Palenque to Flores via Yaxchilan & Bonampak
Replies: 20 - Last Post: Nov 11, 2012 3:25 PM Last Post By: CascadeBob
Nov 7, 2012 10:39 PM
15Heyduke what is the cost to go to Frontera Corozal to Tikal? CP
Nov 8, 2012 6:05 AM
16I don¡t remember the cost from Palenque to Tikal but it seems like it was $450.00 mx. So it might be close to half that.
Nov 10, 2012 10:30 PM
Now I'm sitting confortably in a hostel in Flores I thought i would let you know how my little adventure went :)
On the whole I stand by my decision to do the trip from Palenque independently. It was a great experience and helped improve my spanish massively (from the moment i left Palenque i didnt meet anyone you could speak a word of english except for other travellers until i got off the boat at Bethel) In a way this was fun, but quite frustrating at the same time.
Although the trip cost around 3300 pesos for the two of us, where a tour including the same things would have been just under 3000 we did manage to get 3 hours in Yaxchilan and 1 and a half in Bonampak as opposed to 2 and 1 on the tours which we felt we desperately needed, still had to rush away from Yaxchilan, but we were distracted by warring groups of howler monkey for a little while (but that sort of thing is half the beauty of the area) as well as an hour around the beautiful jungle walk at Rio Lanjaya in the village near Bonampak.
Also we managed to do the trip at our own pace, staying 2 nights instead of the tours usual 1, giving us flexibility to get up, eat and sleep when we wanted, not a bad trade for 300 pesos.
The main problem we had was the lack of other ppl trying to do the same independent trip, we didnt manage to share any of the lanchas with anyone because everyone else was on package tours, if we had managed to share these costs i'm sure it would have come out cheaper than the tour.
With the crossing to bethel there was nothing in the way of organised transport from Frontera Corozal. You just get the lancha across (we paid 300 pesos for the two of us) it was a twenty min easy ride. When you arrive at bethel there is someone to change your pesos to quetsals, their exchange rate is 2 pesos to a quetsal so i suggest doing what we did and try to use up as much of your pesos in food and drink before making the crossing. We crossed at a similar time to a group with San Juan travel, the tout for them offered to cram us in with the tour to flores for 100 quetzals each, which we refused. He assured us the public bus wouldnt be there until 1, it was about 11. Not wanting to stay there alone in no-mans land for 2 hours we managed to get an empty minibus to oursleves for 70 quetzals each. The san juan followed us to immigration where after the tout muttered something about money to the official that i didnt catch, we were charged 40 quetzals each. I was pretty sure this was wrong but as i started to argue they laughed me off and my spanish wasnt good enough to get anywhere so i gave up.
The journey to flores was bumpy but ok, only taking us around 3 hours (i saw ppl from the san juan tour booking into the same hostel over 2 hours later having been dropped at atms to get money for tours and accommodation the tout had sold them).
In conclusion i think if you are travelling solo then take a tour (although as we were a couple the prices were halved), hopefully if more ppl read this you could spread the travel costs, but it seemed unlikely atm. You cant get a tour from frontera though, so would have to get the transfer from Palenque, saw it advertised for about 400 pesos i think. If you could find a couple of ppl in frontera to share the trip with then i definately reccomend independently (if you know some spanish and are willing to haggle fairly hard). It takes some hard work and patience but the rewards of extra time are worth it and i feel quite proud that i managed it without the sleazy tour guides :)
Edited by: beardedbackpacker
Nov 11, 2012 7:37 AM
18Glad to read that you made your trip okay and that you were smart to avoid the awful scammers of San Juan. Here is a tip when they try to charge you to enter Guatemala ask for a recieptt that should end any request for money because there is no legal fee to enter Guatemala. If you had had US dollars they would haves asked for five dollars..
Nov 11, 2012 10:19 AM
Glad to hear you were successful and thanks for taking the time to share your experiences. I have a couple of questions; Is it possible to book the minibus from Bethel to Tikal from Palenque or even better at Frontera Corozal? Then stay at Frontera Corozal overnight, wake up the next morning at a civilized time, take the boat accross river either with others or alone (the boat trip price is relative small in relationship to transport Bethel /Tikal) and then meet the minibus at the aggreed time? If it is not possible to do this, how difficult is it to find a minibus or taxi to drive to Tikak? Where are you going from Tikal.
Good luck and looking to hear fom you.
Nov 11, 2012 3:25 PM
(4 star Hotel)
From US$70.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$92.59 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$82.49 per night