Top positive review
107 people found this helpful
Reviewed this one, but bought Rough Guide
on November 23, 2001
I have travelled to Guatemala, Belize and Honduras several times over the last 4 years. I met Conner at a friend's office in Guatemala City while she was researching and writing this book. My husband and I had a fantastic time visiting with Conner and sharing travel stories. I see from some of the other comments that readers felt that the book was rushed and not well researched. I know for a fact that Conner had lost valuable notes on the highlands while in another part of the country and was going back thru the highlands to rebuild her notes. I'm not surprised that this section is not complete. Additionally, I met Conner the day after the WTA Riots in Seattle, Washington. That was in December 1999. Things can change quickly in some areas of Guatemala. Other others don't ever change. Depending on the government. She did tell us of her harrowing hike to El Mirador. In general, when I reviewed the book, I found information to be OK.
However, I have found over the years we've travelled that the Rough Guide is more accurate. We have also met the writer for the Rough Guide, Peter Eltringham while travelling in Belize. Peter has a wealth of information and is brutally honest about what to expect. Especially if you want bus schedules, travel times for busses, dangerous areas. The Rough Guide makes sure that travel advisories are noted. For instance, the danger around the Lake Atitlan area for tourists. I've also found that the Rough Guide is considerable more accurate with regard to price ranges for accomodations. The maps that are included are also very good.
For those of you who have never travelled to Guatemala. It is a beautiful country. The people are poor but friendly. Just like travelling anywhere -- don't leave your better judgment at home. If it looks like a rough area, it probably is. We never travel at night. We always check with out local host/hostess at whatever accomodations that we are staying at for information about the area -- crime, areas to stay away from etc.
That said -- I've camped in the jungles at Mayan ruins. I've hiked into Salpeten. I've taken a pickup truck from Copan to the border of Guatemala, then the chicken bus to Chiquimula and then a bus to Guatemla City and to Antigua in one day. I've travelled overland from Belize City to Flores more times than I can remember. I'm looking forward to spending more time at Lake Atitlan, probably in Santa Cruz or San Marcos. Also, looking forward to Rio Dulce and Coban.
If you've never travelled independently before, I'd say get both books. The Lonely Planet and the Rough Guide. Both writers are experienced travellers. If you get hooked on travelling independently (that is no formal guide service) -- you'll start to develop your own resources.