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Antigua Tours, Travel & Hotels by Elizabeth Bell - Day Tours
Ranked #11 of 56 Tours in Antigua
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed November 30, 2013

We toured Antigua with Manuel. It would not have been possible if not for Ms. Bell’s help and extra attention to detail. The ubiquitous vans and buses used for transporting tourists from the port, including the ones supplied by the cruise line, require leg power to enter – an impossibility for me. I use a wheelchair exclusively to get around. Through thoughtful questioning, Ms Bell was able to determine what was possible for me (Nissan Sentra my case) and used her contacts to arrange for this private tour for my wife and me at a very reasonable price.

Manuel was also up to the challenge of showing someone with my limited mobility around Antigua. He speaks excellent English and is very knowledgeable about Antigua and Guatemala. In any instance that I needed a shove, he was there to help. Beyond his local knowledge, he also knew where the (very few) sidewalk cut outs were and which sites were accessible. We visited the main square, the Jade Museum, a cathedral ruin and several working cathedrals including the Iglesia de San Pedro (accessible). Manual walked us through Iglesia de San Pedro, pointing out interesting details and answering any question we had.

A note for wheelers: the streets of Antigua are cobbled but in a way that made for the roughest ride I’ve ever had on cobbled streets. Most curbs are very high. Note that even if there is a cutout at one end, there is no guarantee there is a cutout at the other end – you’ll have to back up. It was a challenge for a moderately strong para, even when using a Freewheel attachment to lift the casters over the cobbles. For the most part, Manuel drove to the site; I got out and looked around, wheeling 50 - 100 ft; for the next site, I got back into the car to be driven a few hundred yards and repeated the process (thanks Manuel!!). If you’re in Antigua for as long as we were, you’ll need to know that the only accessible bathroom I found was in the Jade Museum (Manuel knows where it is).

We definitely recommend this tour.

Thank blyon21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"walking tour"
in 53 reviews
"jade museum"
in 14 reviews
"sor juana"
in 3 reviews
"lake atitlan"
in 18 reviews
"historic preservation"
in 3 reviews
"tour office"
in 3 reviews
"no pressure to buy"
in 4 reviews
"cultural tour"
in 4 reviews
"private shuttle"
in 4 reviews
"hour tour"
in 7 reviews
"answered all our questions"
in 3 reviews
"shuttle service"
in 4 reviews
"semana santa"
in 3 reviews
"interesting facts"
in 3 reviews
"knowledgeable guide"
in 3 reviews
"small group"
in 5 reviews
"tour group"
in 4 reviews
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170 - 174 of 223 reviews

Reviewed November 17, 2013

I have been to Antigua several times but this time wanted to do a little side trip. I found the travel agency online and asked her a few options. Great and fast feedback. Organized the tours, hotel and transportation and it all was perfect. Very knowledgeable and good advice.

Thank smookToronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2013

Our group took a city walking tour with Ms. Bell and could not have been happier. Not only is she very informative about the city of Antigua, she is also very passionate about keeping her city's historic sites preserved. We also booked other trips through her and could not have been more pleased with her outstanding staff. I highly recommend her office and tours.

Thank Gabby1953
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 21, 2013

Just returned from a 2 day trip to Antigua and had an incredible time due to Elizabeth Bell's guidance. She and her team helped craft a delightful schedule of activities and recommendations on places to eat that will not be forgotten. I doubt you'll find any alternatives that have as much direct first-hand knowledge of Antigua or passion for the region. More importantly, Elizabeth Bell went well beyond the label of 'tour guide' . . . she made herself available as a resource, was extremely flexible based on my interests and followed-up proactively. If you have the opportunity to visit Antigua, I highly recommend that you work with Elizabeth Bell and her team.

Thank Charles T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 11, 2013

Antigua Guatemala, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was high on my list for excursions for our Panama Canal cruise. In researching the possibilities for touring Antigua I ran across the Antigua Tours web site. Antigua Tours is run by Elizabeth Bell an American ex-pat who has lived in Antigua since 1969. She has written several books about Antigua and Guatemala and appeared to offer what we were looking for: an informative walking tour with an emphasis on history and historic preservation.

Unfortunately, Elizabeth’s regularly scheduled tours did not fit with our scheduled port-call date in Guatemala. I contacted Elizabeth and she agreed to conduct a private tour for a small group. (All of my email questions were quickly answered.) Although she agreed to run the tour for a group of eight, I posted an invitation to the cruise Roll Call and ultimately ended up with 28 on the tour plus a waiting list.

Because of concerns about delays and security, we used the ship’s “Antigua On You Own” excursion for transportation between the port and Antigua. (Not a bad choice as we were stopped for a half hour or so by a stalled truck on the one-lane road out of Antigua. Oh, and yes, we did get stopped on the way back to the ship by some gentlemen carrying automatic weapons. Our driver, however, was prepared with a neatly wrapped “gift” package of cash.) Note: you can (and some do) dwell on these as tour-stopping negatives or you accept and enjoy them as experiences of travel outside of your own backyard -- it’s your choice.

The tour was fantastic. Easily one of the best tours I have ever been on. The tour has three things going for it. First is Antigua itself. Having been essentially abandoned for two centuries, it has survived intact with minimal modern development. Antigua is truly a gem – world-class historic preservation. One of our group likened it to a “living Pompeii”. (The active volcanoes surrounding the city certainly add to that illusion.) It’s a thoughtful blend of the old with the new. Second is Elizabeth Bell herself. She doesn’t just read the history of Antigua from the book – she wrote the book. Her description of historic preservation projects was based on actual shovel-in-hand experience. Direct access to a primary resource such as this on a $20 private tour was truly remarkable. She was an excellent speaker providing both historic and contemporary information about this fascinating city. And last but not least was the organization of Antigua Tours. In addition to Elizabeth, Antigua Tours provided an assistant for the walking tour. The assistant acted as “sweeper” on the back of our group allowing us to move at own pace between locations. We could stop and take pictures or smell the flowers without worrying about getting lost or losing track of the group. Antigua Tour employees were also very helpful in meeting our individual needs. One of our group needed to find a pharmacy. Rather than say “it’s that way a block and half on the left”, an Antigua Tours employee walked her to the pharmacy, made sure she got what was needed (always helpful if you don’t speak the local language), and walked her back to the Central Plaza starting point. That’s customer service.

Overall an outstanding tour.

1  Thank Waterguy1500
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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