Local Guatemala Experts
The trip.me way of travel
Guatemala tours offer something for everyone. When leaving the country, you’ll feel as though you’ve traveled far and wide and traversed several different countries. Landscape, climate, cultural aspects and ethnic change within a small distance all throughout the country. Perhaps only neighboring Mexico can match the sheer scale and diversity of Guatemala.
Guatemala tours will almost inevitably include the beautiful, beguiling Antigua, the former capital of the country. It’s a maze of colonial buildings, cobblestone streets, and delightful cafes that exists in stark contrast with smoky, chaotic Guatemala City. Guatemala’s capital does have its own charms, but the city requires patience to appreciate it.
Most travelers will also head for the Western Highlands, an area dominated by Mayan culture. This is a region of breathtaking beauty, full of volcanoes, undulating hills and old, charming colonial villages. Be sure to also visit Lake Atitlan, which is one of our earth’s treasures. A huge lake surrounded by volcanoes, it’s sure to be one of the highlights of your Guatemala tour.
Surrounding the lake are several indigenous settlements that are well worth checking out. Visit Santa Cruz La Laguna and San Pedro La Laguna for some decent places to stay and an invaluable peek into life in the area. Solola and Chichicastenango are the best markets in the region, so don’t miss them, either.
In the west, you’ll find Guatemala’s largest and most impressive mountain range, the Cuchumatanes. Here you’ll find plenty of spectacular scenery and old traditional Mayan villages, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking to go trekking in Guatemala.
There’s plenty more on offer in Guatemala, from the rainforests of the north to the Afro-Caribbean community of the east, as well as the scarcely explored areas in the north of the country that require days of trekking.
Guatemalan Mayan culture is said to have been between 1500BC and 1500AD. During these 3000 years, the zenith of the Mayan civilization is set between 300 – 900AD, and most of its sites and cities are located in what today is Guatemala. As the country changes, traditional Mayan culture lives on, although its roots are often mixed in with the other cultures that inhabit the country.
Guatemala food is quite particular. There are no big meals, the typical meals consist of small portions that take a long time to prepare. Tamales (corn grounded and cooked baked in banana leaves with chicken or pork) are popular, as is chili relleno (stuffed spicy chilly peppers with meat accompanied by white rice). Corn is also incredibly varied and popular in Guatemala, so tours to the country will undoubtedly involve sampling some. In terms of bigger meals, don’t be surprised to find beans, rice and meat making up a large portion of your daily intake.
Guatemala is called the “land of eternal spring” for good reason. Warm days and mild evenings are pretty much the standards here. The rainy season is May to October, with the very worst of the rain coming in September. This usually involves an afternoon of heavy rain, with the rest of the day being pleasant.
The short story - We loved the trip Tristan put together for us, everything was perfect.
The longs story - The reason we were in Guatemala was for my wife's three-week Immersion Spanish Class. We scheduled a few extra days after the class was over to travel to Semuc Champey and Tikal. We planned to figure this part of the trip out while we were in Antigua Guatemala. While my wife was in class I stopped by a few local travel companies to see what they had to offer. All of them tried to fit us into their pre-packaged plans.
We were looking for something a little more custom, with more personal accommodations. I was getting a bit frustrated. I decided to look at trip.me to see if they had a travel expert in Guatemala. I had used trip.me a few months back for a trip to Colombia and was very happy with the results. Trip.me had a travel expert for Guatemala. I filled out the short questioner and within 15-20 minutes I got a call from Tristan.
We spoke for about 30 minutes, mostly Tristan asking me what we wanted to accomplish. The next day I got a perfect itinerary. It is important to realize we were only talking about a four-day trip. I am sure if it was a longer trip it may have taken a couple of tries to get the itinerary perfect. Tristan even added a few excursions that we had not thought or knew about, but fit what we were looking to do.
We have been back a week, and can not think of one part of the trip that was not perfect. The driver was awesome, he only spoke Spanish, and knew my wife has been spending the last year studying Spanish. During our drive time, he would help my wife with her studies. It was like getting free Spanish Classes with the itinerary.
The last thing I wanted to mention, some mystery guy names Julio tracked us. This was a good thing, we say mystery guy because we never met him. The traffic and road conditions in Guatemala are unpredictable. We always got to where we needed to be, but the time frame was not always met. Here is an example, driving from Antigua to Lanquin was going to be 7 - 10 hours. We scheduled to stop for lunch at Coban. Because of traffic in the beginning part of the trip at about noon we were still 1-2 hours from Coban. I am sure we could have figured out where to eat. But we did not have to.
Our driver's phone rang, it was Julio (Our mystery man), he saw where we were, I assume there was a tracker on the car, he gave us some suggestions of where to eat before getting to Coban. This truly reduced our stress. This happened a few times during the trip. It gave us peace of mind knowing someone was tracking our progress making sure we got to where we were supposed to be and making adjustments in real-time if things were not going as planned. We have traveled a lot and have never had this type of service. You can not go wrong with having Tristan plan a trip for you. If you would like to chat I am available.