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4-5 days in antigua, book day trips now, or once we arrive?

denver, Colorado
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4-5 days in antigua, book day trips now, or once we arrive?

Hi our family of 4 (2 kids 10 & 12) will be traveling to Antigua for 4 or 5 days in mid/late august.

We are likely going to want to do a day trip or 2 (maybe to pacific beach or lake or volcano hike)

We don't have anything we have to do.. (other than choco museum).

Should we try to book from US or wait until arrival in Antigua.

casey

(PS I did find a similar question that said to wait until arrival, but since that post was from 8 years ago.. i figured a lot could have changed )

Edited: 19 May 2013, 17:24
Vieques
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11. Re: 4-5 days in antigua, book day trips now, or once we arrive?

One other point to make:

We came and went from the same hotel in Antigua, the Hotel Aurora and we were able to just pack an overnight bag for our jaunts to Tikal and Atitlan and they kept our bags. And because it was all aranged in advance thru Nancy, we only had to check in and out once, it was so easy.

Givat Olga
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12. Re: 4-5 days in antigua, book day trips now, or once we arrive?

Hopefulist and wholegrain, thanks for your answers!

Some more questions - What is the best mountain hiking or tour- near Antigua or near the lake - for 3-4 hrs max? The best stay on the lake is Pana, right? Read a little, it looks like eco situation there is not good - so no swimming?

The Dalles, Oregon
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13. Re: 4-5 days in antigua, book day trips now, or once we arrive?

I'd say this is my favorite hike around Antigua or the lake, usually called Indian Nose:

…blogspot.com/2012/07/hike-to-nariz-de-indio…

The Pacaya volcano hike, nearer Guatemala City but generally accessed by travelers from Antigua, is also popular. Though it's billed as a half day trip, counting the drive there and back it would be more than 3-4 hours.

Best place to stay around the lake depends on your budget, interests, and amount of days. For a quick trip Pana might be best - easiest to access and arguably the best shopping in the country. I've only ever stayed there for a night coming or going and have stayed weeks at a time in San Pedro. Some folks on this forum live in Pana or other towns around the lake and don't care for San Pedro - to each his/her own! Also, there are some very nice secluded properties between villages. Time for a guidebook! Happy trails!

Givat Olga
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14. Re: 4-5 days in antigua, book day trips now, or once we arrive?

Now I'm beginning to have second thoughts about going to Atitlan. I prefer volcano hiking, seeing breathtaking views, not cruising villages and definetely not shopping. So maybe I'll make one full day to vulcano and then for one more day there're some other places to see near Antigua?

The Dalles, Oregon
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15. Re: 4-5 days in antigua, book day trips now, or once we arrive?

There are lots of things to do in Antigua including some interesting villages and farms (coffee and macadamia nut) nearby. There's a local market and a huge variety of places to sleep, eat, and shop. A little goes a long way for me, though.

The views around the lake are really stunning - the views from the Pacaya volcano hike pale in comparison for me. I'm not much of a shopper but most folks like to take home souvenirs or gifts and the prices and selection in Pana make it a time and cost efficient place to do that. Also near Pana, the Panajachel Reserve gives easy access to jungly hiking with monkeys, sky bridges, and a huge waterfall.

The main reason the area around Lake Atitlán appeals to me so much more than Antigua is that each village has it's own traditional dress and customs. You'd be hard pressed to find anywhere in the world with easier access to more indigenous cultural color. Some of the villages like Panajachel, San Pedro, and Santiago have a touristy area but it's easy to get a block or 2 off the main drag and see how the locals live.

My photos with blog and travelogue links on the main page of each collection are below in case you'd like to check them out. The 2012 collection would give you a taste - 17 sets including many around the lake and 1 of Antigua. Good luck!

flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections

Vieques
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16. Re: 4-5 days in antigua, book day trips now, or once we arrive?

My husband was disappointedn in the volcano hike, it took an hour and a 45 minutes each way and with waiting around for other members of

the tour took most of the day. we wish we had visited the coffee and Macadamia plantations instead.

The views around Atitlan are truly spectacular and that is coming from someone who has a vacation home in the lake region of Chile.

were we to do it over , we would contact Lee Beal at the los Elementos adventure center.

tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g313832-d1…

If you are not into shopping I would stay somewhere other than Pana, maybe somewhere charming like los elementos or

Some of the small guest houses in Santa Cruz.

Lee specializes in adventure travel and could set you up with some great hikes.

Edited: 11 June 2013, 13:00
Vieques
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17. Re: 4-5 days in antigua, book day trips now, or once we arrive?

i meant to say the drive from Antigua to Pacaya took an hour and 45 minutes, not the hike. It was a long day in a car.

Panajachel...
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18. Re: 4-5 days in antigua, book day trips now, or once we arrive?

Don't miss Lake Atitlan! You will regret it!! As well as the Devil's Nose hike you can hike up San Pedro volcano - for hikes around the lake contact Lee from Kayak Guatemala. http://kayakguatemala.com/. Lake Atitlan is one of the natural wonders of the world and a totally different, but equally wonderful, experience to Antigua! Antigua is not the real Guatemala....Lake Atitlan is much closer to the real Mayan Guatemala!!

Crowsnest Pass...
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19. Re: 4-5 days in antigua, book day trips now, or once we arrive?

#12 - Old Time Outfitters in Antigua offers guided mountain biking trips at every level. You might want to check them out. They get consistently good reviews. They also offer a variety of hikes in the region.

20. Re: 4-5 days in antigua, book day trips now, or once we arrive?

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