Volcano climbed, Tikal visited, amazing and relaxing times in Semuc Champey and Lago de Atitlan enjoyed. Highway collisions, pickpockets, and far too many hours in transit. Guatemala, check. We were ready to move on to our next destination: El Salvador.
From Antigua, you can catch a chicken bus to Guatemala City, make your way (probably by taxi) to the bus station, and then catch a bus all of the way from Guatemala City to San Salvador (the capital of El Salvador). Our Lonely Planet guide reckoned that bus tickets from Guatemala City to San Salvador ranged in price from 120 – 740 Q. This is a bit of a range. When we found a company that would transfer us from Antigua all of the to San Salvador for 195 Q each, we decided to go with them. (For future reference, we got on the bus in Guatemala City and saw that our tickets would have cost 120 Q each. Plus the cost of a chicken bus and a taxi to get to the bus station in the city.)
We had several options for times leaving Antigua, and opted for the 9 a.m., figuring that it would be nice to arrive early afternoon. The trip was meant to take five hours. It took a couple of hours to arrive in Guatemala City, drop a number of people off at the airport, and then arrive at the bus station. Our bus was to leave in about an hour. Three hours in, and we figured that the five hour arrival time was a bit ambitious.
We crossed the border with no issues, no payment, and no stamp. This is part of the four-country Central American agreement between Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, whereby a person can travel between the borders of the four without paying any additional entry or exit fees.
When we finally rolled into San Salvador, it was approaching dark. Our five-hour journey had taken closer to nine. I maintain that one only need double the time quoted for a journey in Central America to arrive closer to the actual figure.
Money and time spent in Guatemala looks something like this:
US Dollars: 419
Approx. Daily Expenditure (USD): 30
Finally, we were getting to the green – the first country we’d visited where I’d come in under budget – by a whopping $10/day. This was looking positive, and we have three other budget friendly countries coming up.