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Best itinerary to follow from Flores to western highlands

Turin, Italy
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Best itinerary to follow from Flores to western highlands

Dear all,

I have a few doubts about the building of my itinerary in Guatemala (at the bottom)

Premise, my international flight is to and from Cancun. Period is from July 17 (I land at 23.50) to Aug. 14 (I depart at 16.00).

My intention would be to spend the last night in Playa del Carmen, and leave immediately on July 17 with ADO bus which departs at 00.30 to Chetumal

Since I will enter in the country from Belize City, my first stop will be Flores, and from there I would like to go south west to the highlands in the Huehuetenango area. From there I would proceed to Atitlan, Antigua, maybe Copan/Honduras, Rio Dulce, Livingston, Punta Gorda, Belize City, Chetumal, ecc ecc.

My questions are the following

1)

Where can I can break the journey Flores – Coban - Uspatan - Sacapulas – Nebaj? I guess in Coban, so that I can make a detour to Lanquin. Can I then go from Coban to Nebaj in one day with the normal bus or the camioneta? (I mean I leave early in the morning and hope to arrive in the afternoon)

2)

Regarding the highlands, it seems to me Todos Santos de Cuchumatan is quite far away. Do I have enough time to spend there. Should I spend more time in Nebaj instead?

3)

Do you know if some of the roads which lead to the above mentioned villages have been destroyed by the recent earthquake?

4)

Is Copan worth? Do I have enough time?

Thank you very much for your help. Suggestions for the itinerary are welcome

Jul 17 arrival to Cancun 22.50 - at 00.30 bus to Chetumal

Jul 18 Chetumal ---> Flores

Jul 19 Flores ---> Tikal

Jul 20 Tikal ---> Flores ---> Coban ----> Lanquin

Jul 21 Lanquin ---> Semuc Chempey ----> Lanquin

Jul 22 Lanquin ---> Coban ---> Uspatan ----> Sacapulas ----> Nebaj

Jul 23 Nebaj

Jul 24 Nebaj --> Sacapulas ----> Hueheutenango

Jul 25 Hueheutenango ---> Todos Santos de Cuchumatan

Jul 26 T S D C

Jul 27 T S D C

Jul 28 T S D C ---> Huehuetenango ---> Sacapulas ---> Santa Cruz del Quichè

Jul 29 Santa Cruz del Quichè ---> Chichicastenango

Jul 30 Chichicastenango ----> Atitlan

Jul 31 Atitlan

Aug 1 Atitlan

Aug 2 Atitlan

Aug 3 Atitlan ---> Antigua

Aug 4 Antigua

Aug 5 Antigua --> Copan

Aug 6 Copan

Aug 7 Copan ---> Rio Dulce

Aug 8 Rio Dulce ---> Casa Guatemala (Orphanage)

Aug 9 Casa Guatemala ---> Livingston

Aug 10 Livingston ---> Punta Gorda ---> Belize City ---> Caye Caulker

Aug 11 Caye Caulker

Aug 12 Caye Caulker ---> Chetumal

Aug 13 Chetumal ---> Playa del Carmen

Aug 14 departure from Cancun at 16.00

4 replies to this topic
The Dalles, Oregon
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1. Re: Best itinerary to follow from Flores to western highlands

Whoa Nellie! I count at least 18 places to sleep in 28 nights, an average of a day and a half per stop. In addition, many of the transitions you have listed are long ones, some to the point you'll need to add an additional stop in the middle to accommodate them. As well, you're trying to cram so much in you've extended your loop while leaving out absolute highlights en route.

When I'm planning my trips I take a good, hard look at what my travel priorities are. What do I want to be doing with most of my time? Generally the last thing on my list would be 'sitting on my backside looking through grimy bus windows'. If you're averaging less than 3 nights per spot, that's what you'll be doing for ~half of the days of your trip. In other words, you'll be doing that more than all your other travel interests combined. That is bad trip math in my opinion, especially since the transition days can be surprisingly long and tiring in that part of the world.

Lots of folks feel like they want to cram in as much as possible in the time they have. By trying to see too many places and moving on every few days, or by choosing places that are geographically distant and require long bus times, you'd actually be diluting your time to explore and enjoy. If you really want to pack nearly every day full of cool adventures, in my opinion you need to pick a smaller geographic area as well as fewer stops.

Madison, Wisconsin
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2. Re: Best itinerary to follow from Flores to western highlands

I got so exhausted reading your itinerary I didn't get through it all.

Your expectations of travel time between nearly all of your destinations are unrealistic.

Hopefulist has good advice. Tell us what your priorities are, and we can help you narrow down your destinations. Removing Todos Santos would be a good first step.

Things to consider:

Are you interested in visiting more than one mayan ruin? Copan is a nice contrast to Tikal, but there are other ruins in Mexico that I haven't visited but others here can recommend.

What interests you when you travel? Hiking, being active, and outdoors? Or experiencing different culture, food, and people?

Paris, Canada
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3. Re: Best itinerary to follow from Flores to western highlands

It is doable but very rushed.

It would be great to be able to spend a night in Tikal but the shuttles to Lanquin leave Flores around 8 am. You could go by bus but that can take longer than the shuttle (bus to Sayaxche, then Coban (maybe via Chisec), then Lanquin).

Lanquin to Nebaj will be a long day. We stayed overnight in Uspantan. We had two days in Nebaj. You can get from Nebaj to Todos Santos in a day. It took 1.5 hours to Sacapulas. The bus to Huehue was waiting in Sacapulas but a bit further than where we got off. At the bus terminal in Huehue we right away got on a bus to Todos Santos. It took 3 hours.

You could get away with one full day for Todos Santos. It is an interesting very traditional village. Not only the women wear traditional clothing but also the men. We took a bus to La Ventosa to hike up La Torre.

I realize you are trying to get to Chichi Saturday evening for the Sunday market. But I am pretty sure you could do Todos Santos to Chichi in a day. Chichi is close to Santa Cruz del Quiche. As far as I know Santa Cruz del Quiche has little of interest.

We went from Todos Santos to Xela. If you like volcanoes, hiking, hot springs... you will like it too. Then from Xela go to Lake Atitlan. Visit Chichi as a day trip from the lake or, better as you don't have much time, visit the Solola market (close to Pana) on Tuesday or Friday instead. Many villages at the lake and many markets.

One full day for Antigua and one day for Copan are both okay but two days would of course be better. Copan is great, not just the ruins but also the town and there are hot springs nearby and a bird park (but you can also see the scarlet macaws at the ruins).

To get from Livingston to Punta Gorda I thought there were only two boats a week: on Tuesday and on Friday (unless that has changed). From Puerto Barrios there are daily boats.

I have not been to Caye Caulker but lots of people on this forum will balk at only one day on Caye Caulker.

Turin, Italy
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4. Re: Best itinerary to follow from Flores to western highlands

Thanks for suggestions and comments.

My main interests in this travel are to observe some Mayan archaeological sites, colourful markets, meet a different culture.

The beginning and the end of the itinerary are very ectic because I have visited Mexico twice, and so I just want to get as quickly as possible to Guatemala.

I am used to long travel journeys in Africa and Asia, so I do not mind.

I go to sleep and wake up very early, and my travel style is quite ectic and nomadic

My knee conditions do not allow me any longer to climb or trek vulcanoes with ripid ascents, but long walks are ok.

In Semuc Chempey, I just would like to see the pools and the Mirador, this is why my visit is so short

In places like Nebaj or TSDC or Antigua I just would like to walk around, see churches, and the surroundings

I was quite superficial about the Livingston Punta Gorda transfer, I will do some more research

I now take a while to reconsider the whole matter, and reflect.

A huge thanks to you, guys :)

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