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Pop Wuj Spanish School - Directions

Thank you for enrolling with Pop Wuj - Spanish School Guatemala. We are providing the following information to help you make your travel plans.
Arrival
We recommend that you arrive in Quetzaltenango on a Sunday in order to get settled with your family and not miss any activities. Please note that the school is closed Saturdays, but is open on Sundays from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. If you arrive on a Saturday, you will need to plan to spend the night at a hotel (please let us know if we can help you to make a reservation). If you wish to be met at the airport in Guatemala City by a representative of the school, this service is available for $15 US. The representative will take you to either to a hotel, to her house for homestay or to the terminal where you can catch the bus for Quetzaltenango (Xela). The $15 US charge should be paid directly, in cash, to the representative. If you are traveling with others, each additional member of your group will be charged $5 US. You may also stay overnight with the representative's family for an additional $20 US.

Legal Requirements
Citizens of the United States and a few other countries need only a valid passport to enter Guatemala. However you may only stay in Guatemala for 90 days.  If you plan to stay longer, you can request this when entering the country, in an immigration office or otherwise you will need to leave the country for 72 hours and then return to Guatemala with a new passport stamp indicating another 90 days.  Please note that traveling to Honduras, El Salvador, or Nicaragua does not satisfy the requirement to leave Guatemala.  Citizens of other countries will need to obtain a visa from a consulate before they leave for Guatemala. This may be done by mail, but you should allow at least three to four weeks for the process, which involves obtaining the appropriate forms, and receiving the visa in the return mail.

Insurance
Although not required, you may want to purchase travel insurance before traveling (ex. World Nomads). If you intend to bring electronics with you, you may wish to insure them as well (smart phones, tablets, laptops, etc.).  Please be careful with your belongings at all times while traveling.

Travel Advisories
For Travel Advisories, we recommend calling the U.S. State Department toll-free at (888) 407-4747 or checking their web site www.travel.state.gov. If you are citizen of another country, please consult the Foreign Ministry or the Guatemalan embassy in your country.

How to get to the School
Several major airlines, including Delta, Spirit Airlines, United, American, KLM, Mexicana, and Iberia, provide service to Guatemala City. From the airport, it is 10 to 15 minute cab ride to the terminal of the Alamo Bus Line.  A cab from the airport to the bus station should not cost more than $10 US or the equivalent in Quetzales.

The trip from Guatemala City (Guate) to Xela takes about four hours. We strongly recommend that you try to arrive in Guatemala City early enough to avoid traveling to Xela after nightfall. It is best to arrive in Xela before 7 pm, which means that you should arrive in Guatemala City by midday. It is always safer to travel during the day than at night, and if you arrive at the school after 7 pm Sunday-Friday, you may not find anyone there to greet you. On Saturdays the school is closed.

The Alamo bus line also provides service between Guatemala City and Xela, leaving Guate at 8:00am, 10:30am, 12:30pm, 3:00pm, and 5:30pm.   You will need to buy your ticket as soon as possible after arriving in Guate, as seats are reserved and can sell out. A ticket to Xela costs approximately Q65 or around $8 USD.   There are several other bus lines that travel to Xela. Pop Wuj recommends Alamo due the greater number of departure times.  Due to serious safety concerns, we recommend that student do not travel on Galgos. Please visit http://www.xelapages.com/trans.htm for more information on the bus schedules.

Students should take a taxi from the Alamo bus station in Xela.  A taxi should cost about $5 or 40 Quetzales. The school is located on the second floor of Primera Calle (written 1a calle) 17-72, Zona 1.

Hotels in Xela & Guatemala City
If you arrive at the airport in Guate too late to reach Xela before nightfall, you will need to find overnight accommodations in Guatemala City or you may elect to stay with our host family (see below). The following are some inexpensive hotels in Guatemala City about which we have received favorable reports: Dos Lunas, 21a Calle 10-92, Zona 13, +502(2261)4248; Hotel Excel, 9 Avenida 15-12, Zona 1; Hotel Capri, 9 Avenida, 15-63, Zona 1; and Hotel Spring, 8 Avenida 12-65, Zona 1. Normally these hotels will not accept reservations on the phone.

If you arrive in Xela on Saturday or after 7pm on Sunday, you will need to stay in a hotel.  If we are expecting you but you arrive after 7pm, we will leave a note for you on the front door with directions on how to get to Hotel Hamilton, the closest hotel.  If you would like to make a reservation in advance, just e-mail us, and we'll make it for you. There are cabs at the  Alamo terminal which can take you to a hotel.

Pickup at the Airport
As noted above, you can arrange to be met at the airport in Guatemala City by Maria de Moscoso, a hostess for the school.  This reception service includes transportation to the bus terminal, a hotel, or Maria's home, depending on the flight arrival time. If you wish to take advantage of this service, email the school directly at least 2 weeks in advance of your arrival (if you have not already notified us on your application). We will need your airline name, flight number, and date and time of arrival. As noted on your application, the reception service costs an additional $15 US paid in cash directly to the school representative who meets you. The reception and overnight service costs $35 US total. In the event of last-minute complications, such as schedule changes and flight delays, you should contact Maria directly.  Maria has an answering machine and understands English.

Maria's cell:  +502 5826-4636
Maria's home: +502 2435-0528
Monica's cell (Maria's daughter): +502 5300-3374
Juan Ramon's cell (Maria's son): +502 5765-5477

WARNING Some students in April 1996 got into a fake taxi at the airport in Guate and were robbed. If you are not being picked up by Maria, be sure to look for genuine taxi drivers; they all wear a blue uniform, navy pants, and light blue shirt. And, most importantly, the taxi should have a number. If you are not sure then please ask in the tourist office inside the airport.

Travel in Guatemala
Following a few basic rules will help insure a safe journey:


Be very careful in Guatemala City; it is a densely populated, congested city of over 3 million people. Be especially careful of your bags in the bus station; watch out for hustlers working in pairs, one distracting, the other stealing.


Only travel during daylight hours. If you cannot leave Guatemala City by 3pm, stay in a hotel or with our host family for the night.


Most assaults on foreigners and Guatemalans happen when they stray from populated areas to remote overlooks, etc.  Be wary of people who present themselves as private guides.


Please note that some indigenous people are mistrustful of foreigners and very protective of their children due to child kidnappings. Do not photograph indigenous people, especially children, without permission.


Get a good guidebook and read up on Guatemala.


Review our Safety and Liability page for more suggestions and to be aware of personal liability.


Once you get to Xela, listen to the advice from the school staff and your host family as to the current level of safety in the city.  We recommend that all students take taxis after 9pm.  When you arrive, Pop Wuj will provide the names and telephone numbers of trustworthy taxis.
Pop Wuj Spanish School Guatemala - Directions
Pop Wuj Spanish School Guatemala - Chicken Bus