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Holy Week- What days to go, and is it a must see experience?

tri-state area
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Holy Week- What days to go, and is it a must see experience?

Hello- I am planning a 7-10 day trip for this spring, and I am very keen on going to Guatemala. I will be travelling with my boyfriend, and he is leaving all the planning up to me:)

I know it is very late to be booking for the time around Holy Week, but I have found some decently priced flights. ($339 p/p from NYC March 19-26) My questions are:

1) Given the fact that everything will be more expensive, and our limited to moderate budget (<$2000), is it worth it to go during Holy Week? Does the festival experience outweigh the extra expense? And just how much extra are we talking if so? The pics look amazing, but can we do it on aformentioned budget?

2) If we do decide to go during Holy Week, is it necessary to be there for the duration? (i.e. could we go a few days into it and stay for a few days after it ends?) Which days are the best?

Many, many thanks to anyone who can give some advice. I really appreciate it!

Cameron

Elkton, Maryland
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209 posts
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1. Re: Holy Week- What days to go, and is it a must see experience?

Easter is quite soon. I will be flying in on the 21st, but not for Antigua to gawk at the natives. I am not a Christian, so I never show up for such events anyway. I will head to Peten after a full day in Guate.

If you want to be able to be among the gawkers, you might be better off staying in Guate and commuting one day and have a layover on the way to Pana on another.

Port Richey, Florida
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2,546 posts
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2. Re: Holy Week- What days to go, and is it a must see experience?

Hi there, Good thursday and friday are the best days to observe the processions in Antigua and guatemala city. So if you arrive on wednesday unless you have hotel reservations, is not going to be easy to find a place to stay in antigua. But the alternative would be to stay in guatemala city and take a shuttle bus from the airport to Antigua and back. I would say that if you've been told by friends that it is worth it, then I can tell you myself and many other travellers, that it is. But based on what I have learned from other regular contributors on the thorntree.lonelyplanet that hotels prefer for you to book a room for the whole week because most people do. In other words trying to book a room during holy week for only three days is not going to be easy. And the place it's going to be packed with many tourists from all over the world. To give you an idea of how expensive a room can be, let me put it to you this way. During normal days you can find single rooms at good and clean hostels from about $15 w/cableTV, private bath to whatever you can afford on more upscale hotels. I don't know about double rooms. So, I would say that during holy week you can expect that to be double the rate. In other words even during holy week, the place is still affordable compared to other places in this planet. And if you stay in guatemala city, you can find good places because room availability is not as complicated there, as most people prefer to stay in Antiigua, even though I've enjoy the processions in guatemala city which I consider as large and impressive as the ones in antigua. Most foreing travellers only know about the ones in antigua. Right now I'm kind of busy but 'll try to give you a few links to check out some photos. Good luck.

tri-state area
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3. Re: Holy Week- What days to go, and is it a must see experience?

Wow- thank you Chenbaaxal and 00bongosero so much for your replies. As I think more about the massive crowds, etc., and the difficulty we are likely to have in booking (though Guatemala city is a great idea) perhaps we should just go after Easter and avoid the confusion. We don't speak much Spanish either, (though I plan to do a crash course study before we leave) - is this a huge problem?

I feel sort of guilty skipping this holiday just because it will make our trip a lot easier-- which is weird because I'm not even Catholic. What is the aftermath like? (I lived in New Orleans for a few years pre-katrina, and the city took about a week to get back to normal after every mardi gras.) I imagine that vomit in the streets is probably not an issue here, so what do you think about going a few days after Easter Sun?

Thanks again for writing back- what a fantastic resouce!

Elkton, Maryland
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209 posts
6 reviews
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4. Re: Holy Week- What days to go, and is it a must see experience?

It is always good to at least learn words of courtesy and greetings, no matter where you travel to. It's true that a lot of people do not speak a lot of English in Guatemala, but it is surprising how many can speak a very basic commercial English.

I hate crowds, so even if I were a Christian, I probably would not go anywhere near Holy Week in Antigua. You going later would certainly be simpler and just plain sensible.

You mentioned 7-10 days. More is better than less. Don't cheat yourselves.

5. Re: Holy Week- What days to go, and is it a must see experience?

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