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April 6-May9 in Antigua?

minneapolis
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April 6-May9 in Antigua?

Hello, I am a 33 year old female who will be traveling solo to Antigua in April. I will be studying Spanish and volunteering at a hospital/orphanage. I am looking for others who may be in Antigua during this time and would like to practice spanish with me and enjoy Guatemala! I also would enjoy recommendations of things to do from anyone who has traveled to Guatemala or any advice you have for me traveling solo. Thank you! Gracias!

Los Angeles
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1. Re: April 6-May9 in Antigua?

You'll LOVE it!!! If you are going to be studying Spanish, you'll find a lot of friends/students at the school that you study at. But, to warn you, most of them will only want to talk English and this is not truly experiencing the culture in Guatemala by going with all the tourists at night to hang out. I traveled there for a month solo once and then again this past year for 2 1/2 weeks and what I did was go and sit in the park any chance I got. Usually the guys will come up to you and start talking to you in Spanish and it's a good way to practice. You don't have to go along with their invites (to the movies, etc.) but just chat about what they do there, and what you do at home, etc. I ended up meeting a lot of Guatemalans that way and would hang out with them instead of with the tourists. At night, I would go salsa dancing at Sin Ventura or Torero's. I would always take the "took-tooks" (small open air taxi things) at night to be safe. But, sometimes, I would walk with the guys I met in the park to go out and then they would walk me back. I would always tell them though that I had a boyfriend and I only wanted friends. But, to this day, they still email me and tell me I am the love of their life! I found though, that when you are with a Guatemalan, you are always safer.

I would recommend going on weekend trips with whatever school you are studying at. Monterrico, Lago de Atitlan, and Semuc-Champey are all great places to visit. If you need any other advice, just let me know!

minneapolis
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2. Re: April 6-May9 in Antigua?

Thank you so much Keffy for your response, a very good idea regarding sitting in the park! My other question is once I get to Guatemala City, what is the safest way to get to Antigua with my bags? I won't have too much but I will have everything with me at that point and want to be safe! Also the Spanish School Itzchel? has not emailed me back, should I still go there or look around once I get there? Thank you so much for your kind email! I am in MN, where are you? Take care and have a great day!

Los Angeles
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3. Re: April 6-May9 in Antigua?

Hi outdoorgirl--

Once you get to Guatemala City into the airport, there is some kind of a travel desk inside where you can take a shuttle to Antigua. I wouldn't go all the way outside and just get in with anyone that says they are going to Antigua in a shuttle, but sign up at that desk inside just before the exit to the outside. I think it is like $7 or $8 one way. I always paid for my school to pick me up, but that was like, super expensive (around $30 one way). When I got to the airport, I was wishing I hadn't already paid my school for the service when I saw how cheap it really is! You'll have to know an address where you want them to drop you off - at a hotel or at your school. I haven't heard of that school you are going to. If you are staying at a hotel the first night you can walk around the town and look at all the schools and compare prices. I went to Centro Linguistico La Union. It's a great school, but kind of more expensive. They have great activities and you can go with them traveling to different places around Guatemala on the weekends. I highly recommend staying with a family - that is good practice for your spanish - and getting more into the culture. The families are super cool, too. They give you a key and you can come and go as you please. I always just emailed my school and told them what kind of family I wanted and what kind of teacher and then they would have it all arranged when I got there. I didn't feel like trying to find all that after arriving, so that is up to you. When leaving Antigua, you'll find cheap shuttle rates at all the travel agencies in town. Just make sure you get their phone number and the person's name who you booked the shuttle with. I had a mishap with that and they came at the wrong time (3 hours too early) and then said that they couldn't pick me up again later, but to call and talk to whoever I signed up with! Luckily I had the number and got it worked out 1/2 hour before my shuttle left! Also, don't buy any trips from the people in the park. One of my so-called "friends" there said he worked for a travel agency and so when I was leaving, I asked him if I could buy a shuttle ticket through him to leave (he didn't even suggest it, I did!) and he said yes and I paid him for it and he gave me a ticket voucher and everything. Well, checking the next day, good thing I did - he didn't work for that agency and I didn't have a shuttle reservation! Some of the locals like to "work" the tourists. You'll see that with the guys. They'll be talking to you in the park and then ask you if you want to walk around the park or go to a different bench, just so it looks like with all their friends that they are "together" with you. It's quite funny to watch. One guy that is super cool - and I probably shouldn't be writing this on here for everyone to know - but Armando is my Guatemalan friend who works for a travel agency in the bottom of the sky cafe. So if you see him, tell him hi from me! I'm in Los Angeles, where I live, but will hopefully be making it down there again in the next year. Have a great trip and let me know if you have any more questions!

minneapolis
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4. Re: April 6-May9 in Antigua?

Keffy - Thanks again, so very much! I am a bit concerned that this Spanish School has not emailed me back but I guess I will just go there as they are the one near the orphanage I want to volunteer at and see what happens. Maybe they could set me up quickly or I will find another school I like better. I best travel light as I think I will be walking a bit, it will be good for me. Take care and I will look for the sky cafe! Thanks for the tip about the guys in the park and the tickets! Sounds like overall you felt pretty safe there as a solo traveler, I am glad about that! Have a wonderful day, I leave Weds at 6AM!

St. Louis, MO USA
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5. Re: April 6-May9 in Antigua?

outdoorgirl-

Just wanted to wish you well as I read that you are leaving tomorrow! There are about 75 Spanish schools in Antigua so you have plenty of choices. Good luck, be safe, and have fun.

Warmest Regards,

jennifer

COLORADO
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6. Re: April 6-May9 in Antigua?

Hey there! I'll be arriving in Guatemala on 4/18 and hopefully in Antigua the same night.

I'll be travelling alone for a week until I meet up with a friend on the following Monday.

I had planned to take a Spanish class in Antigua for that first week, so if you would like to meet up, let me know.

Still working on where I may be staying and to what school I will be attending.

I'm 35, so it's been awhile since Spanish I and II. I'm hoping a lot comes back. Last two springs in Honduras and Costa Rica have peaked my interest again

Guatemala
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7. Re: April 6-May9 in Antigua?

Hi outdoorgirl. I hope you have a good experience while you are here in Guatemala. I am a 56 year old. I came to Guatemala for the first time in 1985. It has changed a lot as far as security. Always play it low key. Do not have a lot of $$$ on your person. Do not wear expensive jewerly. Like one of the other posts said it is best to live with a family. You must be here now so I hope you learn a lot of Spanish. Be very careful. Always get together with a group of people. LOL