Guatemala-Camping and Hotels
This article has information on hotels, parking, and camping in Guatemala. Please contribute your experiences to help out your fellow roadtrippers!
The 2nd largest city in Guatemala often called "Xela" pronounced "shay-la" by the locals. Xela has dozens of hotels, guesthouses and a huge selection of Total Immersion Spanish schools. Tent Camping spots pretty much do not exist but if you are in an RV you might check out Hotel Del Campo outside of town on the road to Cantel. Also some of the gas stations might let you park for free overnight. City web resources: Xela Pages Stories about Driving to Guatemala Driving to Guatemala
The Tourist Office in Antigua offers free secure parking at the far south end of Calle 6 near the bus terminal. This is a great option in a town where most hotels that offer parking are expensive.
The police/ tourist office offers free secure parking. It is at the far south end of Calle 6. (Near the bus terminal). The officers at the lot were very friendly when we asked about it. I'll post if we have any problems for the night we are parking here, otherwise, it's a good find in a town that is otherwise muy caro!
Casa Santa Lucia #2 has very simple, clean rooms with hot water for $25/night. It is on the busy street of Calz de Santa Lucia, between 2a Calle Poniente and Calle de la Recoleccion, so the rooms can be quite loud if they're on the street side. Parking in their gated compound is an extra $5/night.
Hotel Luna Llena in Panajachel is newly constructed, has bright clean rooms with hot water, and parking in their fenced hotel area for $25/night. It is a little tricky to find as it is on an alley behind the restaurants on Calle del Lago on the Playa Publica, so ask at any of the restaurants and they can direct you to the hotel.
Hotel Tzanjuyu Bay in Panajachel. On the right as you enter the town. We didn't stay but were quoted Q125 per night (seemed negotiable). You park right on the waterfront overlooking the lake and volcanos. We didn't check the bathrooms but they would have to be really horrible to be worse than Hotel Vision Azul.
Hotel Vision Azule in Panajachel offers vehicle parking and camping on a grassed area right on the lake. There are electrical outlets and some small palapas and tables. There are bathrooms under the pool house that were pretty bad during our visit but we have been told they have since cleaned them up a bit. Cost in April 2010 was Q100/night. Coming into Panajachel from Solola take a right just before dropping into town.
Update: Hotel Vision Azul is still Q100 per night in Feb 2014. The bathrooms are no better. Open showers with no doors or curtains, cold water (don't put your arms up as the shower will eletrocute you... this happened to us) and a LOT of mosquitos in the toilets. No toilet paper is provided so bring your own. Other then the view you really won't know what you are paying for.
Posada El Arco is a great guesthouse, and they have a couple of spots to park your car in their gated lot. Call ahead for reservations - they book up before the Thursday and Sunday markets. 7756-1255, 4a Calle 4-36.
Hotel La Paz is super cheap and has secure, gated parking. It's about $10, and you get what you pay for - clean rooms, but cold water and bare walls. 7952-1358, 6a Av 2-19, Zona 1.
Parque Nacional Victoria- literally in the city of Coban, has excellent places to camp, especially if you are in a tent. Showers, bathrooms, and nice staff. Cost us Q90 for three people which included a park entry fee. More info and photos here.
Lanquin (semuc champey)
Updated Feb 2014: A good 2 hours from Coban. The road to Lanquin is paved and in excellent condition except for the last 10 kilometers (unpaved but fine when dry, as it is hard-packed dirt, but would be difficult in rain). Semuc Champey is stunning and worth the visit. There are camping options at Semuc Champey at a few hotels, but the road is narrow and rougher then the road to Lanquin - not recommended eexcept for solid 4X4 vehicles. RV's and non-4X4 vehicles risk damage if they attempt that road, and there are no (reliable) mechanics nearby.
Also, there are no ATM's in Lanquin. Bring sufficient cash from Coban.
Zephyr Lodge is a great location up on the hill in Lanquin. Great views and a pretty cheap restaurant. Camping is Q30 per person. If you can plan in advance, just reserve a cabana. They are Q50 a person and well worth it. Parking is a little difficult, so it's not ideal if you are sleeping in your car, unless you just really need a hot shower. Some good places to pitch small tents, but hard to cook because there is no kitchen or common area. Free wifi, nice bathrooms and hot showers. A few photos on our site here.
El Retiro is just down the road from Zephir Lodge. Keep driving east through town and it is on the left (less than 1km from the centre of town). We prefered it because Zephir holds your passport to ensure you pay your tab - El Retiro uses the 'pay as you go' system. El Retiro has a better location right down on the riverfront and the bathrooms are really nice - hot water! There is one power point, but you will need a big extension cord to reach it. No water or dump station. They do a banquet dinner every night (Q60 pp) or you can walk into town for cheaper local fare. The camping is by the roadside (only a few small spaces - not suitable for big rigs) and it gets noisy at 8am when the minibuses arrive to ferry the next load of tourists out. In Feb 2014 we paid Q30 per person to camp.
Flores is actually a small island connected with a causeway. There is not any secure parking, but Hotel Mesa de Los Mayas (phone and address) will allow you to park in the alley next to the hotel entrance where the hotel guard will watch the car (although he may be passed out drunk for some of the night). Don't leave any valuables in your car. The top floor rooms have nice views across the island. Callejón el Crucero y Avenida Reforma, 7867-5268, 5868-5068
The National Park of Tikal has a large grassy campground with cold-water bathrooms for $4/night/person. It's pretty much at the end of the road on the right when you're driving into the park just before the large parking area. It's not a gated area, but there is a night watchman.
Jaguar Inn is across the street from the National Park camping area. Cost Q75 per person, has a cold shower, bathrooms and a restaurant. Great place to stay if you want to enter the park first thing in the morning. Some photos and other info is here.
Rio Dulce and Livingston
Livingston can only be reached by boat, but you can leave your car in Rio Dulce, and take a boat to Livingston. Secure parking and can be found at Bruno's. Parking is 25 Quetzales a day. You can also camp there for an additional $5/day, and they have high speed wireless in their nice waterfront restaurant where you can chat up the people that are yachting around the world to start planning your next travel adventure.
Biotopo Del Quetzal (south of Coban)
We parked in the reserve parking lot, which is just before km 160 (coming from Coban). It’s on the right side, opposite a place with a large sign “Biotopin Restaurant”. There are toilets, but no showers. Pretty noisy because it’s right next to the road, but traffic was fairly light overnight. Good trails if you want to take a walk in the forest. Park entry is Q40 per person, and camping is Q20 per person.
Update (March 2012): Great place to stay if you are in tents. A bit of a haul because the camping is up a hill, but beautiful area, and covered shelters in case of rain. Nice bathrooms, but no showers. Rangers are friendly and there are several well maintained trails. Some photos of the camping area are here.