Traveling into Guatemala
Antigua Travel Blog› entry 23 of 37 › view all entries
Today is another travel day, and although I was looking forward to a nice air conditioned bus, I was surely not looking forward to the early sounding of my alarm clock. As it turned out, it wasn't so bad. Even though I got to bed after midnight, I still woke up about 20 minutes before the thing went off. That probably means that I will be sleeping good tonight.
I packed my things, paid for the hotel, and headed out with my pack to find a taxi to the bus station. I tried three different taxis before finding one that went as low as the $3 I was willing to pay, but I felt like I had to make up for the $8 I shelled out two days ago. I arrived in plenty of time for the bus, and the ComfortLines representative checked my passport when I checked in.
The bus was very nice, and there were only about 12 people on board for the 4-1/2 hour drive to Guatemala City. At the border stop I was given some extra scrutiny by the border agent, but was allowed to exit El Salvador and enter Guatemala with no trouble.
We arrive to Guatemala City just before noon, and I cannot help but be impressed by the apparent affluence of the area. The outskirts are all new developments, and car dealerships, and the views into the city are fabulous. Like most cities I've been to in Central America, Guatemala City is built in a valley, and the approach is wonderful to look at. The bus pulls into the private terminal, and I get the feeling from the area that we are nowhere near the public bus terminal I need to be at for the bus to Antigua.
My research complete, I exit again looking for a public bus and hoping to pay about 25 cents to do so. As I walk past them one of the taxi drivers makes a final pitch of $5 to me. I think about the bit of doubt I have with my bus plan and agree. David from Sacramento and the UK shares the cab, as we both have the same destination in mind. The taxi drive is a long one, and I certainly feel like we got our $5 worth by the time we arrive. The driver helps us get to the correct bus and we jump on board. David and I are the only people on the bus, and I am surprised when the bus leaves with just us two.
There is some road contruction along the way, but the road is otherwise great. A 6-lane highway until the road splits into two directions, and then a nice 2-lane road through a mountainous area until we arrive in Antigua at about 2pm. We collect our gear from the top of the bus, and are met by a couple of tourism companies with maps of the area. It's a very nice soft sell approach that I was not prepared for, and a welcome change from some of the hard-sells you get in Central America.
The first thing I noticed during my online hotel search in Antigua was that there was zero mentions of air conditioning, even in the most pricey of places. This led me to believe that the climate must be very different then some of the places I have been, due to the elevation of the city. The closest weather forecast I had been able to find online was for Guatemala City, which predicted a high of 75 °F/24 °C, and lows of 62 °F/17 °C. Sounds great to me! Maybe i can do without the A/C.
The rooms are beautiful, and the wi-fi works great so I feel very happy about the price I am paying.
I grab some food, and book an excursion tomorrow to the highly active Volcan Pacaya (think flowing lava). Things get going at 2:15pm and that will give me plenty of time to relax and play with the web before I have to get moving.
I crashed in my room by 9pm.