Saturday, December 6, 2008

Airlines & Travel To Guatemala

Tues and Thurs are typically the cheapest days to travel to Guatemala. The airport is at the capital, Gautemala City, which uses "GUA" airport code. I use kayak.com and orbitz.com, both of which send alerts for the cheapest fares (although there are many more sites). Kayak allows booking of travel originating in Guatemala (which Orbitz does not). High season flights from RDU run around $800.00 RT and low season is around $400 to $500.00 RT. Right now American Airlines is having a half price sale with flights as low as $300.00 RT from FL or NYC!

For what to do, tours and pickup service by city, see EnjoyGuatemala.com and Lake Atitlan Travel Guide: A guide to things to do, places to stay, classes and schools for learning, restaurants,festivals and music spots... in the Lake Atitlan, Guatemala area. http://lakeatitlandirectoryguide.blogspot.com/

Some airlines that travel to Guatemala City, Guatemala - La Aurora (GUA) airport, as of Dec 2008. The list changes frequently, so always check current travel sites to be sure. I use kayak.com and orbitz.com, although there are many airline sites. You can book flights originating in Guatemala on Kayak.com; as of this writing, Orbitz does not.

American Airlines
Continental
COPA Panama
Spirit Airlines
United
Mexicana

I do not recommend TACA Airlines, as they consistently overbook, bump travelers and do not give refunds (happened to me in Miami!). I have never used Mexicana airlines. I used to go nonstop from Charlotte NC to GUA in 3 or 4 hours on U.S. Airways, but they recently stopped service to GUA. Hope they resume soon. In the meantime, I will use American Airlines who has some really great prices listed as of Dec. 2008. It's only 2.5 (two and a half) hours from Miami to Guatemala City. Leave in the morning and get there in time for lunch!

Lake Atitlan is a 2.5 hour drive from the Guatemala City airport to Panajachel. If you are rich, you can get there by helicopter in about 20 minutes - I was told this cost $800.00, so I really don't know - LOL. You can take a shuttle bus from the airport for around $25.00 or a private taxi for around $80.00.

I always have Martin, my favorite driver, pick me up at the airport and we stop for groceries, a cell phone, cell phone card, a meal, book, whatever I need to pickup before I get home. It's a beautiful drive through the farms, valleys, fields and mountains to Lake Atitlan so you get to see a lot of the country going to and from the airport. Bring your camera and be prepared to start taking pictures. If you've never been there, it will blow your mind!

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Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
View of Lake Atitlan and volcano from my apartment balcony in Panajachel. Taken by Catherine Todd June 2008.