This country is so wonderful to travel in and has amazing scenery. Even lots of men I have met say it’s beautiful. Not usually a word they would use so it must be true. And it is!! Guatemala City itself is not all that clean and most tourists only stop off here if they are catching an early morning flight out or get in late. This is a small town with some very old buildings, churches and a ton of history to soak up. There is a hill behind the town and this gives you a great view of Antigua. It is not dangerous to go walking up here alone and there are Police on duty. (For some time there was a problem with youths robbing people on the pathway). Like all markets, they have everything for sale, from fruits to blankets, and the colors are brilliant, even one of the fruits I tried was brilliant purple.
Antigua is surrounded by 3 volcanoes, one of which I went to and walked on the hard lava crust while the red hot lava flowed underneath. Even toasted marshmallows. Guatemala has 37 volcanoes, with 4 being active.
It’s captivating like all of Guatemala. Around Lago de Atitlan are small villages and a day boat trip is a must. In one of the villages buy the world famous pottery. Why do I say world famous, because I meet a Canadian lady who was there especially to buy some. (Not being world famous to me, I can’t remember to name of it.
Tikal was an experience that I can’t describe. Sitting at the top of the tallest pyramid, looking down on the whole site, see the top of other pyramids pointing skywards above the trees, the sound of birds, monkeys. No need to book a bed in Flores as there are loads of hostels and hotels. The hostel/hotel can book you on the bus for Tikal as soon as you get there. From Flores I took the bus through to Belize City.
Travel Tips for Guatemala
No need to book a shuttle to Antigua if you are flying in to Guatemala City. There are plenty waiting at the airport and they will take you right to your accommodation.
I only booked my first night. Getting a bed is no trouble, even when moving to the next town.
Take shuttle vans between towns. Guatemala is so set up for tourists there is no problem with getting vans, buses, boat tours etc.
Be aware if walking about in Guatemala City after dark, otherwise the rest of the country is very safe.
Talk with the locals. Not good for us if we want to practise our Spanish.
This is a great country to learn Spanish. There are several language schools.
Spend your money.
Climb a volcano
If you do the active volcano close to Antigua, take marshmallows or something similar to toast (and a long stick ).Take some money with you to so if the climb gets the better of you hire a horse. They follow you waiting for you to collapse. Bargain the price down here as they do charge a lot and in my case where trying to get me to pay in US dollars. (I love the sense of humour of these people).
For alot of them tourism is there income but best of all, they have a beautiful country for us to visit.
Internet cafes are in abundance so no worries on sending those emails home.
If you are not going to Honduras you can do the Copan Ruins from Atitlan. They have tours going everyday which makes it a handy way to do these ruins.