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Itinerary Antigua-Atitlan-Semuc

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Itinerary Antigua-Atitlan-Semuc

Greetings everyone,

I'll be visiting GT in July (from the 6th to the 16th although I can arrange to stay till the 19th or 20th, I'm not certain yet)

I have gone to GT before and I'm thrilled to be there again, and this time I want to visit lake Atitlan as well Semuc. I'm not a super fan of Mayan ruins that's why I'm places like Tikal and Xela but I do like backpacking and hiking trips, which most of them include hiking volcanoes (although I'm not sure which ones to climb in all of the cities) and kayaking (that's why I'm headed to Atitlan!)

I guess I need to make up my mind and starting to shape my itinerary, all I know I am basing this trip in Antigua for a weekend and then I'll be headed to Atitlan for a full week. Chances are I'll be staying in San Pedro for the whole week and will take my time during the day to visit other places near the lake. But then I don't know how I can make it to Lanquin from Atitlan. So far:

July 6-7: Antigua

July 8-13: Atitlan

July 14-16/20: ???

I'll arrive in GT city at noon then I'll be headed to Antigua for the rest of the afternoon/night to explore the colonial city, Saturday morning I want to plan a hiking trip to Pacaya (or any other volcanoes that are near and have good views to city? I don't know) and for the rest of the day I'll chill some more and by night I'm planning some bar-hopping. I know bars tend to close pretty early for a lonely traveler like me but I've heard of other places that have caught my attention and that's the main purpose I'll be staying for a weekend in a Antigua. Then by Sunday morning I'll take a shuttle to Atitlan, I'll be staying the whole week at one place (I'm thinking of San Pedro) and like I said take advantage most of my days to get to know near places around the lake. Then I'm not sure how to get to Lanquin and how it can fit onto my itinerary since I know the distance to Lanquin takes a full day off your schedule (up to two when you're heading back to Antigua).

I'm lost and I need help so any suggestions will be appreciated.

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1. Re: Itinerary Antigua-Atitlan-Semuc

I would have started with Lake Atitlan. Then Antigua. Just because a shuttle from Antigua to Lanquin doesn't take as long as a shuttle from Lake Atitlan to Lanquin. But that might not work as you want to be in Antigua for the weekend. So in that case you will just have to take the 11 hour shuttle from Panajachel to Lanquin. You need one day for Semuc and if you are then going to Guatemala City for your flight back you could take a bus from Lanquin to Coban and from Coban a Monja Blanca bus to GC. Yes, two days of travel for one day Semuc...

If you do have more time and can stay till the 19th or 20th I would do it differently: the first day fly to Flores or take the overnight bus. I know you said you don't really like ruins but I think you would very much enjoy hiking in the rainforest and seeing wildlife. And the temples are cool and impressive even if you normally don't like ruins. Then take a shuttle to Lanquin. Maybe stay two days and relax the second day, go swimming, tubing, hiking... Then take a shuttle to Antigua. Two days Antigua and then the lake.

Or: take a Monja Blanca bus from GC to Coban. Bus to Lanquin. Two days. Shuttle to Antigua. Antigua. Lake Atitlan. That would work if you have less time as well.

And I am not sure why you say you would not want to go to Xela. Xela is all about hiking and volcanoes and those are the things you like! Volcano Santa Maria. Volcano Tajumulco overnight. Laguna Chicabal. Fuentes Georginas hot springs (with hiking if you want). And other hiking possibilities. And there is the three day trek from Xela to Lake Atitlan.

Pacaya is a half day trip. My favorite volcano is Acatenango overnight (from Antigua), overlooking volcano Fuego. It is a tough climb and you should be acclimatized (that also goes for the volcanoes in Xela). Of course right now volcano Fuego is erupting but maybe in a month that will have changed.

By the way, if you do end up spending a whole week at the lake I would stay in two towns. San Pedro and Panajachel maybe or one of the more isolated traditional villages for a few nights like Jaibalito or Santa Cruz. You can hike up volcano San Pedro and/or hike up Indian Nose (best with a guide). And you can hike from Jaibalito to San Marcos (may also be best with a guide).

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