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Totally Confused

Beaufort, South...
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Totally Confused

Is it easy getting around Guatamala on your own instead of a organized tour? [we are young 60's]

A shuttle from G C airport to Antigua readily available?

Getting to Lake Atilan...... Hotel arranges transportation?

Are there boat taxis to the different villages?

Which is the best Indian market?

Thanks in advance... not sure on how to organize the transportation.

Bethesda, MD
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1. Re: Totally Confused

You can get around easily on your own. Shuttles will be waiting at the airport to take people to Antigua for $10 per person. Your hotel can likely arrange your onward transportation, but I've been using STA for years and they are reliable: http://www.transportguatemala.com/index.php

There are lanchas to take you to various villages around the lake.

The best Mayan market is a matter of some debate, and may vary depending on what you're looking for. The market in Chichicastenango is an experience in and of itself, but many think the shopping is better in Panajachel. You can also find quality typical goods in Santiago Atitlan and San Juan.

Seattle, Washington
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2. Re: Totally Confused

You can easily get around the main tourist centers of Guatemala without booking an organized tour. A lot depends on your budget, your comfort level in a Spanish-speaking environment, and your tolerance for uncertainty. If you don't feel comfortable not knowing exactly how you will get from point A to point B, then you probably ought to pre-book a shuttle for your trips. Elizabeth Bell's Antigua Tours seems to have the most reliable ones; they don't pool their passengers with other operators, and the shuttles tend to be less full, so you spend less time traveling among the various hotels of the other guests. But they also cost more. You can also have your Antigua hotel arrange for a shuttle to meet you at the airport; this too will cost a bit more.

Specific answers: You can easily find a shared shuttle or taxi for Antigua as you exit customs at the airport. The cab fare for two passengers will be about $10-15 more than a shared shuttle and will take you directly to your hotel.

Transport from Antigua to and from the lake can be booked with the help of your hotel or through a travel agency. Again Antigua Tours is probably a more comfortable, but costlier, option. Other posters praise Adrenalina Tours and Rainbow Tours, and when I've used them their shuttles have been crowded but otherwise OK.

The public lanchas at the lake are colorful and fun. The crew generally understand Spanish but speak either Tzutujil or Kachiquel. However, they likely will understand enough English to leave you off where you want to go. Otherwise, your fellow passengers can help. If you want a more direct trip with an operator who may know at least a little more English, some of the higher end hotels have their own boats. You can also book a private lancha.

The market at Chichicastenango is the best known and perhaps the largest. Every tourist is obliged to visit it at least once.

Happy travels.

The Dalles, Oregon
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3. Re: Totally Confused

You can just walk out of the airport and choose someone who has "Antigua" on a sign; the cost will be $10 per person. You may have to wait a few minutes for the van to fill and a few minutes on the other end if others are dropped at their hotels/destinations in Antigua before you are. Be sure to have your hotel address handy; they'll say they know where it is to get your business but that hasn't always the case for me.

You can hire a taxi on the spot; cost might be $25-35, depending on your negotiating skills (shared, not per person). When I'm arriving at night I have my hotel - http://www.casa-cristina.com - arrange a shuttle for me, $30-35 for up to 3; many hotels will make arrangements for you and Spanish schools will, too. After a long trip it's kind of nice to exit the airport and see my name on a sign but I usually only do that if I'm arriving after dark.

Here are 2 transportation providers I’ve been pleased with in Guatemala for share shuttles, private transfers, and flight arrangements:

http://www.adrenalinatours.com

http://www.rainbowtravelcenter.com

All forms of transit from the airport should accept USD. If you arrive late and decide you'd rather sleep near the airport and head to Antigua in the morning, here are 2 recommended hotels just a couple of minutes from the airport that offer free airport shuttles as well as breakfast in the morning; the 1st is budget, the 2nd midrange, both great value:

http://hoteldoslunas.com/

http://hostalvillatoscana.com/

I love the Chichicastenango market if I spend the night before or arrive hours earlier than the throngs of day trippers - the activities on the church steps and the gorgeous produce market in the commercial building make it worth the trip. I agree with Craig that the shopping is better in Panajachel.

My photos with blog and travelogue links on the main page of each collection are below in case you're interested - all my recommendations are embedded there. Happy trails! flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections

Beaufort, South...
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4. Re: Totally Confused

Thinking about going in September or October rainy season?

Spliting the time in Antigua 3 days and Pana.7 days. Is 10 days enough time to see the area and relax? Now I have to start Hotel looking. I think its best to stay in Pana and go from there? opinions please.

Bethesda, MD
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5. Re: Totally Confused

It comes down to your preferences. Personally, around the lake I prefer to be anywhere but Pana, which I find to be too touristy and too busy. I like San Pedro, which in some ways has the same issues as Pana, but to a lesser degree and they are more easily avoided. I like the Santa Cruz villages of Tzununa and Jaibalito for their authenticity, though they are more isolated -- fantastic if that's what you're looking for -- and have little to do right in the village. I also like Santiago Atitlan, though the views aren't as nice as you get in San Pedro and the north shore.

The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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6. Re: Totally Confused

That's a good split of time. I agree with Craig's assessments, above. Here are links to some of my favorite hotels in Guatemala:

Antigua: www.casa-cristina.com

--

Panajachel: Mario's Rooms: http://www.mariosroomsatitlan.com and last I heard, this is the email address: mariorodasts@gmail.com

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San Pedro La Laguna:

http://hotel-sakcari.com/

http://www.mikasohotel.com/

Beaufort, South...
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7. Re: Totally Confused

thanks again every-one for all your help. Will probably have more ? at a later time.

8. Re: Totally Confused

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