Thursday, November 14, 2019

Guatemala backpacking itinerary

Destination: Central America, Guatemala

Season: December 2017

Length: 10 days 

Theme: Backpacking | City | Culture | Hiking | Sceneries  | Spelunking

Guatemala I did not expect that but, Guatemala was a surprise to me, as I did not expect that much from it. But hand down I loved Guatemala and its one of my favorite country in the central America Gringo Trail. Guatemala is full of culture, nature and welcoming people. On the top of that it is very budget friendly, which will allow you to travel comfortably at low costs. Plus Guatemala have Volcano Acatenango, one of my highlight of all of Central America trip. Bottom line if you going to Central America, Guatemala should be on the top of your list. You see shortly some of the photo I took, I think the photo will do much better job than me talking about Guatemala beautiful nature. One thing I have to say, the second I crossed the border from Belize to Guatemala, I felt a complete change in the environment and a very positive vibe, which I did not expect to see in just few hour drive from one country to another.

Guatemala Itinerary at glance

Guatemala Itinerary at glance

Flores 2D → Semuc Champey 2D → San pedro on lake Atitlan 2D → Chimaltenango Market 1D → Antigua 3D

Guatemala backpacking Itinerary

Guatemala backpacking itinerary

  • The Icon for the transfer method
  • The h for the number of hour of transportation time
  • am or pm is the time of departure from the city
  • The D for the number of days i spent in the city
  • The ←→ for day trip

One thing you need to know about Guatemala, that the bus system are very basic and most of the time you will find your self in a mini bus. This is normal. It in nothing like Mexico, Costa rica or Panama. But they are very reliable and safe in my experience. Also the bus they only leave in the morning, but they can arrive at night depend on the roads, so you have to forget about night bus, which I really enjoy, because it save you time and money.

Flores 4am2h←→Tikal ruin 1pm2h→ Flores 8am7h→ Semuc Champey 8am10h→ San pedro on lake Atitlan 8am2h → Chimaltenango Market 2pm3h → Antigua

Guatemala backpacking Itinerary

Guatemala backpacking itinerary map by thesolobackpacker.world

Guatemala backpacking Itinerary

Booking.com

Guatemala backpacking Itinerary

Day 1-3 Flores and Tikal ruin
After taking a 5 hours bus from Belize city, I arrived to my first stop in Guatemala; Flores. My main objective was to uncover Tikal ruin. Which is an epic ruin of an ancient city located in the rainforests of Guatemala. Flores is less then two hours from Tikal, which make it a very nice base to explore Tikal ruin. You can very easily book a tour from Flores to Tikal ruin, from any of the tour agency in Flores or your hostel. Flores is a very nice island beautifully positioned on Lake Peten Itza, the second largest lake in Guatemala after Izabal Lake. Flores island is beautiful and you need at lest a day or two to explore it. I will highlight some of the activity you can do in Flores latter on, so stay tuned.
I arrived to Flores in Guatemala around two pm, I did not booked a hostel in advance. Instead I walked around with a few people who was on the same bus with me and we checked out few hostels before we decided to stay at Hotel La Casa del Lacandon / Waterfront Hotel. Which I can tell you its one of the best hostel in Flores. The owner Oliver is very nice, he is from Germany and speak english very well. If you stay in that hostel ask Oliver to make you Avocado smoothy, its amazing. Also the food is all made in house and its very nice. Oliver can also give you some good tips about what to see on the island.

Day one: By the time I checked in, it was let afternoon already. The first thing I did was booking a day tour to Tikal ruin for the next morning. You have three options with regards to Tikal tour; if you go with a tour from Flores. The first option you see sunrise from temple IV, you have to leave from Flores around 2 AM in the morning, its more expensive and you need to buy your ticker in advance. The second option without seeing the sunrise but you will still make it to temple IV, you leave around 5 AM in the morning. The third option you have is to go and stay in any of the hostel near Tikal and pick a privet tour guide from their. I have seen enough ruin and sun set and rise by now, so I did the second option. I booked my tour from the agency opposite to my hostel, I cant remember what it was called. One thing you need to bare in mind, do not just go with the first price they give you, shop around for a bit. And check with your hostel and online before booking.
After that I just explored the island a little bit more, Flores is very nice and you will find many nice restaurant. Once you in Flores there is a bridge, which you cant miss. If you cross it you will get to a modern shopping mall which has a big supermarket and number of restaurant. I spend my evening between this area and walking in Flores roads.

Day Two: In the morning I did Tikal tour. I was picked up around 5am, It was around 7am by the time we arrived to Tikal. The tour it self was very nice we managed to hear the birds and see the Howler monkey as well as explore the park itself. You can easily spend 3 or 4 hours to explore the park and visits its temples. You are allowed to claim to some of the temples, it is fairly easy to do and you get a very nice view. It dose get hot in the noon so by mid day I was done. You can stay longer if you want, If I remember correctly bus leaves at around 1pm and 3pm. I left around 1pm and I was in Flores early in the afternoon. This was good, because its allowed me to spend the rest of the day exploring Flores.

Once I was back to I took a boat ride to San miguel, its only 10 minutes from Flores and very cheap. The area have very nice walks, you can easily spend few hours walking around in the wood. The area is very traditional and basic and you are unlikely to find any shops around their. I think I only managed to find one local shop. After few try, I managed to find my way to playa el chechenal. Just ask the local and they show you the way, its not that easy to find. Chechenal beach is a very quite beach located on Lake Peten Itza. The water is very calm and peaceful, I spent all of the afternoon swimming and relaxing at Chechenal beach. One tip to you, don’t book a boat from Chechenal beach to Flores, as they are very expansive, its best to walk back to the side of San miguel opposite to Flores. Since this was my last night in Flores, I had to decide on my next stop in my itinerary. So I booked myself a ticket on a mini bus to my next stop. Which has become one of my favorite place in the world, Semuc Champey. I will tell you all bout it in the next section. See you at Semuc Champey…

Top things to do in Flores

  • Explore Flores itself
  • Watch the sunset & Try the Avocado smoothy in Waterfront Hotel Lacando in Flores
  • Explore San Miguel and swim in Chechenal beach
  • Go to Tikal ruin and claim temple IV ( if you interested you can see sunrise or sunset from temple IV, I did not do it, but I got told its amazing)

My accommodation in Flores

Flores is relatively small, so you will have not issue with the location of your hostel. You can walk all of Flores in one hour maybe. The only different it make is the view of the lake. I recommend you get a hostel with a good view of the lake.

I stayed at La Casa del Lacandon – Waterfront Hotel, Which has an amazing view of the lake and the room was very comfortable. The hostel had dorms and privet room. Their was no ac in the room fan only, but it was cold enough at night, so I dont thing ac is required.

Transport to Flores 

Depend on where you coming from, Flores was my first stop in Guatemala. I entered Guatemala from Belize by mine bus. From Belize city to Flores is about 5 hours and it cost me $25. This photo for the costs of bus from Belize city to Flores,from inside the ferry terminal in Belize city with the bus schedule I took it in Nov 2017

Transport From Flores to Semuc Champey

The best way is to book a mini bus with a tour agency. I have two warning for you, number one its long and pain to get to Semuc Champey, but it well worth it. Number two, from Flores only book your ticket to Semuc Champey, because some of the agency will offer you a discounted price for your ticket from Semuc Champey to wherever destination you want to go. Do not do that for two reason one, I meet people who done that and the tour company in Semuc Champey did not accept it, so simple they had to buy another ticket. Secondly their are so many agency in Semuc Champey you can book from at a very reasonable price.

Guatemala backpacking Itinerary

Day 3-5 Semuc Champey and Lanquin
Semuc Champey, Semuc Champey… its one of my favorite places in the world, I stayed in Lanquin specifically at El Retiro Lanquin hostel, and I highly highly recommend that you stay in this hostel, Its just amazing and have private access to the river. I used Lanquin as a base to explore Semuc Champey and I booked my Semuc Champey tour from the same hostel, Which included transport and equipment, entrance to the K’an-Ba cave and the national park.

As I mention to you earlier to get to Semuc Champey is pain, its depend where you coming from. In my case I was coming from Flores, and it took me a good seven hours. Seven hours of fun! setting on a tiny chair on a mini bus full of backpacker. I did not have any luck with it, but if you can get a good bus and a comfortable seat go for it for the extra cash. One tip I learned which you may used, is that most tours go to Semuc Champey via Coban city, which is kind of mid way between Flores and Semuc Champey. So as a suggestion, if you want to break the day in half you may want to stay at Coban for a day then carry on to Semuc Champey the next day. So pin Coban city on your map.

To clarify things for you, you can either stay in Semuc Champey itself or in Lanquin town which is only about 30 mint by jeep from Semuc Champey national park. Lanquin is a small town, so staying in Lanquin mean you will have access to supermarket and tour agency. From what I have learned, that if I stay in Semuc Champey, I will only have the hostel as their are no shops around Semuc Champey park, hence I stayed in Lanquin. I was very glad that stayed in Lanquin, it was very peaceful and I loved it. It simply in the middle of nowhere, but as the say goes, that sometime you find your self in the middle of nowhere and other time in the middle of nowhere you find your self. I think this apply to Lanquin and Semuc Champey. If you need to recharge yourself I highly recommend that you spend a day or two relaxin El Retiro Lanquin hostel.

Back to the itinerary. So I arrived to Lanquin around four pm. I arranged my day tour to Semuc Champey national park for the next day, and relaxed by Lanquin river for sometime. Then by the evening I want to explore Lanquin town for a while. Its very small, but I enjoyed seeing the local people, I even played some football with some of the kids who was playing in the street. You will find number of local shops and street food shops, bars and restaurants in the town center which is about 10 minutes walks from El Retiro Lanquin hostel.

Day One: Early in the morning, I was pick up by a pick up car from the hostel, with some other traveller and we made our way toward Semuc Champey national park. We were one of the first group to arrive I believe. We started first by spelunking K’an-Ba Cave using candles light in one hand and swimming with the other one. This was the first time in my life were I spelunker a cave swimming against river current in dark. The river current is not very strong and where it is you have a robe to hold on to, its pretty safe but you have to be careful. Unfortunately I do not have any photo to show you, as I did not have a waterproof camera with me. But all I can say it was an epic experience and you must do it if you made it all the way to Semuc Champey. K’an-Ba Cave in based in another park only few minutes walk from Semuc Champey national park, So we had some time to explore the area around K’an-Ba Cave, you can swim in the river if you like. You will need less then an hour to explore this area as it is relatively small. Then we made our way to Semuc Champey national park. You will have two option you can either go directly to the pools or you hike to the top to get a view of Semuc Champey national park then back to the pool area. You should definitely hike to the top, the view you get is awesome, check out the photo on the side. Then after spending sometime swimming in Semuc Champey pools we headed back to Lanquin. One thing to say on the way back from Semuc Champey to Lanquin, I returned in a pick up car. I stayed at the back of the car rather than setting inside the car. The ride was very bumpy but the view you get is worth it. So as a tip stay at the back of the pick up car on the way back to Lanquin. Once back to Lanquin, I spend the rest of the day enjoying the river side from El Retiro Lanquin hostel, and deciding where to go next.
If you traveling in Guatemala from Flores down toward Antigua, you have few options from Semuc Champey. My plan was to go to Livingston and Rio Dulce on Izabal Lake, but I was short on time, so I had to skip Livingston and Rio Dulce and instead head to San Pedro in Lake Atitlan, which I will tell you all about in the next section.

Top things to do in Semuc Champey and Lanquin

  • Semuc Champey National park
  • K’an-Ba Caves (in Semuc Champey)
  • River Tubing – Tube down the Lanquin river.
  • Grutas de Lanquin (Lanquin Cave) in Lanquin (I did not have the chance to see this cave, but if you have time it a nice trip for you todo)

Accommodation in Semuc Champey and Lanquin

To clarify things for you, you can either stay in Semuc Champey itself or in Lanquin town which is only about 30 mint by jeep from Semuc Champey national park. Lanquin is a small town, so staying in Lanquin mean you will have access to supermarket and tour agency. From what I have learned, that if I stay in Semuc Champey, I will only have the hostel as their are no shops around Semuc Champey park, hence I stayed in Lanquin

I stayed at El Retiro Lanquin hostel, Which has an amazing view and private access to Lanquin river. The room was very comfortable. The hostel had dorms and privet room. Their was no ac in the room fan only, but it was cold enough at night, so I dont thing ac is required.

Transport From Semuc Champey and Lanquin to San Pedro in Lake Atitlan

From Semuc Champey to San Pedro is another nice twelve hours mini bus ride and about half an hour boat ride to San Pedro. This time our mine bus was pretty empty so I had lot of space unlike on the way to Semuc Champey from Flores. As I mentioned to you before the bus in Guatemala always leave in day time, which mean the bus ride will kill all of your day. Unlike the beautiful night bus I was getting in Mexico. The bus will also go via Coban city, this why I said pin it on your map. It look like most busses go via Coban city.

Guatemala backpacking Itinerary

Day 6-7 San Pedro on Lake Atitlan
San Pedro is another beautiful spot of Guatemala located on Lake Atitlan. I spend a couple of days in San Pedro and I loved it. It is relatively small town, very peaceful and calm. I think you should put it on your list for two main reasons; One it is very beautiful and chilled out, Two if Antigua is your next stop, you can pass via Chichicastenango market on your way from San Pedro to Antigua. You have to plan this as the market only open on Thursdays and Sundays.

To get to San Pedro you need to take a water taxi from your drop point, I was coming form Semuc Champey and If I remember correctly my bus stopped at Panajachel and from Panajachel I had to take a water taxi to San Pedro. I think the last water taxi leave Panajachel around 7pm, So just make sure you arrive early to catch the boat on time.

Just for your information, San Pedro is one of few area located around Lake Atitlan for example you have San Marcos La Laguna, which is from what I have learned is a yogi expats spot and an attracting for the hippie community. I believe there are severals towns around the lake, but as I did not see the other area I cant talk much about it now until I go back and explore them so stay tuned for update. San Pedro has good day and night life you will not get board easily. Their are many local market and restaurants they are all over the place. Plus San Pedro is relatively small so you can easily walk from one area to another. The main thing to do in San Pedro, is to hike to Volcán San Pedro, which is a must do thing if you are in San Pedro, you can do it by yourself and you do not need a guide. However, the other popular thing you can do in San Pedro are Indian nose hike, Kayaking around lake Atitlan, Tour around the lake and to the other area around lake Atitlan, coffee tour, horse back ride, Zip line and Paragliding. So the list is full if you want to. I only did Volcán San Pedro, and if I had time I would do the boat tour to the other towns around the island. I have included in the photo section on the side, some snaps of the tour agency day trips for you to look at. Let get back to the itinerary now.

Day One Volcano San Pedro: Since I only had one day I had to make a difficult choice and only select one thing to do. I choose to hike to the top of Volcano San Pedro. To get to Volcano San Pedro is very easy, from my hostel I walked to the main market, to buy some snacks and water which you will need. Then I shared a Tok Tok with other traveler to get to the entrance of Volcano San Pedro, It will take you about ten minutes to get their, its uphill so I will not recommend you to walk it. Their was four of us on the Tok Tok and we pied 5 Guatemalan quetzal each. Once we got to the entrance we had to pay entrance fees which was 100 Guatemalan quetzal each, with this fee you will get a guide for the first 30 minutes. This all you need because it is pretty straightforward to get to the top. The hike is very nice and you will get a beautiful view of Lake Atitlan. Volcano San Pedro is at elevation of 3000 meter so it can be cold and cloudy at the top, so I would take a jacket with me. It took me about seven hours, including rest and fun time, to go up and down, so it is not a short hike. I started around 8am so I was back to San Pedro for around 3pm, So I had a fair bit of time to explore the area, and also book my transport to Antigua via Chichicastenango market.

Day Two Chichicastenango Market: Unfortunately when I was in San Pedro, they had a major road work so I could not get a chicken bus directly from San Pedro to Chichicastenango market then Antigua. Instead I had to book a tour, in which I had to take a water taxi back to Panajachel then a mini bus to Chichicastenango market then another bus to Antigua.

Once you get to Chichicastenango, usually the bus stop next to Hotel Santo Tomas pin this on your map it is a very popular hotel in the area and next to the market. In Chichicastenango you will have about three or four hours to explore the area. Chichicastenango is known for its traditional K’iche’ Maya culture and 98% of the municipality’s population is indigenous Mayan K’iche which make it very unique and you will enjoy it. As will as the market which is absolutely nice and have all sort of thing, you need to explore Cemetery and Iglesia de Santo Tomás church. If you get time you can check out the inside if Hotel Santo Tomas, Its just a nice hotel and public are allowed to go inside it, or at lest when I was there. By the afternoon I was back to the buy on my way to one of my favorite city in Guatemala Antigua, see you then..

Top things to do in San Pedro on Lake Atitlan

  • Hike Volcán San Pedro
  • Indian nose hike
  • Kayaking around lake Atitlan
  • Tour around the lake and to the other area around lake Atitlan
  • Coffee tour
  • Horse back ride
  • Zip line
  • Paragliding

Top things to do in Chichicastenango

Accommodation in San Pedro on Lake Atitlan

I stayed at Mikaso Hotel y Restaurant in San Pedro, which was very nice and confutable hostel, with a beautiful view of the lake. I highly recommend it, the manger and the staff are very helpful and they do many tours from the hostel as well as having a roof restaurant with a very nice view and food option included an open buffet breakfast.

Transport From San Pedro in Lake Atitlan to Chichicastenango and Antigua

From San Pedro to Antigua is about 4 hour bus ride. However I passed via Chichicastenango market on my way from San Pedro to Antigua. Unfortunately when I was in San Pedro, they had a major road work so I could not get a chicken bus directly from San Pedro to Chichicastenango market then Antigua. Instead I had to book a tour, in which I had to take a water taxi back to Panajachel then a mini bus to Chichicastenango market then another bus to Antigua. However its pretty simple to go to Chichicastenango market from San Pedro in normal circumstance, but it never normal in Central America. You can either go by chicken bus or book a tour, If you going to go to Antigua after Chichicastenango market, which most backpacker do, it is best to go with a tour as you can leave all your luggage in the bus while you explore Chichicastenango market.

Guatemala backpacking Itinerary

Day 8-10 Antigua and Volcano Acatenango
Finally we at Antigua, I cant wait to tell you about this beautiful city. Antigua is surrounded by its amazing two volcano Fuego and Acatenango. If you in Antigua you must hike to the top of volcano Acatenango, which is one of the highlight of my Central America trip. Antigua is well known for its Spanish colonial buildings, it is not a very large city but it have a lot of landmarks. You can easily spend a day or two walking between its churches and buildings. Once you are in the city you will easily find your way around it.
Back to my itinerary, after a smooth bus ride from Chichicastenango I arrived to Antigua. I did not booked a hostel in advance, instead I shopped around for one, eventually I ended up at Zoola hostel. Which have a very nice Arabian style theme as well as nice collection of Arabic food. I spend the rest of that day resting with very mild activity that involved trying different Guatemalan street food and walking round the main plaza.

Day One: The main theme of day one was to explore all of Antigua and visits all of its historical landmark, as well as finding a good tour agency to book my volcano Acatenango hike, I have more details about this below. In Antigua you should definitely check out Arco de Santa Catalina, Iglesia de La Merced church and Antigua Guatemala Cathedral. My favorite was Iglesia de San Francisco, I don’t know why but I could feel something different about this church, something spiritual some kind of energy I cant explain. Also One other thing I recommend is to walk to Cerro De La Cruz, It also called Hill of the Cross.
I started walking around Antigua around 10am and I believe I was back to the hostel for around 3pm, you need about 5 or 6 hours to cover the city if you taking it easy. I had to start me hike to volcano Acatenango the next day, so I took the evening easy and spent the night on the hot tub on the roof of my hostel.

Day Two and Three Volcano Acatenango: Volcano Acatenango hike is the number of activity in Antigua and it is one of those once in life experience, where you going to spend the night sleeping on base camp next to the active volcano Fuego watching its lava falling off and hear its sound at altitude of 3500 meters above the sea level. The hike is long, around 9 miles each ways, and relatively difficult and different company offer different option. I am not an expert on the company available in Antigua but I did my hike with Tropicana Hostel, which was very good and we had our private camp and private toilet. Just so you know, there is a public base camp and some tour have its own private one. Plus we only had to carry our personal belongs and our water, some company will ask you to carry other things for the camp, so check these thing in advance. One thing you need to know, make sure you have taking with you some warm clothes, gloves, head cover, walking sticks and a good hiking shoes. If you don’t have any you can buy them second hand from Antigua market, Alternatively you can hire them from you tour agency. Just ask them in advance. It dose get very cold at night, So make sure you take extra clothes to wear at night.

Back to the itinerary, The assembling point was Tropicana Hostel. By the time we had our breakfast the rest of the group has arrived. We had a nice group of ten people from different country from all over around the world, which has made the hike even more interesting listening to every one story and travel adventure. We were picked up by a car from Tropicana Hostel to head toward Volcano Acatenango, which is about one hour ride from Antigua city. By around 10am we arrived to the starting point of the hiking path. This was the beginning of a nice 5 or 6 hour of hiking toward volcano Acatenango base camp. Its not the easiest hike, but the good news you will get plenty of rest point along the hike. Once we were at the base camp, we started by setting up a fire to cook our food and installing the sleeping tent. We spend the rest of the night enjoying the scene, and watching volcano Fuego erupting and its lava falling off. I was told, you will always get to see it erupting, but at different intensity, The erupting vary from day to day. I believe I was their on a lucky day because we had few massive erupting, the guide told us this was one of the strongest eruption he have seen in a while. But either way if you are doing the hike to Volcano Acatenango you will get to see a magical symphony of scene played by nature.

By midnight I was in my sleeping bag TRYING to sleep, getting ready for the next day. One of the fun memory I had, their was four of us sleeping in the same tent, and every time volcano Fuego erupted all of us will jump to watch the eruption from the tent tiny door. I eventually gave up and want to sleep after few hours. The next day we had to weak up around 4am to continue our hike to the summit of volcano Acatenango to watch the sunrise. I have to say the hike in this part is a steep plus you will be hiking in the dark. Make sure you have a decent head lamp with you and walk carefully. It took us about 2 hours to get to the summit, and we had about 40 minute at the top and then we started to walk down toward our base camp. We had our breakfast, then we packed our tent and started walking back down. It took us another good three hours to reach the bottom. And that was the end of a great experience, which I am sure I will repeat at another part of our beautiful earth very soon.

I don’t normally give recommendation on what you should do. The whole ideal of traveling is to explore life in your own way. However few people decide to do the hike on their own with out a guide. Please if you not experienced do not do that, few incident has happened previously.

I was back to Antigua for the afternoon, and it was time to decide on my next stop. I had few idea in mind, my original plan was to go to La Ceiba in Honduras. But it was out of my way, so I had to have another plan. learned that I can go El Tunco in El Salvador easily from Antigua. From here you can see a list of all the common distention from Antigua. So I booked a shuttle from Antigua to El Tunco in El Salvador for the next day. It costed me 275 Guatemalan Quetzal. The shuttle will take you a good 7 hours, in my case was about 10 hours because their was a road blockade on the way!. I will tell you more about El Tunco in my El Salvador itinerary.

Top things to do in Antigua

  • Volcano Acatenango hike
  • Arco de Santa Catalina
  • Iglesia de La Merced church
  • Antigua Guatemala Cathedral
  • Iglesia de San Francisco
  • Cerro De La Cruz, It also called Hill of the Cross
  • Nim Po’t Market

I did not do have time to see the below list, but it is an alternative option for you if you like. Their are so many Volcano and Lagoon all over Guatemala, and It was not practical to see every single one of them. So I only picked the one I talked about above. If any of you been to those please share it below so other traveller can learn more about it.

  • Pacaya’s volcano; Normally you have to leave Antigua 6am and the shuttle cost 70 Guatemalan Quetzal
  • Volcano and Ipala lagoon
  • Volcano and laguna Chicabal

Accommodation in Antigua

As I told you above, Antigua is cosy town, and you will be within a walking distance from the main area. Their are many good hostels in Antigua. I stayed in Zoola hostel, but Bigfoot Hostel Antigua and Tropicana Hostel are very nice too. I suggest you just arrive to Antigua and check the hostel and stay in the one you feel the most.

Transport From Antigua to El Tunco in El Salvador

One thing to mention in here, with regards to the transport safety in El Salvador. As I was traveling cross Central America, I heard a mixed opinion about traveling through El Salvador. Some people told me you must use a big bus company because the mafia will stop the shuttle. On the other hand other traveller informed me it is safe to use shuttle bus. So I thought I tell you my experience to help you make your mind.
It all depend on where you coming from and where you going to. In my case I was traveling from Antigua to El Tunco. I booked a shuttle services from Bigfoot Hostel Antigua which goes on a daily base to El Tunco, click here for more information and also here for La Ceiba, I did check with the hostel reception about the safety of the shuttle traveling through El Salvador and I was informed its pretty safe. So me and some other traveller booked a shuttle for the next morning to El Tunco. Its was pretty safe and we had no issue with regard to safety, however on the day I was traveling their was a blockade on one of the main roads. But we managed to find another route with the help of the locals. Do you own check before going to any city please.

Guatemala backpacking Itinerary