Guatemala

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cuchulainn
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Guatemala

Post by cuchulainn » Mon May 28, 2018 4:04 pm

I'm thinking about going next month, maybe visiting El Salvador and Honduras, too.

1) Will I get murdered?

2) How is the food?

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Re: Guatemala

Post by coffeeguy » Mon May 28, 2018 4:34 pm

(1) yes

(2) you will feast well in Valhalla

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Re: Guatemala

Post by truenic » Mon May 28, 2018 4:51 pm

<-not dead
Food could be quite good, could be quite awful. Ran the gamut.

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Re: Guatemala

Post by Moethebartender » Mon May 28, 2018 7:15 pm

You're likely to get murdered in any one of those three countries, so if that's on the to do list, I'd say that you've chosen well. Spend a lot of time wandering around the capital cities of any of them at night and you're on the fast track.

No one travels to Central Amerigun for food. That said, you can eat well enough if you're not Iolar but you are willing to throw a few dollars at it. If you're looking for porridge with an accompaniment of frangipani, you're likely to be disappointed.
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Re: Guatemala

Post by Bill Barilko » Mon May 28, 2018 7:48 pm

You'll like Colombia much more.

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Re: Guatemala

Post by strife » Mon May 28, 2018 9:27 pm

cuchulainn wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 4:04 pm
I'm thinking about going next month, maybe visiting El Salvador and Honduras, too.

1) Will I get murdered?

2) How is the food?
Guatemala is a good destination. Antigua is the Gringo Trail destination. You'll pay like three dollar to sleep there, with an unclean Danish chick. Atitlan, cool too. Full of Israelis. I haven't been back in like a dozen years, but only because Mexico is better.
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Re: Guatemala

Post by strife » Mon May 28, 2018 9:32 pm

Also, Tikal is fucking magnificent. It's hard to get there, but don't underestimate how cool Flores is. Flores is really cool. I had Group Sex on cocaine and rum in Flores on my 30th birthday. It was rad.
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Re: Guatemala

Post by Andrea1 » Tue May 29, 2018 6:30 am

I loved El Salvador, and yes, managed to enjoy food there. Of course, there are pupusas. Decent coffee was to be had, there's a food street festival every weekend in Juayua, Ruta de Flores, make sure you're there for that. It's really good, not pupusa cheap but well worth the extra. The fish market in Puerto La Libertad, main entry town to get to El Tunco, is also worth a visit to explore/eat seafood.

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Re: Guatemala

Post by polardude1 » Tue May 29, 2018 1:59 pm

You can travel through Guatemala safely but I would spend as little time as possible in Guatemala City. You can get a shuttle fro the airport straight to Antigua. Tikal is magnificent, From Antigua or GC, it can be reached by an over night bus arranged through a travel agency or by plane with a pretty expensive ticket
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Re: Guatemala

Post by strife » Tue May 29, 2018 5:24 pm

I wouldn't give short shift to Flores/Tikal. It's one of the most oarsum backpacker places in the world. They sometimes have cheap fares out of Guatemala City to Flores - I scored an $85 roundtrip in 2005 Flores-Guatemala City-Flores, but that's unusual. Otherwise, it's a gnarly overnight bus on brutal roads through the Peten. Once you're there, it's only like two hours to the border with Belize, and you won't want to take that trail back south to the Guatemalan heartland. Tikal is fucking cool, one of the highlights to any backpacking loser life itinerary. Flores is fucking cool too. It's this little town on an island in Lake Peten Itza, with alligators and cocaine and cheap rum. Oh how I love Flores.
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Re: Guatemala

Post by strife » Tue May 29, 2018 6:22 pm

Okay, more. El Salvador is rough. Unless you surf, I'd skip it. If you need beach, the Caribbean side of Honduras is the ticket. Don't even think about the beaches in Guatemala - they are filthy black sand with savage currents. If you want beach, Tela is nice. Trujillo is better, but it's isolated. I can't remember if you dive - if you do, Utila is paradise. I've lost weeks of my life there. Roatan is pretty cool too, but Utila is better. If you go to Utila, I'll put you in touch with my friend. She's an oarsum hipsteress who's been there for about five years, and will drink you under the table. From Guatemala, you'll need to stop in Copan, on the border. It's an impossibly pleasant little village with a great Maya site about a half hour walking. Then you go to San Pedro Sula (terrible!), Tela, and La Ceiba, where you take the ferry to Utila or Roatan. You can fly from SPS or La Ceiba too.
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Re: Guatemala

Post by strife » Tue May 29, 2018 7:07 pm

Since I'm back on a computer now, I can be more expansive. Antigua is the no-brainer - it's less than an hour in a shuttle from GUA. It's like the Khao San Road of Latin America, but really worth it. I fucking love Antigua. Guatemala City is a hellhole bereft of redeeming qualities, but Antigua is absolutely lovable. You'll get sucked into the place. It's Lonely Planet, circa 1998. You'll fall into a Danish or Israeli pussy, and then she'll drag you to Lake Atitlan. It's gorgeous, about three hours on a chicken bus from Antigua to Panajachel. Panajachel sucks - don't stay there. Catch a boat to one of the villages on the lake. I usually stay in San Marcos or San Pedro. San Marcos is earth-muffin new-agey. San Pedro is Israeli stoner. If you can, stop in Solola en route and get groceries. You can find groceries in Pana, but they are expensive. In the villages, you'll pay through the nose.

Don't bother with Livingston or especially not Puerto Barrios. If you want beach, you'll need to go to Honduras. Monterrico, on the Pacific, is popular with the rich kids from Guatemala City, but the beach sucks. It's a pleasant enough town, but don't bother. It'll take you a day to get to a serviceable beach. You'll probably want to stop in Copan en route - it's like five hours from Antigua. (I use Antigua as a milestone, because you'll see why.) From Copan, it's about another two hours to Tela on the Hedman Alas bus. Tela is cool. I haven't been there in a decade, but I remember it being a chilled-out beach town. Tela is about an hour from La Ceiba, which is the port of embarkation for ferries to Utila and Roatan, and a fun place in its own right. I've hung out in La Ceiba just to hang out in La Ceiba. If you head further east, there's Trujillo, which has a kind of falling-off-the-map air to it. It's at the edge of Miskitia, which is one of the last unexplored wildernesses in the world.

Be careful. You're a boozer like I am, probably prone to getting jacked. Guatemala is dangerous, especially Guatemala City. Honduras is worse, especially San Pedro Sula. El Salvador is even worse. My travel companion there was an Israeli guy just out of the IDF. We walked ten minutes between bus lots at dusk in San Salvador. He looked over at me, and said "I've got a bad feeling about this place." That's not something you want to hear from an Israeli paratrooper. I'd say stay out of El Salvador unless you have a compelling reason to go. (If you do go, La Libertad is cool, and El Zonte even better.) Honduras, be careful. You don't need to go to San Pedro Sula, other than to change buses. Tegucigalpa is not very charming, but if you're focused on Guatemala, you probably won't go there. Weird thing is, once you're across into Nicaragua (best country in Central America), it's so much more peaceful. In San Pedro Sula, we met this mara with tattoos all over his face. He didn't fuck with us, but pulled out a .38 and demanded we blast holes in a stop sign. So we did.
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Re: Guatemala

Post by strife » Tue May 29, 2018 7:30 pm

And now, Utila. I've been to Utila about a half-dozen times. (I"ve been to Roatan too, just don't like it nearly as much.) Utila is like a summer camp for alcoholic scuba divers. It's a tiny spit of an island inhabited by inbred Irish and West Africans. I was on safety break during a dive trip there a couple of years ago, and got strafed by a prop plane. Dive master said "ah, that's Troy." I asked who Troy was, and he said "the mayor." Sure enough, I noticed when I got back to the island that Troy was the mayor.

I moved onto Honduras, sorry. Guatemala. Okay, it's insanely cheap there. Like $15/day, if you're shoestringing it. Travel-wise, people tend to tie it in with Chiapas, in Mexico, which used to be part of Guatemala, and is culturally very similar. Logistically, you'll want to tie it in with Chiapas, or Honduras (not both), if you're ambitious. You'll tell your grandkids about the jungle trip along the Rio Usumacinta to the ruins at Yaxchilan and Bonampak, in the Chiapas jungle, if you do the trip. Coming from Guatemala, you'll wind up in the impossibly charming San Cristobal de las Casas, in Chiapas, at the end of that trip. It's way up in the mountains, like 8000 feet up.

It's also easy access to Chiapas from Flores. I don't have words to describe how much I like Flores. Tikal is a great site, but Flores is as good as a city gets. It's in the middle of BF Guatemala, on an island in Lake Peten Itza. It's gorgeous. It's a mistake if you don't go.
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Re: Guatemala

Post by strife » Tue May 29, 2018 8:04 pm

Food.

Food sucks once you get below Mexico. It sucks. Rice and beans, beans and rice, salt, more salt, beans, rice, salt. Sometimes you'll get a fried plantain and some overstewed chicken, and more beans and rice and salt. The food sucks. Just give up on food already, because it's going to suck. I was practically orgasmic over bad sushi in Panama City, because even bad sushi is better than the crap they eat as a matter of course in Central America. It's bizarre how Mexico has such good cuisine, and Central America has such garbage.
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Re: Guatemala

Post by northern_goddess » Tue May 29, 2018 8:12 pm

Hmmm, it's kind of all been said already.

I might have done a trip report after I went to Guatemala but I don't remember. Actually I seem to remember posting pictures while I was there.
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Re: Guatemala

Post by northern_goddess » Tue May 29, 2018 8:14 pm

Yes, I did. http://www.politicalstew.com/viewtopic. ... a#p3222006

Gotta love the pictures. Anyway, they are probably in an album on Facebook if you really want to see them.
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Re: Guatemala

Post by leela » Tue May 29, 2018 9:38 pm

Yep. Your Guatamala report made me plan to go there, noggers. The plan almost came to fruition, but I ended up in Panama instead. Which was also really good (especially San Blas), but Guatamala remains on The List.
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Re: Guatemala

Post by strife » Tue May 29, 2018 9:44 pm

leela wrote:
Tue May 29, 2018 9:38 pm
Yep. Your Guatamala report made me plan to go there, noggers. The plan almost came to fruition, but I ended up in Panama instead. Which was also really good (especially San Blas), but Guatamala remains on The List.
Them's apples and oranges. Panama is Caribbean, US poodle. Guatemala is the Maya heartland. I like them both, but they couldn't be much different.
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Re: Guatemala

Post by leela » Tue May 29, 2018 9:51 pm

I wasn't comparing them in any way. I knew they were very different when the decision was made. I'd go back to San Blas in a heartbeat though.
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Re: Guatemala

Post by strife » Tue May 29, 2018 10:34 pm

leela wrote:
Tue May 29, 2018 9:51 pm
I wasn't comparing them in any way. I knew they were very different when the decision was made. I'd go back to San Blas in a heartbeat though.
It's a beautiful part of the world. I came up through there from Colombia on a panga last time. The Panamanian navy arrested me twice coming up through the archipelago, since the smugglers driving the boat kept telling the authorities I was Colombian. I almost got locked up in El Porvenir.
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Re: Guatemala

Post by Steve_in_Exile » Tue May 29, 2018 11:31 pm

Guatemala City looks worse than the rest of Guatemala as far as violent crime is concerned, but violence is spread throughout the country more evenly that you might think. Definitely keep your guard up in Guatemala. Second what Felix said about both Flores and Tikal.

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Re: Guatemala

Post by polardude1 » Wed May 30, 2018 12:38 pm

Lake Atitlan is gorgeous. I would recommend a climb up Volcan San Pedro
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Re: Guatemala

Post by cuchulainn » Wed May 30, 2018 1:49 pm

Thanks for the advice. I haven’t had a drink in months, so I’m not worried about getting robbed whilst drunk.

Other than surfing, is there anything worth seeing in El Salvador?

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Re: Guatemala

Post by strife » Wed May 30, 2018 6:46 pm

cuchulainn wrote:
Wed May 30, 2018 1:49 pm
Thanks for the advice. I haven’t had a drink in months, so I’m not worried about getting robbed whilst drunk.

Other than surfing, is there anything worth seeing in El Salvador?
San Salvador has a spectacular setting, surrounded by volcanoes. It's a pretty scary metropolis though. Costa del Balsamo, sprawling around the fierce port of La Libertad, is really pretty, with awesome surfing. The country is utterly awash in firearms - you'll see them on the dashboards of cars. No major ruins, no attractive cities, a violent crime rate that's sky-high, you should probably give it a miss. My adopted sister is from there, and I went partially to research her background. Country had a really traumatic time of the 80s, with thousands and thousands of war orphans.

Guatemala has enough to keep you busy for a visit. Copan Ruinas is just across the border into Honduras, worth a visit if you like ruins. There are jungle excursions out of Flores to places like Mirador and El Zotz, truly remote Maya sites in the middle of the Peten jungle. Tikal is majestic, but the craftmanship of the stelae at Copan is unlike anything else you'll see in the Maya world. And then of course, the Bay Islands. I have a feeling you would love Utila. Fuckfaced backpackers lose weeks, months of their lives on Utila. Last time I went to Utila I flew in from San Pedro Sula, but it's an easy bus trip up to La Ceiba and then a couple of hours on the ferry.
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Re: Guatemala

Post by Andrea1 » Wed May 30, 2018 7:16 pm

I went to Tikal via Palenque and it was a fun trip.

El Salvador doesn't have big attractions like some of its neighbours so gets a lot less visitors but, along with the surfing, it has volcanoes, it's lush, scenic and full of character(s). Small country in which you can get a lively bus ride on a colorful jeepney from one end of the country to the other, practically. Bustling, vibrant markets selling anything/everything. Plenty of friendly locals, some of them having lived in the States, wanting to chat.

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Re: Guatemala

Post by Steve_in_Exile » Thu May 31, 2018 1:11 pm

I have stayed at a hotel at the ruins at Tikal a couple of times, which is really worth doing. 95% of tourists show up on buses mid morning and take off mid to late afternoon. You can have the place almost to yourself early morning and late evening, which are the nicest times to be walking the ruins anyway. Tikal is easily worth two or three days on its own.

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Re: Guatemala

Post by strife » Thu May 31, 2018 2:05 pm

Steve_in_Exile wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 1:11 pm
I have stayed at a hotel at the ruins at Tikal a couple of times, which is really worth doing. 95% of tourists show up on buses mid morning and take off mid to late afternoon. You can have the place almost to yourself early morning and late evening, which are the nicest times to be walking the ruins anyway. Tikal is easily worth two or three days on its own.
Definitely. Sunrise from Pyramid I at Tikal is something you'll never forget. The park opens at 6, and you need to walk fast to get to Pyramid I for dawn. It's an hour drive from Flores, and pretty hard to make it to the park entrance from there by 6. The howler monkeys are otherworldly - they are small creatures whose roaring you can hear from miles away. They greet the dawn with constant screaming. The Tikal hotel is overpriced, but you really need to spend at least one night there.
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Re: Guatemala

Post by cuchulainn » Thu May 31, 2018 2:19 pm

Is the weed in Guatemala shitty?

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Re: Guatemala

Post by Bill Barilko » Thu May 31, 2018 4:41 pm

cuchulainn wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 2:19 pm
Is the weed in Guatemala shitty?
Weed everywhere in Latin America is shitty that's why Lincoln loves the place so much.
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Re: Guatemala

Post by strife » Thu May 31, 2018 4:48 pm

cuchulainn wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 2:19 pm
Is the weed in Guatemala shitty?
Yes. It's not hard to find, but it's schwag. I can't even find schwag in the States for the past fifteen or so years, but that's all you can get in Mexico and points south. Even worse, you'll be hanging out with a bunch of Euro and Israeli degenerates who mix the already-weak grass with tobacco. Be careful though. The Mexicans are more forgiving about grass, but Guatemalan cops will fuck you.

Coke is cheap though, and potent.
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Re: Guatemala

Post by steveogolf » Mon Jun 04, 2018 7:01 pm

The VOLCANO blew today bigtime, and the airport in Guatemala City is closed.
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Re: Guatemala

Post by Lost Soul » Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:58 am

Yeah, my dad said it was percolating when he was there a month ago.
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Re: Guatemala

Post by Bastet » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:36 pm

Steve_in_Exile wrote:I have stayed at a hotel at the ruins at Tikal a couple of times, which is really worth doing. 95% of tourists show up on buses mid morning and take off mid to late afternoon. You can have the place almost to yourself early morning and late evening, which are the nicest times to be walking the ruins anyway. Tikal is easily worth two or three days on its own.
I’d love to do that!

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Re: Guatemala

Post by rezuar » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:51 am

Has anyone mentioned a trip to Todos Santos Cuchumatán in the mountains? In 2001 it felt pretty authentic, but things could’ve changed since then.

Apparently, they haven’t.
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Re: Guatemala

Post by cuchulainn » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:37 pm

Is there anything worth seeing in Guatemala City other than the Anthropological Museum?

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Re: Guatemala

Post by strife » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:53 pm

cuchulainn wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:37 pm
Is there anything worth seeing in Guatemala City other than the Anthropological Museum?
I had drinks with some middle-class Guatemaltecos at a bar in a shopping mall in Zona 9, after getting extra pages for my passport at the US Embassy there. Zona 9 is shopping malls and gated compounds. Zona 1 is where most of the chicken buses pick up and drop off, and also has the cathedral and big square, a few other photogenic spots. Generally though, I get in and out of Guatemala City as fast as I can. Middle-class Guatemaltecos from the capital tend to have places in Antigua too, where they'll spend weekends. Longer weekends, many will go to Monterrico, which is as good as it gets for beach in Guatemala.
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Re: Guatemala

Post by cuchulainn » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:57 pm

My plan is to get to Antigua as soon as possible, then go to Tikal.

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Re: Guatemala

Post by strife » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:57 pm

Take an airport shuttle from GUA. They meet every international arrival outside the terminal - no more than like $10 for the 45-minute (in good traffic) ride to Antigua. First time, no reason to spend time in Guatemala City, except for changing buses. Do you know how you're getting to Flores? Flying, or bus?
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Re: Guatemala

Post by cuchulainn » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:41 pm

I only have a week.

Since I get to GC at 10 pm, I'll spend the night and go to Antigua the next morning.
I thought two days at Antigua then get a ride to Flores.
I had thought of GC-Antigua-Copan Ruinas also, but Tikal seems to be necessary.

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Re: Guatemala

Post by strife » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:46 pm

cuchulainn wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:41 pm
I only have a week.

Since I get to GC at 10 pm, I'll spend the night and go to Antigua the next morning.
I thought two days at Antigua then get a ride to Flores.
I had thought of GC-Antigua-Copan Ruinas also, but Tikal seems to be necessary.
No no no. There will be shuttles at the airport at 10 - I've arrived later than that, and gotten to Antigua without problem. Arriving at 10, you can probably be in Antigua by 11:15. That'll give you time to check in wherever, and still find a drink. And yes, Tikal is necessary. Copan is impressive, but Tikal is magnificent.
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Re: Guatemala

Post by Moethebartender » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:48 pm

Tikal is far more impressive than Copán Ruinas (which are pretty cool, don't get me wrong), but that's in Honduras anyway, so it would be a hell of a side trip if you're only going to be in Central Amerikkka for a week. I think you can still catch a shuttle out of GC, even at 10PM. I'd give it some serious consideration.
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Re: Guatemala

Post by Geoffers » Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:54 pm

Strife, was that you too? I had group sex in Flores , around the year 2000, or early 2001. Tikal be dammed, that's just an excuse to look for sex.The agutimundi there were cute though.

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Re: Guatemala

Post by cuchulainn » Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:23 pm

Okay, Strife. I canceled the reservation in GC and I reserved a hotel for two nights in Antigua.

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Re: Guatemala

Post by strife » Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:46 pm

cuchulainn wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:23 pm
Okay, Strife. I canceled the reservation in GC and I reserved a hotel for two nights in Antigua.
You have chosen Correctly. Arriving Guatemala City at 10 and staying in the city is Crazy Shit, when Antigua is practically a suburb. Antigua is a pretty special place. It's completely overrun by tourists, but for good reason.
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Re: Guatemala

Post by polardude1 » Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:35 am

cuchulainn wrote: ↑Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:23 pm
Okay, Strife. I canceled the reservation in GC and I reserved a hotel for two nights in Antigua.
Good move, GC us terrible
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Re: Guatemala

Post by rezuar » Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:13 am

polardude1 wrote:
Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:35 am
cuchulainn wrote: ↑Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:23 pm
Okay, Strife. I canceled the reservation in GC and I reserved a hotel for two nights in Antigua.
Good move, GC us terrible
Indeed. Probably the worst place I’ve ever been to.
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polardude1
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Re: Guatemala

Post by polardude1 » Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:06 pm

I did pass through GC in the AM and saw lots of vehicles with bullet proof shields.
DCComic "3000 dead Americans is slightly less than fuck all",

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strife
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Re: Guatemala

Post by strife » Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:32 pm

I saw a dead guy laying face down, hands tied behind his back, on the tarmac at a gas station in GC Zone 1 at 7am. There were hundreds of people about, but no one seemed to notice.
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veronica_inheels
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Re: Guatemala

Post by veronica_inheels » Mon Jul 16, 2018 5:43 am

cuchulainn wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:23 pm
Okay, Strife. I canceled the reservation in GC and I reserved a hotel for two nights in Antigua.
I also arrived late. I took a taxi to Antigua. It was like $10 more than the shuttle.
You only get one turn on this merry-go-round of life. Chase your happiness. -Nines

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