Day 1 (March 4, 2014) Arrival


  This is going to be a long journey, starting when boarding into our flight leaving Barcelona at 9:10 AM and, after a short change of plane in Madrid, will land in Guatemala City’s airport around 4:30 PM local time.

Route for day 1

   Once in the airport we’ll take the hired car and drive to Hotel Palacio de Doņa Leonor in Antigua’s city center in a 45 minutes ride.

   The rest of this day until we’ll need to go to sleep we will walk by this city and maybe take some dinner.


   We arrive so early to Barcelona’s airport that we’re put in a flight to Madrid previous to the one we’ve got assigned. That gives us 20 more minutes for the link which, now we’re explained we must change to another terminal there, it seemed too short.

   Once in Madrid we must ask to find the way to T4S – “S” is for “Satellite” -, as we cannot find any sign about it. Actually, we must follow signs pointing to gates R, S and U which, after a short ride in an underground train, are taking us to the terminal where all Iberia flights to American continent are leaving from.

   It is a long flight: 11 hours, which looks even longer with no entertainment unit. They simply put two and a half movies (the half on is “Captain Phillips” which, for some strange reason, are put when leaving less than one hour for landing). On this time we’re served one dinner, one sandwich and one breakfast, so we arrive hungry.

Iberia's plane Leaving Guatemala City

   Immigration and customs tasks are fast here and we exchange money at the first office we can see, before picking our baggage up. They’re constantly giving the message it is difficult exchanging money outside the airport and every one of us are told there is an offer with the best exchange rate if we change more of our money. I do not trust them, as I’m told it is from 300 euros and the guy besides me is told it is from 500. The rate is not good: 1200 quetzals by 150 euros.

   This airport is small and we can easily find Tabarini office in the hall, which is as large as my living room. Somehow, they cannot charge the deposit to my card and, after one hour trying things with it, we’ve got no car at all.

   The problem seems huge, but it is finally for good: just a stand besides Tabarini is offering transfers to Antigua and Panajachel. We end taking a van to Antigua by 80 quetzals per personBathroom in Hotel Palacio de Doņa Leonor (around 7 euros). We finally pay 100 quetzals more for leaving now and not waiting for more passengers, as the trip is only worthy for them if there are three or more persons.

   In the way we solve the rest of transfers we need for the following days in Guatemala and when we arrive to Antigua, already dark, we stop at their offices to pay and get the voucher for the transfers: Antigua-Panajachel, Panajachel-Antigua and Antigua-Guatemala City. We pay 80$ in total.

Bedroom of Hotel Palacio de Doņa Leonor 

   The hotel is beautiful, the city is beautiful as well and the people are so kind. We don’t need more than a short walk through the park just in front of the hotel and the cathedral, and where we’ve been able to check in an ATM machine our card is ok.

Square with cathedral in Antigua Square with cathedral in Antigua

   We reward ourselves with a great dinner at hotel with meat and shrimps. The end of this day is just 10 meters away, in our room. It’s 10 PM when we’re finishing this very long journey.

Courtyard in Hotel Palacio de Doņa LeonorDinning at hotel