Guatemala with TikalTravel Tips & FAQs

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Caret DownCaret Up RedActivities

Activities

Caret DownCaret Up RedAnnouncements of Planned Activity

Announcements of Planned Activity

The schedule of most activities is indicated in the Day by Day itinerary. Caravan does not post bulletins with this information in hotel lobbies, as Caravan feels that such bulletins are not in keeping with Caravan standards nor with your right to be treated as an individual guest at the hotels.

Caret DownCaret Up RedItinerary Routings and Timings

Itinerary Routings and Timings

Caravan itineraries are carefully constructed to show you as much as possible at a pace that you will find comfortable. Your Caravan Tour Director has been instructed to follow these departure times and routings exactly. The Tour Director may deviate from them only in cases of extremely bad weather, extraordinary traffic conditions or other exceptional circumstances. Please do not ask the Tour Director to change either departure times or routings.

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Options

Caravan does not recommend or endorse any options that are not already included in your tour price. Please be advised that any additional options you purchase, you do so at your own risk, and they may not be covered by travel insurance.

Caret DownCaret Up RedSightseeing Changes

Sightseeing Changes

Occasionally, holidays, etc., may require a change in the sequence of your sightseeing in a given city. Your Tour Director will advise you in advance if any change is necessary.

Caret DownCaret Up RedFishing and Golf

Fishing and Golf

You would have to arrange some independent extra days of travel, we do not visit areas where this can be undertaken easily. There is world class fishing off the Pacific coast of Guatemala and golf is available through private clubs only.

Caret DownCaret Up RedLake Atitlan Cruise

Lake Atitlan Cruise

The cruise is one hour each way. The large boats are covered. The water is usually calm en route to Santiago, although it can be a little choppy on the return.

Caret DownCaret Up RedCopan Ruins

Copan Ruins

The visit to the Copan ruins takes around two hours.

Caret DownCaret Up RedTikal

Tikal

We are at the site for around 6 1/2 hours, which includes lunch, free time and escorted walking. Those who do not wish to walk too much have an option to rest. We return to the hotel around 4:30 p.m., with time to walk the trail or use the pool before dinner. Those who wish to stay at Tikal may arrange for a private return transfer. The 1 1/2 hour drive will cost around $70.00.

Caret DownCaret Up RedThe drive from Petenchel to Antigua

The drive from Petenchel to Antigua

The drive time to the stelae at Quirigua is around 4 hours. We spend two hours here before resuming the drive. The five hour trip from Quirigua to Antigua is punctuated by ample rest stops. On arrival in Antigua, clients have time to stroll the streets of the historic city.

Caret DownCaret Up RedAirport, Arrival and Departure

Airport, Arrival and Departure

Caret DownCaret Up RedAirport Security Checks

Airport Security Checks

Security at airports these days can be time consuming. Please make sure to arrive at least 2 hours early to allow time for security checks.

Caret DownCaret Up RedArrival Transfers

Arrival Transfers

Caravan's vacation packages include arrival transfers from La Aurora Airport (GUA) in Guatemala City, Guatemala to the Barcelo Hotel in Guatemala City on the day the tour begins. After you clear customs your Caravan representative will greet and transfer you to your hotel. Please use your Caravan luggage tags to help our representatives identify you. Transfers are not provided for earlier pre-tour arrivals; expect to pay around $10 U.S. and allow 15 minutes travel by taxi. To enter Guatemala, you will need a U.S. passport valid for 6 additional months after the date of your arrival into Guatemala. Non U.S. citizens, please check passport and visa requirements. Note: It is recommended that children under 18 years old traveling internationally without both parents or legal guardians, carry a notarized letter of authorization signed by the missing parent(s) or guardian(s). A notarized birth certificate showing only one parent, a parent’s death certificate, or a court order of child custody may also be permissible. Failure to have proper documentation could result in denial of boarding by the airline, due to international child protection laws.

Caret DownCaret Up RedDeparture Transfers

Departure Transfers

Caravan provides departure transfers from the Barcelo Hotel in Guatemala City to La Aurora Airport (GUA) in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Transfers are provided throughout the day on the day the tour ends.

Caret DownCaret Up RedClothing, Luggage and Packing

Clothing, Luggage and Packing

Caret DownCaret Up RedClothing

Clothing

Caravan recommends bringing at least one sweater or light-weight jacket on all tours. Even in hot climates, the temperature may be cooler at nighttime. Caravan suggests clothing for warm and hot weather: 2 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of shorts, 3 changes of shirts, a rain poncho, a swimsuit, and a sweater or jacket for the air conditioned bus. Quick dry clothing (especially a pair of convertible pants that zip at the knee to convert into shorts) is always handy when travelling in warm climates. All hotels offer laundry services for a fee. Other must haves are a small flashlight, bug spray, kleenex and sanitary paper products, sun screen and a reliable travel alarm. When traveling in Latin America, you might also want to pack a washcloth. A few large “baggies’ are always useful for keeping clothes, books and camera free from damp in humid conditions. Some passengers take along something to do during the longer bus rides, especially those traveling with children.

Caret DownCaret Up RedComfortable Shoes

Comfortable Shoes

The best friend you can have while sightseeing is a comfortable, sturdy pair of walking shoes. Be sure to bring your favorites with you. Please exercise special care around steps, swimming pools and docks. Non-slip shoes are recommended. Flip flops increase the likelihood of slipping and are never recommended.

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Flashlight

We suggest you bring a good flashlight and keep it by your bedside at night.

Caret DownCaret Up RedLuggage

Luggage

As noted on the General Information page of the Caravan brochure, all handling of one piece of luggage is included in your tour cost. Due to space limitations and for your own convenience, it is suggested that you bring only one piece of luggage. Most airlines limit suitcases to 60 linear inches (width plus depth plus length) and 50 pounds in weight. A second piece may be stored under the coach, but an additional $30 per piece service charge will be collected by your Tour Director to cover the handling of this extra baggage. A day bag (i.e. a backpack, camera bag or tote bag) may be personally carried on board the motorcoach in addition to a purse or handbag. Each tour member is personally responsible for handling his or her individual carry-on bag at all times. Please do not ask your tour director to lift your carry-on bags for you. If a tour member cannot personally handle his or her carry-on bag without assistance, it will be checked and the additional luggage fee will be charged. For the comfort and safety of all tour members, wheeled bags are generally not acceptable as carry-on luggage, and must be checked and counted as additional luggage. Unlike an airplane, the motorcoach does not have sufficient room to store this type of luggage in the passenger area.

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Luggage Tags

Please attach your Caravan Luggage Tag to your main piece of luggage prior to leaving home for the airport. This will assist the Caravan Airport Representative in identifying you as a Caravan client as you exit Customs at the airport. Please be sure to place the Caravan Luggage Tag on only your main luggage, which will be stored in the baggage compartment of the motor coach. Please do not place the tag on your carryon luggage.

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Laundry

There are laundry services at all hotels, but no self-service laundromats.

Caret DownCaret Up RedCommunications

Communications

Caret DownCaret Up RedCell Phone Use

Cell Phone Use

Out of courtesy to your fellow tour members, please restrict cell phone conversations to emergency use only when you are on the motorcoach. Please also remember to turn off ringers; cell phone conversations and ringers are intrusive and can spoil other passengers' enjoyment of the tour. Outside the USA, using your USA-based cell phone can often result in very high roaming charges for voice and data. Some companies will allow you to add a temporary international data and/or voice plan to cover calls made from abroad. Please contact your service provider for information regarding cell phone reception areas, calling costs and surcharges. To reduce your data usage while out of the country you may also take the following precautions; power down your mobile phone entirely and change the settings on your phone so data is not automatically updated.

Caret DownCaret Up RedContacting You While on Tour

Contacting You While on Tour

Caravan does not recommend having mail sent to you on tour as delivery is unreliable and mail often fails to arrive. Caravan has sent you a hotel address list which includes the hotel telephone number for your friends and family. In addition, all hotels have internet access for a fee. In an emergency, if a caller cannot reach a Caravan guest at a hotel, please contact Caravan directly at 1-800-227-2826. If the office is closed, you will have an opportunity to speak with an emergency operator who can connect you with a Caravan staff member on duty. Caravan will do its best to assist in relaying an emergency message. We also ask callers to continue to try to reach their traveler independently.

Caret DownCaret Up RedMailing Cards or Letters

Mailing Cards or Letters

When sending letters or postcards, the most reliable method is to mail the item yourself. If you would like the hotel to assist you, we suggest that you purchase the postage from the front desk and affix it to the mail yourself. All hotels either have boxes where mail can be deposited or you can give your stamped mail to the front desk and they will include it in their outgoing mail.

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Phone Calls

Please note that the cost of your phone calls can jump considerably for calls placed from your hotel, whether dialed direct or placed through the hotel operator. We suggest that you always check with the hotel operator as to what the charges will be before you make your phone call. The most economical way to make a phone call is to use a pre-paid calling card. Calling cards are generally widely available in larger cities, your Tour Director or Hotel front desk staff will be happy to assist. If you have a calling card from the United States, please be sure to obtain the correct access code from the calling card company for the country you are visiting. Caravan does not recommend making collect calls or credit card calls as there are sometimes expensive hidden fees (exceeding US$20) that are charged in the first minute. Hotels frequently charge much less to send a fax or e-mail than to place a telephone call.

Caret DownCaret Up RedSurvey Forms

Survey Forms

We ask your kind cooperation in completing the survey forms which will be mailed to you at the end of the tour, as the information gleaned from these has been most helpful in maintaining the quality of our offerings to the traveling public. If you misplace your form, please write or call us and we will be happy to send a survey form to you. Write us at: Caravan Tours, Inc. 401 North Michigan Avenue Chicago, IL 60611 or call Caravan at: 1-800-CARAVAN 1-800-(227-2826)

Caret DownCaret Up RedTravel Companions—Addresses

Travel Companions—Addresses

Caravan distributes a list of passengers names. Due to respect for personal privacy, Caravan does not distribute a list of passenger addresses. Caravan has included a name and address section in this Travel Planner so that you may record the names of the new friends that you make among your travel companions.

Caret DownCaret Up RedCalling Home

Calling Home

There are public phones in Guatemala City, Panajachel and Antigua. We recommend you purchase a local calling card. International calling cards purchased in the U.S. often do not work.

Caret DownCaret Up RedChecking Email

Checking Email

There are internet cafes in all overnight towns- however, connections are not always reliable.

Caret DownCaret Up RedFood and Beverages

Food and Beverages

Caret DownCaret Up RedMeals

Meals

Meals included in the land price are indicated at the beginning of each day by B (Breakfast), L (Lunch), D (Dinner).

Caret DownCaret Up RedSpecial Diets

Special Diets

While Caravan will make every effort to communicate specific dietary requests to the hotels and restaurants on tour, we cannot guarantee these requests will be honored. Most of the meals provided in Latin America are buffet style, which we have found allows for maximum flexibility for our tour members. Your Caravan Tour Director will be happy to talk with the various kitchens to determine how (and with what ingredients) dishes have been cooked, but please keep in mind that variety may be limited, especially in remote areas, including for vegetarian requests. For tour members concerned about cross-contamination for vegetarian, Kosher or gluten free diets or for passengers with food allergies or sensitivities, Caravan cannot guarantee food will be prepared free from certain ingredients (i.e. nuts, animal fats, wheat, dairy etc.). For most destinations, meals typical to the region will be served. Included meals are usually local or continental and are never Indian or other specialty Asian cuisine. In certain countries and regions it may be difficult to find Indian or vegetarian meals.

Caret DownCaret Up RedFood in Guatemala

Food in Guatemala

Food is a combination of traditional mild Guatemalan cuisine and European-style cusines. Meals are offered on a set menu and we regret no special diets can be accommodated. Dining on your own can increase health risks.

Caret DownCaret Up RedGeneral Travel

General Travel

Caret DownCaret Up RedWelcome to your Caravan Adventure!

Welcome to your Caravan Adventure!

We hope you find this information useful in planning your adventure. It can be helpful to be prepared in advance for some differences in the travel experience outside of the United States. You may find, especially in smaller communities, that plumbing, heating, ventilation, utility and telecommunication infrastructures are not as reliable as we have come to expect back home. This can mean hot water is not always available or that air conditioning may not work as efficiently as we would like. Our vendors are continually working to upgrade facilities but they themselves are often limited by local conservation initiatives and the existing public infrastructure. You may also see a difference in attitudes toward maintenance of public and private spaces. Please be alert to your surroundings. You may find that sidewalk potholes are not filled in or roped off, or that slippery surfaces have no warnings posted. Beaches and hotel pools are rarely patrolled by lifeguards, so please exercise caution and personally supervise your children. Differences in climate and land use often translate to different staple foods and flavors. Even familiar foods may taste different as a result of varied farming and grazing practices. Please be cautious around any animals and birds, domestic or exotic. They have become accustomed to human company but may still bite or scratch if approached. It is also not unusual to have insects or lizards visit your room, especially in park or beach areas. If you have any concerns, please let us know. We want your vacation to be a memorable adventure in the best possible way!

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Children on Tour

Children age 5 and over are welcome on tour when accompanied by an adult. Usually, children travel during the school vacation months of June, July and August, and also during spring and winter school breaks.

Caret DownCaret Up RedFor Your Security

For Your Security

A practical suggestion before you leave home: make a list of all your credit cards, passport and airline ticket numbers. Make two photocopies: take one with you and carry it separate from your luggage for your reference in case these items should get lost or stolen while traveling. Leave the second copy with a family member or friend at home—in case of emergency or if you should lose both the copy and the items noted.

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Lost and Left Behind Items

Before leaving any hotel or motorcoach, please check that you have not left any personal belongings behind. Hotels and motor coach companies have a very high lost & found volume and items are often discarded quite quickly. If located, international customs and shipping charges often exceed $100 for even a small item. If your item is found, please allow several days before the item is prepared for shipping. Lost cash is not covered by most insurance plans and many insurance plans cap coverage for expensive items such as jewelry and electronics. Most travel insurance plans offer secondary coverage, directing travelers first to claim on homeowners or renters insurance policies.

Caret DownCaret Up RedNo Smoking

No Smoking

Smoking is not allowed while on motorcoaches. On days where motorcoach travel is involved, frequent stops are made affording time for smoking outside of the motorcoaches. Please note that any damage done to property must be paid for before departure from the hotel. This includes a cleaning fee for smoking in a no smoking room. Such charges can amount to several hundred dollars as hotels cannot offer the room for several days after smoke exposure. Caravan does not cover such charges. Damage discovered after departure will be charged by the hotel and their collection services.

Caret DownCaret Up RedRecording Devices

Recording Devices

Should you plan to use a tape recorder, video recorder, camcorder, cell phone or other recording device while on tour, please be sure to ask the permission of any guides or your Tour Director before recording. You may find that some guides object to having their comments recorded, or they may be guiding you through a place which forbids recorders to be used. So, please, always ask first.

Caret DownCaret Up RedAdvice on Purchasing Timeshares and Real Estate

Advice on Purchasing Timeshares and Real Estate

We strongly caution against purchasing real estate or timeshares during your vacation with us. Instead, we suggest you use the experience for the purposes of orientation and information gathering. If you are interested in such a purchase, we suggest you return for at least one more visit and seek the guidance of a lawyer.

Caret DownCaret Up RedTipping Suggestions

Tipping Suggestions

Tips to hotel porters, restaurant waiters for included meals and local guides are included in the tour price. Tips to the Tour Director, driver and hotel maids are not included. We do not include these tips in the price of the tour as we realize, in an unsupervised work environment, tips provide a strong incentive for exceptional service. Many tour members have requested guidelines, so in response to their requests, we offer the following suggestions: Most tour members compute these tips by allowing a certain amount per day based on the service they have received. If you feel that service has been superior, you may wish to leave an appropriately more generous tip. US $5 to US $8 per traveler per day for the Tour Director US $3 to US $5 per traveler per day for the Driver These tips should be handed directly to the Tour Director and Driver on an individual basis. As tips are a personal matter, we request that no group collections be made. Personal checks are difficult for Tour Directors and Drivers to deposit - cash is best! Tips to water craft personnel, local guides, waiters, porters and bellmen are also included in the tour price. Tips to airport porters on flights not arranged by Caravan are at your own discretion.

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Water

The best way to enjoy your flight and your vacation is to drink lots of water! At sea level, the human body loses about a quart of water a day through air expired from one’s lungs and through the skin. At flight levels and higher desert and mountain elevations, this loss can be up to 100% greater. This water has to be replaced. Therefore, to avoid dehydration and its symptoms, do as experienced flight crews and travelers do: drink lots of plain bottled water. Simple, and effective.

Caret DownCaret Up RedTour Elevations

Tour Elevations

The highest elevation on the tour is at Chichicastenango, around 7,000 feet. For the hotels, the elevation in Guatemala City is 4,900 feet. The elevation in Antigua is 5,000 feet. The elevation in Tikal is 400 feet. The elevation in Copan is 2,100 feet. The elevation at Lake Atitlan is 5,100 feet.

Caret DownCaret Up RedElectrical Current

Electrical Current

110 volts 60Hz, which is identical to the U.S. voltage. No adaptors are needed for small U.S. appliances. However, a universal adaptor is needed for any other appliances designed to be used outside of Guatemala.

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Car Rentals

Driving conditions can be erratic and difficult for those not used to the region. We do not recommend self-drive visits.

Caret DownCaret Up RedRainy Season in Guatemala

Rainy Season in Guatemala

May though September, although it does not rain all day, neither does it rain every day.

Caret DownCaret Up RedNational Holidays in Guatemala

National Holidays in Guatemala

New Year's Day (January 1st), Easter (March/April Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday), Labor Day (May 1st), Army Day (June 30th), Virgin de La Asuncion (August 15th), Independence Day (September 15th), Revolution of 1944 (October 20th), All Saint's Day (November 1st), Christmas Day (December 25th) New Year's Eve (afternoon of December 31st).

Caret DownCaret Up RedHealth and Medical

Health and Medical

Caret DownCaret Up RedTravel Protection Plan

Travel Protection Plan

Purchasing travel insurance can save you tens of thousand of dollars should the unexpected happen. Please keep in mind that most medical travel policies, including Caravan’s Travel Protection Plan, offer secondary medical coverage. In other words, the insurance will reimburse you for costs not covered by your primary medical insurance policy. In most cases, this does mean you will have to pay the hospital or doctor directly for your medical treatment and submit your claim for reimbursement on your return. Coverage for injuries or illness on tour generally requires a doctor visit while on tour as well. If you elect not to purchase a travel insurance plan (either from Caravan or an independent policy), please verify your existing medical coverage as many policies (including Medicare) do not include coverage for treatment outside the USA.  If you need to cancel all or part of your reservation, please call Caravan (or your Travel Agent) as soon as possible at 800-227-2826 or 312-321-9800 outside the US & Canada. You must cancel any flight arrangements directly with your airline (or Travel Agent). Any additional travel arrangements must also be cancelled with the providers directly. Any claim under Caravan’s Travel Protection Plan for flight costs should be directed to the insurance company, RoamRight at 866-892-2382 or (outside the US & Canada) 201-537-9871. For more information please see: www.caravan.com/page/terms-of-travel A Description of Coverage which fully details the coverages, provisions, reductions, limitations, exclusions, and termination provisions is available at: www.roamright.com/plans/caravan

Caret DownCaret Up RedFitness to Travel

Fitness to Travel

Caravan can make no determination of your physical, mental or emotional fitness to travel nor guarantee your successful ability to manage a tour. If in doubt please consult your Doctor. While every tour is different in landscape and activities, all tours include some walking every day. All tours include travel by motorcoach, participants should expect to climb on and off the motorcoach several times a day. The average temperature, humidity level and altitude should also be taken into account when considering whether a Caravan Tour is right for you.

Caret DownCaret Up RedFitness to Travel - Able Bodied Companion

Fitness to Travel - Able Bodied Companion

If you need assistance with any personal care; including walking or wheelchair pushing, you must bring a companion to assist you. Caravan’s driver, tour directors and tour members cannot offer this assistance. Caravan’s tour directors must take care of a large group of other tour members and cannot offer any special supervision or monitoring of clients. Companions to travelers with cognitive difficulties should keep in mind that multi-day itineraries with rapidly changing environments can increase anxiety and distress. We recommend you review the itinerary with a doctor prior to travel.

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Medical Matters

Another “before you leave” reminder: If you regularly take medicine, be sure that you bring along an adequate supply to last the whole trip. Please keep a second supply of essential medication in your carry-on bag or in your purse as insurance if your baggage is misplaced or delayed. If you wear glasses, a second pair, or a prescription from your eye doctor, is recommended for emergencies. If you use needles or other sharp disposable instruments, please be sure to bring along a sharps disposal container. If you do not have one, please ask your tour director if your hotel can supply one. Please do exercise special care when disposing of these items. Smaller items such as blood lancets can easily be lost and can injure housekeeping staff. All travelers, especially those with blood sugar related conditions, may wish to take along a small supply of snacks. Very occasionally the tour might experience a delay, causing the next mealtime to be delayed. Please be sure to let your Tour Director know if you have any medical condition that may require special attention. The information you give your Tour Director will be treated confidentially. A mandatory Yellow Fever vaccination may be required if you have recently visited an affected country. Please call your airline or the consulate in question if in doubt. At the time of printing, the USA and Canada are not on any affected list. Caravan does not have any doctors on staff and cannot give medical advice, so please consult your doctor at your earliest opportunity if you have any concerns. An unexpected hospital stay or emergency evacuation can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Please verify your medical coverage before leaving home, because many health insurance policies (including Medicare) do not cover policy holders for treatment outside the USA. Non-USA residents may also find they have no medical coverage when touring in the USA.   Short term travel medical coverage policies can be purchased from a number of sources prior to departure, including Caravan. (See Caravan’s $99 Travel Protection Plan). Most forms of travel insurance offer secondary coverage, meaning you pay the provider directly and seek reimbursement on your return home. Some travel insurance plans have exclusions on pre-existing conditions. Some plans restrict cancellation coverage to specified medical conditions. And some charge more based on age or destination. Read your description of coverage carefully!

Caret DownCaret Up RedMedical Matters - Staying Healthy on Tour

Medical Matters - Staying Healthy on Tour

Please remember that not all travel illnesses are transmitted through food and water. There are various highly contagious strains of “stomach flu” that are easily transmitted by person-to-person contact. The viruses and bacteria can survive on a hard surface for several days and once an outbreak is underway, it is very difficult to extinguish. Health authorities are agreed that the best way to avoid getting sick is to pay close attention to hand washing. Frequent cleansing, beyond one’s usual regimen, can help minimize exposure to sickness that might otherwise spoil your tour. Please take along a good supply of moist towelettes and/or hand sanitizer for times when soap-and-water hand-washing facilities are not available. Some travelers have found products such as Immodium or Peaceful Mountain’s Stomach Rescue to be very helpful for stomach problems. Caravan makes every effort to minimize the possibility of tour members becoming sick during their tour, but we cannot offer any refunds to clients who become sick during a tour (except where provided by our Travel Protection Plan). We recommend that you bring a small first aid kit—medications may be hard to find when you need them most for headaches, stomach upsets, diarrhea, insect bites, motion sickness and sunburn. It’s wise to pack plenty of wet wipes and hand sanitize. Mosquitos are prevalent in the region and we recommend you bring a supply of mosquito repellent. Don’t forget a good supply of disposable plastic grocery bags, which are very handy for personal trash disposal and temporary storage of wet clothes or swim wear.

Caret DownCaret Up RedInsect Bites

Insect Bites

Mosquitoes and “no-see-ums” are sometimes present at dusk and in the evenings. While the majority of mosquito bites are mere annoyances, certain mosquitos can transmit illness. Lightweight long sleeve pants and shirts can help prevent bites, but the most effective defense against mosquito bites is mosquito repellant. There are a variety of effective repellants available for purchase. Traditional mosquito repellants use DEET as the effective ingredient, often in different concentrations. Other more “natural” repellants include Avon Skin So Soft oil or mixtures of essential oils like lemon grass, citronella or oregano. Oil based repellants are often available at health food stores or grocery stores, either as a spray or a wrist band. A pre trip regimen of Vitamin B-1 has also shown some effectiveness in reducing mosquito bites. Please consult with you doctor before beginning any vitamin program. Insect repellant can also prevent bites from no-see-ums. You may not be aware of the insects until the next day when small, red and itchy bites appear. Out of courtesy to your fellow passengers, please refrain from applying insect repellent until you have disembarked from the motorcoach.

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Travel Vaccines

At the time of writing, there are no vaccinations required to enter Costa Rica or Guatemala from the US or Canada. The governments of Guatemala and Costa Rica require proof of yellow fever vaccination only if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever. This does not include the US, but does include several South American countries and African countries. In some cases these vaccines must be administered at least 1-2 weeks before travel. Please call your airline or the consulate in question if in doubt. Caravan does not have any doctors on staff and cannot give medical advice, so please consult your doctor at your earliest opportunity if you have any concerns. The CDC recommends that all travelers stay up to date on all routine vaccinations and consult with your personal physician if you have any questions or specific health concerns. The CDC has extensive information on their web site: www.cdc.gov/travel or you may call them at 800-232-4636.

Caret DownCaret Up RedVaccinations

Vaccinations

No vaccinations are required to enter Guatemala. Caravan does not have any doctors on staff and cannot give medical advice, so please consult your doctor before deciding whether or not to receive a vaccination. You may also check the Center for Disease Control website at www.cdc.gov/travel for Guatemala travel advisories and disease updates. Please note that many Central American pharmacies sell the 500 mg. Vitamin B-1 pill as an anti-mosquito pill, and these pharmacies suggest that people take the pill daily starting two weeks before arrival in the tropical areas. Caravan does not endorse any products, but most Caravan staff take the Avon Expedition repellent to the tropical areas. Caravan staff also avoid eating bananas, because this smell attracts mosquitoes.

Caret DownCaret Up RedDrinking Water

Drinking Water

Visitors are advised not to drink water from the faucet. Bottled water is provided by Caravan and purified water is available at the restaurants and hotels. You are also advised not to use ice or ice products unless you are sure the products are made from purified water.

Caret DownCaret Up RedHotel Rooms

Hotel Rooms

Caret DownCaret Up RedArrival Hotels

Arrival Hotels

Hotel rooms sometimes may not be available for immediate occupancy upon arrival at the beginning of the tour. The usual check-in time is 4:00 pm, although rooms are often available earlier. If your room is not available upon arrival, you may wish to leave your luggage with the hotel’s bell captain until your room becomes available.

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Room Assignments

Room assignments are made at random by the hotel. If you have a special request, such as a preference for a king bed or two beds, please advise Caravan before the tour begins or inform your Tour Director at the beginning of the tour. Caravan is always happy to try to fulfill your special requests, although no guarantees can be made. Requests made within two weeks of your tour departure are much harder to fulfill. If possible, please make your requests at the time of booking. Room requests are made by the Caravan office and assigned randomly by the hotel. Requests for non-smoking rooms and king beds or two beds will be forwarded to the hotels and accommodated by the hotels when possible. If you are part of a group, we will do our best to place you in rooms near each other. Sometimes space limitations and other hotel considerations can mean groups may be separated. If you have any other requests or special group needs, please advise Caravan at the time of booking, or as early as possible. Please also advise your Tour Director. We do request that any special group activities (i.e. lectures or meetings) be conducted in private.

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Single Rooms

As shown on the General Information page of the Caravan brochure, a limited number of single rooms are available on all tours at the single room charge shown on individual itinerary pages. Single travellers should expect to have a “seat companion” on the motorcoach.

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Triple Rooms

Triple rooms usually offer two double beds. Cots and rollaways are not always available and local fire code regulations often limit the number of beds in a room.

Caret DownCaret Up RedAir Conditioning and Heat

Air Conditioning and Heat

Tikal Futura Guatemala City, Posada Real Copan, and Villa Maya Petenchel all have air conditioning. The Villa Colonial and the Villa Santa Catarina do not, but are located at a higher elevation where the climate is more temperate. None of the hotels have heating in the winter months.

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Money

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Currency

The currency in Guatemala is the Quetzal (named after the national bird of Guatemala, the Resplendent Quetzal). The current rate of exchange as of December 01, 2019, is $1 U.S. Dollar to approximately 7.5 Quetzales. The currency exchange rate fluctuates every day, usually within a range of 7-8 Quetzales. The exchange rate at the Guatemala airport is usually very low, passengers will find more favorable exchange rates at their hotel or through an ATM. U.S. Dollars are accepted in many stores and restaurants in Guatemala (though US coins are not accepted). However, small snack shops and street vendors prefer Quetzales. It is advisable to exchange about U.S. $20-$100 per person into local currency for “walking around money”. It is difficult to exchange traveler’s checks in Guatemala. It is, however, easy to obtain money from ATM machines (for a fee) in most towns, or to use credit cards in the stores. Please bring dollar bills that are in new condition, without any rips, stains or marks. Bills are not accepted if they have rips, stains, marks or in old condition.

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Hotel Incidental Charges

Many hotels require a credit card upon check in to secure incidentals, minibar or restaurant charges. If you make any telephone calls from your hotel room or incur any extra room charges (i.e. drinks or in-room movie charges), please be sure to pay the hotel for your incidental charges before you leave. Caravan will forward any unpaid hotel incidental invoices.

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Shopping

Caravan believes shopping can be a vacation highlight. Caravan does not shop-steer (bring the group to a shop in return for a payment). With Caravan you will have ample time to shop plus the freedom to choose. When mailing purchases, please be sure to insure the packages, and obtain clearly written receipts from the places of purchase. Caravan does not endorse or recommend any shops. Even if Caravan passengers may have repeatedly done business over the years with specific shops, those shops cannot represent themselves as being endorsed by Caravan.

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Money and ATMs in Guatemala

In hotels or banks in Chichicastenango or Panajachel. U.S. bills must be in good condition, even for money changing. Torn or stained bills will jot be accepted by banks, hotels or stores. There are ATM machines in Guatemala City, Chichicastenango, Panajachel, and Antigua, but ATMs can empty out on the weekend.

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U.S. dollars and credit cards in Guatemala

Most of the stores accept Visa and Mastercard both but some have to charge the 8 % service fee the credit card company charges the vendor. U.S. dollars are accepted in popular tourist locations, if the bills are in mint condition. Torn and damaged U.S. bills will not be accepted.

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Motorcoach

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Motorcoach Safety and Motorcoach Restroom

While Caravan coach drivers are renowned for their friendliness, for your safety and the safety of your fellow travelers, please refrain from conversing with your coach driver while he/she is driving, so that their full attention can be on the road ahead. The motorcoach restroom is provided for your comfort, and should always be unlocked and available, although it is recommended just for emergencies and necessity. We understand that everyone’s needs are different. For your safety, please try to avoid using the restroom while the motorcoach is moving unless necessary. The coach driver may need to make a sudden stop or navigate a curve without any warning. While the bus is moving, it can be hazardous to walk down the aisle of the bus or to use the bathroom. Please be extremely careful if you must do so. Please note that if you move about the motorcoach or use the restroom while the motorcoach is moving, you do so at your own risk. While the motorcoach is parked, restrooms outside of the motorcoach are recommended, if comfortably available.

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Seat Rotation

To ensure fair and equitable seating for all members of the tour, seating is usually rotated once or twice a day in a clockwise direction. Your Tour Director will advise you of their procedure. We regret we cannot fulfill any requests for a front seat for passengers, even when medically recommended. Please contact Caravan as soon as possible if you have any special needs, to discuss other options. Single travellers should expect to have a “seat companion” on the motorcoach (i.e. there will probably be another tour member seated next to you). Larger groups of travellers may be temporarily separated as the group rotates around the coach. We recommend that families or groups who want to stay together in the seat rotation either sit in front of or behind each other, and not across the aisle from each other. Please note that Caravan reserves the two seats on the motorcoach behind the driver for the tour director.

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Tour Commentary

Your tour director may add considerable commentary during your time on the motorcoach. If you prefer quiet time, you might want to pack a comfortable pair of ear plugs or headphones and a restful eye mask. Please be mindful of others when talking with your companions while the tour director is speaking. Even low volume conversations can make it hard for others to hear the commentary.

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Passport, Visa and Customs

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Proof of Citizenship

Guatemala requires a current U.S. passport valid for six months after your date of entry. Non-U.S. citizens ask your Travel Agent or call the local Guatemalan Consulate about necessary documents and visas. It is recommended that children under 18 years old traveling internationally without both parents or legal guardians, carry a notarized letter of authorization signed by the missing parent(s) or guardian(s). A notarized birth certificate showing only one parent, a parent’s death certificate, or a court order of child custody may also be permissible. Failure to have proper documentation could result in denial of boarding by the airline, due to international child protection laws.

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Travel Tips for All Tours

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Size of Tour Group

Group sizes will vary depending on the reserved rooms at the hotels and the capacity of the boats and motorcoaches used. Usually, group sizes range from 30 to 44 passengers.

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Fully Guided Tours Since 1952

Caravan has been offering fully guided tours worldwide under the same family ownership and management since 1952. Caravan understands and truly cares about your great expectations.

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Activity Participation

You may choose to skip an activity and relax at your hotel or do some independent exploring instead. If you do not wish to participate in an activity, simply advise your Tour Director. In most cases, we cannot make refunds for missed activities.

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Many Tours Sell Out Each Year

The farther in advance that you book, the more likely it is that your preferred tour will be open. Late bookings are welcome if the space is still available.

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Caravan.com Has The Most Up-To-Date Information

Caravan.com is constantly updated and is likely to have more complete and current information about new tours, hotel descriptions, weather, transfers, packing and other useful information. While we strive for perfection, errors are inevitable, both in print and on the web site. If you have any questions or wish to confirm any information, please contact us.

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Family Trips

Families are always welcome on any of our tours, but we do not have any programs specifically for or limited to families. Families can make specific requests for connecting, adjacent, triple or quad rooms, when available. Children should be at least 5 years old.

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Forms of Payments

Caravan accepts payment (in U.S. funds only) via MasterCard, Visa, Discover or by check.

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