Topic Wiki

Guatemala

Trip Reports

davidch
ponash123
Yaalili
Mordyk

Kosher Food Options in Antigua Guatemala

Kosher Food Options in Guatemala City

Kosher Food Options in San Pedro (Lake Atitlan)

Hotels with Points

Hilton Guatemala City
Hilton Garden Inn Guatemala City

Hyatt Centric Guatemala City (Cat #2). Review here.
El Convento Boutique Hotel (Antigua Guatemala) (Cat #3).
Bolontiku Boutique Hotel and Spa (Flores) (Cat #4).

Holiday Inn Guatemala City
Intercontinental Guatemala City

AC Hotel Guatemala City (Cat #2).
Courtyard Guatemala City (Cat #2).
The Westin Guatemala City (Cat #3).

Radisson Hotel & Suites Guatemala City (Cat #2).

Ramada by Wyndham Flores (Cat #1).

Transportation Options

Chabad Antigua has an option to book shuttles through their site, with schedules and all. https://www.chabadantigua.com/shuttles.

Major Activities

« Last edited by Mordyk on February 20, 2024, 01:00:20 PM »

Author Topic: Guatemala Master Thread  (Read 22916 times)

Offline ethana

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Guatemala Master Thread
« on: December 15, 2013, 10:50:18 AM »
Hi,
I'm interested in going to Guatemala. Is it still dangerous there? Anyone have any recommendations as to what to see or do?
« Last Edit: January 17, 2022, 03:36:25 PM by AsherO »

Offline Ergel

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Re: Guatemala vacation
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2013, 03:49:48 PM »
Hi,
I'm interested in going to Guatemala. Is it still dangerous there? Anyone have any recommendations as to what to see or do?
Oh how I wish Steve2 were still here
Life isn't about checking the boxes. Nobody cares.

Offline zee

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Re: Guatemala vacation
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2013, 01:55:33 AM »
Is it dangerous? possibly - and most likely. nevertheless, there are thousands upon thousands of tourists visiting there at all times of the year. so much so, that you may find it crowded with tourists even in the most remote places you'll visit. I've just been, and its a must for anyone looking to experience off-the-beaten path! it's is the closest place to the us that you will find to have pristine unadulterated jungle, and mostly undeveloped. it is from the nicest places i have ever visited. it is absolultly beautiful and amazing! from the nicest i have ever seen!

there's too much to cover in one short piece. though here are a few key helpful pointers.

-buy the lonely planet for Guatemala (i bought lonely planet central America on a shoestring)

-bring a protein source (I brought a pouch of tuna for each day that i would spend there)

-you'll find kosher food in groceries every now and then, but don't rely on it.

-where there's electricity they generally dont accept creditcard, so carrying currency is tricky. read-up on it, and be safe

-and last but not least, 3 out of every 4 foreigners you meet will be Israeli! :)

GO GO GO!!!

Offline anwar

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Re: Guatemala vacation
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2013, 11:21:41 AM »
I just took a trip there with my wife from December 5th - 10th.  It is not dangerous at all.  I felt completely safe.  It might be a tad bit difficult if you do not speak spanish.  We speak very little of it but the people there who did speak both english and spanish were very helpful.  We went to Lake Atitlan.  It was absolutely gorgeous.  I will post a trip report all about it by tomorrow.  Been meaning to do that since I've been back. 

I'd highly recommend it.  Once you get there, it is extremely cheap.  When I say extremely cheap, I mean, a meal for like $6.  At one meal, we had the following

Me: two cups hot chocolate, 2 entrees, desert
Wife: 1 cup ice coffee, 2 entrees, desert
Total: 4 entrees, 2 hot chocolates, 1 ice coffee, 2 deserts.

We gave the waiter a very very very generous tip, like 35%.  Our total bill was $25, including tip.

When you're at Lake Atitlan, to get around on the public boat is like 10Q which equals about a $1.20? If that. 

Its really cheap and absolutely breathtaking at the Lake.

Hope this helps.

Offline ponash123

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Re: Guatemala vacation
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2021, 03:54:44 PM »
I added the 2 trip reports on Guatemala on the TR main wiki.

Anyone else been there that wants to comment? There's not much info here.

Offline ponash123

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Re: Guatemala vacation
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2021, 11:58:29 AM »

Offline rivkyw

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Re: Guatemala vacation
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2021, 04:04:32 AM »
We just spend an amazing 5 days in San Pedro as a family. I will post a trip report if anyone is interested.

Offline Yaalili

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Re: Guatemala vacation
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2022, 02:51:39 PM »
Just got back from a trip to Guatemala and wanted to share some tips and mini trip report for those considering a trip.

As of January 10, 2022 you need to be - both - fully vaccinated and provide negative COVID test result from within 3 days to enter Guatemala. Immigration in Guatemala was a breeze and processed very quickly.

There used to be no nonstop options from NYC, and now there are 3 daily options to choose from, between Avianca, JetBlue (both from JFK), and United (from EWR). Tickets were about $160 RT including all taxes.

Tip: If you have the JetBlue credit card, you can book this roundtrip and save $100 as a Vacation package with a 2 night stay in Antigua Guatemala. Antigua has only 1 points hotel which belongs to Hyatt SLH brand. This makes a convenient way to save $100.

When you arrive in GUA you will probably want to head directly to Antigua Guatemala. It’s about an hour west of Guatemala City and kind of on the way to Lake Atitlan. You can either take a shared taxi / shuttle (Collective) for $12 USD ($85 local currency), or you can take Uber for just about $18-22. If you are 2 or more, it forsure makes more sense to Uber.

Antigua Guatemala has an excellent Chabad House and Shluchim, about a 10 minute walk south of the town square. There is a Kosher restaurant that is open throughout most of the day, and you can stay the night at Chabad, with a variety of private and shared (dorm) sleeping options. The Chabad will also be happy to arrange tours, activities and Shuttles throughout Guatemala at great prices. Check their site which has all the information.

Tip: Chabad - like many places in Guatemala - is cash only. You might want to transfer just the bare minimum at the airport, and transfer more when you get to Antigua Guatemala.

To be continued if there is interest.. you can also post any questions and will try to answer.

Offline flyer1836

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Re: Guatemala vacation
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2022, 03:25:07 PM »
yes, please post more.
are you able to order the uber directly from airport terminal?
when exiting airport, are there many people approaching to give taxi rides like in mexico and other countries.


Online AsherO

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Re: Guatemala vacation
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2022, 03:25:22 PM »
Thanks @Yaalili for the concise TR and interactive format.

P.a. Guatemalan currency banknotes are beautiful.

What kind of activities did you do, and what was the approximate cost per-person-per-day for activities/food.

TIA!
DDF FFB (Forum From Birth)

Offline Yaalili

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Re: Guatemala vacation
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2022, 03:33:53 PM »
yes, please post more.
are you able to order the uber directly from airport terminal?
when exiting airport, are there many people approaching to give taxi rides like in mexico and other countries.

Yes you can order directly from the airport terminal, and Uber has always arrived within 3-5 minutes there.

Unlike Mexico, the exit from immigration and baggage claim area was surprisingly very peaceful, no throngs of people harassing you and offering services. Actually saw the same pattern at the markets. If you have been to Mercado’s in Mexico you have people jumping on you at every turn, Guatemala was much more relaxed in that sense.

Thanks @Yaalili for the concise TR and interactive format.

P.a. Guatemalan currency banknotes are beautiful.

What kind of activities did you do, and what was the approximate cost per-person-per-day for activities/food.

TIA!

It really depends on the day, some days we’re just relaxing, exploring towns, markets etc.. Other days were more active. Will try to get some more details soon.

Thread name should be changed to “Guatemala Master Thread” IMO.

Offline Yaalili

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Re: Guatemala Master Thread
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2022, 09:04:53 PM »
The restaurant at Chabad Antigua Guatemala (aka Daria's Kitchen) is open from 7:30 in the morning for breakfast till 10:00 at night for dinner. The restaurant closes early Friday afternoon and is open Motzei Shabbos as well. Menu and prices can be seen here - https://www.chabadantigua.com/online-ordering. Ordering is done at your table through a QR code and you put in your table #. While the restaurant was empty Sunday afternoon, the order took 40 minutes to arrive to the table. Maybe order ahead if in a hurry. The food at the restaurant is mostly Israeli type cuisine (Schnitzel, Shawarma, Falafel etc.). The only local Guatemalan cuisine is a "Chapino" breakfast.

Chabad does have rooms to stay the night upstairs in the Chabad complex. Did not stay there, but you can see the rooms and prices here - https://www.chabadantigua.com/book-a-room. You can also pay for Friday night or Shabbos day meals here - https://www.chabadantigua.com/shabbat.

There are many tours you can book through Chabad here - https://www.chabadantigua.com/local-activities, and you can book shuttles to/from Antigua, as well as between other places in Guatemala here - https://www.chabadantigua.com/shuttles. Make sure to book 2 hours ahead of scheduled departure to be confirmed on the driver's route.

Antigua Guatemala is a city in the central highlands of Guatemala known for its preserved Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture as well as a number of ruins of colonial buildings. It served as the capital of the Kingdom of Guatemala. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a nice cobblestone city to walk around and explore the architecture and colors of town. There is a Hyatt Cat 3 hotel in town, but did not stay there. Stayed at Hotel Gran Plaza EuroMaya (http://hoteleuromaya.com/), just off the town square. It was booked as part of JetBlue Vacations package to get the $100 off with JetBlue card. Hotel had a classic old feel to it, and some things were still stuck in time.. Like non-working WIFI and some other issues. There are probably better options out there.

Offline ethana

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Re: Guatemala Master Thread
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2022, 09:30:13 PM »
Are things open now because of COVID?

Offline Yaalili

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Re: Guatemala Master Thread
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2022, 09:32:35 PM »
The next major area on most tourists itinerary would be Lake Atitlan, a beautiful volcanic lake surrounded by mountains and volcanos on all sides, and dotted with both local and touristy towns on the lakeshore all around. The main town of interest to Frum travelers would be "San Pedro La Laguna" as you will find the Chabad house here (yellow flag) and 3 kosher restaurants. The town is very central on the southside of the lake and has beautiful views of the surrounding nature. 


View of the Lakeshore and Chabad.

You should be able to recognize the Chabad House in the above picture, with it's prime location right near the lake, and within a 2 minute walk from where the Lanchas (lake boats) depart from to other towns around the lake. The lanchas are cheap, with most rides around the lake costing around $1-3 US and they go generally as soon as they fill up, and frequently throughout the day.

The 2 main towns are San Pedro La Laguna - where the Chabad is - and Panajachel (or Pana as referred to), which is a larger town and closer to main highway, so it has more transportation options and connectivity. Between the 2, San Pedro has more to do, has a better view of the lake IMO, and closer to other attractions in the area, such as Indian Nose, Volcan de San Pedro, Coffee plantation tours etc. San Pedro to Panajachel is about a 25 minute boat ride across the lake, Pana is on the north side of the lake. Other towns around the lake include San Marcos (roughly equal distance to Pana and San Pedro), where people go for Yoga and Meditation retreats, energy healing, massage, spas etc.

Chabad here attracts mostly an Israeli crowd (unlike Antigua where you have many others too), and Hebrew is pretty much all you will hear being spoken. The same is true around the town of San Pedro, where you will hear Hebrew throughout town, probably more than Spanish, at least in the touristy part near the lakeshore. Chabad has 3 restaurants in San Pedro:

1) Espresso Café Bar - this is a dairy eatery. They serve Panini's, coffee, smoothies, pasta, pizza, and similar stuff. Prices are a bit on the higher end at this location, compared with drinks at other places around town.
2) Ha-Falafel - They sell Falafel :) - They also sell Shawarma, Pargiyot, Kebab etc.. Pretty small menu but all very reasonably prices, and the cheapest of the 3 places. Sandwiches ranges from $3.50-$6.00 or so. They are open from 10am to 10pm.
3) Jerusalem Restaurant - while the 2 above are located on either side of the Chabad house, this one is located in the Chabad house on the 2nd floor. Small menu of Schnitzel, Couscous, Burgers and one day a week they do Shakshuka, pretty sure that is the extent of it.


The main tourist "street" where Chabad is located.

If you are sensitive to noisy/loud places you may want to reconsider staying in San Pedro, or maybe just visiting as a day trip from another town. The town is NOISY! Between the nonstop loud music playing through the night, the backpacking partying, and the stray dogs barking throughout the late night and early morning, this is not a quiet place at night!

Offline Yaalili

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Re: Guatemala Master Thread
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2022, 09:32:56 PM »
Are things open now because of COVID?

Pretty much everything is.

Offline rivkyw

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Re: Guatemala Master Thread
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2022, 01:36:40 AM »
We spend a beautiful weekend at the end of August in San Pedro.
As mentioned earlier, the Chabad Rabbi is Israeli but he and his staff speak a fluent English. Many locals speak some Hebrew and there are many signs in Spanish and Hebrew.
Shabbos Meals are available from Chabad and you can expect around 200 people during the summer months per meal.
Chabad and their staff were really helpful and helped us plan attractions. They also arranged a driver to transport us from the airport to San Pedro.
We also rented villas from Chabad and they were the nicest accommodations in the area.
The ride to San Pedro is about 3-4 hours and is on a very twisty and bumpy road. We woudl not recommend driving by yourself. There is no need for a rental car in San Pedro as the streets are very narrow and there is no where to park the cars.
Traveling between towns and around San Pedro is usually done by Tuk Tuk. A local ride costs about a $1 or $2.
The food from the Espresso bar and Falafel bar were delicious and very cheap.
San Pedro Chabad organizes a sunrise hike at Indian Nose Peak at least once a week. They provided a guided hike and a kosher breakfast on top of the mountain. I would highly recommended taking the hike with them.
We also visited Panajachel (we got there by Tuk Tuk) and toured a coffee plantation, weaving factory, chocolate factory and honey factory.
Boat rentals are very cheap and we rented kayaks and a pontoon boat.

Offline rivkyw

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Re: Guatemala Master Thread
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2022, 01:37:49 AM »
Shofer, sunrise and breakfast at Indian Nose.




Offline rivkyw

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Re: Guatemala Master Thread
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2022, 01:39:32 AM »
Lake Atitlan
The locals use the lake for bathing, laundry and for most of their drinking water.






Offline rivkyw

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Re: Guatemala Master Thread
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2022, 01:50:54 AM »
Chabad San Pedro




Offline rivkyw

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Re: Guatemala Master Thread
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2022, 01:51:52 AM »
Indian Nose Mountain