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The Maya Treasure-Trail

make some sacrifices in mexico, guatemala, honduras & belize!

Book from € 1,599.-
GROUP SIZE: 4-24 | 22 DAYS

The Maya Treasure-Trail

  1. Are there opportunities to snorkel or dive?
  2. Are there opportunities to swim?
  3. Can I pre-book transfers and extra nights?
  4. Do I need a sleeping mat or sleeping bag?
  5. Do I need a visa?
  6. Do I need to take a mosquito net?
  7. Do I need vaccinations or malaria tablets?
  8. Do they cater for vegetarians in Honduras?
  9. How are communications?
  10. How is accommodation arranged if I book alone?
  11. In what kind of accommodation do we sleep?
  12. Is Honduras dangerous?
  13. What about my passport?
  14. What are other activities and sports I could do?
  15. What are the best festivals and when do they take place?
  16. What is the best time to see wildlife?
  17. What is the best time to travel?
  18. What is the electricity situation?
  19. What is the recommended currency for Honduras?
  20. What is the time difference?
  21. What kind of clothing and other stuff is practical to take?
  22. What kind of luggage should I take?
  23. What kind of transportation is used?
  24. What local customs do I need to keep in mind?
  25. Which travel guides and maps?

1. Are there opportunities to snorkel or dive?

There is excellent diving in the clear waters of the Bay Islands, teeming with coral and tropical fish. The gateway to these islands is La Ceiba which has gained an excellent reputation amongst the many diving destinations in the Caribbean. Some hotels include hire of equipment in their price.

2. Are there opportunities to swim?

Safe swimming can be enjoyed on both seaboards, where beautiful sandy beaches are found.

3. Can I pre-book transfers and extra nights?

Yes, you have the option to pre-book airport transfers (arrival only) and secondly the option to pre-book pre and post tour nights.These extra services should be added to your booking.

4. Do I need a sleeping mat or sleeping bag?

No, you will not need it.

5. Do I need a visa?

UK citizens do not need a visa for Honduras, but these things can change. So please click here and check out the current situation. That website will also tell you if a visa is required for any other nationalities. Make sure you find out if you need a visa at least a month before departure so you do not run out of time.
If you need a visa, please contact your nearest embassy unless you choose to use a visa service. Shoestring does not organize your visa. You are responsible for having a valid passport and visa when you travel. You can also obtain the visa through a specialized visa agency like www.travcour.com.

6. Do I need to take a mosquito net?

No, you will not need it.

7. Do I need vaccinations or malaria tablets?

Please click here for questions regarding vaccinations or malaria tablets for this country and contact after your local practitioner or a specialized health centre and make an appointment to get your shots and pills. Please make sure that you allow at least six weeks for a full program. People who already have had a few shots might do with two weeks. You are responsible for having the right protection when going on tour.

8. Do they cater for vegetarians in Honduras?

Yes, you can find tortillas that are an every day staple. Beans come in all colors but in Honduras, the food usually included red or black ("turtle" for those familiar with Caribbean cooking). Beans and tortillas. Many "blue plate specials" will have rice on them. A salad of some sort is often served with your food in Honduras. Frequently, it will be a shredded cabbage, a few slices of carrots, and moistened with a light oil/vinegar (hint of sugar) dressing.

9. How are communications?

Roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies. Coverage is generally good along the coasts and around major towns. Internet cafes exist in major towns.

10. How is accommodation arranged if I book alone?

If you book alone you will share your room with a fellow traveler (same sex when possible) unless you have booked a single room.

11. In what kind of accommodation do we sleep?

We will overnight in twin rooms with en-suite facilities. Most of the hotels will have their own restaurants and some have great gardens and patios.

12. Is Honduras dangerous?

In the big cities, especially in markets and bus stations there are pickpockets. To prevent them succeeding: stash money and valuables beneath your clothing, in a non-visible position. Keep some ready money to hand, so you do not have to search through all your money in the middle of the street. If your day backpack contains valuables, carry it on your stomach. Also, carry your camera round your neck and tie it to a solid belt. Few robberies occur and when this happens, it is normally in desolated places which you should try and avoid. There is no need to be worried, but there is good reason to exercise caution. Bandits occasionally hold up buses in the countryside. The odds are less than one in 1000, but when this happens, it is well organized. You will be requested to hand over all your valuables, and would be wise to do so. Any valuables should be kept locked in a bag/safe at your hotel or entrusted with the staff at reception.


13. What about my passport?

You need a passport that is valid at least 6 months at the date of departure. You are responsible for having a valid passport and visa when you travel.

14. What are other activities and sports I could do?

Ecotourism, water sports, golf, canopy touring (series of cables are fixed from tree to tree, and attached to a pully while wearing a harness one can ‘fly’ through the canopy of the rainforest).

15. What are the best festivals and when do they take place?

The following festivals and public holidays are celebrated in Honduras:
The Virgin of Suyapa Festival: 2-11 February .Pilgrims come from far and wide to pray to the tiny wooden image, dwarfed in its grand church, the Basílica de Suyapa in Tegucigalpa.
The ‘Feria Centroamericana de Tourismo y Artesanía', an international art fair is organized every year in Tegucigalpa from December 6.
The Fiesta de San Isidro May. It is one of the best of Honduras' many carnivals, taking place each year in La Ceiba in honour of the city's patron saint.
Fiesta of San Antonio. June. Although Hondurans are endeavouring to persuade visitors that they are not solely to be associated with bananas, pineapples and ferocious tropical storms, it must be admitted that Tela is mainly famous for being a banana port. As well as bananas however, the town also has a fine beach and the riotous week-long Fiesta of San Antonio each June.
Fiesta of San Juan Batista. June

16. What is the best time to see wildlife?

Hurricanes are most likely from September to October, though they rarely hit Honduras directly. February and March are probably the best months to see wildlife because the weather is fairly stable across the country; the trails and roads are drying out but the trees and underbrush are still full and green.

17. What is the best time to travel?

The best weather occurs in Honduras during February and March, the roads are dry, the weather is predictable and the vegetation and tree canopies are lush.

18. What is the electricity situation?

What voltage and plugs are in use in Honduras? Please click here to check what voltage and plugs are in use in this country. You could consider taking a universal electric plug.

19. What is the recommended currency for Honduras?

The local currency in Honduras is the Lempira (HNL; symbol La) = 100 centavos. Notes are in denominations of La500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Coins are in denominations of 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 centavos. A real is one-eighth of a Lempira, and is used colloquially, though there is no such coin. Pounds Sterling cannot normally be exchanged; visitors should therefore take US Dollars, which are easily exchanged in banks, major hotels, airports and bureaux de change. The bureaux de change usually offer a quicker service and better rate than banks.
The cards that are accepted : American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa. Some banks offer cash withdrawal with Visa or Mastercard.

20. What is the time difference?

Please check the world clock in order to find out the exact time difference with your own country.

21. What kind of clothing and other stuff is practical to take?

During the rainy season visitors should wear clothing for temperate climates and comfortable boots with a good grip, because the trails are usually wet. In the dry season, light clothing is recommended; long sleeve shirts and pants are useful.
You should also consider bringing the following: sunglasses, sunscreen, toiletries, a first-aid kit, a hat/scarf, a (video) camera, spare batteries, a pocket knife, a lighter, a small stock of non-perishable snacks and sweets, an alarm clock, writing materials and books.

22. What kind of luggage should I take?

It is advisable that you bring an easy-to-transport bag such as a weekend bag or backpack, along with a small backpack or shoulder bag for hand luggage. A solid suitcase is inconvenient and a hindrance. Valuable papers are best kept in a thin cotton money belt, carried underneath your clothes. Put an extra set of clothes in your hand luggage, so that you can do without the other luggage for 48 hours, just in case it arrives later than you do.

23. What kind of transportation is used?

Transportation will be provided in 1st class public buses with reserved seats or private minibuses

24. What local customs do I need to keep in mind?

Bargaining in Honduras is only customary when buying souvenirs or objects of art. In markets and shops, food is sold at a fixed price. When addressing somebody, in a shop or bus, say hello first. A simple Buenos días or Buenos tardes, accompanied with a smile, works miracles. Upon entering a communal space, such as a restaurant or waiting room, it is also very polite to say hello to everybody present.
Make sure you look well dressed and clean. This is important to the people of Central America. Even poor people do their utmost to look well kept. Leave jewels and valuables at home.
Do not put on revealing clothes, as it is not always appreciated. Shorts are allowed, for men and women, but only on beaches and in some coastal resorts. Bathing clothes are only allowed in swimming pools and on beaches. Many local women wear a T-shirt on top of their bathing suit (to avoid male attention).
Dress appropriately when visiting churches, out of respect for the locals and

25. Which travel guides and maps?

If you want to take a travel guide or map, we suggest you click on Lonely Planet.

  1. Are there opportunities to snorkel or dive?
  2. Are there opportunities to swim?
  3. Can I pre-book transfers and extra nights?
  4. Do I need a sleeping mat or sleeping bag?
  5. Do I need a visa?
  6. Do I need to take a mosquito net?
  7. Do I need vaccinations or malaria tablets?
  8. Do they cater for vegetarians in Belize?
  9. How are communications?
  10. How is accommodation arranged if I book alone?
  11. Is Belize dangerous?
  12. Time difference with home?
  13. What about my passport?
  14. What are other activities and sports I could do?
  15. What are the best festivals and when do they take place?
  16. What is the accommodation like?
  17. What is the recommended currency for Belize?
  18. What is the situation with electricity in Belize?
  19. What kind of bag should I take?
  20. What kind of clothing is practical and what else should I pack?
  21. What kind of transportation is used?
  22. What local customs do I need to keep in mind?
  23. When is the best time to travel?
  24. Which travel guides and maps?

1. Are there opportunities to snorkel or dive?

Caye Caulker is a coral island that forms part of a 200 km long barrier reef along the coast. The island is about 7 kilometres long by 600 metres wide and has a typically relaxed Caribbean ambiance. There are fantastic diving and snorkelling opportunities.

2. Are there opportunities to swim?

There will be ample opportunities to swim, so don’t forget your swimming costume

3. Can I pre-book transfers and extra nights?

Yes, you have the option to pre-book airport transfers (arrival only) and secondly the option to pre-book pre and post tour nights.These extra services should be added to your booking.

4. Do I need a sleeping mat or sleeping bag?

You will not need a sleeping bag or mat.

5. Do I need a visa?

UK citizens do not need a visa for Belize, but these things can change. So please click here and check out the current situation. You can also check on that website if a visa is required for any other nationalities. Make sure you find out whether or not you need a visa at least a month before departure so you do not run out of time.

If you need a visa, please contact your nearest Belize embassy (unless you use a visa service). Shoestring does not organise your visa. You are responsible for having a valid passport and visa when you travel. You can also obtain the visa through a specialised visa agency such as www.travcour.com.

6. Do I need to take a mosquito net?

No, you will not need a mosquito net.

7. Do I need vaccinations or malaria tablets?

Please click here for questions regarding vaccinations or malaria tablets for this country. You will need to contact your local GP or a specialized health clinic and make an appointment to get your injections and pills. Please make sure that you do this at least six weeks before you travel to give you time to complete the full course of injections. You are responsible for having the right vaccinations and antimalarials for your tour.

8. Do they cater for vegetarians in Belize?

Yes, vegetarians are catered for in Belize.

9. How are communications?

The international dialling code for Belize is +501. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (eg. 0044 for the United Kingdom). The area code for Belize City is (0)2. International Direct Dialling is available. Mobile telephone coverage is available throughout most of the country with the Belize Telemedia Ltd GSM 1900 network, and mobile phone rental is available. There are two Internet service providers in Belize, with Internet cafes in urban centres and tourist areas. The postal service is reliable.

10. How is accommodation arranged if I book alone?

If you book alone you will share your room with a fellow traveller (same sex where possible) unless you have booked a single room.

11. Is Belize dangerous?

In the big cities, especially in markets and bus stations, pickpocketing does occur. To prevent this, keep your money and valuables beneath your clothing, in a non-visible position. Keep a bit of extra cash to hand so you do not have to search through all your money in the middle of the street. If your day backpack contains valuables, carry it on your front. Also, carry your camera around your neck or tie it to a solid belt. Few robberies occur and when this happens, it is normally in isolated places which you should try and avoid anyway. There is no need to be worried, but there is good reason to exercise caution. If you are interested what the Foreign Office has to say, please click here.

12. Time difference with home?

Please check the world clock in order to find out the exact time difference between Belize and your home country.

13. What about my passport?

You need a passport that is valid at least 6 months from the date of departure. You are responsible for having a valid passport and visa when you travel.

14. What are other activities and sports I could do?

The majority of activities available on this tour are watersports such as diving and snorkelling.

15. What are the best festivals and when do they take place?

Most public holidays in Belize are Christian celebrations. Belize has its own holidays, such as Baron Bliss Day on March 9. This day commemorates a British philanthropic nobleman, who fell in love with a Belizean beauty. When he died, he left the Belizean people a vast fortune. Belize National Day (September 10) commemorates the Battle of St. George's Caye; its festivities last until Independence Day on September 21. Columbus Day (October 12) and Garífuna Settlement Day (November 19) are also celebrated.

16. What is the accommodation like?

You will stay in comfortable hotels in twin rooms with en-suite facilities.

17. What is the recommended currency for Belize?

The unit of currency is the Belize Dollar (BZD), which is fixed against the US$ at a rate of BZ$2 = US$1. Most tourist resorts, hotels, restaurants and tour operators accept US currency and travellers cheques. Credit cards are also accepted and most banks in Belize City and Belmopan will advance cash against Visa or MasterCard. Most establishments will add a 5% service charge to the bill if you pay by credit card. First Caribbean International Bank has several ATMs in Belize City. Always make sure you understand which dollar rate is being quoted; either Belize Dollars or US Dollars.

18. What is the situation with electricity in Belize?

Please click here to check the voltage and plugs used in this country. You may wish to consider taking a universal electric adaptor.

19. What kind of bag should I take?

Please pack everything in a soft weekend bag or backpack, rather than a solid suitcase which is awkward to carry around on buses etc. and takes up too much space. A small backpack or shoulder bag is useful for hand luggage and everyday use. Valuable papers are best kept in a lightweight cotton money belt worn underneath your clothes. Keep a spare set of clean clothes in your hand luggage, so that you can survive without the rest of your luggage if it is delayed. Make sure, for instance, that you put medication and a toothbrush in your hand luggage and that it is not too heavy.

20. What kind of clothing is practical and what else should I pack?

Bring along thin, cotton clothes. For the evening, a closed neck long-sleeved T-shirt or thin cotton roll neck sweater is recommended to protect yourself against mosquitoes. Also bring a jersey or sweater and a waterproof jacket. Do not forget an umbrella to protect against both the rain and too much sun. A pair of good quality, worn-in walking shoes with a good tread and flip-flops or sandals are also necessary. It's also a good idea to bring sunglasses, sun cream, toiletries, a traveller’s health kit, a hat/scarf, a camera, spare batteries, a pocket knife, a lighter, a small stock of non-perishable snacks and sweets, an alarm clock, writing materials, books, passport, sufficient money, photocopies of passport and travel insurance, your flight ticket(s), travel insurance details including emergency number, important addresses and a good travel guide. In addition, you may also wish to pack toilet paper, a towel and a portable mini reading lamp. If you bring along electr

21. What kind of transportation is used?

You will travel by bus and speedboat in Belize.

22. What local customs do I need to keep in mind?

Only bargain when buying souvenirs or art objects. At markets and in shops all food is sold at a fixed price. Politeness is important throughout in Central America
Make sure you look well dressed and clean. This is important to the people of Central America, and you will notice that even the poorest people take care to look presentable.
The myth that men are strong and women are fragile and dependent is common across Central America. You’ll probably see a macho man wolf whistling to catch a female’s attention. Solo women travellers receive plenty of unwanted attention. It is best just to ignore such attention or to avoid it by dressing conservatively.

23. When is the best time to travel?

The best time to visit Belize is during the dry season, December to April. Temperatures are cooler and there is little rainfall. Between June and December it is hotter and more humid.


24. Which travel guides and maps?

If you want to take a travel guide or map, we suggest you click on Lonely Planet.

  1. Are there opportunities to snorkel or dive?
  2. Are there opportunities to swim?
  3. Can I pre-book transfers and extra nights?
  4. Do I need a sleeping mat or sleeping bag?
  5. Do I need a visa?
  6. Do I need to take a mosquito net?
  7. Do I need vaccinations or malaria tablets?
  8. Do they cater for vegetarians in Mexico?
  9. How are communications?
  10. How is accommodation arranged if I book alone?
  11. How is the electricity situation?
  12. Is Mexico dangerous?
  13. What about my passport?
  14. What are the best festivals and when do they take place?
  15. What is the accommodation like?
  16. What is the best time to travel?
  17. What is the recommended currency for Mexico?
  18. What is the time difference?
  19. What kind of clothing and other stuff is practical to take?
  20. What kind of luggage should I take?
  21. What kind of transportation is used?
  22. What local customs do I need to bear in mind?
  23. What other activities and sports could I do?
  24. Which travel guides and maps?

1. Are there opportunities to snorkel or dive?

There are various possibilities for watersports. At Playa del Carmen you can go snorkelling and scuba diving.

2. Are there opportunities to swim?

In Playa del Carmen, Xcaret and Xel-Ha (located in neighbouring Playa Car) you will have the opportunity to swim.

3. Can I pre-book transfers and extra nights?

Yes you can pre book transfers (arrival only) and extra nights with Shoestring.You can add these to your booking form.

4. Do I need a sleeping mat or sleeping bag?

It is not necessary to bring a sleeping bag with you on our Mexico trips.

5. Do I need a visa?

You are responsible for having a valid passport and visa when you travel. Please check the embassy if you need a visa for Mexico and check here for the current situation. At present, UK and other EU nationals do not need a visa but you do need a tourist card which can be obtained by completing immigration forms on arrival or during your flight into Mexico. Make sure you inquire at least a month before departure so that in the event that you do need a visa, you do not run into time problems.

6. Do I need to take a mosquito net?

A mosquito net is not needed in your luggage.

7. Do I need vaccinations or malaria tablets?

Please click here for questions regarding vaccinations or malaria tablets for this country and then contact your GP or a specialised health clinic and make an appointment to get your injections and pills. Please make sure that you allow at least six weeks for a full program of injections. Two weeks should suffice for people who have already had a few vaccinations. You are responsible for having the right protection when going on tour.

8. Do they cater for vegetarians in Mexico?

There are many restaurants serving delicious vegetarian dishes in Mexico.

9. How are communications?

Making telephone calls from Mexico is not a problem. You can make calls easily and internet cafes are everywhere.

10. How is accommodation arranged if I book alone?

If you book alone you will share your room with a fellow traveller (same sex when possible) unless you have booked a single room.

11. How is the electricity situation?

Please click here to check what voltage and plugs are in use in this country. You could consider taking a universal electric plug.

12. Is Mexico dangerous?

There is no need to be worried but you should exercise caution, particularly in the big cities. Keep money and other valuables close to you or safely stowed away at all times.

13. What about my passport?

You need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months from the date of your departure. You are responsible for having a valid passport and visa when you travel.

14. What are the best festivals and when do they take place?

Mexico is renowned for its colourful celebrations and festivals. Virtually every month of the year features a national holiday or fiesta, and each city celebrates the day of its patron saint. Mexicans celebrate Christmas (Navidàd), Epiphany (January 6) and Easter. The macabre Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, celebrated on November 2 (All Soul’s Day), is one of Mexico’s most distinctive national holidays. It is the believer’s conviction that on this day the souls of their beloved deceased return to earth. In the week preceding Día de los Muertos, markets bulge with essential items such as candy skulls and papier-mâché skeletons. All over the country, people gather at cemeteries to picnic on the graves of their ancestors and departed loved ones. December 12 is another important day in the Mexican National Holiday calendar. It is the Dia de Virgen de Guadalupe, the country’s most popular religious icon. 

15. What is the accommodation like?

You will sleep mainly in comfortable mid-range hotels 

16. What is the best time to travel?

Mexico enjoys a tropical climate so temperatures depend more on sea level than the time of year. The temperature varies from twenty degrees Celsius in the highlands to about thirty degrees on the coasts. There are only two seasons: rainy and dry. The dry period runs from mid November to mid May, the rainy season runs from mid May to mid November. In the rainy season, plants blossom and the foliage looks emerald green. Normally the sun shines in the morning followed by cooling showers in the afternoon.

17. What is the recommended currency for Mexico?

Mexican currency is the New Peso (MXN) divided into 100 centavos. Credit cards are widely accepted, particularly Visa, MasterCard and American Express.  ATMs are available in most cities and towns and are the most convenient way to get money, but for safety reasons they should only be used during business hours. Although most businesses will accept foreign currency, it is best to use pesos. Foreign currency can be exchanged at one of many casas de cambio (exchange houses), which have longer hours and offer quicker service than the banks.

18. What is the time difference?

Please check the world clock in order to find out the exact time difference 

19. What kind of clothing and other stuff is practical to take?

In Mexico you will travel through tropical lowland as well as through mountainous areas. The latter have a moderate climate which may include cold nights. For this reason, you should bring thin, cotton clothes but also a closed neck long-sleeved T-shirt or a thin cotton roll neck sweater. This will also protect you against mosquitoes. In addition, bring along a jersey or sweater and a waterproof jacket. Nights in San Cristóbal can be quite cold! Do not forget an umbrella as protection against rain and too much sun. With regards to footwear, bring a pair of good quality, worn-in walking shoes and flip-flops or sandals. You should also consider bringing the following: sunglasses, sun cream, toiletries, a travellers’ health kit, a hat/scarf, a (video)camera, spare batteries, and a pocket knife.

20. What kind of luggage should I take?

We prefer it if you bring everything in a weekend bag or backpack, rather than a solid suitcase, which takes up too much space and can be hard to carry sometimes. A small backpack or shoulder bag comes in handy for hand luggage. Valuable documents are best kept in a thin cotton money belt, to be carried underneath your clothes. Make sure that you have an extra set of clean clothes in your hand luggage so that you can do without the rest of your luggage for 48 hours if it is delayed. For example, make sure you put a supply of important medication and a toothbrush in your hand luggage. Also make sure that your luggage is not too heavy - we recommend a maximum of 12 kg per person.

21. What kind of transportation is used?

Transportation will be in 1st class public buses with reserved seats or in private minibuses. Taxis will take you to/from hotels and bus terminals. 

22. What local customs do I need to bear in mind?

Politeness plays an important role in communication all over Central America. When addressing somebody in a shop or on the bus, say hello first. A simple buenos días or buenas tardes accompanied by a smile works miracles. Your greeting will be returned and, from that moment, the actual interaction begins. Upon entering a communal space, such as a restaurant, bus or waiting room, it is also very polite to say hello to everybody present. A simple buenos días or buenas tardes will do.

23. What other activities and sports could I do?

Mexico is a fascinating country and there is a lot to see and do there. You can explore the jungle ruins of Palenque, visit the stunning waterfalls of Misol-Ha and Agua Azul or the ancient Maya Toltek town of Chichén Itzá, one of the peninsula Yucatán’s most splendid archaeological sites.

24. Which travel guides and maps?

If you want to take a travel guide or map, we suggest you click on Lonely Planet.

  1. Are there opportunities to swim?
  2. Can I pre-book transfers and extra nights?
  3. Do I need a sleeping mat or sleeping bag?
  4. Do I need a visa?
  5. Do I need to take a mosquito net?
  6. Do I need vaccinations or malaria tablets?
  7. Do they cater for vegetarians in Guatemala?
  8. How are communications in Guatemala?
  9. How is accommodation arranged if I book alone?
  10. Is Guatemala dangerous?
  11. What about my passport?
  12. What are other activities and sports could I do?
  13. What are the best festivals and when do they take place?
  14. What is the accommodation like?
  15. What is the best time to see wildlife?
  16. What is the best time to travel?
  17. What is the electricity situation?
  18. What is the recommended currency for Guatemala?
  19. What is the time difference?
  20. What kind of clothing and other stuff is practical to take?
  21. What kind of luggage should I take?
  22. What kind of transportation is used?
  23. What local customs do I need to keep in mind?
  24. Which travel guides and maps?

1. Are there opportunities to swim?

There will be opportunities to swim so don’t forget your swiiming costume!

2. Can I pre-book transfers and extra nights?

Yes, you have the option to pre-book airport transfers and secondly the option to pre-book pre and post tour nights.These extra services should be added to your booking.

3. Do I need a sleeping mat or sleeping bag?

You do not need a sleeping bag or sleeping mat for this trip.

4. Do I need a visa?

UK citizens do not need a visa for Guatemala, but these things can change. So please click here and check out the current situation. You can also check on that website if a visa is required for any other nationality. Make sure you find out if you need a visa at least a month before departure so you do not run out of time.
If you need a visa, please contact your nearest embassy unless you choose to use a visa service. Shoestring does not organize your visa. You are responsible for having a valid passport and visa when you travel. You can also obtain the visa through a specialised visa agency like www.travcour.com.

5. Do I need to take a mosquito net?

You do not need a mosquito net for Guatemala.

6. Do I need vaccinations or malaria tablets?

Please click here for questions regarding vaccinations and malaria tablet requirements for this country and then contact your GP or a specialized health clinic and make an appointment to get your injections and pills. Please make sure that you arrange this at least six weeks before your tour starts. Two weeks should suffice for people who have already had a few injections. You are responsible for having the right protection when going on tour.

7. Do they cater for vegetarians in Guatemala?

Almost every dish has some meat or fish on it but always with plenty of vegetables. The only thing you have to do is say ‘sin carne, por favor’ (no meat, please).

8. How are communications in Guatemala?

The international access code for Guatemala is +502. The outgoing code depends on what network is used to dial out on (e.g. 13000 for Telefonica or 14700 for Telgua), which is followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 1300044 for the United Kingdom). City codes are not required. There are generally surcharges on calls made from hotels and it is cheaper to use calling cards. Rates are generally cheaper after 7pm. Mobile phones work in the major towns and cities on a GSM network but check that your network operator has a roaming agreement covering Guatemala. Internet cafes are available in the main tourist areas

9. How is accommodation arranged if I book alone?

If you book alone you will share your room with a fellow traveller (same sex when possible) unless you have booked a single room.

10. Is Guatemala dangerous?

Pickpockets operate in the big cities, especially in markets and bus stations. To prevent them from succeeding: keep money and valuables beneath your clothing in a non-visible position. Keep some cash to hand so you do not have to search through all your money in the middle of the street. If your day backpack contains valuables, carry it on your front. Also, carry your camera round your neck or tie it to a solid belt. Few robberies occur and when this does happen, it is normally in isolated or empty places which you should try and avoid anyway. There is no need to be worried, but there is good reason to exercise caution. Bandits occasionally hold up buses in the countryside. The odds are less than 1 in 1000, but when this happens it is well organized. You will be requested to hand over all your valuables and would be wise to do so. Luggage is reasonably safe in hotel rooms but do not leave money or valuables lying around. Put them in a locked bag, hand over to the staff of the hotel or keep inside a safe.


11. What about my passport?

You need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months from the date of departure. You are responsible for having a valid passport and visa when you travel.

12. What are other activities and sports could I do?

You can go for a climb to an active volcano or take a walk in the jungle.

13. What are the best festivals and when do they take place?

The Semana Santa (Holy week preceding Easter) is Guatemala's largest festival, with beautiful processions and celebrations throughout the country. Antigua’s Semana Santa is the most exuberant of them all. Each indigenous group has its own religious customs and folklore. Independence Day is  celebrated on 15th September. All Saints’ is also a major celebration here on 1st November. Every town here celebrates the day of its own patron saint. The inhabitants of Chichicastenango, for example, honour Santo Tomás from 13th to 21st December.

14. What is the accommodation like?

We sleep in mid-range hotels in twin rooms with private facilities. There will also be one night in Rio Dulce in cabañas (lodges) without private facilities.

15. What is the best time to see wildlife?

You can find a great variety of animals and plants in Guatemala throughout the year.

16. What is the best time to travel?

The climate in Guatemala is pleasant throughout the year. However, generally the best time of year to visit is during the height of the dry season, between December and February. April and May are the hottest months and July - September tend to be the wettest.

17. What is the electricity situation?

Please click here to check what voltage and plugs are used in Guatemala. You could also consider taking a universal electric adaptor.

18. What is the recommended currency for Guatemala?

The official currency is the Quetzal (GTQ) divided into 100 centavos. In 2001 the US Dollar became the second official currency alongside the Quetzal and both are now accepted. Travellers cheques and major credit cards are now accepted too, though some more than others. Exchanging cash is easier but more risky. Visitors are not advised to exchange money at the informal booths on the street. There are ATMs in the towns and cities, which accept Visa and MasterCard.

19. What is the time difference?

Please check the world clock in order to find out the exact time difference between Guatemala and your home country.

20. What kind of clothing and other stuff is practical to take?

Bring along thin, cotton clothes. For the evening, a closed neck long-sleeved T-shirt or a thin cotton roll neck sweater is recommended to protect against mosquitoes. Also bring a jersey or sweater and a waterproof jacket. Do not forget an umbrella to protect against both the rain and the sun. A pair of good-quality, worn-in walking shoes with a good tread and flip-flops or sandals are needed. You will also need to bring: sunglasses, sunscreen, toiletries, a travellers’ health kit, a hat/scarf, a camera, spare batteries, pocket knife, a lighter, a small stock of non-perishable snacks and sweets, an alarm clock, writing materials, books, passport, sufficient money, photocopies of passport and travel insurance, your flight ticket(s), travel insurance details including emergency number, important addresses and a good travel guide. Additionally, you may wish to bring: toilet paper, a towel and a portable mini reading lamp. If you bring along electrical equipment,

21. What kind of luggage should I take?

Please pack everything in a soft weekend bag or backpack, rather than a solid suitcase which would be difficult to transport and takes up too much space. A small backpack or shoulder bag is useful for hand luggage and everyday use. Valuable papers are best kept in a thin cotton money belt, carried underneath your clothes. Keep a spare set of clean clothes in your hand luggage, so that you can do without your main luggage if there is a delay. Make sure, for instance, that you put any medication and a toothbrush in your hand luggage and that it is not too heavy.

22. What kind of transportation is used?

In Guatemala we use 1st class public buses with reserved seats or private minibuses and boat transfers to Rio Dulce.

23. What local customs do I need to keep in mind?

Politeness is important throughout Central America. When addressing somebody in a shop, on the bus or in the street, say hello first. A simple 'Buenos días' or 'Buenas tardes', accompanied by a smile, works miracles. A pleasant greeting will always be returned. When entering a restaurant or waiting room, it is polite to greet everybody present.
Make sure you look well dressed and clean. This is important to the people of Central America. Even the poorest people make an effort to look well turned out. In their eyes, if you have enough money to travel all the way from Europe, you must be very rich. You will gain respect if you dress properly. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to wear an Armani suit when wandering the streets. Leave valuable jewellery (fake is OK) at home. Do not wear revealing clothes, as this is not always appreciated. Shorts are allowed, for men and women but only on beaches and in coastal resorts. Bathing suits are only allowed in

24. Which travel guides and maps?

If you want to take a travel guide or map, we suggest you click on Lonely Planet.

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