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Traveler’s Guide to Guatemala: Cheap Hotels & Delicious Food

guatemala suvenirs salesman

I spent a month traveling through Guatemala and learned a lot about what a visitor needs to know to get through the country safely and have a pretty good time. Due to the low cost of living it can be a very cheap vacation, you can find some very cheap hotels throughout country.

By saving money on accommodation you are left with more money to spend on the delicious traditional food, Mayan art and jewelry. It’s a really beautiful country, no matter where you end up. Here are some tips which can make choosing your Guatemalan destination much easier.

The Sophisticated Shopper – Antigua

Antigua is a gorgeous town with a very metropolitan feeling. During the day there is a long strip of boutiques where you can buy anything from chic Paris fashion to traditional Mayan clothing.

There are street performers and artists that attract crowds until the night when this strip leads to great restaurants and clubs that create a pulsing night life.

There’s also a great central park where you can find a place to sit and people-watch and on occasion hear live music. The city has hiking all around for every level of expertise and you can be sure you’ll find a view that will take your breath away.

Antigua can be more expensive than other destinations, but you can get by with either dollars or quetzales (the local currency). Here the hotels are a bit more expensive, but you can easily find cheap hotels online or by just asking around the local Cafes. Most hotels here will accept major credit cards.

Selina cheap hotels

We stayed at Selina Antigua, on 6ta ave.norte 43A, which is something between a hotel and a modern hostel. If you are into classical cars you will love their recently restored VW Beetle and the yellow School Bus at the back yard, which has been transformed into a spacious chill out room.

We really enjoyed our stay at Selina. The cost of the accommodation was a little less than $20 a night.

Initially we had found on a travel guide a few cheap hotels just around the corner from Santa Catalina Arch, but Ronaldo at the reception of Selina was great when we pop in to ask for directions, so we decided to stay there.

A bit of advice on Antigua, instead of the over-priced souvenirs save your money for a great dinner and maybe a guided hike around.

The Beach Bum – Monterrico

To experience the lovely Guatemalan coastline Monterrico is an ideal location. It’s an incredibly relaxed area that’s perfect for the traveler who just wants to lay on the beach and have a cold drink in their hand.

In Monterrico you can choose between luxury five-star hotels and the many local guest houses. You will find cheap hotels as well as some very expensive hotels like the “Dos Mundos Pacific Resort’, it all depends on the needs of the traveler.  

Dos Mundos Pacific Resort

At Monterrico, you will also find many cafes and restaurants with plenty of fresh seafood, fresh fruits, right on the beach. Guatemala has black sand beaches that look amazing in any light, but here in Monterrico the water can be too rough for swimming–perfect if you just want to get your feet wet and get back in your hammock.

You can also find souvenirs for excellent prices if you walk into the town, though you may need some basic Spanish to communicate with the locals.

Antigua Guatemala -Cheap Hotels

The Student – Quetzaltenango (Xela)

Xela is an urban area that is full of students studying and learning Spanish. If you stay more than a week or two, you can enroll at a local school at a very low cost to take casual classes where they cover everything from grammar to salsa dancing.

Outside of school you may need more Spanish than in other locations because of the high indigenous population, though this really adds to the cultural experience here, where you can find the most authentic mixture of the new world and the old.

Mayan tradition is still obvious in the clothing, religion and superstitions in Xela and is an important part of understanding this area.

There are multiple active volcanoes in this area with guided climbs–during the day to see the lush valley and some at night to see the clear sky.

Xela has many great indoor and outdoor markets where you can find the freshest fruits and some of the best prices on jewelry, clothing and gifts for friends back home.

Tikal Guatemala

The Adventurer – Tikal

This historical site is truly amazing and is suited for the traveler who likes a little bit of exercise and a lot of great photo opportunities.

The ruins are magical and quite expansive–be ready for a day full of walking. It’s a chance to see the Guatemalan rain forest and if you’d like to see a coati mundi or hear the howler monkeys in the trees there’s no better place.

If you want to see the canopy of the rain forest from the sky, you can climb El Gran Jaguar, the tallest temple in Tikal and look down on the jungle below you. For nature lovers, animal lovers and history buffs Tikal is a wonder.

If you get a guide (which is really helpful) there are tours available in many languages. The souvenirs here are a little expensive because it is a tourist hot-spot, but some of the items here may only be available inside the park at Tikal.

About the Author

Nick, the author of the “Traveler’s Guide to Guatemala: Cheap Hotels & Delicious Food” is a full time Travel Consultant for Reservations.com Currently he is on a sabbatical leave, backpacking around Central and South America.

The Ultimate Packing Guide for Moving to Australia

Moving to Australia

Are you thinking of moving to Australia? At Hotels Fairy we drafted for you a brief packing guide with tips and advices for moving to the Oz.

In this article, we will be making a few suggestions that could help you decide how to pack for a long term move to Australia.

When planning to move abroad, one of the toughest decisions you will have to make is what to take along and what to leave behind.

If you are visiting Australia for a short duration, or maybe you have a short work contract in Melbourne, or even if you want to see what life in Australia is like for a few months before committing to a longer stay, you will simply take only what you are sure you will need for the duration of your visit. 

If you intend to relocate permanently, however, or for a longer period, you have a tougher choice to make.

Consider duration

If you are moving to Australia for a short time, between six months to a year, then it is a good idea to leave the bulk of your belongings behind. If you intend to keep your current home, you can leave your belongings right where they are, and carry only the essentials for life in your new city. If you will not be keeping your home, you can store your belongings with friends and family or use a paid storage facility.

But when you are moving permanently, you will want to find a balance between items that are practical and those that have emotional value.

Australia Nature

Consider climate

Another factor that should play an important role in deciding what you should move and what you should leave behind is the climate of your new city. For example, antiques and certain types of artwork may not do well in tropical climates.

Also, dry and hot climates can damage some furniture. You wouldn’t want to move those family heirlooms only to have the hot Australian climate damage them.

To prevent something like this from happening, do careful research on the climate of the Australian city you are moving to, and carry only items that would survive that climate.

Consider import restrictions

Every country places restrictions on certain items coming to their shores and Australia is no different. There are a number of things you are not allowed to take into Australia, including unprocessed food, certain types of plants, and pests.

In some cases, you will be allowed to take some of your items after they have gone through quarantine and you have been given a license, but it is still a very stressful process.

When planning your Australian move to Brisbane, for example, find out the items you will not be allowed to take into the country, so that you don’t waste your time and money. You can find more helpful guidance here.

Consider accommodation

The size of your Australian home will also determine how much you should take. Therefore, when planning for your Australian move, research the price of houses in the city of your choice, so that you will know ahead of time if you will be able to rent a big enough apartment, or make do with a smaller one.

However, whether you are renting a large apartment or a small one, make sure to have a good idea of the size, layout and dimensions of your new home and consider this when packing your belongings.

Port shipping containers

Consider shipping cost

After deciding on the important things that will accompany you to your new city, check shipping options and shipping costs, as this may affect your final decision. Depending on your travel budget, you may need to cut down on some of the items you want to take to your new home.

However, sometimes, the extra charges you will pay for shipping will be worth it, especially if there are certain items that you must carry to your new home.

If you are going to Australia to start a new job, you may want to find out what your new company’s policy on shipping household goods is.

Some companies will either pay for a certain number of belongings or reimburse you when you arrive. This will help offset some of the costs of shipping your household belongings. 

House for moving to Australia

Consider location

If you have a car, making up your mind as to whether to ship it or leave it behind can be a huge deal. For one thing, if you are moving to Australia for the long haul, there is no point leaving your car behind, you either sell it off or take it with you.

But, sometimes selling it may mean selling way below the market value. On the other hand, are you willing to go to the trouble of shipping a car to Australia?

Chances are good that you will need a car for moving about in Australia, especially if you find a house away from the city or business district. But unless you are familiar with the country’s import process, shipping a car into Australia can be a tricky business.

Australia has import laws aimed at discouraging car imports, except where you meet certain criteria. These are the Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicle Scheme and the Personal Import Scheme that allows you to bring in a car if you intend to stay in Australia permanently, or for a long time. There are a number of rules and regulations that govern car imports into Australia. The key is to do careful research so that you know what to expect when shipping a car to Australia.

Mustang in Australian country side.

Travel essentials when moving to Australia

It is wise when packing for a trip, to scale down as much as you can and carry only the things that are essential to your journey.

This works well when you are going on a short holiday, but not when you are relocating to a new country. When moving to a new country, you want to have a lot of familiar items around you that will make your new home comfortable and help you settle in faster.

That said, there are certain items that must be in your packing checklist, whether you are travelling for one week, one year, or relocating permanently.

These items include:

  • Essential paperwork, such as passports, identity cards, international driver’s license, travel insurance policy, professional reference, credit cards and all other important documents that you will need in a new city.
  • Clothing: sensible clothes for the season and climate of the country you are travelling to.
  • Electronics, such as cell phones, laptops, chargers, eBook readers, and so on. Note that in Australia, there is a tariff on electronic appliances coming into the country. Unless you can show proof that you bought your electronic device within the past six months, you will be required to pay a percentage of the cost as tax.

In Conclusion

Moving to Australia or moving to any country for first time is never easy. When you are planning your trip abroad, you have to get your paperwork in order, and pack your belongings, there are just so many things that can go wrong.

However, leaving your packing in the hands of expert international movers will give you breathing space to handle the other important aspects of your relocation.