Guatemala Travel Document Requirements
Citizens of the U.S. Europe, and Canada may enter Guatemala with a valid passport. Please note that Guatemalan law requires your passport be valid for at least 30 days after the date you enter the country. This means that if your passport will expire within the next 30 days, you must renew it before your trip. Also you need a return ticket. Check with your airline or travel agent for more information.
Citizens of other countries should check with the applicable Guatemalan Consulate in your country about rules governing entrance into Guatemala. You are required to carry your passport with you at all times. If you are stopped by officials, a photocopy with your photo, passport number and entry stamp will usually suffice and is recommended.
When booking flights to Guatemala, you will fly into La Aurora Airport, Guatemala City (GUA). We would advise you to arrive in La Aurora Airport, Guatemala City, before 5pm, preferably try to arrive around midday. The airport is fairly small and quite well organized. The flow is quite logical, you pass immigration, pick up your bags, then pass through customs. After going through immigration and customs, you will exit from the arrivals doors. Outside you will find many taxi and shuttle drivers waiting.
We would advise that you stay in Antigua for 1 night, before travelling to San Marcos La Laguna. You can usually take a shuttle from the airport to Antigua for about US$10, or a taxi for US$20. Some of the drivers may speak some English, but if you tell them "Antigua" and the name of your hotel, they should take you directly to the door of your hotel.
In Antigua you can withdraw cash from one of the many ATMs there. A few places such as hotels accept US dollars, but most people deal in the Guatemalan currency, the Quetzal (Q), so make sure you have some, especially before you leave Antigua. There are no ATMs or banks in San Marcos La Laguna, the nearest ATMs are in San Pedro La Laguna, which is a 15 minute boat ride away. The boat ride costs Q10 (US1.50) each way.
From Antigua, you can get a shuttle directly to San Marcos La Laguna. Your hotel will usually be able to arrange this for you, and will probably charge you around Q75 (US$10). The shuttles normally leave at 9.00am and 2.00pm, and will pick you up from your hotel. Alternatively you can go to one of the many travel agencies around Antigua and book a shuttle yourself. Ensure that you are going to San Marcos LA LAGUNA, as there are other San Marcos`s in Guatemala. We would recommend the travel agencies "Mayatour", "Atitrans" and "Arcoiris".
Another option is to travel from Antigua to Panajachel. Again this can be done by shuttles from your hotel, but will involve a boat ride across the lake, which can be a beautiful introduction to Lake Atitlan. The public launches are small fiberglass motor boats. Getting on and off the boat is easy for the fit and healthy, but can be challenging for people with limited range of movement. Luggage normally goes in the front of the boat and may get wet! The boat driver should charge you Q20 (US$3). You may be offered a private boat to San Marcos. This can cost around US$25, and will be quicker and less crowded, but is usually unnecessary. The San Marcos dock is a regular stop on the boat route, usually the fourth stop. The dock does not have a sign to say San Marcos, but the boat driver will normally shout the name of the dock as the boat arrives. If in doubt, ask the driver.
Public boats from Panajachel leave every 20 minutes from 6.30am to 7.00pm.
What do I need to bring with me?
Flashlight, alarm clock, sunscreen and hat, bathing suit, day pack/backpack, walking/hiking shoes, sandals with straps, sweater/sweatshirt, insect repellent, toiletries, warm pyjamas (cool nights). Electricity and outlets are the same as the United States. A bottle of liquid Grapefruit Seed Extract for fruit, vegetable and water purification, or for occasional parasite problems.
How to locate us?
Flower House is located 2 km from San Marcos la Laguna, on the road for San Pablo la Laguna. You may take a tuc-tuc and ask to go at Patzajk`el, in less than 5 min and Q5 you will be there. If you need to, you may give us a call from San Marcos and we will assist you in any way we can.
How to contact us?
International call: +502 4053-4614
At the Internet place in San Marcos la Laguna you can rent a phone and call us:
Are there a lot of bugs?
Being in the tropics, there is a lot of insect life in general in Guatemala. However, our elevation keeps this issue at a minimum and our guests find it remarkably bug-free here.
Do you accept U.S. Dollars?
We prefer to be paid in local currency, but in emergency we would accept US Dollars. In Antigua you can withdraw cash, if you need to, from one of the many ATMs there. A few places such as hotels accept US dollars, but most people deal in the Guatemalan currency, the Quetzal (Q), so make sure you have some, especially before you leave Antigua. There are no ATMs or banks in San Marcos La Laguna, the nearest ATMs are in San Pedro, which is a 15 minute boat ride away. The boat ride costs Q10 (US1.50) each way.
Do I need shots?
No shots or vaccinations are needed for visits to Guatemala.
Can I use my cell phone?
Most cell phones work, however, you will need to contact your provider for assistance.
Where is the nearest internet cafe?
There are 3 internet cafes in San Marcos. One is on the corner from Paco Real, another is 5 mins up across the road at Blind Lemon`s. A third internet cafe is beside "Tienda El Centro" in the main square of the village. Many hotels and restaurants in San Marcos now have WIFI, although the level of technology here means that it may not be as fast or easily available as you are used to.
Is there a laundry service?
There are 4 laundry services in San Marcos. At Hotel Paco Real, Hotel Quetzal, beside the internet cafe and at El Arbol. Usually you pick your laundry few hours after leaving it.
What is your elevation?
Lake Atitlan is at 5,200 feet elevation.
Is Guatemala safe?
Generally, Guatemala is safe. Thousands of tourists travel throughout the country without incident. If you apply your common sense, it is likely that you will have a pleasant and memorable stay in the country with no unpleasant incidents. Theft of personal property (from automobiles and hotel rooms) is not uncommon, so it is best to put your valuables out of sight, preferably in a locked box in your room. The thing to keep in mind is that most people here earn $120 or less per month, so your camera may be worth 3 months salary to them. Most people are honest, but some may cave in to the temptation when presented with an opportunistic situation. Don`t wear ostentatious, expensive jewellery and try not to leave camera equipment or money around. Compact cameras can now take wonderful photographs and are easier to conceal rather than big SLR`s that are carried around the neck. Some travellers carry a "throw down wallet" with an expired card and the day`s cash in it.
Hotels in Antigua
Antigua caters well for tourism, it`s main industry. There are many hotels, bars and restaurants, as well as some beautiful architecture and interesting markets. Most of the hotels are clean and friendly. We have personally experienced the Posada de Don Rodrigo and La Porta and rate them very highly.
The Revue Magazine Online - This is the site of the Guatemala`s English-language Magazine, which we find very useful for finding yourself situated in major destinations in the country. On their website you can find hotels in Guatemala City or Antigua.
- Hotel Posada de Don Rodrigo - $100 for double room, $90 single
Calle del Arco No.17 La Antigua Guatemala C,A.
- Hotel La Porta Antigua - from $165 for standard room
8va. Calle Poniente No. 1- La Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepequez
T: +(502) 7931 0600 USA / Canada Toll free 1 877 765 0919
- Hostal las Marias - $65 for double room, $60 single
Calle a San Bartolo, Las Jacarandas, Lote #7, Antigua
Phone: +502/5516-9147, +502/5516-9147 5550-1476 5550-1476
- Hotel Aurora - $ 76 for double, $72 single - includes breakfast
4ta Calle Oriente #16, Antigua
Phone: +502/7832-0217 +502/7832-0217
- Casa Concepcion - $121 for room with balcony, includes breakfast
Callejon del Hermano Pedro #2 Antigua Guatemala
Phone: (502)7832-5821 - (502)7832-0360
- Casa Ovalle - $70 for double , $60 single, includes breakfast
2a. avenida norte No. 3 Antigua Guatemala
Phone: (502) 7832-3031
- Casa Rustica - $53 double, $43 single
6ta avenida norte #8, Antigua
Phone: +502/7832-3709 +502/7832-3709
- Don Valentino - $48 double
- Casa Antigua - $65 double
the last two hotels are attached to the address of Casa Rustica
Hotels in San Marcos la Laguna
- Hotel Paco Real
Paco Real is a medium budget hotel here in San Marcos. It is in the middle of the village and has a very good restaurant. Their rates are from approximately $15 per night. They do not have a website, but do have a facebook page:
- Hotel Lush
Very beautiful eco-hotel. Their rates range from $120 for private suite, $80 and $60 for double rooms, includes breakfast. They have $20 rooms with private bathroom and $13 for dormitory. Visit their website - it is a piece of art, as the hotel is. They take reservations by email.
- Posada del Bosque Encantado
Very nice and welcoming little hotel with only 3 rooms, good for children. You can contact the owner Terry by email through the site and she will do her best for reserving your space. Her rates are $25 for double, $36 for triple or 2 adults and 2 children. The price in January may go slightly higher, but it won`t sky rocket!
- Posada Schumann
A nice hotel beside the lake. Rates are on their website - $40 to $17.
Do not hesitate to ask. Let light shine in your hearts and fly light towards your new learning adventures.
In love and service, Nadia and Mark