MICE, Ink & Wanderlust

Two Days in Guatemala: Why I Left So Soon

Two days in Guatemala

Two days was all I could take.

I went to Antigua, Guatemala, for two weeks of total immersion Spanish tutoring–one on one, four hours a day, with a private room.

Now, I know my expectations weren’t too high. I mean I didn’t expect top-notch accommodations at that price. I figured it’d be a typical school with a dorm-type room hovering around hostel level. Considering their reputation, and my cousin’s glowing review from her studies there in 2019, I DID expect it to be clean with working plumbing, electricity, and wifi.

First, they didn’t pick me up from the airport in Guatemala on Friday night. They were, oh, seven HOURS late, claiming they misunderstood my arrival time. Seriously?

That was my first sign. Strike #1.

I was soooo tempted to leave right away and catch the next flight out to Costa Rica while I was still at the airport, but I really wanted the lessons and my cousin had spoken so highly of them I decided to give them another chance.

They killed that on arrival.

When I entered my room, it was dirty. I literally had to ask someone to come clean it. In this COVID era, especially, a filthy room is another really bad sign. Strike #2.

I started looking for somewhere else to stay only to find other  accommodations nearby were either full, not worth it, too far, or outside my budget. That meant I had to either stay put or leave Antigua altogether.

I Lysol’d the room and went straight into social distance mode—which was easy since I didn’t understand 98% of what they said anyway. They offered me tours of a volcano, Lake Atitlan, and the city, but I was busy social distancing. Plus the adventure I was having in that room already was more than enough to deal with, and I still wasn’t sure if I was staying five minutes past their office opening on Monday.

I was greeted by at least two terrorist mosquitoes in my room, both of which I finally succeeded in smashing after being bitten a half dozen times. Not trusting the cleanliness of the sheets either, I slept inside my sheet sack and on my own pillow. It was stuffy in the room, yet I couldn’t open any windows (no screens, of course) nor the door (see mosquitoes above), and there wasn’t even a fan in the room to circulate any air. All I had to cool off with was my cell phone fan plugged into my iPad…and cold water, which there was plenty of.

There was NO HOT WATER. The hot side of the faucet on the sink didn’t even produce water at all. The showerhead was so clogged that water sprayed in every direction when I turned the cold knob, and the hot water knob produced…a cold trickle. 

I couldn’t even take a shower!?!?! 

Strike 3! Time to go!

So that’s the story of my two days in Guatemala. By noon Monday I was outta there and on my way to San Salvador to spend the time instead with my cousin who’s based there and my best friend who just HAPPENS to be there this week! I lost $120 on my nonrefundable flight I won’t be taking from GUA to Costa Rica, but I saved $330 on that school, my trip to San Salvador cost me $50, and flying one-way from SAL to SJO, Costa Rica, is only $89.

Ixchel School gets a rating from me of 0 out of 5 stars.


33 thoughts on “Two Days in Guatemala: Why I Left So Soon”

  1. Sounds like a perfect way to kick off your travels Sis! LOL. Kidding. Hope things get better for you on the next leg. Thanks for sharing!

  2. That’s horrible! Good thing you’re a savvy traveler! Sounds like that school has gone to the dogs!!! You’re a real trooper for surviving two days in those conditions! You can make it anywhere!

    1. Yesss, you know your girl is no joke! This was one of the things that I was afraid might happen — I’d land somewhere I wanted out of long before I was scheduled to leave. And then part two-that it would cost me a lot to save myself. If it was destined to happen at least once, then I’m glad it’s out of the way already! 😅 Going forward I’ll have backup plans for EVERY stay.

    1. Haha… didn’t make it on mine either! This was the only destination on my list that wasn’t, so it’s fitting it would be the bad apple.

  3. Candace Roberts

    Omg! This is horrible! But Thank Goodness you were able to see your bestie during your travels. That school sounds like a horror movie. I’m glad you’re doing well, though.

      1. delmetria millener

        Hey sis! Most countries don’t have hot water in the kitchens and bathrooms except the shower…only the tourist areas do.

        1. What countries are those so I know not to go there? LOL
          In this place, the hot water WASN’T working in the shower either and it was supposed to. They acted like it was news to them that the shower hot water didn’t work and that the bathroom sink hot water faucet was not working either.

  4. Kimberly Bibbs

    What a disappointing welcome for you! I hate you had to experience that, but you are so resilient. You knew how to maneuver yourself around the mishaps and move on to the next destination.

    Being picked up 7 hours late from the airport would have had me running back to the states. And big mosquitoes-yikes! No hot water and cold trickles of water- double yikes!

    But you are a trooper!!
    Stay safe and I’ll be waiting to hear about your next destination.

    Hopefully, you’ll have something good to tell us!

    1. Wisdom teaches that the Best Lessons are Bought Lessons. Sorry that leg of your trip was less than desirable but it was hella interesting for your readers. Thanks for sharing this unfortunate debacle.

    2. 😂😂 @ back to the States. 🤣 And miss out on my dream trip just because those people don’t have it together? I’ve been dealing with incompetents and challenges my entire life. Two li’l days of discomfort would never stop me from getting where and what I want. I’ll just learn Spanish some other way. I’m good, gf! 💜😘

  5. Terroristic biting insects would have been all it took for me. I plan to follow all of your travel updates.

  6. SMH! Very disappointing. Oh the adventures of travel! I’ve had similar experiences and had to the same. Cut it short!. No matter how much we plan, research, get recommendations, it can happen anyway. Your quick reaction and adjustment just shows you got this! Looking forward to reading about San Salvador. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Michelle Rhodes

    I would have left on that note too. Hopefully Guatemala will be the worst of your travels. Hoping for much better experiences ahead.

  8. So where is the emoji for ‘kinda liked from a distance’? It looks good on the outside. Stay safe…

  9. OMG, that’s HORRIBLE! Glad you’re outta there & on to the next! Can’t wait to hear about the next adventure.

  10. Paraphrasing Tones & I, leaving was you finding the sun on a cloudy day. Keep looking to the light and your travels will always be bright. 😍

  11. One less place on our vacation get away, thanks, you helped me save money. Pray the rest of your adventures will be great.

  12. omg! i’m so sorry you had this go brought all of that. honestly, 7 hours would’ve had me booking the next available Outbound flight..

    Guatemala was never on MY list anyway!

  13. That’s terrible! Not sure if I would have given them a chance past the excessively late airport pick-up.

    1. Most wouldn’t, I see! I wasn’t trying to leave so soon I’d completely waste the money for my flight from Hawaii to Guatemala. Worst case scenario, I knew I’d be able to explore a little of the city to add to my experiences and at least offset the cost I paid to fly there. And just because they were late didn’t mean the school was total garbage. It COULD have been just a clerical error. Things happen! 🙂

  14. Pingback: Guat’s Good in Guatemala - MICE, Ink & Wanderlust

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