TRAVEL INFORMATION

Travel Information

From Your Home Country to Guatemala City to Quetzaltenango

Airport in Guatemala City

Spanish School GuatemalaGuatemala City´s airport is not a very complicated place. First you will go through immigration where they will stamp your passport. At this point, make sure that you let them know if you want 90 days if you will be here that long. Then you will walk forward and get your luggage from the baggage claim area. They have the right at this point to search your luggage but I have never heard of anyone having to do more than unzip a compartment or two. There is a bank inside the airport where you can change money during business hours. The next step will be to get a taxi, so you will take all your stuff and head outside.

Taxis in Guatmemala City

Spanish School GuatemalaOnce you walk out the doors, you may be asked by some men to help you with your things. They are not taxi drivers, they are just trying to make a few quetzales. The taxis will be parked along the curb. A taxi ride to a Zona 1 hotel will cost anywhere from 50 to 75Q. The guys at the railing will quote you prices but it is better to settle with the driver. It is also better to do this before getting into the taxi, because they do not have meters. If you arrive during business hours, you can go out the doors to the left and there is an office that will get taxis for you at a good price. If they look closed, do not worry they are open they just always look that way. All taxi rides, even short ones are about 40 to 50Q within the city.

Hotels in Guatemala City

Here is a list of hotels that are found in Guatemala City. Your choice depends on how much money you want to spend and what extras you want. They are listed by zone and just to let you know, the airport is in Zona 13. But this does not really matter, the taxis can take you anywhere. All hotel prices here are for double occupancy and in US dollars based on travel research from 2007.

Zona 13 (near by the Intenational Airport “LA AURORA”)
HOTEL DOS LUNAS
For budget travellers at La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City
Open since 1998, Dos Lunas Guest House has set the standard for the bed & breakfast in the Capital City of Guatemala. Clean and Comfortable. Q100/$14/€10 — Shared Room/Bath
www.hoteldoslunas.com
Address: 21 Calle 10-92, Zona 13
Colonia Aurora II
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Phone:
+(502) 2261-4248
+(502) 2261-4337
Owner is a very nice woman who is fluent in English. Provides airport pick-up. Highly recommended.

El Aeropuerto Guest House
15ª Calle “A”, 7-32, Zona 13
$39
2332-3086
Under same management as Hincapie(see below) and with similar amenities. Five-minute walk to airport. Recommended.

Hincapie Guest House
Ave. Hincapie, 18-77, Zona 13
$38
2332-7771
Includes continental breakfast and transport to nearby Guatemala City airport. Lots of hot water and cable TV.

Hotel de las Américas
Avenida de las Américas, 9-08
$150
2339-0666
Luxury quarters near the airport, 88 rooms.

Zona 1
Hotel Fenix
7 avenida 15-81, zona 1
$7 with shared bath
2251-6625

Chalet Suizo
14ª Calle, 6-82, Zona 1
$25 with bath, $19 without
2251-3786
Deservedly in high favor with travelers on a budget. Friendy, swiss-run, its clean, spacious rooms overlook interior courtyards. Modest restaurant and efficient travel/tour agency on site. Baggage storage and safety-deposit boxes available.

Hotel Centenario
6ª Calle, 5-33, Zona 1
$43 with cable TV and phone in room
Slightly out of the way, clean

Hotel Colonial
7ª Avenida, 14-19, Zona 1
$35 with bath, $25 without
2232-6722
Comfortable, centrally located, 42 rooms. Rather steril and unfriendly. A good restaurant is on the first floor.

Hotel Pan American
9ª Calle, 5-63, Zona 1
$50-$75
2232-6807
Elegant, 58-room, older hotel with an excellent restaurant that is open to the public. Regrettably, noise in this busy commercial neighborhood-and anywhere else in Zona 1-can be a real problem for light sleepers.

Hotel Spring
8ª Avenida, 12-65, Zona 1
$18 and up
2232-6637
Choice of shared or private bath. Interior courtyard and restaurant. Most rooms offer cable TV. Excellent value and a favorite of the US Peace Corps.

La Posada Belén
13ª Calle A, 10-30, Zona 1
$40-$55
2253-4530
Ten rooms in an old colonial home on a quiet side street. Helpful owner, Francesca Sanchinelli, speaks fluent English. Meals available to guests in dining room lined with antiques and artifacts. A good value, highly recommended.

Ritz Continental
6ª Avenida A, 10-13, Zona 1
$60 and up
2238-1671
Luxurious, 202-room facility with pool, TV, a/c, and two restaurants on the premises.

Zona 4
Conquistador Ramada
Via 5, 4-68, Zona 4
$60 and up
2331-2223
This two-tower, steel and glass structure offers first-class rooms with TV, a/c, balconies and in some cases complete kitchens. Ground floor is a huge atrium with several restaurants, bars, a disco and a gift shop.

Plaza Hotel
Via 7, 6-17, Zona 4
$58 and up
332-7626
Modern but low-key hotel with a full range of services, 60 plush guest rooms, a pool, and meeting facilities.

Camino Real Westin
Avenida la Reforma at 14ª Calle, Zona 4
$100 and up
2448-4633
TV, a/c, pool, bar, shopping arcade, fitness center and restaurants

Cortija Reforma
Avenida de la Reforma, 2-18, Zona 4
$100 and up
2331-8876
Modern 150 room hotel with well-appointed three room suites, each with TV, balcony and refrigerator. Shops, restaurant and lounge, but no pool.

El Dorado Marriot
7ª Avenida, 15-45, Zona 4
$100 and up
2331-7777
Luxury high-rise Americana chain hotel, spacious rooms with TV, a/c, and other amenities. Pool, bar, gift shops, gym, restaurants.

Hotel Princess Reforma
13ª Calle, 7-65, Zona 4
$95 and up
2334-1414
Luxury business traveler´s hotel (with Internet access, fax/modem facilities and two-line phones) sauna, gym, pool, tennis court.

Hotel Villa Español
2ª Calle, 7-51, Zona 4
$85 and up
2331-8503
Mediterranean-style structure with courtyard, restaurant, and bar.

Residencial Carrillón
5ª Avenida, 11-25, Zona 4
$65 and up
2334-4036
Modern yet small hotel some distance from the Zona Viva.

Zona 10
Alameda Guest House
4ª Avenida, 14-10, Zona 10
$45 and up
2360-0152
A remodeled old home, with seven charming rooms that share baths. Recommended.

Guatemala Fiesta
1ª Avenida, 13-22,Zona 10
$100 and up
2332-2555
Quieter than the nearby Camino Real and costs about the same. Besides the usual bar, pool, and disco, there´s large conference center.

Residencial Reforma/La Casa Grande
Avenida de la Reforma, 7-67, Zona 10
$67 and up
2332-0914
Elegant, Moorish-looking mansion near U.S. Embassy that offers good food and roomy quarters. Recommended.

Zona 13
El Aeropuerto Guest House
15ª Calle “A”, 7-32, Zona 13
$39
2332-3086
Under same management as Hincapie(see below) and with similar amenities. Five-minute walk to airport. Recommended.

Hincapie Guest House
Ave. Hincapie, 18-77, Zona 13
$38
2332-7771
Includes continental breakfast and transport to nearby Guatemala City airport. Lots of hot water and cable TV.

Hotel de las Américas
Avenida de las Américas, 9-08
$150
2339-0666
Luxury quarters near the airport, 88 rooms.

Buses

Spanish School GuatemalaThere is no main bus terminal in Guatemala City like there are in all other towns throughout Guatemala. Because of this and because for most this will be your first experience on a Guatemalan bus, we suggest that you take a 1st class bus to Quetzaltenango. There are two different bus companies that we recommend to the our students. They are both first class buses, somewhat like a greyhound but without bathrooms (except for LINEA DORADA Company). The trip from the capital takes 4 to 4 1/2 hours and they do not stop for bathroom breaks. At various places along the route they will pull over to the side of the road and people will approach the bus selling everything that you could imagine. You can buy water, sodas, potato chips and even fried chicken. Below are the names of the bus companies and time schedules for busses going from the capital to Xela. The bus costs Q60-75 each person.

Linea Dorada
16 Calle 10-03, Zona 1
2232-5843
8:00am, 3:00pm

ALAMO
21 calle 0-14, zona 1
2220-7618
8:00am, 10:30am, 12:30pm, 3:00pm, 5:30pm

Galgos
7 Ave, 19-44, Zona 1
5:30am, 8:30am, 11:00am, 2:30pm, 5:00pm

Fuente del Norte
2 Av 18-47, Zona 1
2232-1432
5:00am, 11:30am, 3:15pm, 4:30pm, 6:00pm, 7:30pm,
First Class
9:15am, 5:00pm

If for some reason something happens, and you have to resort to a chicken bus, the points in between the capital and Xela are Chimaltenango, Los Encuentros, Cuatro Caminos and finally Xela.

Xela

Spanish School GuatemalaUpon your arrival in Xela, you can stop by the school to check in and let us know that you made it here safely. If for some reason you find yourself in the capital or elsewhere and are going to be late, just call us or e-mail us if at all possible. As a rule of thumb, you should plan to get into Xela no later than early evening on the Sunday before you start class. This means leaving the capital no later than about 1:00 Sunday afternoon.

Taxis in Xela

Taxi rides are fairly inexpensive. You can take a taxi almost anywhere in Xela for around 20Q to 40Q. You can have someone call a taxi for you from the office in the bus station if they are not already there waiting on the bus. At other times, you will find the taxis waiting for customers at each of the main parks.

Hotels in Xela

Here is a listing of various hotels in Xela. Like the ones listed for the capital, these are listed in dollars and for double occupancy.

Casa Argentina
Casa Argentina is a favorite of budget travellers in Xela. The Casa offers the following amenities: use of the three kitchens, bathrooms with hot water, purified drinking water, individual rooms which are clean and comfortable, cable television in some rooms and secure parking for vehicles. It is centrally located next to the Central Park and Mercado Las Flores. It costs about 25 Quetzals (roughly $3.50 per person)
Diagonal 12, 8-37, Zona 1 (Barrio Las Flores), Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
Tel: (502)7761-2470

Casa Kaehler
13ª Avenida, 3-33, Zona 1
$7
7761-2091
Cozy, somewhat rundown old house. Accommodations are clean and inexpensive, although noise can be a problem. Some of the seven rooms have private baths, others share.

Hotel Casa de Viajero
8ª Avenida, 9-17, Zona 1
$12
7761-4594
Good, Low-priced hotel in the downtown area.

Hotel Modelo
14ª Avenida A, 2-31, Zona 1
$30
7761-2529
http://www.xelapages.com/modelo/
Old-fashioned, centrally-located establishment with a new annex. The rooms and meals are an unusually good value. Both are recommended. The annex has a beautiful patio full of exotic flowers. The rooms have private baths with hot water and cable TVs.

Pensión Altense
9ª Calle, 8-48, Zona
$8
7761-2811
Clean and centrally located although in an unappealing neighborhood.

Pensión Bonifaz
4ª Calle, 10,50, Zona 1
$50and up
7761-2279
Although built in th early 1930´s this hotel radiates conlonial elegance. Each of its large, comfortable suits has a sitting room, TV, and private bath. Good restaurant and comfortable bar off the lobby. Recommended. Really nice hotel right in Central Park.

Hotel Casa Florencia
12 Avenida, 3-61, Zona 1
$25
Though the rooms lack Guatemalan character, they are rather modern in design. There´s wall to wall carpet, TV and wood paneling in all the rooms and the beds are new and comfortable.

Hotel Americano
14ª Avenida, 3-43, Zona 1
$20
12 Rooms all with private bath. All the rooms are carpeted but few have windows. The bathrooms are tiny but adequate and the beds are generally passable. Downstairs there is a restaurant that serves excellent breakfasts.

Mexico to Quetzaltenango

Spanish School GuatemalaBegin your journey into Guatemala at the Mexican town of La Mesilla. You may not be able to find it on the map, but believe me it is there. If you are traveling through Mexico, you will go from San Cristobal de las Casas (in Chiapas) to Comitan to La Mesilla. Whether you take a 1st class bus or a collectivo (those VW vans), they will drop you off between the two borders. Get your passport stamped out from Mexico, there should be no charge for this. Then you have to take a taxi across a 4km strip of highway at the cost of 5 pesos. Once you get to the Guatemalan side, go into the immigration office to get stamped into Guatemala. I have heard stories of people being charged 5 to 20Q to get out of Guatemala and 5 to 50Q to get in. If you want to change money at this point for some Guatemalan Quetzales, there will be plenty of men there more than willing to change your money for you. Walk just outside the immigration office and search for a bus going to Xela. As far as I know, there are no 1st class buses here so you will have to take a chicken bus. If you can not find a direct bus, take the La Mesilla to Huehuetenango to Xela route. Either way, the trip costs 40Q and takes about 5 hours, depending on how long the bus stops in Huehuetenango.