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Help me confirm our itinerary/details for this July please

Chicago, Illinois
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Help me confirm our itinerary/details for this July please

Hello - you all are so helpful in this forum and I have been reading a lot. My 14 year old daughter and I are coming down this summer and are doing a week of Spanish school at La Cooperative. I am just trying to finalize my other details. We can't stay as long as we would like, but we are going to make the best of our extended week.

1. Arrive Thursday night June 28th and stay in a hotel near the airport.

2. I would like to fly to Flores on Friday morning for a quick trip to the Tikal. I have not booked flights to Flores yet, I believe hopefulist said it is better to do that through an agency. I don't necessarily want a group tour of Tikal, but I will look into some of the guides that have been mentioned. I have reserved Jungle lodge for both Friday and Sat nights for now, but can change that. All I know is that we need to arrive sometime on Sunday to San Pedro/La Cooperativa so I think we can fly back into GUA Sunday morning then get private transport. This is the main part I need to book and could use assistance with.

3. Spend the week in San Pedro doing our Spanish school with activities in the afternoon. Anything in particular we should do or see? We like to kayak and hike, afternoon cooking lesson, etc.

4. Friday afternoon July 6th head to Antigua for the weekend and we fly out Monday afternoon. We are exploring the possibility of hiking Acatenango - we are decent hikers and think we would enjoy this Saturday day and night, but then we wouldn't get to see much of Antigua. We will play this by ear for now but I have researched many tours that take you there.

We appreciate any tips as I finalize this trip with my daughter. We are really looking forward to it.

3 replies to this topic
St Austell
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1. Re: Help me confirm our itinerary/details for this July please

2 - We did the same earlier this year and the arrangements we made would probably suit you well too. We booked the airport shuttle with Jungle Lodge - here are the details of the service it runs, copied from another post I wrote a while back:

They have their own shuttle running three times a day between the hotel and the airport. Shuttles leave Flores airport to Jungle Lodge at 7.30, 18.30 and 20.30. The same service runs between Jungle Lodge to Flores Airport at 5.00, 16.00 and 20.00. Single trips are $20 pp. If you do the round trip it costs $30 pp. You need to book it in advance. I did it via email with them (info@junglelodgetikal.com) before we left the UK. I dealt with Claudia Gomez who could not have been more helpful.

If you book the 05.00 shuttle to Flores airport on Sunday morning, you can take the 08.00 flight back to GUA. I arranged for private transportation to Lake Atitlan from there, using a driver recommended by Hopefulist, the DE on this forum. Here are his details if you're interested - Alfredo Garcia - email address - alf.transport@yahoo.com. He was great and I second Hopefulist's recommendation. The journey to Lake Atitlan from the airport will take around 3.5 hours, depending on traffic. To reach San Pedro, your driver would probably drop you at the relevant boat jetty in Panajachel and from there you would take one of the frequent public boats heading across to San Pedro. You'd be there by early afternoon.

4 - Acatenango is a great hike but bear in mind you will be climbing to an elevation of just under 4000m and you might find the altitude a problem without acclimatisation. I did the hike after several days at Xela where I did some other hikes to around 3000m which prepared me for it, but some others in the group felt quite unwell.

All the best and enjoy your trip!

Sue

The Dalles, Oregon
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2. Re: Help me confirm our itinerary/details for this July please

chicago_mo02 - It sounds like a wonderful trip, making great use of your time. I'm sorry we'll just miss meeting - I'm arriving the week you leave to spend the rest of the month at La Cooperativa. Susie gives great advice above. Alfredo is our beloved go-to driver. As well, here are 2 transportation providers I’ve been pleased with in Guatemala for share shuttles, private transfers, and flight arrangements:

Adrenalina Tours: http://www.adrenalinatours.com

Rainbow Travel: http://www.rainbowtravelcenter.com

You've probably seen this but here are my favorite Tikal guides - such added value!

Archaeologist/naturalist Roxy Ortiz, based at Tikal Inn: www.tikalroxy.blogspot.com

Marlon Díaz: www.gemtrips.com

Around the lake, I'm fond of the Indian Nose hike (guided, not at dawn), and the hike from Santa Cruz to San Marcos along the lake. Volcán San Pedro is a tougher hike, might prepare you better for Acatenango. Visits to San Juan for the weaving coops and Santiago (google Stanley Rother and Maximón) are high on my list and Panajachel for some of the best shopping in Guatemala and the Pana Reserve. The Reserve in San Marcos is nice, too, and there are lots of nice markets including the big one in Sololá.

I haven't done the Acatenango hike but it's next on our list. You'd have Friday evening, half the day Sunday, and part of Monday in Antigua, enough time for a few good meals, some people watching in the parque central, and visits to a few of the colonial ruins.

Are you looking for hotel advice near GUA and in Antigua? Let us know. Happy trails!

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3. Re: Help me confirm our itinerary/details for this July please

One day at Tikal may or may not be enough depending on how much you enjoy it. You may want to look into taking a later flight back on Sunday. It might be disappointing to travel all the way to Tikal and when you are leaving, say "wow I wish we had more time here." It is one of those places that most people never have the opportunity to get back to again. The extra morning would give you a chance to take a sunrise tour or just spend more time in areas you missed the first day, and then depart with no regrets.

If you did this, there might be an issue in arriving at the Lake after the public lanchas have quit running, but private ones would still be operating.

A side note on the Jungle Lodge - there is a little history there as well. The bungalows (which are probably where you and your daughter are staying) were built in the 1950's as a housing village for the University of Pennsylvania archaeologists working at the site. A lot of interesting people have stayed there over the years.

Edited: 25 April 2018, 05:57
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