Guatemala Guide

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Guatemala Guide

Tips and Tricks for Guatemala (As Of 2012)


Getting There – From San Pedro, head to the church and grab a chicken bus for Xela. We paid 30Q each. You will be dropped off in Menerva market, from there walk to the other side of the market and catch a caminota to Parque Central for 1.25Q each. Everything is in walking distance from there.

Staying – Don Diego is alright, they have a kitchen and wifi. The walls are super thin! We paid 100Q for a private room. You can also get a room at Miguel de Cervantes for 240Q for a week, private room. They don’t have dorms.

Eating – We loved the Taiwanese Empanada place down the back of the market, 3Q for one and so good! Sabor de India is delicious but expensive! There are some good bakeries around too. We cooked a lot to save money.

Getting Around – Xela itself is very walkable. You can take chicken buses to many surrounding areas. DO NOT bring valueables, purses, or significant amounts of money if you do check out the surrounding towns.

San Pedro:

We would highly recommend The San Pedro Coopertiva as a Spanish school. The setting is beautiful, the teachers are great and we met a lot of wonderful people while there. Plus, you can’t beat the prices:
Hours/Just Classes/Classes and Homestay (all prices in USD)
4/$95/$155 (most common option)

We would advise against using Casa Verde for your transportation, even though they are the cheapest. There is a reason for that! Atitlan Travel is much more organized and the woman that runs that shop is a sweetheart.

Getting There – We took a shuttle from Antigua to San Pedro from the Black Cat Hostel for 65Q each. The shuttle was over packed and late but we made it safely to the Lake. After taking a chicken bus as well, we honestly don’t know which option is worse. You just need to decide if you are a shuttle or chicken bus person.

Staying – We stayed at Zoola for 50Q per person in a private room, shared bath with Fiona. Then we moved to Pinocchio Hotel and paid 100Q for a private room, private bath, hot water, wifi and kitchen. After 2 nights there we went to find something cheaper. On the other side of the Santiago dock you can find really good deals. Hotel San Francisco has great views and is run by a Mayan family. We had the top room and paid 50Q per night for both of us. Only downfall to Hotel San Francisco was shitty wifi. Hotel Peneleu was perfect in our minds. We paid a weekly rate of 250Q ($32 per week for both of us!), had a great room, the kitchen was big, fast wifi, most of the other people there were students and Alberto the owner is really great.

Eating – We cooked as much as possible while in SP but there were a few highlights. Café Cristalinas has the best coffee in town hands down. They grow, roast and grind their own coffee not to mention great Guatemalan breakfasts. Hummus Ya has some amazing falafel pitas. The little Taquerilla close to the Santiago dock on the left has yummy chicken tacos, 3 for 10Q. Also, Fata Morgana has some super tasty ciabatta sandwiches. We have to say, Buddha bar is the only place that is going off at night if you are looking for a drink.

Getting Around – San Pedro is small, you can walk everywhere. To get to any other town on the lake you can take a launcha. We paid 10Q each person each way from SP to San Marcos. There are a ton of travel agencies in town you can find transport to the market for 50Q roundtrip and to other destinations throughout Guate and Central America.


Getting There – From Lanquin, we took a shuttle to Antigua for 100Q per person. Normally taking shuttles is against everything we do, but things aren’t quite as safe as they are in Asia. Not to mention it’s a good 8+ hours to Antigua and a shuttle speeds things up a little bit.

Staying – We stayed at Hostal Santiago for a couple of nights and paid 150Q for a room with 2 double beds, a kitchen, wifi and cable tv. The prices we paid on New Year’s aren’t a fair judgment of the actual cost, but it should be around 60-70Q for a dorm bed at most places. We stayed at Hostal Antigua for a few nights and would highly recommend it. The place was super clean, you get a new towel every day, there is a nice kitchen and did we mention how comfy the beds are? This isn’t the Black Cat party all night but it’s a good value for the money.

Eating – We cooked as much as possible and there’s a pretty decent grocery store only a few blocks from the town center. The only place we would recommend going to that we actually ate at is Toca Baru. We got the falafel pitas and absolutely loved them! We paid 17Q for each of them.

Getting Around – Antigua is easily navigated on foot. If you need to get anywhere there is a travel agency or 10 on every road.


Getting There – From Flores- Lanquin is essentially Semuc Champey even though they are 40 minutes apart. We noticed many of the shuttles in Flores charging more for a shuttle to Semuc Champey but it’s total BS. If dropped off at El Retiro (just outside of Lanquin), which we are sure 90% of shuttles do, then there are plenty of touts that are more than happy to drive you the remaining 40 minutes to the other lodges for free. We paid 150Q each which was an extremely inflated price due to the timing, traveling between Christmas and NYE is just horrible no matter where you are. Be prepared for an 8-9 hour ride on switchback, potholed roads.

Staying – We stayed at El Retiro in a private room for 100Q per night because that is all they had left. The dorms are 35Q per bed. We personally liked El Retiro mainly for the location; it’s in walking distance of Lanquin.

Eating – If you are a bit eater the all you can eat buffet at El Retiro for 50Q might be your best bet. If you are looking for something different there is a small family run place on the left hand side of the road when you are headed into Lanquin. It’s hard to miss. The food is cheap, good and there are Guatemalan and vegetarian options.

Getting Around – The only transport you will need is to get to Semuc Champey. The tour is definitely the best value for the money since there are entrance fees to both the caves and Semuc Champey on top of paying for transport. The all day tour will run you 165Q. Heading out of Lanquin is easy, just book though Retiro. They have fair prices for shuttles to anywhere in Guatemala and surrounding countries.


Getting There – From the border of Belize- You can easily walk from the border to the bus terminal…just head straight up the hill. We opted for the 30Q each collectivo to Santa Elena. Once in Santa Elena it’s easy to get a tuk tuk to Flores for 17Q for the both of us (gringo price of course).

Staying – We stayed at Los Amigos for 120Q per night (over Christmas) and this included a double bed with shared bathroom and wifi (when it worked). We would probably recommend staying at Dona Goya since it’s a little cheaper for the exact same amenities. Also as a heads up, if you’re planning on staying at the dorm in the main building, you might want some earplugs from people drinking at night and others getting up at 4am to go to Tikal.

Eating – The cheapest place to eat in town by FAR is in the town center by the church or at the food stalls down by the water. At the small taqueria by the church you can get combos for only 20Q each which will include a drink and a combo of a torta, tacos, burritos, or tostadas. There are also combos for tacos and liquados which are cheaper.

Getting Around – This is definitely another place where you don’t need to take any transportation other that when you first arrive at the main shuttle/bus terminal. You COULD walk it, but it’s a hike. If headed to Lanquin most people opt for the shuttle, the bus terminal is a better choice if headed to Guat City.


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