In late February and early March 2002, my brother Saul, his wife Jan, and I spent two weeks traveling in Guatemala. How was it? Superb. No hassles. Reasonably priced. We had a great time.
Tourists choose among $6 hammock joints; pleasant, $40/night, whitewashed hotels; and $125+ five-star extravaganzas. We chose the middle route, and two of our four hotels turned out to be wonderful.
Right off the bat, let me answer some inevitable questions:
We divided our time between the civilized Highlands in the south and El Petén, the jungle area 300 miles to the north. Home base in the Highlands was the lovely, cobblestoned, colonial town of Antigua, the most important city in sixteenth and seventeenth century Latin America. We made excursions to the Mayan villages on Lake Atitlán and the bustling marketplace of Chichitenango. In the less developed state of El Petén, we hung out around Lake Petén Itzá, on either side of El Ramate, and spent a day touring the famous ruins at Tikal. We bypassed everything in Guatemala City save the airport and the national archeological museum.
The currency in Guatemala is the Queztal (pronounced "ket-zahl."). There are 8 Queztales to the dollar.
© 2002, Jay Cross, Berkeley, California. Feel free to use any of these images so long as you acknowledge the source and provide a link back to it.