So I’m leaving in a couple of weeks for a two week sojourn to Guatemala. I will be flying into Flores and taking a bus to Tikal, were I will spend a few days exploring the Mayan ruins a la Indiana Jones. From there I am going to Guatemala City for a day. Everyone says to avoid Guate City, but I have heard that there are two or three good museums in the capital. Then I will head to Chichicastenango for what is supposed to be one of the best Mayan highland markets in the nation. After the market, I am going to explore Lago de Atitlan, a highland lake on par with Crater Lake here. It is said to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Finally, I am going to spend a week in Antigua, a colonial town surrounded by three volcanoes (of which one is active). While there I will attend one of the Spanish language schools in town in an effort to hone my Spanish.
My question to you, fellow Dopers, is one in the nature of advice. Based on my planned itinerary, what suggestions would you have for me? Specifically, I am interested in that “little-known-not-to-be-missed” sight, or conversely the “are-you-mad-don’t-go-there” attraction. What should (or shouldn’t) I bring on the trip. If it matters, I am a solo traveler (I had a buddy that was supposed to go with me, but he bailed). This doesn’t bother me except for Guatemala City, which is supposed to have the highest crime rate in Central America. But even here, I read conflicting reports. Some would have you think you take your life in your hands if you leave your hotel. Others say it’s no worse than any other big city and if you use common sense (which I do), you’ll be fine.
All in all though, I am really excited about my first trip to Central America and am looking forward to the experience. Thanks for your advice.