I have been talking long enough about my upcoming trip to Guatemala, but I finally took steps to reserve my flight to Guatemala City and back and reserve accommodations for the first part of my trip in the highlands. These include the Antigua and Santiago Atitlán. Within the next few days, I will also reserve single-night stays in Panajachel and Chichicastenango.
The second part of the trip—to visit the Mayan ruins of Tikal, Copan, and Quirigua—will remain fluid because of lingering transportation concerns. Right now, the plans for the second half of the trip appear to be a bit complicated:
- Take a shuttle bus from Antigua or Guatemala City to Copan, just over the border into Honduras
- Take “chicken buses” from Copan to Rio Dulce in Guatemala via El Florido and Chiquimula
- Hire a car and driver to take to from Rio Dulce to Quirigua and back
- Take a first-class bus from Rio Dulce to Flores and then to El Remate
- Take a minibus from El Remate to Tikal
- Return via bus to Flores
- Fly back to Guatemala City, or take a 12-hour first class bus back if I haven’t burned up too many days by the above
My airline of choice for this trip is Colombian-based Avianca. If you are not familiar with the airline, it is the oldest commercial carrier in the Western Hemisphere—older than any of the U.S. carriers with their money-grubbing extra fees. The plane may have Taca or Lacsa livery, because Avianca purchased these two Central American airlines a few years back. The only airline in the world that is older is KLM in the Netherlands.
I’ve mentioned this before, I think, but I am prejudiced against U.S. carriers. The last time I flew to South America, I had to take American to São Paolo, Brazil. I ordered a cup of hot tea. They gave me coffee instead. I spit it out (being the coffee-hater that I am) and complained bitterly to the stewardess, who insisted it was tea. Until she tasted it. Oh! So sorry! (And so typical.) On Avianca, they know the difference between coffee and tea.