Between the two of us, we spent $1000 on a 2-week trip in Guatemala. With this budget, we covered 4 of the 5 major areas (Antigua, Lago Atitlan, Livingston, Tikal-Flores) and gave Semuc-Champey a miss as a return journey will take almost 3 days.
Here's a proposed itinerary:
- 2 days Antigua - Exploring Antigua, climbing Volcan Pacaya
- 4 days Lago Atitlan (includes Chichicastenengo) - Lakeside-village hopping
- 2 days Rio Dulce/Livingston - Garifuna culture in Carribean Guatemala
- 2 days Flores - Maya ruins at Tikal
- +1 day travel time on the road
One of the things we really hoped to experience was one particular festival in the town of Todos Santos in the Northern highlands. Todos Santos is pretty much off the tourist track except for one annual festival the town hosts - All Saint's Day a.k.a. Drunken horse-riding festival (http://loca4motion.com/2012/03/28/todos-santos-a-drunken-guatemalan-horse-race/). If you ever get a chance to witness this, let me know about it!
- Ride the chicken buses! It'll cost you a lot less money and what's more comfortable than sitting in-between two large-sized Guatemalan ladies and their groceries?
- Eat at the local markets! You probably won't know what you're eating but heck, it's good food.
- Take Spanish lessons! Classes are so ridiculously cheap, especially around Lago Atitlan