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Trip Report

30 days in southern Guatemala

Discovering a part of southern Guatemala on my way between Mexico and Nicaragua.

by an-natravelAbout Me:Hi everybody ! I'm a 30 years old french girl and osteopath, care about the health of mind and body. Always looking for an understanding of the links between them, for my patients but also for me. It's been a long Time that I want to Tra... read more

North AmericaGuatemala19 days / April 2022

Highs & Lows

The beauty of nature, its volcanoes, its history.

Much colder than its neighboring countries (higher altitude), and unfortunately the insecurity and thefts (in the buses)

Itinerary Overview

I left on a whim for Guatemala, here I am on the bus from Oaxaca city (Mexico) to Tapachula (at the border, in the south). 

My first impression of the country will not be excellent, dozens of Guatemalans surround me at the exit of the bus and try to sell me their tickets (I was the only tourist there...). I was put under pressure at the border with my bags, but after an hour I found the first bus to leave this place. 

Let's go for the colectivo (know as chicken buses) experience, these huge American old School buses, colorful, sometimes in very bad condition. The roads are terrible, the drivers drive super fast and the seats are sometimes not very well attached ( good laugh from the first kilometers in the country) ! With those buses, you never know when you'll leave, and never know when you'll arrive (it always take a long time).

The first step was Xela (Quetzaltenango), 5 hours from the border, and I hadn't planned anything so I let myself be guided by the encounters I made on my way, which allowed me to discover several cities in the south of the country, before deciding to cross El Salvador and Honduras for my next destination: Nicaragua.

  • 3 Nights: Quetzaltenango
    Close to Mexican's border, traditional clothes and kindness of locals
  • 6 Nights: Lake Atitlán
    The 3 volcanoes arround the lake, Peacefull, safe and beautiful place
  • 10 Nights: Antigua Guatemala
    Acatenango volcano, old city with many remnants of Spanish colonization

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    Spending more time to explore North, flores, Tikal, semuc shampey ...

  • Anything go wrong during the trip?

    I've met a lot of people who have had their stuff robbed (especially in buses). Guatemala is a very poor country, and many tourists display their latest phone or jewellery for all to see.... Be smart and adapt to the country you are in 😊

  • How was the food?

    Always recommend to eat in comedor! We discover the culinary specialties and the exchange with the locals is always interesting. They like to give us advice on their city, or even on their country when they have traveled a little.

  • What tips would you give a friend?

    Be careful on the buses. Don't leave your belongings unattended !!

  • Packing tips?

    Good shoes (lots of beautiful hikes and impractical terrain), and a rain cape!

  • Transportation Tips?

    Plan trip and leave early, you'll never know when you'll arrive at destination with chicken buses, because the roads are not in good condition! There are a lot of Shuttles (small vans to go everywhere in Guatemala), everything is organized there but it's often expensive, much more than organizing your own transport with the chickens!

Lodging

  • Not a lot of hostel in the center, so I booked in Kasa Kiwi hostel. A nice place near to the main church and market. A bar on the roof top, kitchen, good bed, and really nice owners !

  • 2 nights in Playa Linda In San Pedro la Laguna : small hôtel far from the center (and noises), breakfast inclused. And 4 night in pink house in San Lucas Toliman. Slept in a tent, really cheap, rustic and very calm

  • Gaceta camping, a special concept of tents everywhere in the hostel, even in the hallway... but very cheap and well put in the city. They also organize a lot of Guided Tours.