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Frommer's Guatemala (Frommer's Complete Guides) Paperback – February 15, 2011
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From the Back Cover
Don't miss Antigua's striking Santa Catalina Arch, with itsdramatic backdrop of Volcan de Agua. See chapter 6.
Detailed maps throughout
Exact prices, directions, opening hours,and other practical information
Candid reviews of hotels and restaurants,plus sights, shopping, and nightlife
Itineraries, walking tours, and trip-planning ideas
Insider tips from local expert authors
About the Author
Eliot Greenspan is a poet, journalist, and travel writer who took his backpack and typewriter the length of Mesoamerica before settling in Costa Rica in 1992. Since then, he has worked steadily as a travel writer, freelance journalist, and translator, and has continued his travels in the region. He is the author of Frommer’s Belize, Frommer’s Costa Rica, Frommer’s Guatemala, Frommer’s Ecuador, Costa Rica Day By Day and Costa Rica For Dummies, as well as the Venezuela chapter in Frommer’s South America.
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Top customer reviews
The Tikal section was another disappointment. The "suggested tour" covers only a fraction of the sites available there, and the map is so poorly labeled that it is impossible to do the tour without a guide. The night before I explored the ruins at Tikal (which are fantastic!), I was reading my guide at my hotel restaurant. A woman sitting at a nearby table asked me what I thought of it. When I told her I had found it very disappointing, she nodded in agreement. "Good luck finding your way inside with that book," she told me, shaking her head. She ended up being right -- had I not met a group of travelers with a better map, there is no way I could have navigated the park with that guide.
These are just a few of the problems with the book I had I can think of off the top of my head. Bottom line, this book is so superficial that it is much more of a brochure than a travel guide. It also caters mainly toward affluent travelers looking for luxury. Buy another guidebook that might not be as pretty, but makes up for it with content.
For example, after arriving by bus in Flores/Santa Elena they knew to walk behind the other side of the bus station to get a bus or van to Tikal. I was fending off an aggressive man who was trying to bargain me into paying a lot more money (consistent with the suggestion in the Frommers Guide) for a taxi. Not pleasant. Rescued by info from a Lonely Planet tourist.
In the same section the guide briefly mentions Remate as a place to stay but it's not on their map so I wasn't sure whether to get on the collectivo that was leaving right away or not. Remate was along the way to Tikal but, as happened way too often, the Frommers guide didn't have ready access to the needed info.
The guide did get me to a Q70 a night "hammock" at the Jaguar Inn in Tikal. The hammock was a tent adjacent (as in sides touching) to three other tents meaning I could not only hear every snore, I could hear anyone roll over, and that was with earplugs. The guide was just published but how long ago did they gather the info? No fact checking?
There was consistently incorrect bus info as to which company would go where and when the bus would leave. The guide got me to a nice (expensive, $[...] for the room and ride from the airport, but they considered it inexpensive) hotel by the bus stations so I could run from station to station rolling suitcase on cobblestones, finding out for myself.
The listed Languin hotel phone number was incorrect or maybe the pay phone did it wrong. Sounds like a delightful location but no one wants to go that far from Coban to find out if a room is available.
I have a bone to pick about La Panza Verde restaurant description in the Antiqua section. Izqierdo from Buena Vista Social Club is a part owner and plays there multiple times a week. Knowing that would have determined the splurge meal. A guide isn't going to have everything, but come on. Other tourists knew...
Hacienda Tijax in Frontera/Rio Dulce was a terrific recommendation but the guide doesn't tell you that the mob at the bus station is lying when they say it is closed and suggest other jungle lodges. You can call for the boat shuttle at Bruno's restaurant. It took me a hot, dusty hour to find the correct information.
The last night at Hotel Dos Lunas by the airport was really unfair advice. At the end of a trip most of us are trying to be almost out of Quetzales. Twenty left in pocket for departure tax. La Senora wants to be paid in cash, either Quetzales or dollars. To pay by credit card she demands a $[...] surcharge on a $[...] room, claiming taxes of 22% and high Visa charges. Wait. The tax is already in the $[...] and Visa charges 5%. Needed to know that since, like most tourists, I have a silly little aversion to lies and being ripped off. That's why we buy guides.