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Guatemala itinerary questions

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Palmer, Alaska
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Guatemala itinerary questions

We're leaving for Guatemala very very soon and are making last minute changes to our itinerary...ugh. We will be in Guatemala from the 25th Sept (arriving guat city) and departing Oct 12th. Destination goals:

Antigua 3 days

Pana (casa del muendo) 2 days

chichi Market 1 day

semuc champay 2 days?

Flores, Peten 1 day

Tikal 2 days

Belize (open for suggestions)

Semuc champay is the new addition to our itinerary. Questions: whats the best way to get from guat city to Lanquin and Semuc Champay? Any suggestions to itinerary are very much welcome. Thanks

The Dalles, Oregon
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1. Re: Guatemala itinerary questions

Since you've got just over 2 weeks to split between Guatemala and Belize, I'd leave out Semuc Champey. There's no escaping 2 long travel days to get there and away so it would cost you 4 days for 2 days there, poor economy imo with limited time. I've seen photos - it's beautiful - but I've visited Guatemala 9 or 10 times and haven't made it there yet.

I'd add a day to the lake (2 nights = only 1 day to explore); you can go to Chichi between Antigua and the lake heading in either direction (market days are Thursday and Sunday as you probably already know). Most people visit as a day trip or you can plan to spend a night. You might not want to do that given your time frame but it's pretty awesome to watch the market set up the evening before and early on market day, then head out before the hoards of day trippers show up. Don't miss the amazing produce market in the commercial building; it's a highlight for me and most folks miss it.

I'd do 3 nights in Antigua, at least 3 on the lake (it's my favorite place on earth besides my own home), maybe an overnight in Chichicastenango, and 2 for the Petén, either both in the park or one in the park and one in Flores, depending on your transportation choices.

In Belize you'd have 8 or 9 nights. I'd spend 2-3 nights in the Cayo district; don't miss the ATM cave.

pacztours.net/tours/actun_tunichil_muknal.ht…

I'd end up on Caye Caulker and head to the Belize City airport from there for your flight home. Lots of photos and recommendations below. Happy trails!

flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections

Palmer, Alaska
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2. Re: Guatemala itinerary questions

your amazing, thank you so much for your response. i concur and our decision is to leave out Semuc Champey. we were told their is a mexican cartel causing troubles for travelers in that area as well so no semuc champey this year. We will reconsider another night at the lake as well. do you have any hotel recommends in antigua? there are so many beautiful places to stay its hard to decide. Have you stayed at hotel jungle lodge in the park? is it buggy? recommend? we're so excited thanks so much. there is currently a nurse at my side telling me to NOT miss ATM cave and cayo district.

The Dalles, Oregon
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3. Re: Guatemala itinerary questions

:-) My favorite hotel in the park is the Tikal Inn - nice big rooms around a (SO nice to have) pool. Archaelogist/naturalist Roxy Ortiz is a wonderful guide; she guides from there when she's not away on a dig, best to contact her directly at tikal_roxy@yahoo.com

My favorite hotel in Antigua is Casa Cristina - secure, well located, cute (though smallish) rooms, free agua pura and internet, helpful owners, $25-40/double/night.

www.casa-cristina.com

There are lots of options! Happy trails!

Burr Ridge, Illinois
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4. Re: Guatemala itinerary questions

Hopefulist, no wonder you are a DE for Guatemala. I have spent a good deal of time in the wonderful country of Guatemala and I wish I could come close to knowing as much information as you.

I toss in a few suggestions here and there, but you are a refreshing plethora of useful information.

Bethesda, MD
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5. Re: Guatemala itinerary questions

I don't know how many times I'd been to Guatemala before I finally got to Semuc. It's beautiful, but there are so many other things to see and do that are far more accessible. You might consider a stop in Rio Dulce for a few days on the way to Flores instead.

BTW, I am curious about where you read/heard about cartel activity causing trouble for travelers around Semuc. I haven't seen anything.

I second the recommendation on Casa Cristina in Antigua.

The Dalles, Oregon
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6. Re: Guatemala itinerary questions

Epicurean - I do love Guatemala and I do have opinions; don't know if that = knowledge but thanks for the shout out!

Palmer, Alaska
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7. Re: Guatemala itinerary questions

I contacted a travel company in Antigua re: travel to Semuc. She suggested I skip it due to low tourist season, mexican drug cartel activity and time. Thanks for the Rio Dulce recommend. I will look into it!

Antigua, Guatemala
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8. Re: Guatemala itinerary questions

While there is cartel activity in Guatemala, it is not impacting tourism at all. Do not let alarmist chismes deter you from a great trip to Guatemala.

A big second to Rio Dulce. You could stay at the Tortugal on the lake and make a day trip to Finca Paraiso, an amazing hot thermal waterfall that pours into a swimming lagoon fed by a cold stream...it's fantastic. It could be a decent replacement for Semuc Champey--which is, as everyone says, spectacular. But Finca Paraiso is as well in its own right.

Palmer, Alaska
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9. Re: Guatemala itinerary questions

Will look into it! 2 days left and so many new ideas! Thanks so much.

Port Richey, Florida
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10. Re: Guatemala itinerary questions

It is real eassy to get to Semuc Champey on your own without having to rely on a tour operator. Follow the advice I gave these people on the Lonely Planet forum:

Here is another way you could do it including Semuc Champey and Tikal.

22 Sep Arr GC. 12:00 depart for Coban via Monja Blanca

http://www.tmb.com.gt/horarios.htm connect to Semuc Champey http://www.cobanav.net/

23 Sep explore Semuc Champey

24 Sep Noon time departure for Flores/Tikal via Sayaxche

25 Sep Explore Tikal

26 Sep Day in Tikal/Flores Overnight bus back to GC

27 Sep Antigua

28 Sep Antigua

29 Sep Atitlan

30 Sep Atitlan

1 Oct Return flight

From what I've read from other people's feedback, there is transportation from Semuc to Flores. And it can also be arranged to fit your schedule. And its about five hours. But it can be done.

Monja B lanca has hourly service from GC to Coban out of their own terminal in GC. It's a five hour ride with a lunch stop at a good restaurant with clean restrooms. And in Coban theris avaiable transporttion to Lanquin/Semuc Champey. And hopefully you should be able to spend the night in Semuc. If not there are many reasonable clean hotels in Coban and you could take the first bus in the morning. And by the way that tour operator in Antigua is lying to you because as far as I know based on what I read on the papers on-line everything is fine in the area. Good luck

Edited: 21 September 2011, 16:24