Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Traveler's Day

A great day for a traveler is waking up early in the morning with an agenda that includes a border crossing, 4 or 5 buses rides including a tricky and possibly dangerous transfer by local bus in a third world capital city, and lastly arriving in a tourist town just before the Christmas holiday and trying to snag a "good value" hotel room for 5 nights.

Reality: Out the door at 7AM and it's two easy bus rides from Ataco to the border. No hassle leaving El Salvador or entering Guatemala. A direct bus to Guatemala City is waiting just meters inside the border. Four hours later we are in Guate and with the help of bus drivers and friendly locals we ride one of the local "red" buses from near the Zone 4 terminal to the El Trebol intersection and immediately hop on a 2nd class bus to Antigua, arriving at 2PM. And by 4PM we are established in a pretty good room at Posada Don Diego, just across from Iglesia La Merced.

Details for travelers:
- Ataco to Ahuachapán - $0.40 - Bus #249
- Ahuachapán to Las Chinamas Frontera - $0.50 - arriving Ahuachapán ride bus #249 past the crossroads to the Parque where buses to the Frontera start. Ask a local to point out which side of the Parque for the Frontera.
- Guatemala Frontera at Valle Neuvo to Guatemala City - 40 Quetzales - 2nd class buses start/park right at the border. We tried to get on a 1st class bus that we coming through from San Salvador but the driver told us that taking on passengers was "not supported".
- Zone 4 Terminal in Guatemala City to Western Buses - 1 Quetzal - Take a local red bus signed "El Trebol". When we got on the GC bus at the frontera, we told the driver and conductor that we were headed to Antigua, so when the bus dropped us off on the sidewalk at or near the Zone 4 Terminal, the conductor pointed at a red local bus signed "El Trebol" which was just meters away. Once on the red local bus we told that conductor that we were headed to Antigua and also told some well-dressed lady passengers so when we got to the El Trebol Intersection stop, we had at least 3 people telling us to get off.
- Guatemala City to Antigua - 9 Quetzales - when you get off the bus at El Trebol - the bus literally stops in the intersection - ask the conductor or locals where to catch the bus for Antigua. If you're lucky, one will be coming by on the bus's right-hand side.

The bus from the Frontera to Guatemala City.
Antigua, Guatemala

The view from our room at Posada Don Diego.
Posada Don Diego - Antigua, Guatemala

3 comments:

Kathy said...

Veeery smooth! Congratulations.

Sounds like advance reservations have been unnecessary?

Crash Eddy said...

Google Maps links to http://www.tripadvisor.com/SmartDeals-g295366-Antigua_Sacatepequez_Department-Hotel-Deals.html

I don't find Posada Don Diego in this list. Leave it to the Meckleys to score another bargain.

Sun-Ling said...

Ed, I was more working from this list http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g295366-zff6-Antigua_Sacatepequez_Department-Hotels.html. The list price for #1 on your list starts at $400US.

Kathy, if we are coming to Antigua again for Christmas, I would make a reservation. We happened to go by 3 of the 6 Tripadvisor Bestvalues. Only one of the 3 had a room for 5 days for $60+ which we almost took. All the popular places were upholding their list prices.