Trip Report--Budget and Itinerary Mexico/Guatemala
Replies: 3 - Last Post: Apr 23, 2013 12:52 AM Last Post By: pedromex
Apr 16, 2013 12:22 AM
Trip Report--Budget and Itinerary Mexico/Guatemala(Cross posted to Guatemala, as well)
Last October I posted my tentative itinerary for a nine week trip to Mexico and Guatemala with my 18 year old daughter and asked for comments—thanks again to all of you who replied. (Note: that thread has mysteriously been edited, with several responses to me deleted) We had a fantastic time, and two of the suggestions—the Biotopo de Quetzal and ATM tour-- turned out to be highlights of our trip. Our itinerary (at the bottom of this post with my favourite thing about each stop) worked very well for us. It wasn’t hard determining in advance where to go, but it was harder deciding how long to stay in each place, and for the most part I got that pretty well.
Of the places we visited, Copan Ruinas in Honduras was the overall favourite. Such a lovely little town with many interesting and fun things to do. Antigua was the most disappointing. It felt sad to me, like a giant foreign vacuum had sucked the spirit out of it. Most surprising was Chetumal—we loved the city! I had heard so many negative reports about it and just can’t figure out why.
I thought I would post a bit about costs. For those of you who have travelled in these areas before, you know all of this. But for someone considering a trip here for the first time, it may help them with planning.
Not counting my airfare to and from Mexico, my total spending was $60 per day. This includes everything—souvenir shopping, all transportation, hotels, food and drink and tours and admissions. This was not a backpacker budget; you could do it for quite a bit less. We stayed in nice hotels, always with a private bath. Hotel costs averaged $21 per person, per night. We ate really well in restaurants, whatever we wanted. I had steak dinners when I felt like it, with wine or drinks. But I am cost conscious and wouldn’t get an alcoholic drink if the price was inflated to the level of at home (eg. $7) and we love tasty but cheap tamales, tacos and enchiladas. Didn’t do any heavy drinking or nightlife.
Transportation was comprised of ADO buses in Mexico except for the collectivo to the border, chicken buses and two tourist shuttles in Guatemala , luxury bus to Copan Ruinas and back to Guatemala City, and collectivo vans. Transport costs totalled $300 more or less. The cost of the most expensive tours and activities added up to $530; all other lower cost admissions under $20 weren’t tallied into this amount. All in all, great value in a beautiful area of the world.
Nights 1, 2: Cancun-favourite thing--walking around the city;
3, 4, 5: Isla Mujeres- beach;
6, 7: Valladolid-Cenote;
8, 9, 10: Campeche-Fuerte San Miguel and its museum;
11 to 14: Palenque-Ruins, Yaxchilan /Bonampak tour;
15-22: San Cristobal de la Casas--San Juan Chamula
23, 24, 25: Comitan-Cascada el Chiflon
26, 27, 28: Xela—tour to coffee plantation;
29, 30, 31: Panajachel- nature reserve;
32, 33, 34, 35: Santiago Atitlan—staying at the Posada
36, 37: Jaibalito, Lake Atitlan—the view from Casa del Mundo
38-41: Antigua-seeing the volcano erupting
42-46: Copan Ruinas—all of it
47, 48: Guatemala City-El Portalito bar
49: Biotopo de Quetzal—seeing the quetzals
50, 51: Coban-Kardamomuss Restaurant—more than a dinner
52, 53: Flores—happy hour mojitos
54, 55: Tikal-- Ruins
56, 57: San Ignacio--ATM cave tour
58, 59: Chetumal—Maya museum
60-63: Playa del Carmen--?
Apr 16, 2013 7:28 AM
Apr 17, 2013 12:59 AM
2I understand what you are saying.
But we found Chetumal extremely lively, especially after coming from 5 weeks in Guatemala. For example, the evening we arrived we were once again able to walk around at a later time. The area by the waterfront was bustling with families and young children at 10 pm at night. This is a great thing about Mexico, which I love. There is none of that in Guatemala.
The next night was Friday and the area was even busier, with customers at the cafes and bars at 11.30 pm, and again families with children out and about enjoying the carnival rides. The downtown area is clean and prosperous looking, great for walking about. It is obviously a city with higher incomes than most I have visited in Mexico.
It is not a colonial city with narrow streets and lacking sidewalks, we had plenty of those on our trip. Just a "normal" place, not inundated by tourists. That's what I liked. Mind you, other than Playa del Carmen, I have liked everywhere I've been in Mexico.
Apr 23, 2013 12:52 AM
Check out all our reviewed and recommended accommodation and book online.