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Time Allocation for Antigua and Tikal

San Diego...
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Time Allocation for Antigua and Tikal

Hi all,

I am doing my homework for my trip to Guatemala. I will be arriving Guatemala City 8 AM from Los Angeles in November. I am thinking of going straight to Antigua then Tikal. Alternatively, I can go straight to Tikal then Antigua.

I am wondering if there is any advantages/disadvantages with Antigua then Tikal or Tikal then Antigua. I have only 6 full days in Guatemala and am considering 3 days in each city aforementioned. Can any frequent travelers to these cities or native can give me some pointers with regard to time allocation?

Should I even budget any time for Guatemala City itself? My interests are colonial architecture, food, museums.

Thank you very much in advance.

Bethesda, MD
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1. Re: Time Allocation for Antigua and Tikal

I think most would find two days at Tikal to be enough; many do it in one day. The Mayan textile and natural history museums in Guatemala City are well-regarded and might be of interest to you.

Seems a shame to go all that way and not visit Lake Atitlan.

San Diego...
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2. Re: Time Allocation for Antigua and Tikal

Hi DC_Chapin:

I was going to Buenos Aires but considering the time constrain and long flight, I change to Guetamala. This is really a last minute kind of trip for me. Also, I am a slow traveler as I emphasize on experience (dining, chit chatting with locals or whatever), I prefer to do less and enjoy more. But I will look into lake Atilan and see how that might fit into my plans. I am still doing research. Many thanks for your reponse.

Port Richey, Florida
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3. Re: Time Allocation for Antigua and Tikal

Hi here. The best thing you can do to make better use of your time is to

to take a bus www.litegua.com to the the rio dulce area as soon as you arrive. If you catch the 10 AM bus you'll get there around 3PM spend the night at Bruno's, a good hotel with reasonable rates. Doing it this way you'll be able to break up the 8/10 hour ride from GC to Santa Elena/Flores. Spend the day exploring the area. You could easily catch in the town of Rio Dulce an overnight bus coming from GC to Santa Elena/Flores around midnight www.grupofuentedelnorte.com and get there around 6AM. Then take a an overnight bus back to GC and that way you should still have time to spend maybe a day around Antigua or maybe Atitlan. Otherwise you'll be having to backtrack to GC as there are no direct buses from Antigua to Flores/Tikal. Six day is not enough to cover that much. And visiting Tikal should be the highlight of your trip to Guatemala. But I wouldn't take any chances coming back from Tikal on the day before my return flight because anything can happen on the road in terms of a bus breakdown or accidents that could block the road for hours.

The route is perfectly safe. Don't pay attention to scare mongers that more than likely only repeat baseless rumors. Good luck

San Diego...
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4. Re: Time Allocation for Antigua and Tikal

Hi Kyle:

Thank you very much for the detailed response. I just saw the map and Tikal is way up North. Due to the distance, I might skip Tikal then. It means I will focus more on Antigua, Lake Atilan, and Guatemala City (in the order of priority). Do you think this is a better use of time? I just need to research and see what to see or do in Guatemala City.

The Dalles, Oregon
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5. Re: Time Allocation for Antigua and Tikal

With just 6 days I wouldn't focus on GC. Tikal is amazing and I would include it if you think this is the only trip you'll make to the region. If you think you'll visit Guatemala or Belize in the future, maybe save it for a future trip. It's only an hour or so by air if you can afford to fly and the night buses are popular (though I haven't been tempted).

My photos with links are below in case you're interested. Happy trails!

flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections

San Diego...
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6. Re: Time Allocation for Antigua and Tikal

Thank you Hopeful. I saw some photos and they look great.

Port Richey, Florida
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7. Re: Time Allocation for Antigua and Tikal

Arriving at 8AM I think you should be able to catch the 10 AM Fuente del Norte bus for Santa Elena/Flores.

grupofuentedelnorte.com/index.php/itinerarios

Clearing inmigration and customs is quick in guatemala. And I agree with Stacey about trying not to miss out on a trip to explore Tikal which IMO should be the highlight of your trip to guatemala. And as she suggests you could also fly, but it's very expensive. Check www.tag.com/gt or www.taca.com But if you're young, in good shape and adventourous take the bus and save yourself a ton of money. You could also spend your first day walking around zone one in GC. And then take any of the overnigh buses to Tikal. Catch some zzzzz on the comfortable first class bus and by the time you wake up you'll be in Santa Elena/Flores and from there it's about 45 minute ride to Tikal.

Then you could this:

Day 2/3 Explore Tikal

Day 3 take overnight bus back to GC

Day 4/5 Atitlan

Day 6 Antigua

Day 7 Fly Home

Good luck

San Diego...
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8. Re: Time Allocation for Antigua and Tikal

Thank you, Kyle for the suggested itinerary.

9. Re: Time Allocation for Antigua and Tikal

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