Guatemala on a Shoestring Budget

Tripoto
12th Aug 2013
Photo of Guatemala on a Shoestring Budget 1/6 by Terence Yeo
Photo of Guatemala on a Shoestring Budget 2/6 by Terence Yeo
Photo of Guatemala on a Shoestring Budget 3/6 by Terence Yeo
Photo of Guatemala on a Shoestring Budget 4/6 by Terence Yeo
Photo of Guatemala on a Shoestring Budget 5/6 by Terence Yeo
Photo of Guatemala on a Shoestring Budget 6/6 by Terence Yeo

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!

Budget tips:

  1. 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?
  2. Eat at the local markets! You probably won't know what you're eating but heck, it's good food.
  3. Take Spanish lessons! Classes are so ridiculously cheap, especially around Lago Atitlan

Start at the old colonial Capital - "Antigua" means "old" in Spanish.

Photo of Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepequez, Guatemala by Terence Yeo

Spend days visiting the various villages around this beautiful lake.

Photo of Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala by Terence Yeo

Day trip to one of the biggest local markets in Central America. Be dazzled by the rich colors of the Mayan culture

Photo of Chichicastenango Market, Chichicastenango, Guatemala by Terence Yeo

A breathtaking boat ride through the "jungle cliffs" leading out to the Caribbean sea

Photo of Rio Dulce, Izabal, Guatemala by Terence Yeo

Embrace the Garifuna culture on Caribbean Guatemala.

Photo of Livingston, Izabal, Guatemala by Terence Yeo

Journey back in time to explore the lost city of the Mayans in this mystical National Park

Photo of Tikal National Park, Peten, Guatemala by Terence Yeo
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