I have airline reservations to Guatemala in November for two weeks. I found your trip report very helpful. If you have a more detailed trip report somewhere I would like to read it. I've read 5-6 travel guides (pretty much ALL they had to say about Peten, Guat Cty, Coban, and Rio Dulce area), have been to many websites, and have read various trip reports (most somewhat dated). After all this study for two months, knowing all the warnings for lone female travelers, but hearing some who ignored them and had a good time, I welcome comments from those who have been to Guat recently--particularly those whose interests are similar to mine. My primary interest is birding, but of course I will enjoy the scenery, the fellowship, and the new experiences along the way. Here are some quandaries:
1. Whether to fly or bus to Tikal from Guat City (I arrive at the Guat City airport about 2pm).
2. Whether to stay overnight in Guat City or leave asap.
3. Whether to bus to Tikal (if I bus) via Coban, with a stop at Biotopo Quetzal, or via Rio Dulce, with a side trip to Livingston and back, by lancha. In other words, is Tikal birding worth two whole weeks, or should I not miss those other places?
4. Whether to stay in El Ramate with daily excursions to Tikal, or stay in Tikal itself.
5. The following quandary is a big one for me as I am not a seasoned traveler. I've made cross-country birding trips in my van (complete with all my comforts), but never by air. I have a lightweight birding chair with a shoulder strap which has been invaluable to me since birding sometimes requires a lot of patient waiting and standing (which can be uncomfortable as one passes 60 years of age). With all the walking necessary at Tikal, it seems a good idea to take the portable chair, since I could stay out (with a packed lunch) most of the day, sitting whenever and wherever I need. On the other hand, it would be an extra weight anywhere else I would go. It would have to be packed into a suitcase too large to carry around on my back. But then, of course, I could pack a few other luxuries like my favorite pillow and some snacks from home for birding excursions. It would be no harder to wheel along than a smaller case, but would make me stand out more as a tourist since it would be always with me. But then I would have less weight to carry on my back (or waist) not only for the flight day but daily excursions as well. But then it might be harder to deal with in lanchas or a chicken bus. Confusion...
Thanks to any of you who respond. Or maybe I haven't posted this in the right way to get responses. I'm also new at this internet/forum business.