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First time to Guatemala. Advice?

First time to Guatemala. Advice?

Old Apr 21, 22, 3:06 pm
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First time to Guatemala. Advice?

I'm thinking of booking a week-long trip to Guatemala City later this year. I'm looking to split my time between Antigua and Guatemala City. Is it possible to make Guatemala City my base and just take the hour-long trip to Antigua? I'm thinking of staying at the Hyatt Centric. Is the hotel easily accessible from the airport? Is public transit reliable, or should I hire a taxi/Uber? What's the entry requirement right now? I'm fully vaccinated and recently got my booster. I hope I won't have to take a rapid test to enter the country. Any other advice for a first-timer to Guatemala?
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Old Apr 29, 22, 9:11 am
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I'd say base yourself in Antigua the whole week. Don't even bother with Guatemala City except for the airport. The capital is a big, noisy city without much to see or do. Antigua is the old colonial capital. It has charm and style and wonderful small inns and a great dining scene and lots of tourist sights. Antigua actually makes a better base for exploring. On the Thursday or Sunday you're there, you can go to the market in Chichicastenango, about two hours away. It's touristy, but I always find it to be great fun too.
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Old Apr 30, 22, 6:41 pm
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Originally Posted by SJOGuy View Post
I'd say base yourself in Antigua the whole week. Don't even bother with Guatemala City except for the airport. The capital is a big, noisy city without much to see or do. Antigua is the old colonial capital. It has charm and style and wonderful small inns and a great dining scene and lots of tourist sights. Antigua actually makes a better base for exploring. On the Thursday or Sunday you're there, you can go to the market in Chichicastenango, about two hours away. It's touristy, but I always find it to be great fun too.
Chichicastenango is fascinating. I went once many years ago on a day trip from Antigua and would love to go back and spend a night or two in the town as well.
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Old Apr 30, 22, 7:04 pm
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Day trip to Tikal.
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Old Apr 30, 22, 10:49 pm
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Antigua also puts you an hour from Panajachel and Lake Atitlan.

As for Chichicastenango, you can go there with a tour group on Thursday or Sunday market day. That's not as bad as it sounds. You travel in a minivan with a dozen or so other people. You all get picked up your hotels in Antigua. You arrive in Chichi mid-morning. The van parks and you are turned loose to go to the market on your own, which sprawls over blocks and blocks in the center of town. You meet back at the van at the appointed time, usually around 2 or 3 pm and head back to Antigua. You're not shopping with a guide or anything like that. If you have the choice, Sunday is more interesting because of the rituals taking place at the Santo Tomas church in the center of town, but Thursday is great too. I like M60toLGA's suggestion of spending a night or two.
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Old Jun 12, 22, 3:17 pm
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I agree, make your base Antigua. From there you can go to many other places. If available, I would take a tour to a volcano.
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Old Jun 15, 22, 7:29 am
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It depends on what you like -- if volcanoes are your thing Antigua is the best base, no doubt about it. I did like Anigua but it felt like a tourist trap, albeit one that must be tolerated.

I enjoy visiting archeological sites and Tikal, situated near Flores - to the east of Guatemala, near the Belize border was simply fabulous - perhaps the best mesoamerican site there is, barring Palanque or Calakmul. Like Anigua, Flores is a great touristy town, very european style with its alleys and colours, set inside a beautiful lake and have good connections with the Maya sites starting with Tikal. As a bonus you can also cross over to Belize in three hours and visit Xunantenich on the other side of the border.
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