I don't fall in love often, but the Guatemala, I say honestly, it really won me over.
But I will talk to you about the things to see and the fantastic emotions that you can experience in this country, because this is a post by practical advice, of those to read when you want to organize the trip.
If you are about to leave and have made inquiries, you have surely heard terrifying tales about this small state of Central America and if you fear for your safety, rest assured you are not the first:
My request for comfort before leaving for Guatemala
Despite what you may read around, travel to Guatemala backpacking it is not impossible but you will still have to pay a little more attention than in many other countries where tourism is much more developed.
In the meantime, to move you can decide if travel on public transport (chicken bus) or whether to choose the shuttles for tourists.
If the choice falls on chicken buses (as I did) get ready for an experience that you will hardly forget. In fact, you must know that in addition to being very funny, they are also very dangerous: these Guatemalans in fact they drive like there's no tomorrow and it's probably because of their love of speed that they won't have it.
Do like me who made a scene to the driver and in return you will only get that he will start driving even harder.
Moving with the chicken buses is also very slow (they stop everywhere, they leave only when they are full etc etc) so if you are in a hurry, it is not the right means of transport for you.
If you don't feel like taking the risk (wise decision if you care about your ghirbe) you can choose to make transfers with space shuttle.
The shuttles move daily between the various tourist destinations, they are fast, reliable and do not cost much (calculated between 8 and 15 euros per person, obviously depends on the distance).
For the shuttles you can bargain on the price, while the cost of the chicken buses is fixed (but very low, for the longer transfers I spent the equivalent of 5 euros)
In Guatemala for safety reasons it is better NOT to travel at night!
Although the greatest danger to people mostly concerns the means of transport (and it is above all the ones you should worry about) and although I have never felt any dangerous situations, it is still good practice in some areas pay some attention.
In the meantime, if you can, avoid Guatemala City and especially some areas of the city.
I will not be the one to tell you which areas are more or less recommendable than others because the best thing is to always ask those who live in the place where you can go and where to stay away.
Among other things, there is not much to see apart from many poor wretches, so if you are not interested in seeing what levels of bad luck can afflict the human being, avoid going there, it's better.
Ricordate: “an hungry man is an angry man”
I mean, bad luck already happens by itself, why even go looking for it?
Many times while I was in Guatemala I have heard macabre stories about how i banditos go crazy back and forth around the country, pillaging tourists.
This mostly happens either on hiking trails or on shuttles.
As for the excursions, it seems that by going with a guide the risk of meeting banditos is zero: how they know when someone is alone or with a guide remains one of the great mysteries of the faith.
It seems that the assaults on the shuttles of tourists, on the other hand, are increasingly rare (thank goodness).
Santiago de Atitlan market
Now the (good) news you've all been waiting for: but how much does it cost to travel to Guatemala? Whether you are as good-mouthed as I am, or whether you are a little more cool (it takes little) in any case you will be able to spend very little. Both restaurants and hotels are really cheap compared to our standards or compared to other Central American countries such as the Costa Rica.
Ad Antigua the prices are slightly higher, but always within reach of all budgets: especially in the tourist areas you will be spoiled for choice, so if a place does not suit you, you will surely find another within a few tens of meters.
If, on the other hand, you like being in luxury you are probably reading the wrong blog.
Other practical information: to eat in a good tourist restaurant in Guatemala you spend from 5 to 10 euros, while for sleeping from 4/5 euros to 15/20 (each).
Se eat street food then you will not be able to spend more than 3/4 euros.
A "Gallo" beer costs from 1,5 to 3 euros, a “Modelo” beer costs even less (the cost of beer is very important information, I would say almost vital).
Now the bad news for everyone: public health in Guatemala it is better to try to avoid it, so if you want to follow my advice do not get hurt or you will have to spend all the money you have saved in the hotels to survive in the Guatemalan hospitals.
Plus, if you don't die on your own, the infections you can catch will certainly help you out.
Seriously, you get decent service for paying, but since I think neither you nor I are going to check this out, try not to need hospital care.
Travel insurance is very important (I have made viaggiisicuri.com).
After these few practical information, based on my personal experience after traveling to Guatemala, lastly I give you the best advice of all: don't get too paranoid, enjoy it.
Enjoy to the full this country, very strong and genuine, and try to savor every moment of the trip, because it really rarely happens to visit a place capable of giving great emotions like this.