Planning For Your Retreat in Guatemala
- You'll fly into Guatemala City. I will arrange for a private shuttle to bring you to Lake Atitlan. Once you arrive at the lake a private boat will bring you to Villa Sumaya. All the transport between the airport and the retreat center is included in your tuition and will be set up with reputable and trustworthy companies that are regularly used by Villa Sumaya.
- Plan to arrive at the airport in Guatemala City on July 21st by 3pm.
- Plan to leave on a flight out of Guatemala City after noon on July 28th.
- You might be required to wait at the airport for other people arriving that will be joining your shuttle but it should be rather short. I suggest you grab a big bottle of water and have a small snack with you for the drive. The trip from the airport to the center is approximately 3.5 hours.
- If you have not already booked your flight I suggest you begin to track the flights using Kayak trip watcher (or similar) or by using an app. I personally use and like Hopper (http://www.hopper.com). Once you have your flights booked, please forward your itinerary to me so I can coordinate your shuttles.
Health + Safety:
- Guatemala is a developing country and while I do not have any concern about our safety, I still recommend practicing caution and good common sense while traveling abroad.
- The retreat center has never had incidence. There are safety boxes in your rooms and a common lock box in the office if needed. That said, leave your valuable jewelry at home and don't be flashy with your electronics or money while at the airport or in the city.
- You can read about healthy and safety concerns for Guatemala on the Center for Disease Control website here as well as recommendations for vaccines. It is up to you to do research and decide if you want to opt for the various vaccines available.
- If you take regular medications or need to have emergency meds on hand (like inhalers or EpiPens) make sure you have an adequate supply upon arrival. While basic toiletries and necessities will be available, things like this will be more difficult to find once at the lake.
- Some people like to take out travel insurance when they travel abroad. Again, this is totally up to you. There are several good companies that offer it. http://worldnomads.com and http://www.csatravelprotection.com are good places to start.
- Villa Sumaya will take a credit card at the end of the week for any incidentals (spa treatments, excursions, gift boutique purchases) but there is a 4% fee added. To avoid the fee you can write a personal check, pay in USD or local currency.
- Smaller places around town might not accept CC at all so don't count on that. You'll want to have local currency for our trip to the local market and smaller bills are always useful as many people won't have change to give you for larger ones.
- Restaurants and shops you might visit will likely take USD but you will undoubtedly pay a higher fee than if you pay in local currency which is Quetzal.
- ATM's offer the best rates and there are a few at neighboring villages around the lake. However, it would probably be easiest just to order some money from your bank before you come. I'd recommend a minimum of $100 worth of Quetzal and some USD on hand. You'll really just want the local currency for shopping around town and at the market.
You will find a suggested packing list in the Welcome Packet provided by Villa Sumaya.