4 weeks guatemala-honduras belize-mexico
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Nov 1, 2012 7:13 AM Last Post By: xinloi
Oct 29, 2012 12:46 PM
4 weeks guatemala-honduras belize-mexicoWe are a Dutch family with 2 kids age 15 and 17, we don't speak Spanish. We want to use shuttles to travel around We like nature, walking, snorkling and diving and we want to see the Maya ruines and some markets.
this is the schedule I made.
1-3 Antigua arrive in the evening pacaya
4-5 Semuc champey
6-9 Atitlan chichi walking, boat trip kayak or reserva
10-12 Copan ruinas hot spring Bird park
13-15 rio dulce/ boattrip livingstone
16-17 Flores tikal
18-19 san ignatio ATM
20-23 caye caulker snorkel,dive
24-27 Tulum coba,cenotes snorkel dive
28 Fly from cancun 15.30
29 Home europe
Any recommandations to change the order or add or leave parts out? First Atitlan and Semuc after rio dulce??
Good places to stay in the budget range?( but we prefere our own bathroom.)
Oct 29, 2012 2:55 PM
1Please take a look at a map and a guidebook or two and pare down your trip.
Travel in Guatemala is not that predictable and your schedule is way too packed as you are not including travel time into your itinerary.....unless your goal is to spend almost all of your time on the road.
For us, we enjoy the many destinations of our trips and take some time to see the area rather than just checking the boxes.
Oct 29, 2012 6:08 PM
2Where are you flying into? You mentioned flying out of Cancun, does that mean back to GUA? If you are arriving in Cancun, maybe rearrange a few things, like Belize first, then to Tikal etc.
For Antigua, I really enjoyed Casa Cristina. .
If you get down to Copan Ruinas, the Iguana Azul looked lovely! We stayed across the street from it one night and passed by it on all our travels. Looked very inviting. But, I would maybe save Honduras for another trip? And then combine Roatan with Copan. You already got a lot on your plate.
Oct 29, 2012 6:26 PM
3The part about going to Antigua and then to Semuc and back again to Atitlan in the highlands and then on to Copan makes me dizzy.
Oct 29, 2012 6:52 PM
4I think your schedule is a bit ambitious. Here is part (35 days) of my itinerary for my upcoming trip. You may not want as many days as I have around Lake Atitlan, but that won't give you enough extra days for all you want to do.
29, 30, 31 (2.5 days): Panajachel: nature reserve/ziplining; Chichi ; Solola market, Maya garden tour
32, 33, 34, 35: Santiago Atitlan: villages on lake, museum
36, 37: Jaibaito, Lake Atitlan: villages around lake, hiking
38-41 (4 nights): Antigua
42-46: Copan Ruinas: Ruins, museum, photography exhibit, bird sanctuary, ziplining, hot springs.
47, 48: Guatemala City: Ixchel Museum and historic centre
49, 50, 51: Coban: Quetzal biotope and/or Rey Marcos caves; coffee tour, orchid nursery
52, 53: Flores
54, 55: Tikal, stay in park 2 nights; Sunset and sunrise tours
56, 57: San Ignacio, ATM cave tour
58, 59: Chetumal: day trip to Bacalar; half day in town to visit museum before departure
60-63: Playa del Carmen
Day 64 depart Cancun airport.
Oct 29, 2012 7:18 PM
Oct 29, 2012 9:39 PM
6mwit and bcmum - both of your itineraries are dizzying - waaaaay more hustling from place to place than I'd find pleasant. They're both doable trips but busybusybusy. I really like to cram a lot into my visits to Central America but do it by avoiding so many days sitting on my backside in buses and shuttles - those days are just not pleasant enough to want to do them every few days for weeks at a time. To each his/her own - ¡buena suerte!
Oct 29, 2012 10:58 PM
7Stormbird, thanks, I will add this to my notes.
Almost all accommodation is booked, except Utz Jay was already full for end of February!
Hope you are out of the way of today's storms.
Hopefulist, I thought I had a very slow itinerary....9 days on the lake, 5 in Copan (I know this could have been even longer), before that 8 full days in SCDLC... the only times I have less than 3 nights in any place is when it is enroute to somewhere else, eg. Flores, I read it is a very boring place with nothing to do, and San Ignacio was added just to see the cave, I'd rather not stop at all in Belize, but seeing as they take that huge departure tax from you anyhow. I added Coban rather than fly to Tikal, as I like to see the countryside and do enjoy bus trips. I did think it would be too rushed to add Semuc champey in there. Do you really think it is too busy?
Oct 30, 2012 8:28 AM
Oct 30, 2012 3:24 PM
9Hey mwit2, from Antigua you can take a tourist shuttle directly to Lanquin/Semuc Champey. Probably it's easiest to arrange a tour from Antigua to Coban. When you come back, you can visit the lake. To Panajachel it is 2,5 hours (they say). My chicken bus got there in 3,5 hours, but the ride was pleasant enough. You can stay in Panajachel or take a boat to San Pedro, for example. I believe most people use Antigua as home base and since there are so many tour operators, I think for you that would also be easiest.
In low season (about 2 weeks ago) I paid 300Q for two shuttles together, from Flores (Tikal) to Semuc Champey and from Semuc Champey to Antigua. They both take about 8 hours, during the day. If you don't want to take the day shuttles, there is a direct night bus between Guatemala City and Flores, but that would mean skipping Semuc Champey.
Ow, you can also arrange transport from Semuc Champey to Rio Dulce. I don't know if there are shuttles from there, but I heard someone saying there's a bus of about 5/6 hours from Rio Dulce to Flores.
So, I'd recommend:
Antigua couple of days
Panajachel (Atitlán) and Copan, order doesn't matter, both couple of days, both going back to Antigua
from Antigua travelling to Semuc and from there either to Rio Dulce and after that Tikal, or skipping Rio Dulce.
Can't offer advice on Belize and the Yucatan... Veel plezier!!
Oct 30, 2012 10:51 PM
Oct 31, 2012 11:30 AM
11Hopefulist, since your comment, I've been thinking and thinking about it, as I don't like to rush. And I was sorta confused, because when I posted my original itinerary two weeks ago, all the comments said to add places in, not to take anything out!
So an extra hotel was added around the lake and the San Ignacio stop was put in, making 12 hotels on this part, rather than 10. I don't like changing hotels, but was convinced that Casa del Mundo was worth it. I have paid careful attention to logistics and the ease (or not) of doing things.
Well, I will think about it some more. I could cut out Coban completely and fly to Flores, adding one day each to Antigua and Copan Ruinas to cover those days, as my hotel reservations can be changed.
Oct 31, 2012 1:33 PM
12Antigua; Atilan and then Rio Dulce; from Rio Dulce you can get to Semuc Champey. From SC there is a 6 AM morning shuttle to Flores; Skip Copan and save that time for a visit to Chicken Itza while at Tulum.
Both of you mention Bird Park at Copan--It's not that great--just a bunch of caged birds. Only thing interesting about the place is to watch them wash all of the bird droppings into the stream just upstream of the pipe supplying water to the village of Copan.
Also BC--Chetemal is a nice towm--Very easy to see the museum and then take a quick bus out to Lake of Seven Colors--at Bacalar. Not a lot to see at the Lake. Note;; Guide books give wrong location for place to catch the bus. Ask locals where correct place is. And the bus to Bacalar loads inside the building, not out on the street with other buses.
Oct 31, 2012 2:36 PM
13I'm sorry to muddy the waters after all the work you've put into your itinerary! The bottom line is that we each have our own travel styles. Since I prefer to research and reserve ahead, I buy flexibility within that by staying a week or weeks in 1 spot and then being more open to spontaneous joys within that framework. Although we do it sometimes, we avoid strings of 1-2 nights per spot because it feels like more than half our time is lost to transitions and we get tired of packing up and resettling. Some folks like that, though - to each his/her own. Because I return to the region every year I don't feel the need to fit everything in; Last summer I spent about 3 weeks on Lake Atitlán, spent 4 days exploring Maya sites in Peten with Roxy Ortiz, then spent ~3 weeks in Belize split between 3 spots. >>
Re: the bird park by Copán, I find the run-off in the water system issue really troubling but have loved the park itself (I know, hypocritical). There are miles of hiking trails and I enjoyed hanging out inside the cages with the macaws - really impressive birds. Also, I really treasure some of the hilarious photos I've taken there with friends, like this one. :-)
Nov 1, 2012 12:28 AM
14Xinloi, thanks for your comments. I figure Bacalar would be nice for lunch and a little swim in the laguna. My son spent some time in Chetumal summer 2011 and Bacalar was the thing he liked best on his trip.
Great photo Stacey! You are right about me having a string of 2 night hotel stops near the end of my trip, I didn't really realize there were so many together. But what to do, when I don't want to stay longer in GC, S.I. or Chetumal... It is so hard to know in advance. Last year we did Guadalajara and Guanajuato on our March break holiday and I figured on too long in Guadalajara and we ran out of things to do. I do like travelling overland, as it gives me so much better a feel for the places. I think that comes from having really long road trips all my life!
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