Like the other reviewers, I cannot say enough good things about Guatefriends and the people that run it. This hostel is a breath of fresh air. From the moment you arrive, you are welcomed and feel like part of the family. I stopped in Coban on the way to Tikal, ended up staying three nights and didn't want to leave. It’s only a few minutes outside of the town center, but you feel like you are at a peaceful mountain retreat hours away from the busyness of a town. The house is beautifully situated on a hill with a great view overlooking the local community. Be sure to notice the paintings that litter the walls of the house. They are painted by Otto.
Accommodations: After staying in some other hostels on my travels through Guatemala, this place felt like the Ritz Carlton. It is very clean and has hot water – a nice luxury after staying a week in the jungle. They also have a hairdryer – again a luxury for backpackers! The third floor dorm room has a balcony and a great view. Nevermind the dogs barking at night. They sound like they are killing each other but hey, it's Guatemala. Wild dogs are everywhere.
Food: Pretty much everything you find in Guatemala is organic. I enjoyed fresh fruit juice and blended drinks with breakfast and cheese homemade by a local villager with dinner. Breakfast was included with my stay. Other meals were an extra cost and are highly recommended. Abdy and Elizabeth are excellent cooks and the meals are very reasonably priced. You eat family style which is a great way to get to know the family and meet other travelers. They also provide purified water and have wireless internet. Make sure you try some local dishes. Mush is excellent – thanks for introducing me to it Abdy!
I will always have a special place in my heart for Guatemala but especially for the family that runs Guatefriends. So if you go to Coban stay here (and bring Elizabeth vanilla extract which is hard to get as cheap as it is in the US – she’ll love you!).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Casa Yuam Che, meaning "Tree of Life" in Qeqchi mayan language, its a house that was built with the purpose of being an out of the ordinary family home in a beautiful and quiet village close to Coban. Due to its exceptional architecture of wood and stone, and to the amazing family hospitality, the idea of making it a guest home for visitors came to life. Casa Yuam Che its the one exclusive hotel where both travelers from Guatemala and around the world can enjoy a unique experience in Coban, we welcome you to have a beautiful and different stay. Casa Yuam Che is located in Aldea Chicuxab only 8 kilometers away from the main plaza in Coban, Alta Verapaz.; its surrounded by a beautiful mountain landscape. As well, around the area you can find many natural and cultural attractions like Orquigonia (Orchids tour in a natural preserve), Cuevas del Rey Marcos (Caves), Parque Nacional Las Victorias (Natural Preserve in Coban downtown), Coffee Tours, and places to eat traditional foods; Coban is a natural stunning environment to be discovered. ... more less