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Read this post for a detailed break-down of costs in San Pedro LL.
Read this post for a detailed break-down of costs in Antigua.
SAN PEDRO LA LAGUNA:
A Breakfast on the street is worth about GTQ25 (US$3.35) per person … so, I got a very good price on the room.
The El Barrio provided free drinking water in the kitchen.
LAKE ATITLAN TO SAN CRISTOBAL:
You can catch a Shuttle Bus directly from Lake Atitlan to San Cristobal.
These Shuttles leave from Panajachel.
You need to catch the first Lancha of the day (at about 6am) so that you get to Panajachel before 7am. The ‘direct’ Lancha should get you to Pana in about 30 minutes.
The ticket from San Pedro to San Cristobal costs GTQ165.
SAN PEDRO TO ANTIGUA:
One of the volcanoes around Antigua was active, so I decided to spend 3 nights in Antigua first … in the hope of seeing something …
There are 3 shuttles leaving from San Pedro to Antigua each day: 8am, 11am, and 1pm.
I pre-booked the front seat next to the driver. Most people don’t know that you can pre-book a specific seat … you can … but, sometimes, the seat is (still) already taken when the shuttle arrives. I was lucky … the driver had kept my seat free. I was even luckier … there was no-one in the ‘jump seat’ between me and the driver (so I had plenty of leg room).
The Shuttle from San Pedro finally left San Pedro at 11:20am. It went via San Juan and San Pablo to route 14.
The first hour of the journey is along poor roads riddled with potholes. By 12:15pm we were in Santa Clara. The roads improved and we were at the junction to CA1 (the Pan-American Highway) by 12:35pm.
We stopped at 1:30pm for a 15 minute ‘comfort stop’.
We were dropped off at the front of the Antigua Market at 3:30pm.
I booked 3 nights in the Casa De Leon. I met up with my travel partner in Antigua.
For a more detailed look at hotel prices, read my Antigua – Information post.
We got the room at a discounted rate of GTQ128 / night (US$17.50) including a free Breakfast for 2.
The ‘wardrobe’ was really just shelves with nowhere to hang your clothes. The fan was so noisy that we had to switch it off at night.
The shower had hot water.
You often had to wait to get into the bathroom (especially in the mornings and early evenings – when everyone is getting up or getting ready to go out for dinner).
They also supplied free water.
ANTIGUA TO SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS:
The ‘direct’ Shuttle to San Cristobal takes about 10-12 hours (depending on how long you spend at the border).
We wanted good, comfortable seats, so we asked our Travel Agent for the 2 seats immediately behind the driver (seats #3 and #4). These seats almost always have the best legroom. The Travel Agent called the driver and confirmed the seats. We asked her to write down these seat reservations on our tickets. She obliged.
Pickup was from our hotel (the Casa De Leon) at 5:30am. They ask you to be ready 15 minutes before. We packed our bags the previous night, arose at 4:45am, and stood at the front of the hotel waiting by 5:15am.
They are not always on time. Sometimes, you are the last ones to be picked up … they can be as much as 1 hour late! We were lucky, the driver arrived at 5:25am.
Someone was sitting in seat #3! We showed the driver our reservations and he moved her to seat #1.
The Shuttle finally left Antigua at 5:55am. But, we had to wait on the edge of town for 15 minutes to collect 2 more passengers arriving on another connecting Shuttle (we don’t know where it came from). Our Shuttle was full except for the 3rd seat (seat #5) next to us at the front.
At 8am we stopped at the junction of route CA1 and Route 1. Here we changed to another Shuttle (the 7am from Panajachel). The long distance Shuttles tend to be newer and more comfortable than the short distance ones.
Luckily, we managed to retain our reserved seats … but only because the people swapping to our shuttle vacated them. If not for this stroke of luck, we could have ended up sitting anywhere.
At 9am we had a ‘comfort stop’ for 15 minutes near Xela.
At 10:15am we stopped with a puncture that took 20 minutes to fix.
At 1pm we reached the Guatemalan border. It took us 15 minutes longer to get through because one of the passengers on board had over-stayed his 90 day visa. He had to pay a fine of GTQ15 / day of over-stay.
At the Guatemalan border we changed Shuttles again. Again, we were lucky and managed to fend off others trying to get into our ‘reserved seats’ … even though they were the same people and knew that those seats were ours.
In this final Shuttle we drove a few 100 meters to the Mexican border. We all filled out our Arrival / Departure Cards and checked through Immigration. There were no Customs / bag checks. We cleared the borders by 1:50pm.
We had to put our clocks forward 1 hour for Mexico … this made it 5:30pm.
It is a long, boring journey … but an easy one.
GRANDPAckers should have no problem with it. However, you can make it easier for yourselves by booking seats #3 and #4 so that you have more room. Make sure that these seats are confirmed and written on your ticket.
You arrive in San Cristobal too late to ‘walk the streets’ to find accommodation. I advise you to book at least 1 night in advance.
Read my next post ‘San Cristobal – Information’ for more information about where to stay and what San Cris is like.
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