15 days in Guatemala : itinerary and budget
My second country in Central America will be Guatemala. Why ? Mexico too popular to me, Guatemala attracted me more with his authenticity and discretion. So here I am in June 2018 gone for 2 weeks in Guatemala.
Here is my feedback on this adventure, my itinerary, my budget and my advices on this beautiful destination.
Same as Nicaragua, this is a country of volcanos. The region is pretty hilly. But unlike his cousin, the distances are way to long to drive. Nature is very well preserved which is making Guatemala so authentic. Of course, some cities are currently growing to tourism.
When to go to Guatemala ?
There is 2 distinct seasons : the dry season from December to May and the rainy season from June to December.
When people say rainy season, this is not rain rain and again rain. In fact, the weather is kind of nice from the morning to about 3pm, which actually means clouds and sun, or really sunny if you are lucky. Then, it gets darker, temperature drops down and you can expect rain for hours. Despite that, you will get super green and rich nature.
To be honest, I don’t even care about weather and season anymore since it is so unpredictable these days.
How to go to Guatemala ?
By plane. Unfortunately, there is no direct from France, you will have to make at least 1 stop in Europe, in Panama or in US (be careful with ESTA).
How to travel around Guatemala ?
Then again, this is a big difference with Nicaragua where chicken buses was so easy to get by, here you will prefer shuttles. Yes, super touristy but much more direct and « faster » (see below time distance) !! If you go on a very classic itinerary (like mine down below), you will spend between 2 hrs and 10 hrs in transportation from one city to another. If you want to take your time, do not hesitate to experience chicken buses. Very unique, super fun, to try once in your life (approved in Nicaragua).
Where to sleep in Guatemala ?
Super easy. You will find all types of accommodations : from hostels to fancy hotels. Prices will vary according to seasons. Indeed, dry season is the high season, on the opposite of rainy season.
What about safety ? Is it dangerous to travel in Guatemala ?
I traveled by my own and the answer is : NO ! Everything is relative because nothing has happened to me during this trip. In the whole trip, I never felt insecure once, even feeling more confident than Nicaragua. Just make sure not to put yourself into bad situations : don’t show off your valuables, jewelries, pay attention around you … It sounds stupid but you think something always happens to others but it is not. And the most important thing : trust your gut !!!
Here is my itinerary in Guatemala :
J1 : Paris – Guatemala (stop in Atlanta)
J2 : Guatemala – Rio Dulce
J3 : Rio Dulce – Flores
J4 : Park National Tikal
J5 : Flores
J6 : Flores – Lanquin
J7 : Semuc Champey
J8 : Lanquin – Chichicastenango
J9 : Chichicastenango – Lac Atitlan (2000 m)
J10 : Lac Atitlan
J11 : Lac Atitlan
J12 : Antigua (1500 m)
J13 : Antigua
J14 : Antigua
J15 : Antigua
J16 : Antigua – Paris (stops in Atlanta and Amsterdam)
This is a very classic itinerary. Like I said, every transfert between 2 cities takes hours even if the distance on paper does not seem that long… All my transferts were made in shuttles.
Guatemala – Rio Dulce (275 km) = 6hrs
Rio Dulce – Flores (200 km) = 5hrs
Flores – Lanquin (250 km) = 8hrs
Lanquin – Chichicastenango (230 km) = 10hrs
Chichicastenango – Lac Atitlan (40 km) = 2hrs
Lac Atitlan – Antigua (110 km) = 2hrs30
Be careful, Google Maps does not translate the real durations and does not includes stops you might do.. But it is a good start to plan your trip. Plan longer !
About the budget, this is an cheap country to travel (for us, europeans).
My plane ticket has costed 575 €.
Hostel accomodations plus 1 night in Airbnb have costed me 170 €.
Shuttle transportations have costed 84 €.
Food, only in restaurants and comedors, nearly costed 200 €.
Tours (Tikal, Semuc Champey, Acatenango, Antigua walking tour) represented 180 €.
And souvenirs, which are personnal but a good part of the budget too.
So, for 15 days, my whole budget was 1500 €.
Again, I did not prive myself during this trip but I made some choices on where to spend my money. This is why my budget can seem « that’s it ? how did you do ? »
My experience in Guatemala was full of emotions by the adventurous and nature side, but also with Guatemalan people who were so kind to me. I just loved travelling there. If you are keen of new experiences, go find out this wild country !
Edit : during my trip, Fuego volcano has erupted less than 24 hrs after my arrival, which leads of dozens of deaths in villages around Antigua. All I am saying is that you are never safe from natural disaster or an accident, but if you do nothing, you will get nothing ! Travel is no luxury but a choice.