Tab money, payments for travelers

With Tab you can pay vendors abroad with a mobile device linked to your debit or credit card. It’s a simple, safe solution that turns your phone or handheld into a hassle-free way of settling your tab — just about anywhere.

Semana Santa in San Juan La Laguna

Semana Santa (Saint's Week) is perhaps the most celebrated holiday week in Guatemala. In many towns, elaborate carpets are prepared on the streets made from dyed sawdust, flowers, fruits, grasses and more. After an entire day of hundreds of residents working together to produce beautiful carpets, a procession carrying floats of various Catholic Saints tramples the carpet slowly by candlelight while singing and playing instruments.

Semana Santa in San Juan la Laguna in brief: 29 photos.

The view from Earth Lodge, a hostel near Antigua

What can you do with a week off work and seven or eight hundred dollars? Plenty. Hike an active volcano, see the world’s most beautiful lake, visit a famous World Heritage Site and experience living Mayan culture firsthand. And you can be back in the office by Monday.

Guatemala is a little known adventure travel destination that’s making a name for itself with its super-affordability, genuine hospitality and stunning natural beauty. It would be easy to spend months exploring all this Central American country has to offer, but just about anyone with a taste for adventure could have a truly unique experience to remember with a week’s vacation on an everyman budget. Here’s a brief glance at what you could do with a week.

Santiago Atitlán: a turkey and chickens for sale

Santiagio Atitlán is the largest city on the lake. While it's not considered a must-see attraction for many foreign tourists, it's a well known vacation site for nationals as it's easily highway accessible. The following are a few quick shots taken in town. A few people and some market goods.

La Terraza, San Pedro La Laguna, the view

If you’re looking to track down San Pedro’s best breakfast spot, look no further than La Terraza, a small restaurant with top-notch food at low prices.

Price Range: 10-40
Vegetarian Options: Yes
Vegan Options: Yes
Gluten-Free Options: Yes
Everyday 8am-4pm

Young women in the Dia de la Mujer procession

Feliz día de las mujeres! International women's day commemorates and furthers the struggle of women to achieve equality, equal participation in society, and their complete development as individuals and persons. The holiday was first recognized in 1911 in Denmark, Switzerland, Austria and Germany and has since spread to a wide variety of nations.

Día de la Mujer in Guatemala has a very present and active energy. Guatemala continues to fall short in women's education, women's property rights, the prosecution of violent crimes against women and the prevention of child brides -- among other issues. Women in Guatemala continue to organize to promote education, awareness and reform.

Fresh juice in Xela, Guatemala.

Sniffing out cheap eats is a talent of many long term and budget travellers.

You don't have to sniff very far in Xela, Guatemala to get more bang for your Quetzal.

As is the case in most of Guatemala, the key to eating cheaply in Xela is hitting up the local markets and street stalls. Not only will you eat for a fraction of restaurant | cafe prices, you will get a real sense of the local vibe and flavour.

Here's how and where to eat cheaply in Xela:

Breakfast

Start the day at an inexpensive comedor in the dining hall, Maya Cafe. Located a block from Parque Centro America, this is a popular choice for typical Guatemalan fare.

Comedor Rosita

Walk down the road across from the central church in San Pedro and on your left you’ll find a yellow building with a dusty concrete ramp leading up into the dark interior. While it may not be much to look at, Comedor Rosita is a local favorite for traditional Guatemalan meals at reasonable prices.

Here's a Google Map to help you get there.

Potato and cheese, layered then fried.

Antigua, famed for its colonial style buildings, chic cafes and high end artisanal souvenirs is also the home of a colourful, huge and beautifully chaotic fresh food market. An unmissable stop for those who love the cheap eats, smells and sights of Central American food markets.

The Antigua fresh food market is located right next to the bus station, three blocks west from the main square. On the outside of the food market, sellers hawk all the typical tourist souvenirs. But go deeper, beyond the 'Guates Up' t-shirts and scarves, into the fresh food market.

It's here you will discover a goldmine of cheap eats, all the produce you need for a cheap as chips DIY hostel dinner and a true taste of Guatemalan market life.

Tulan Kan, Indian restaurant in San Pedro La Laguna

Adding to San Pedro La Laguna’s already diverse range of restaurants, a new hot spot has recently reopened, specializing in Indian cuisine. Located a short walk from San Pedro’s Santiago Pier, the eatery shares a space with the well-established Tulan Kan Center, which has information about traditional Mayan culture and also serves as an exhibition space for local artists.

The restaurant is run by Englishwoman Tamar Atik, who also does all of the cooking. Atik moved to Lake Atitlan more than five years ago, and spent her time working in different bars and restaurants around town.

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Elesha Piper
Aaron Owlex
Anna Sondergaard
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Matt Wicks, traveler, writer, photographer