Getting around Guatemala

With Antigua as our homebase here in Guatemala for at least a full week, we´ve suddenly found we need a new approach in how we get around. It´s no longer the same old hop on a bus to the next destination and then move on from there a few days later. Antigua itself may be a tourist mecca, but if you aren´t  interested in colonial architecture, taking a week-long spanish class or just kicking around the dozens of restaurants and cafes with the other tourists, there isn´t really a whole lot to hold you in the city itself. From here we plan to head south on to El Salvador and Honduras, but there´s no way we can miss the majesty of Lake Atitlan and the great market of Chichicastenango to the north. Chicken buses to the north can be slow, crowded and uncomfortable, and shuttle buses (tourist minivans) can run up to $30 for the round trip. Our solution to get the most out of our trip? We´re renting a car. This will be a new adventure in itself and I´ll let you know how it goes. We´ve made sure to rent from a reputable company, that there´s no additional cost for each kilometer, and that we´re using the most fuel-efficient car possible. Gas down here can be twice as much as in the states. Oh, and of course, we´ve made sure that we´ve got full insurance on the rental. Of course it´s tough to get around the $600 deductible here, but many American companies will add coverage for international rentals, although that too has a price. Oh, and the cost of the rental is about $40 a day, a nice savings of the cost of two round-trip shuttle tickets. So if you happen to be on the roads in Guatemala, keep an eye out for the two confused gringos in the Kia, we´ll be sure to wave.