antigua. Wholesafe prices kick in at a fairly low number on many things. Being able to get that and take advantage of cheap shipping makes all the difference in hopping to make a profit. Shipping...give me an estimate of weight and I'll point you to a location. Have you experience with customs? I'm being vague on certain details due to an individual on here. Give an email if you feel comfortable or get TA to fix the message function.

Madison, Wisconsin
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9. Re: Initial itinerary

My aunt also buys stuff in Guate to sell in the U.S. I would also recommend using Pana as your home base. She spends most of her time in Antigua but when she buys, she never buys in Antigua except for vendors she already has established relationships with.

A note about quality. She buys lots of t-shirts with embroidered designs on them, and the thing about the embroidered stuff (and some of the woven tableclothes and runners) is that it often bleeds. And the t-shirts shrink. The vendors will assure you that it won't bleed or shrink, but that is B.S. You need to make sure that you're buying quality stuff, unless you are pretty sure that your customers won't come back to you asking for a refund after an entire load of laundry was ruined.

That's why sometimes it is worth it to buy tableclothes and runners from a weaving coop--the quality is usually higher (as is the price), and they have to stand behind their product because they are not the middleman.

I bought belts in Pastores the last time I was there. The leather is excellent, and extremely high quality. But the buckle broke a week after I started wearing it.

The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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10. Re: Initial itinerary

Beware - so threatening that I have a favorite folk artist in Chichi! ;-)

Arturo's beautiful masks grace the walls of my home and some of my best beloveds - really creative blend of old and new.

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