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Single female travel advice and itinerary recommendations

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Dallas, Texas
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Single female travel advice and itinerary recommendations

I have been browsing the forum for answers and still have a couple of questions if anyone can advise. I am planning a week trip (7 full days possibly 8) end of November. I'd like to see Antigua, Atitlan (Solola instead of Chichi market), Tikal and possibly Yaxha. Here's my tentative itinerary:

day 1 - Arrive PM GUA transfer to Antigua - Casa Cristina

day 2 - Antigua - Question: is it safe for a single female to wander the streets and main tourist attractions of Antigua without a guide? I've traveled a bit, but have no Spanish skills (only Italian). Should I book a tour - recommendations? I've heard of Elizabeth Bell but would prefer a private guide if possible so I can move at my own pace.

day 3 option 1- another day in Antigua? Not sure how long I should stay there or transfer to Atitlan - stay Posada de Santiago. Is it possible to book a transfer that stops at Solola market on the way?

day 3 option 2 - Atitlan - visit Santiago and San Juan (I'd like to visit artists and a weaving co-op). Any recommendations for a tour would be great, or any other villages you think I'd like. I'd like to go with a guide to visit San Juan at least.

day 4 - Atitlan

day 5 - Transfer AM Atitlan to GUA for PM flight to Flores. Overnight Tikal Inn.

day 6 - Sunrise tour Tikal - I've contacted Roxy and am waiting to hear back. PM transfer to Yaxha overnight Ni'tun reserve

day 7 - AM Yaxha and Topoxte or Nakum tour, PM flight to GUA

day 8 - return home

*recommendations for a Tikal package tour? or should I book flights/accommodation/guide separately?

*I have expensive photographic equipment - how should I best hide this as a single female traveler?

*Should I book the Atitlan portion as a package from Antigua, or everything (transfer, accommodation, guided tours) separately?

*Recommendation for a safe hotel for overnight in GUA for a safe departure please.

*I won't be out at night, but is it safe to walk around Antigua and Santiago during the day by myself?

Thank you all so much!

The Dalles, Oregon
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1. Re: Single female travel advice and itinerary recommendations

Hi, there!

I feel safe around Antigua and Santiago during the day; I don't go out too much at night but haven't had any problems when I do. You can book a tour but if you go to the Inguat office east of the parque central they'll give you a good map and suggestions. I'd spend day 3 at the lake - I love it up there.

I can't help with tour guides for Atitlán but Santiago and San Juan are good choices. San Juan is really small and you can hit all the coops on your own just wandering up and down the streets. In Santiago you can hire a guide at the dock to take you to see Maximón, the cathedral, etc. Every time I go back there I try to find the same old guy.

Package tours to Tikal are sometimes cheaper than the pieces separately. I wouldn't consider a package tour to the lake because I'd rather put together my own arrangements there.

Sounds like a great trip. Happy trails!

Bethesda, MD
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2. Re: Single female travel advice and itinerary recommendations

Dolores Ratzan gives an excellent tour of Santiago. You can make arrangements through the Posada.

Alabama
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3. Re: Single female travel advice and itinerary recommendations

day 6 - PM transfer to Yaxha overnight Ni'tun reserve

Ni'tun Reserve is located near the town of San Andres on Lake Peten-Itza and is nowhere near Yaxha. I recommend staying at El Sombrero Ecolodge which is located literally at the entrance gate to Yaxha National Park.

day 7 - AM Yaxha and Topoxte or Nakum tour, PM flight to GUA.

Even though any time is a good time to visit Yaxha, the best time to go there is in the evening so you can watch the sunset from the top of Temple 216. Topoxte is a good addition too, but don't expect to see much while there. The short boat trip across the lake is nice.

As far as visiting Nakum, unless there is no rain a couple of weeks before you go, your chances of going there will be pretty slim unless your guide has a good 4x4 with high clearance. The main problem will be getting across the La Justa Bajo along the way, where you will most likely get the truck stuck numerous times. Expect to pay a Q80 park entrance fee before entering the park to visit any of these sites.

chicago
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4. Re: Single female travel advice and itinerary recommendations

We plan very similar trip in mid-November. How do you transfer from Tikal to Yaxha? Since it's complicated we decided to stay in El Remate and take a tour to Yaxha and maybe Nakum from there (4x4 with Santiago Billy of Mon Ami). How wet is the road now?

Joanna

Alabama
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5. Re: Single female travel advice and itinerary recommendations

Joanna.....It's not that complicated to transfer from Tikal to Yaxha. It only requires some know-how and a little effort. Any colectivo shuttle bus leaving Tikal will let you off at the cross roads in the village of Ixlu. Once there, you'll need to catch an eastbound colectivo or shuttle traveling towards Melchor de Mencos along highway CA-13. Ask them to let you off at the cross roads of Yaxha. From there you can hitch a ride or simply walk the rest of the way.

If it were me and I did not want to do all of that, I would simply hire a driver to take me there, even though it would cost much more. Some people have different budget levels. You can drive to Yaxha any time of the year, for the road is always in great condition. I was just there 1 1/2 weeks ago and it came a big rain one of the days I was there.

It would be difficult to drive to Nakum right now, however, but if it does not rain anymore between now and the time of your trip, you should be fine. I like to think of Nakum as the 'hidden gem' of the Peten, for most people do not go there and the structures are magnificent.

If you want to be extremely adventurous, ask about visiting Naranjo nearby. There are more buildings at that site than at Tikal, yet they are not excavated.

The Dalles, Oregon
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6. Re: Single female travel advice and itinerary recommendations

Greg - You are such a wonderful resource on this forum! I've got to get back up to the Petén! I'm envious of the trip you're taking in February with Mariah and Greg - can't wait to hear all about that adventure. :-)

chicago
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7. Re: Single female travel advice and itinerary recommendations

Thanks Greg! I will research Naranjo.

Dallas, Texas
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8. Re: Single female travel advice and itinerary recommendations

Thank you everyone for all of these tips!!

Good advice to spend day 3 at the lake. Thanks.

Also, for the recommendation of Dolores at the Posada. I will definitely look into that.

Thank you Mayarunisonly for the advice about Yaxha and Nakum and recommendation of different lodging - that makes sense. I think I will try to book a package for this part of my trip, but can't seem to find anything that includes sunrise at Tikal and sunset at Yaxha!!

Any recommendations on this?

Thanks again!

Alabama
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9. Re: Single female travel advice and itinerary recommendations

Stacey....thanks for the kind words. You and Mike are invited to join the trip in March 2013. We'll visit a lot of fairly unknown sites in the Peten by 4x4. Check it out and let me know if interested!

Joanna....Located between Yaxha and Nakum is a nice little unexcavated site that hardly anyone knows about. It's called Poza Maya and can be a nice addition to any trip in the area. Also, between Yaxha and Naranjo is another site; Pochitoca.

dallaskiwi.....It's going to be difficult to find a package deal (hotel, tours, etc.) that will be as you need in the area, but it can be done as a custom-planned trip. Your best bet is to book your lodging and tours separate. How well is your Spanish? Here's two contacts that will help with planning what you want:

For lodging near Yaxha - El Sombrero Ecolodge - contact the owner - Gabriella Morretti - email: gabriella_moretti@hotmail.com - (phone) 4147-6380 - (cell) 5334-5699 (Spanish only)

For the tours you want - sunrise at Tikal & sunset at Yaxha: you can contact Dieter Richter - http://www.the-mayan-adventure.com/index.html (Spanish, English, and German)

If you want to pay a tour agency in Flores to handle all of your lodging and tours for you, then you can contact Tony or Oscar at Reino K'an Mirador Travel Agency: email: racsosalas@hotmail.com & phone - 5818-3273 or 5761-9883 (Tony speaks perfect English). Just be sure to let Tony know you want a complete package deal and to put one together for you. He can put together anything you want. Let me know if you need anything else.

Saludos,

Greg

chicago
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10. Re: Single female travel advice and itinerary recommendations

Thanks again, Greg. I know about Poza Maya, I found Polish archeological project in Nakum (I'm Polish) and they also checked out Poza Maya :-) But I probably will stick with Yaxha - not enough time. Thanks to your encouragement I booked a room in El Sombrero, and Sebastian promises to pick us up from the road.

Joanna