Traveling from Mexico City to Antigua
Getting from Mexico City to Antigua is only a 28 hour endeavor on 3 buses. It’s about as luxurious and entertaining as it sounds. The first leg of the trip was a 22 hour bus ride from Mexico City to Tapachula, Mexico which is right by the Guatemalan border. If you’ve never heard of Tapachula, it’s because there’s nothing to talk about. It’s literally just a pit stop on everyone’s way to somewhere else.
But after a night there, we woke up early for our next 5 hour bus ride into Guatemala City. We were warned that this place would be nothing special. They were right. Granted we only spent 3 hours there. But we were anxious to get to Antigua. A quick one hour bus ride outside of Guatemala city.
Antigua is really nothing like I expected. In a good way. It’s a small city surrounded by a gorgeous terrain. It’s really a gem in the mountains. Actually, I believe most of the “mountains” we’re seeing are volcanoes. Not a fact I was pleased to hear. Especially since one or more of them is active. I don’t know much about volcanoes, but I know I don’t care for lava spewing down a mountainside.
Nonetheless, we certainly enjoyed hiking up one of them. We just couldn’t miss an opportunity like that. But most of our week here has been spent once again in spanish classes. Monday-Friday. 9am-12pm. One on one classes. Antigua is known for the many spanish schools here. So we should hopefully be learning a lot this week!
Now we are leaving Antigua today and heading to Semuc Champey on our way to Rio Dulce!
Here are some pictures from our time in Antigua.
(click to see all)
Crossing the Border from Mexico to Guatemala by Land
If you’re a broke traveler trying to get to Guatemala City from Mexico City, then you have the great fortune of crossing the boarder by land rather flying directly into the country. You’re going to want this tip because we certainly could’ve used it.
So if you’re taking a bus, it will stop upon crossing into the Guatemalan boarder from Mexico. Obviously you’ll get off and present your passport for that infamous stamp. But before you do that, you have to speak with the Mexican officials. They will want to see that form you filled out when you arrived into Mexico. That form that I unfortunately left in my bag on the bus. So don’t forget to bring it with you!
Afterwards, you’ll have to leave that building to present your passport to the Guatemalan officials at another window. It costs Q50 (Guatemala Quetzales) to get in. I would recommend doing a currency exchange in Mexico before you even head to Guatemala so you don’t have to worry about it when you get there.
But if you’re last minute like we were, you’ll have to exchange your pesos for quetzales on the spot. And you won’t like the exchange rate. Anyway, expect to be bombarded by people trying to exchange your money for you. I suggest you exchange with the Mexican officials who are wearing badges. They’re probably least likely to screw you.
Then when you go to present your passport to the Guatemalan officials, walk up to the window on your own. You will have 5+ different Guatemalans insisting that you need help. They’ll block the way to the window and take your passport to get stamped for you. But they’ll up-charge you. This totally caught us off guard and we didn’t even realize they weren’t Guatemalan officials. So we got screwed out of Q20. Which isn’t much, but still. They took some of our pride with it.
Then we saw everyone else declining their help and walking up to the window themselves. So just be sure you do the same. And just tell all the other people offering to help that you don’t need it.