Guatemala's South



Note : I did not visit this place. You are welcome to contribute !

Description : The often avoided capital of Guatemala, the largest city in Central America (3 millions people, one quarter of the population)

Comments : Zone 1, the old city, is supposed to offer some sights (museums, Cathedral, Palacio Nacional, etc) but most people prefer to avoid the fuss of having to watch one's back. If you visit, do it light and do not hesitate to use taxis. 

What to do ? There are quite a few things to do if you decide to stay. I did not. You are most likely to come here on transit, for a transport out or an administrative issue.

What you may not like ? The rather unsafe, chaotic, dusty and polluted atmosphere.

How long ? Are you still there ?

Where to stay ? Most budget hotels are located in zona 1, the most interesting but also most dangerous part of the city. Avoid wandering around with your bags. Book ahead and take a taxi (especially after dark)

How to leave ? Buses

To Co Tel Address Price Time Hrs Km
Flores / Tikal Fuente del Norte 2513817/2383894 17 C. 8-46, Z1 ? 6 to 20 9 506
Linea Dorada 2329658 16 C. 10-55, Z1 215/100 10,20,22/19,21 9 506
Rio Dulce Litegua 2327578 15 C. 10-40, Z1 50 6,9,11:30,13 5 265
Coban Escobar Monja Blanca 2511878/2381409 8 Av. 15-16, Z1 ? hour 5-18 4 213
Chiquimula Rutas Orientales 2515377 19 C. 8-18, Z1 ? hour 3:30-18 3.5 170
San Salvador Melva/Pezzarossi 3310874/3626448 3 Av. 1-38, Z9 76/60 hour 5:30-16:30 5 240
LaMesilla (Mexique) Velasquez 2211084 20 C. 1-37, Z1 ? hour 6-17 7 345
Centroamerica to Panama Tica Bus 3314279/3611773 11 C. 2-72, Z9 ? 12:30 4days ?

Backpacker's Tips : Dominique Paquette, Canada (Sept 04)
Leaving Ciudad Guatemala to... Managua, Nicaragua? If Honduras does not interest you and you want to head right to Nicaragua, here's a great deal. When you arrive in Guatemala City, take any taxi and ask for "Hotel Espana". In front of Hotel Espana leaves a bus that goes from Ciudad Guatemala to Managua (the capital of Nicaragua) in less than 24 hours. The cost: 25$US and of course, about a 15$US more for the borders fee (Guatemala, Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua). The bus "manager" told me this bus was leaving everyday at 2:30pm for Managua. (Arrive early to catch a nice seat) Now, here's the catch. Perhaps your are imagining a nice confortable bus.. No. It's a noisy chicken bus!!! And that's the fun of it! I've done the ride, and it isn't that bad. I arrived, the next day, in Managua, at 10:30am. Almost impossible to believe, but true. It never stops and runs along the Panamarican Highway all the way down to Managua. It's cheap, fast, it saved me a lot of time and money! 

The trip to Antigua :
SS / L&R / Q4.5 / 1hr
The bus driver looked happy to see foreigners with bags and was fast to put them on the roof (the bags, not the 'gringos'). 5mn later, we were off, for the 45-60mn trip to Antigua. It was nothing special. We stopped for more passengers, incl. foreigners who were allowed to bring their bag inside. Truly, I did not really look at the scenery as I was busy getting tips from an American girl who was working there... 

Onward to Monterricco

See also the trip from the Airport