"We spent the next week exploring the Quiche and Verapaz regions of Guatemala. We had not been to Verapaz before. this is the region around Coban. We drove the "back way" in through Santa Cruz de Quiche, Sacapulas and San Cristobal Verapaz. This is an unpaved road through some of the most spectacular scenary we have seen in Central America. It is a rough road with steep drop offs, but it is being paved and by next year will be a terrific route. Even now it is quite passable."
Around Coban we visited Semuc Champey and the Languin and Candelaria caves. The country side and activities rival Costa Rica for natural beauty. Semuc Champey, especially, is worth visiting. It is a limestone bridge over the Cahabon river. The river rushes furiously underneath while the top of the "bridge" contains several tranquil turquoise, green and blue pools filled with fresh spring water for swimming. The road in is very narrow and rough. We were there during Easter week and had trouble squeezing through some of the traffic. There is a camping place next to the Languin caves .
We left Verapaz and visited Flores and the Survivor Guatemala site (Yaxha) before going through Belize to meet friends in Chetumal.. The ruins at Yaxha are worth a visit. They are being restored and will rival Tikal one of these days. Also, there is a very nice camping spot on a big lake. We enjoyed our swim even though the sign warned of Crocodiles. The locals assured us it was safe!"
Some friends made this trip Easter Week in their vehicle..in a few years Yaxha Ruins when totally excavated will rival Tikal for sure..if going by public transportation allow yourself a bit of time, start in Quiche, north of Chichicastenanago, frequent buses from there and direct from Guatemala City.
If planning to travel to Central America, be advised since several days ago, the rainy season is on us like a vengance, so don't forget umbrella and rain gear..usually sunny in the mornings through early afternoon. Rains late in the afternoon or at night....check the weather forecasts on the Internet for at least a week before your departure..you simply cannot blame anyone or anything for bad weather! The rainy season lasts through October on the Pacific side..rains lasting a full day and night or more are rare, and are called "temporals", either large storms from the Pacific or Atlantic, or Hurricanes, which usually occur late in the season. There is also "canicula" usually around July, a 1-2 week period with little or no rain at all.
Thank you for the information concerning the weather, i had just posted a thread asking about rainfall patterns and the occurence of hurricanes on the Pacific side. If at all possible may i ask what city you live in, better yet what cities or villages you would recommend to a first time traveller to Guatemala? I was planning on the first two weeks of october; good time or bad concerning rainfall versus sunny days? thank you in advance,
October is the rainy season, normally sunny most of the day, raining early evenings or at night, unless there is a "temporal" or storm it rarely rains all day and night. Check the weather reports on the Internet for a week up to your departure. Bring an umbrella. Start with basing in Antigua, a good place to find travel companions/information is The Rainbow Room, 7a Ave. Sur No. 8, A Travel agency-cibercafe-bookstore and bar - restaurant open till past midnight. Easy trip by bus to Lake Atitlan, several villages around the lake populated with natives and travellers, from Lake Atitlan you can go to ChiChiCastenanago Market and from there bus up to Quiche, Nebaj (Ixil Triangle)and beyond or go to Xela Quetzaltenango and travel around the Highlands from there. You'll find out more after you arrive and get your bearings. Also Coban, Alta Verapaz, Rio Dulce and Livingston on the Caribbean side and Tikal (Flores Peten) to the north of Rio Dulce.