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Guatemala/El Salvador Backpacking Datasheet
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Hedonistic Traveler Offline
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Guatemala/El Salvador Backpacking Datasheet
I just got back from a month of backpacking around Guatemala and El Salvador and thought I'd write a brief datasheet up. My original plan had been to spend 3-4 months traveling from Guatemala City to Panama City, but money and time constraints limited me to just the two countries.

Guatemala Overview
I hadn't found too much information on Guatemala before my trip, and after visiting I definitely know why. The local girls there were pretty brutal, and although there were a lot of Westerners, most of them were pretty beat too. The historical/natural sites were pretty amazing in my opinion, but I definitely wouldn't recommend it as a gaming destination, and especially not for almost 3 weeks like I did.

Antigua, Guatemala
Antigua is the tourist center of Guatemala due to its close proximity to the Guatemala City airport, which is about a half-hour away on a $10 shuttle. The city is pretty well-known for its cheap Spanish lessons, but they are actually even cheaper in San Pedro, another stop on the tourist trail in Guatemala.

I wasn't too big of a fan of Antigua, it was a little too gringo-ed out in my opinion. The foreign women in Antigua also seemed particularly unattractive, I literally saw a pack of Aussie girls with unshaved legs, which made me think American girls might not be quite the bottom of the barrel.

I heard good things about Jungle Party Hostel, Hostel 5, and the Black Cat, mainly because those hostels all have bars, which is pretty crucial for solo-travel and makes gaming a lot easier. Rooms can be had in town for $200ish a month, at least according to the travelers I met, but longer stays are mainly for studying Spanish, and like I said above, Antigua is not the best option for that. For nightlife I spent most of my time in Reilly's Irish Tavern and the Funky Monkey. Both were usually packed, but not with anything special.

San Pedro la Laguna, Guatemala
San Pedro was probably favorite town in Guatemala. The town is set on a beautiful lake, surrounded by volcanoes and mountains. It was even cheaper than Antigua, and seemed to have a slightly more attractive Western population, although that may have been a coincidence. Like I said above, the town is great for Spanish lessons, and is a much more relaxing town than Antigua.

I stayed in Hostel Pinocchio, where I paid just 5 dollars a day for a private room. It was pretty basic accommodation, but was located right across the street from the Buddha Bar, which was the biggest bar in town. I heard good things about Hotel Peneleu and Casa Elena, but both were a little further from where I wanted to be.

Unfortunately I spent most of my time in San Pedro shitting my brains out after eating at a pretty questionable burrito joint. It was definitely my favorite place in Guatemala though, and I wish I could have stayed longer.

Guatemala City
I only spent a night in GC so I can't give you a ton of information, but it is definitely the place to go if you want to capture the flag. I got blown by a local chick here, and although she wasn't really anything special it was the closest I came to getting the Guatemala flag.

I hung out in District 1 because I had to grab an early bus out of there the next morning, I heard District 10 is more of the nightlife district though, so if you're planning on a long stay that might be the better bet. Also Guatemala City was the only place in Guatemala where I didn't feel safe, so I'd definitely pay attention, it's not the kind of place you want to wander around black out drunk.



El Tunco, El Salvador
I only got to spend 10 days or so in El Salvador, but I wish I had spent the whole month there. The girls there are much more attractive than the ones in Guatemala, where every girl was carrying around an extra 30 pounds.

I hung out in El Tunco for most of my time in El Salvador, which is pretty famous surfing village in the La Libertad area. The town was pretty small, with about 10 hostels, a few hotels, and a few big bars and restaurants. During the week it was dead, but the weekend was pretty amazing, as tons of El Salvadorans came down there to party by the beach. Each night a different bar would have a lady's night, and the place would be packed with friendly, thin Savadorian girls. I was able to grab my flag here, and it really didn't take a lot of effort, just a lot of dancing and then splitting off from her group on the way to the after party across the street.

The downside about El Tunco was definitely its isolation, the beach is really only good for surfing, which I tried out for a few hours each day. It's apparently not the best beach to learn though, so if you're a newbie like me I would definitely recommend keeping your expectations low. If you are more experienced you can rent rooms for $150 a month on the edge of the town, pretty sweet for longstays. I might a few kids who were traveling the Latin American surfspots and most said El Tunco was one of their favorites.





That's pretty much everything, if anyone has any questions or anything feel free to ask. Overall the trip was a lot of fun and super cheap. It was my first time solo-traveling, which my friends said was crazy but I thought was amazing. For anyone who hasn't solo-traveled I definitely recommend it, it really helped to force me to become a much more outgoing person.
(This post was last modified: 08-15-2014, 06:02 AM by Hedonistic Traveler.)
08-15-2014, 06:02 AM
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Dash Offline
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RE: Guatemala/El Salvador Backpacking Datasheet
Nice post.

I went to Guatemala and El Salvador a couple of years ago.

Guatemala def has the most ugliest girls in CA. With that said, it is still possible to find decent - attractive girls in Guatemala City.

I gotta say you completely did this trip wrong.

You can not go to Guatemala without visiting the Tikal Ruins.

You also can not go to El Salvador without spending some time in San Salvador. You missed out on some really nice girls, nightlife and one of the most fun and raunchy strip clubs on the planet.



08-15-2014, 07:54 AM
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Hedonistic Traveler Offline
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RE: Guatemala/El Salvador Backpacking Datasheet
(08-15-2014, 07:54 AM)Dash Wrote: I gotta say you completely did this trip wrong.

You can not go to Guatemala without visiting the Tikal Ruins.

You also can not go to El Salvador without spending some time in San Salvador. You missed out on some really nice girls, nightlife and one of the most fun and raunchy strip clubs on the planet.

I did check out the Tikal Ruins. I did Semuc Champey and Rio Dulce too. None of those really offered any opportunities for gaming though, so I decided to leave it out.

I agree about San Salvador, I'm pissed I missed it. Really bad time management on my part. Hopefully I'll be able to check it out in the future, I'd love to eventually explore all of Central America. Hopefully I can improve my Spanish for that trip too, it's still pretty week.

I'm actually moving to Vietnam in 10 days to teach English for a year, so I'm not really sweating missing out in San Salvador. I'm sure I'll get a chance to miss up for any lost fun.
08-15-2014, 02:58 PM
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Dash Offline
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RE: Guatemala/El Salvador Backpacking Datasheet
Drop some Intel on how you got a job in Vietnam and the specifics of the actual job.
08-15-2014, 06:18 PM
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Hedonistic Traveler Offline
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RE: Guatemala/El Salvador Backpacking Datasheet
(08-15-2014, 06:18 PM)Dash Wrote: Drop some Intel on how you got a job in Vietnam and the specifics of the actual job.

Will do. I'm actually still in the process of figuring stuff out though. I'll probably post an in-depth datasheet once I've been in country for a month or so.
08-16-2014, 04:25 AM
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