Our trip wouldnt have been the same without kimkim!! - Feb 17 - Feb 23, 2022

Traveler: Silvia W. - Local specialist: Eduardo Celada

We found out about Kimkim originally trying to plan a Morocco trip back in 2020 but that fell through so thought we'd give them a try in Guatemala. Of course it is different guides in each country for Kimkim, but sooo glad we did as Eduardo made our trip in Guatemala! He was so easy to work with, helped that he spoke English (my Spanish is rustier than I thought ha) , very accommodating for our changing plans, and super knowledgeable about the area.

He adjusted our itinerary to what we... read more

We found out about Kimkim originally trying to plan a Morocco trip back in 2020 but that fell through so thought we'd give them a try in Guatemala. Of course it is different guides in each country for Kimkim, but sooo glad we did as Eduardo made our trip in Guatemala! He was so easy to work with, helped that he spoke English (my Spanish is rustier than I thought ha) , very accommodating for our changing plans, and super knowledgeable about the area.

He adjusted our itinerary to what we were interested in and also was able to recommend activities that we should consider on our short 5 day stay in Guatemala. Didnt make it easy for him with the back and forth and he was very understanding, patient and kind!

We went to Lake Atitlan for few days , one more day there made it for us since we cancelled the overnight Acatenango volcano hike (due to a massive earthquake a few days prior that made us unsure to go), did a boat tour to see villages in the area with a coffee co-op tour and a women's textile tour, Chichicastenango and for the 3 of us ,Iximche Mayan Ruins tour, and a last minute zip lining trip! The clutch part of changing our itinerary was that it allowed some extra costs to go to COVID tests - Eduardo scheduled a COVID test tech to come to our accommodations , and send our results that same day so we didnt have to worry about where to go and take it before our flight.. sooo helpful and saved us headaches! And also scheduling shuttles to get us to the airport on time the next day.

All in all, our favorite was Pablo the guide with Old Town Outfitters as our guide for Lake Atitlan as he was humble, knowledgeable, funny and warm, and never pressured us to do anything . He was truly genuine in trying to educate us about the Guatemalan / Mayan culture and took joy when we found joy in learning. He was amazing! It made the part of the trip with him, and all the tours that much more enjoyable. Stay at the Hotel San Buenaventura de Atitlán in Panajachel - the property there is just perfect - with beach waterfront and a pool, breakfast included and tap water that was drinkable! (GAMECHANGER). Lake Atitlan is wonderful! Make sure you take a dip in it - and float to soak in the magic of being surrounded by all the volcanos, a blue sky, and birds chirping all around you! Alex our guide for Iximche Mayan Ruins was also our favorite - he shared the same enthusiasm as Pablo for educating us on his Mayan culture to us and we wish he had more time with him. Ask to taste the corn "moonshine"!

Also cant forget our driver Antonio - who was personable, excited to educate us more about Guatemala and converse with us and our choppy Spanish. He was great as well.

Can't highly recommend Eduardo and Kimkim enough. It would be the easiest and best way to get around the country, seeing everything you want to see and more :)

Hotel Review

San Buenaventura Hotel

Panajachel, Sololá

Overall Rating
Hotel Review

this was my favorite hotel stay! There are two types of rooms - when you go into this entrance -the left hand side is the 1 room - 2 twin size bed standard stay with access to this back patio with a table/chairs and access to the lush property. the right hand side door is the suite - that has the 1 room 2 twin size and an upstairs which has two sofa that turn into beds if need, a kitchenette and microwave and mini fridge. There is also an outdoor patio there. I stayed in both and they were both lovely. The best part is that the faucet water is drinkable and pretty good tasting ( I drink filtered water at home in San Francisco and it is pretty close!) Crowd: not crowded, and it seemed like it was more of a local staycation spot which I loved! quiet, not rowdy or anything although we were in between two hotels that seemed crazy on the weekends - bass and loud late music Decor: simple yet guatemalan colors and textiles were represented. Beds: were a bit more firm for my taste but I dont sleep in tempurpedics, I am convinced the Guatemalan people need these firm beds! Cleanliness: pretty clean, in the room and property all throughout Friendly Staff: super friendly, front staff speaks english and also staff for breakfast Onsite Ambiance: beautiful and amazing! It is like a mini lush forest/garden! and a onsite beach front, with a pool (more like a wading pool) but so beautiful and relaxing! This was one of the highlights for me - swimming in the lake and being surrounded by all the volcanos and blue sky. Notes: it is pretty close to town and you can have the front desk call you tuk tuks to get you there. mostly for food but we didnt do much else as we did a village boat tour.

Tips for future travelers

all the beds are a bit firm - although the sofa beds upstairs in the suite is more soft if that is a concern for you!

Location

secluded but close to town
Cleanliness & Comfort

Staff

all friendly and helpful
Authenticity & Character

simple decor but still vibrant with the Guatemalan colors
Activity Reviews

Lake Atitlan - Village Tour

Guatemala

Overall Rating
Activity Review

we loved having Pablo as our guide! the boat crew were amazing as well. The boat ride to each village was somewhere between pleasant to splish splash, and slight nausea as it was windy when we went at end of February (which apparently is the windiest time of the year). Nonetheless, the crew was great and especially Pablo who is super knowledgeable, spoke English, and has this calm and friendly demeanor!

Transport

Antonio was super friendly and funny! and drove carefully especially on the windy roads, which we appreciated
Guides, drivers and staff

Quality of Experience

Coffee tour San Juan la Laguna "La Voz que clama en el desierto"

Guatemala

Overall Rating
Activity Review

Pablo was our guide who took us to see Lucas who was one of the owners of La Voz. This was one of our favorite tours on the village tour trip! Lucas is amazing- and we were able to tour the entire property from taste testing (soo good!) to procuring the beans, to roasting to packaging . We loved how we were able to see the entire process and see how dedicated and enthusiastic they were in showing us around. You can really tell they care and love what they do. We each bought at least a bag of medium roast beans home - some for souvenirs. Make sure to ask for their freshest bag! The only thing I wished was getting that banana cake - it looked good to pair with the coffee haha

Transport

Guides, drivers and staff

their enthusiasm, and care
Quality of Experience

seeing the entire process, walk and see and smell everything!

Textile-Weaving Tour & water activity at Cristalinas

Guatemala

Overall Rating
Activity Review

Another one of our favorite tours! Although we didnt sense the same enthusiasm in these women - we probably caught them doing the 238947 tour of the day but we loved it nonetheless, so understandable. I was pulled in on understanding more of the Guatemalan and Mayan culture in women supporting their lives by contributing in making textiles! the colors, the process , and the traditional of passing it down from mother/grandmother/female mentor down to the next generation - was all fascinating. Especially the part where they use all natural ingredients to dye the cotton, and some with changing hues of color depending on when you pick the plant whether close to full moon or not. Amazing! We were able to test out how to spin the cotton into yarn, and crushing some herbs for dye, and also see them dye the yarn. At the end of the tour, we were able to see everything that they made and even purchase some. I personally purchased this bright multicolored shirt, that had hand woven mayan calendar in the front and i love it! Even after we went into other shops that sold similar items after this tour, this shop still had the highest quality. Pablo shared this with us after we asked about Chichicastenango textiles there - and I have to agree! And this properly supports the co-op they started here and they invest it back into the people and the community, so keep this in mind! :) Support the women here and their lovely hand made items. Oh and they take CC - make sure to use one that doesnt have foreign transaction fees :)

Food

Transport

Guides, drivers and staff

Quality of Experience

Eduardo Celada profile photo
Eduardo Celada, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thank you very much Silvia..
We really appreciate this config from you and I am pretty sure this will help others to take decisions to visit Guatemala.

Hope to see you again in our land.
Saludos de Guatemala,
Eduardo