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Thinking of a recent Budapest thread, I'm curious how many here have traveled to Guatemala?

A sister of a friend of mine lives there, so that is a great resource for me but I want to hear from others who have traveled there recently - did you have a good experience? Was it a reasonably priced trip? Any things to watch out for or things you wouldn't want to have missed?

We are planning a trip this summer, not sure if it will be Thailand or Guatemala but we are trying to pick a few places we would like to visit and whatever is the most reasonably priced at the time we want to book, we will go for that choice.
 

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Its been 15 yrs since I went, but we loved it.

Don't miss: Tikal, Antiqua, Pacaya volcano (day trip from Antigua).

Get a good hotel in Guatemala city. It's big, dirty and busy. Having a safe, quiet respite will help you enjoy the place.

I recall it was very reasonably priced and that the upper end budget accommodations were quite comfortable (Guatemala city excepted). Airfare will be a lot cheaper than Thailand -- but it will be a very different holiday too.
 

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We're partial to C & S America, so we've been there several times Our daughter also went to school there (Antigua) for a term. Whether you enjoy it will depend whether you are adventurous and/or comfortable where poverty is still visible. G. is considered to have a high rate of robberies, so as with many places, you need to be a 'sensible' tourist and keep you and your valuables secure. Check out and follow travel advisories and recommendations.
Would not suggest staying in G City though. Better to go straight to Antiqua. It is a 'catering to tourists' town, but genuine, historic and scenic. New Year's Eve there is crazy, and Semana Santa this coming Easter week. We also are big on visiting Maya ruins and Tikal is a must visit. Lake Atitlan very scenic but also a tourist draw for good reason. Xela (Quetzaltenango) is also a nice town, big on Spanish immersion schools.
Hopefully you're interested in the history of places you go. Here, in addition to the Maya and Spanish, you'd want to be aware of the civil war that went on through the '80's to mid 90's.
We've stayed at a few places in Antigua. But a real piece of heaven on earth has to be the Hotel Quinita de las Flores - give their website a look.
 

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I spent some time in Guatemala in 2010. I didn't spend a lot of time in Guatemala city - the bulk of my time was spent in Antigua. I also spent some time in Panajachel, across Lake Atitlan to see Santiago Atitlan, San Lucas Toliman, and around the Volcan Atitlan, and down to San Jose on the Pacific coast. From my experience, Guatemala city is well described by Charlie; big, dirty, and busy. I found Antigua very charming and safe, with lots to do. Panajachel and the surrounding cities are much smaller than Antigua but very picturesque - you can also hike up some of the mountains surrounding the lake and go ziplining. Finally, San Jose doesn't have much - mostly a couple hotels lining the beach. The beaches have black sand from volcanic ash but the water was far too rough to go swimming in the ocean.
 
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