Whether it's diving in Belize or venturing on an eco-trek in Costa Rica, you'll find answers to your questions on Central America travel here.

Guatemala in August-September

pistachioboy

User avatar
Thorn Tree Refugee
 
Posts: 3
Joined: May 24th, 2011

Share on Orkut

This thread doesn't have any tags.

You can still check out the tag index though.

What are tags?
  • Added on: May 24th, 2011
Greetings, all! This is my first post on the board, and these will be my first travels to CA, so please bear with any naivety on my part!

So here's the deal: I was looking at taking some Spanish courses in Mexico, as I remember seeing several schools when I was in Oaxaca and Puerto Escondito. But upon more research, it's become clear to me that studying in Guatemala is probably a much better deal, in addition to the bonus that I've never been there before. I'll be travelling solo for this trip, and am in need of some advice.

So here's my (very loose) plan, after a couple of weeks of research. I'm looking for advice on four main things:

1. I've got a week for this first portion of my trip: On August 14th, I'll fly into Cancun, and IMMEDIATELY grab a bus out of town and head south - maybe to stay in Tulum for a night or two, followed by heading down through Belize to stay on Calle Caulker for a night or two as well. After that, I'll bus over to Quetzeltenango, not necessarily stopping at all of the interesting places on the way (I'll explain later). Any other places I should look at popping in?

2. For the following two weeks, I plan on taking some Spanish classes with the homestay option. If I happen to not like the school I pick in Xela for the first week, I may head over to one of the schools by Lake Atitlan for the second week. Most of these schools seem to offer some options for outside weekend excursions - any advice on the best one in that department?

3. My girlfriend is probably going to fly into Guatemala City to visit me after my two weeks of spanish classes, at which point we'll see some of the more touristy stuff (Tikal, Lake Atitlan, etc.) She should be around for a week. Any advice one more couply things to do during this time is welcome. If she doesn't come, I'll probably just take another week of Spanish classes or start working my way home.

4. This is the tricky (and fun) part: I don't have a return ticket. My thought was this: I'll give myself two weeks to get home (I live in Portland, OR). I want to spend a few days on the Oaxacan coast (Puerto Escondido, Zipolite, etc), and then start travelling in earnest. I want to use my newfound Spanish skills to do some hitchhiking, and see if I can make any real progress that way. This is all going to be very flexible, as I don't imagine I'll make serious progress solely by hitchhiking - I just hope to make it the most social part of my trip. So basically, I'm looking for advice on hitcchiking and out-of-the-way places to stop along the Pacific coast!

Overall, I'm definitely a budget traveller, so the cheaper the better. And what I'm NOT looking for is for people who have never hitchhiked or done the things I'm looking at doing to tell me how dangerous or stupid it is. I'm hoping for some advice from some people who have experience in what I'm talking about - whether it be the Spanish classes in Guatemala or the hitchhiking on the ride home. That's much more useful than criticism from people who would spend a lot more money on their trips than I will.

Thanks so much for any help you can provide!

Piecar

User avatar
Extra Pages in Passport
 
Posts: 3432
Joined: September 11th, 2003

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: May 24th, 2011
I've never seen a backpacker thumb in Guat. I know that Guatemalans occasionally pick up other Guatemalans for a bit of money, so it's possible...But I've never seen it practiced by Westerners. I don't dissuade you here, but say that it may very well be an uphill fight.
Good Luck Out There.

Tortuga_traveller

Extra Pages in Passport
 
Posts: 3454
Joined: November 19th, 2004

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: May 24th, 2011
I've never seen a hitchhiker either,good luck, and I hope it's safe.

As for the rest, a lot rushed, but its your choice. You CAN get to the USA by land in about 4 days. One day to guat city, one day to san Cristobal, overnight bus to mexico city if you are lucky, then 18 hours to the USA from DF

any plans to go home should include 5-6 days for safety, leaving a week in between.

pistachioboy

User avatar
Thorn Tree Refugee
 
Posts: 3
Joined: May 24th, 2011

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: May 24th, 2011
Thanks for the advice so far! I should have been more clear. Most of the hitchhiking I plan on doing is in Mexico. From what I've read, Guatemala doesn't seem like the best place for sticking out your thumb - not because of possible danger, but because it's not as common in general. I suppose that specific question should be directed at the Mexico board. :-) Advice on any of the other stuff is welcome, though!

busman7

User avatar
World Citizen
 
Posts: 1174
Joined: January 12th, 2008
Location: Traveling for a while away from Playa San Diego SV

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: May 25th, 2011
Keep in mind that 2 weeks of Spanish classes (if you know none now) will only give you a few words & phrases, not the ability to carry on a conversation.
http://blogs.bootsnall.com/busman7 | http://wwwlasbrisasplayasandiego.blogspot.com
"I started out alone to seek adventures. You don't really have to seek them - that is nothing but a phrase - they come to you." Mark Twain

pistachioboy

User avatar
Thorn Tree Refugee
 
Posts: 3
Joined: May 24th, 2011

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: May 25th, 2011
That's a great point, and one I hadn't considered. I truly believed I'd be fluent when I was done with those classes, not just marginally better than my already-marginal abilities. Now that I think about it, I'll just call the whole trip off.

In any case, that's truly what I was looking for when I posted here asking specific questions and for specific pieces of advice - someone really needed to take one tidbit of what I said and use it to treat me like an idiot while answering none of the questions I actually put forth in this post. Thanks, busman! Boy did I need that reality check.

busman7

User avatar
World Citizen
 
Posts: 1174
Joined: January 12th, 2008
Location: Traveling for a while away from Playa San Diego SV

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: May 25th, 2011
pistachioboy wrote:That's a great point, and one I hadn't considered. I truly believed I'd be fluent when I was done with those classes, not just marginally better than my already-marginal abilities. Now that I think about it, I'll just call the whole trip off.

In any case, that's truly what I was looking for when I posted here asking specific questions and for specific pieces of advice - someone really needed to take one tidbit of what I said and use it to treat me like an idiot while answering none of the questions I actually put forth in this post. Thanks, busman! Boy did I need that reality check.


De Nada!! :lol:
http://blogs.bootsnall.com/busman7 | http://wwwlasbrisasplayasandiego.blogspot.com
"I started out alone to seek adventures. You don't really have to seek them - that is nothing but a phrase - they come to you." Mark Twain

Felix the Hat

User avatar
Extra Pages in Passport
 
Posts: 2939
Joined: June 17th, 2002
Location: itinerant

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: May 25th, 2011
pistachioboy wrote:1. I've got a week for this first portion of my trip: On August 14th, I'll fly into Cancun, and IMMEDIATELY grab a bus out of town and head south - maybe to stay in Tulum for a night or two, followed by heading down through Belize to stay on Calle Caulker for a night or two as well. After that, I'll bus over to Quetzeltenango, not necessarily stopping at all of the interesting places on the way (I'll explain later). Any other places I should look at popping in?


Hi dude. Your plan generally sounds feasible. You should think about how long of a trip it is from Caye Caulker to Xela though. There's a lot to see in between, like San Ignacio, Tikal (a must-see), and Coban.

2. For the following two weeks, I plan on taking some Spanish classes with the homestay option. If I happen to not like the school I pick in Xela for the first week, I may head over to one of the schools by Lake Atitlan for the second week. Most of these schools seem to offer some options for outside weekend excursions - any advice on the best one in that department?


People backpack in Guatemala and Mexico all the time with zero Spanish ability, but obviously every bit helps. Xela is an excellent place for immersion. Puerto Escondido, as much as I love it, would not be a good place to learn Spanish due to the heavy tourist presence. Antigua and Lake Atitlan are the same way. Both are excellent destinations, but not for Spanish immersion. Xela is good because it's a working Guatemalan city, with a big enough population to dilute the English-speaking presence there. San Pedro, on Atitlan, is also people full of people who claim to be studying Spanish, but the scene there is all about partying with other backpackers.

Sorry I don't have advice on specific schools. I already spoke Spanish the first time I went to Guatemala.

3. My girlfriend is probably going to fly into Guatemala City to visit me after my two weeks of spanish classes, at which point we'll see some of the more touristy stuff (Tikal, Lake Atitlan, etc.) She should be around for a week. Any advice one more couply things to do during this time is welcome. If she doesn't come, I'll probably just take another week of Spanish classes or start working my way home.


Tikal is a long trip up north. It would be amazing to see with a partner, but you'll be passing right by it on the way down from Belize. Antigua is really romantic - if she winds up coming, you should save that for her.

4. This is the tricky (and fun) part: I don't have a return ticket. My thought was this: I'll give myself two weeks to get home (I live in Portland, OR). I want to spend a few days on the Oaxacan coast (Puerto Escondido, Zipolite, etc), and then start travelling in earnest. I want to use my newfound Spanish skills to do some hitchhiking, and see if I can make any real progress that way. This is all going to be very flexible, as I don't imagine I'll make serious progress solely by hitchhiking - I just hope to make it the most social part of my trip. So basically, I'm looking for advice on hitcchiking and out-of-the-way places to stop along the Pacific coast!


Don't plan on hitchhiking. It's generally not done. Besides that, I don't think the security situation makes it a wise idea. I'll totally encourage people to visit Mexico and Guatemala, but hitchhiking is a bad idea. At any rate, if someone picks you up, you'll generally be expected to pay for the lift. I've inquired about it a few times, and have always been discouraged. Overland travel in Guatemala is so cheap anyway that it isn't worthwhile. Mexican buses are more expensive and comfortable (plan on about $4/hour of travel as a rule, and 50-60 hours for a leisurely trip from the Guatemalan border to the US). For shorter trips, like up and down the Oaxaca coast, you can take peseros, which are much cheaper and slower.

The Pacific coast in Guatemala and Chiapas isn't generally very attractive. Monterrico, in Guatemala, and Puerto Arista, in Chiapas, are okay if you're fixing for a beach, but it's best to wait until Oaxaca. Guerrero and Michoacan states have some stunning beaches, but I'm not sure about security these days.

Overall, I'm definitely a budget traveller, so the cheaper the better. And what I'm NOT looking for is for people who have never hitchhiked or done the things I'm looking at doing to tell me how dangerous or stupid it is. I'm hoping for some advice from some people who have experience in what I'm talking about - whether it be the Spanish classes in Guatemala or the hitchhiking on the ride home. That's much more useful than criticism from people who would spend a lot more money on their trips than I will.

Thanks so much for any help you can provide!


Sounds like a great trip. I've hitchhiked, so I can tell you not to do it on this trip. You can probably make friends in Puerto Escondido with some chilangos and share a ride to Mexico City, since it's really popular with domestic tourists.

zoomcharlieb

User avatar
Squat Toilet Professional
 
Posts: 768
Joined: June 24th, 2007
Location: Lake Forest Park, Washington

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: May 25th, 2011
People all over the world stand by the side of the road and various bus services, collectivos, pickups etc, pick them up, but they usually expect some compensation. A lot of them do it for a living so to think you will get a free ride is probably not the rule but the exception, but to give you an example of the difference in cost, to take a tuk tuk from Flores to San Carlos is about 5 bucks for most, for me $10 just cause i didn't feel like negotiating. To come back from there via a van with driver and assistant was about $.75 I call them collectivos but i might be wrong. in any case, some guy driving down the road with a pick-up and a load of people is usually in the business, he will stop if you wave him down and you will pay a little bit. i do it in guatemala and honduras and probably would do it in most of Mexico but not near the border.



Return to Central America Travel

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

PLEASE NOTE: Your original BootsnAll Boards Member login still works by logging in below on the Boards.
We have a new BootsnAll Account that you will start seeing around the BootsnAll Travel Network. This new login is not yet linked to your current Boards Account. In the meantime, you will need to sign up (for a BootsnAll Account) to use Account features like Indie ™ , Traveler Profiles etc.

Quick Links

Community Activity

Statistics for the last 7 days

New posts:
0
Newest Member:
Seni Tours


Indie - Multi Country Flight Finder
Round the World Travelers


Join BootsnAll on Facebook

1 (503) 528-1005

© 2018 BootsnAll Travel Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.