I cannot sing Eduardo's praises highly enough...
May 20 - May 27, 2022
I cannot sing Eduardo's praises highly enough! He was so responsive, right from the initial email conversation. He listened to my values and budgetary concerns in planning the perfect itinerary and the selection of hotels. He was so patient and responsive with all my questions-- most particularly during the trip. I was traveling alone and without cell coverage-- he was my only safety net. We would communicate through WhatsApp when I had WiFi at a hotel. I felt like I was always on his radar screen. I had so enjoyed our conversations in planning the trip, that when I got to Antigua, I asked if I could meet him. We ended up having dinner together, and now I have a new friend! The drivers he arranged for me, Danilo and Fernando were kind and delightful. And I especially enjoyed my guide Luis Galindo, with whom I spent 4 days-- biking, hiking, kayaking. For me the richness of a travel experience, particularly when it comes to guides, is the relationship, my experience with the guide-- not the facts. I can get facts from a book, and likely won't remember them anyway. But the willingness to talk and be connected-- to laugh, to hear about one another's life is everything. And that's what I will remember. I believe I have made a new friend in Luis as well. Most impressive to me about Eduardo-- my last night was a late night stay at an airport hotel, having just flown into Guatemala City from Flores/Tikal, and leaving for home early the next morning. The hotel isn't 5 minutes from the airport, and they have a shuttle. Still, he insisted on driving all the way from Antigua, late at night, taking time away from his family to pick me up at the airport and taking those five minutes to drive me to the hotel. "I just like to make sure my clients are OK and had a good time." I have never planned a trip so quickly, almost impulsively. I had never heard of KimKim-- didn't understand how it worked exactly, but it popped up on my initial google search about Guatemala. Eduardo went full-steam ahead with the planning, and I sent my money. I would catch myself thinking-- "You don'y know ANYTHING about this operation! If it's even legit or is it a scam?" But I trusted Eduardo. I would absolutely use KimKim again as well. For anyone planning a trip to Guatemala, you cannot go wrong with Eduardo. I still can't quite believe how dense and rich a weeklong trip could be.
This hotel is modest, sweet, small, and charming, with an enchanting garden-- and it could not have a better location, just 50 yards away from the Central Park/Plaza Mayor. I am a daily swimmer, and though while small, I appreciated the pool for an afternoon dip. It is a bit tattered around the edges, but in a way, that only adds to its authenticity and charm. It is not a sleek, spa-like experience. On the downside, it is next door to a bar, that on Saturday night was a little loud-- but not terrible. The other odd thing was that none of the windows in my room opened. As it could be quite humid in Antigua, the room felt a little stuffy. But with the ceiling fan on, and leaving my door open for a bit-- it was fine. It was perfect for me.
Stay there!!! I cried when I climbed the stairs and was led to my room and saw that view for the first time. The food was delicious. The service, very solicitous. This is an enchanted spot I will never forget. It is a significant climb of irregular stairs to reach the hotel from the lake's edge, and then more steps to get to one's room. So older, movement impaired or disabled folks may find it too challenging.
It is a luscious and thrilling spot. Beautifully appointed. Delicious food.
Perfectly adequate for what it is-- a businessy, airport hotel.
It was a push for me physically. (But I'm a fit 67-year-old.) Those big balloon tires are a good choice for riding over all those cobblestones! Still a bumpy ride in places. A couple challenging hills. But so lovely to see villages and squares there I would never likely visit. Made me want to linger in each one.
The hike was not nearly as challenging as I had imagined. A lovely day getting acquainted with Luis and admiring constantly shifting vistas.
Such dramatically different atmospheres in villages not a half mile apart. I loved Santiago Atitlan, and San Juan de Laguna was utterly charming offering a magnificent view, if willing to climb a steep hill. So much art everywhere! San Pedro was interesting enough, but if time were tight, I would say one could skip it.
This was one of the trip highlights for me!
A whole other world and experience! Only because someone I met at the gate at LAX waiting for the same flight to Guatemala suggested it-- I asked Eduardo about a sunrise tour of Tikal. He then happily arranged it. It made ALL the difference! I only saw perhaps 5 other tourists the whole morning, and it was much cooler than later in the day. It was like having the acropolis or the Sistine Chapel to oneself.