Difference between revisions of "Cobán"
Revision as of 00:11, 10 January 2011
The most common way to get to Coban from Guatemala City is using the Monja Blanca bus service from the capital, approximately four hours. There are also competitors, as well as more expensive shuttles. A ticket to Coban on the Monja Blanca costs about 45 Quetzales per person (as of 2010).
From the Western Highlands, regular microbuses run from Quiche to Sacapulas to Uspantin to Coban (you will probably have to change buses in each town). The road between Uspantin and Coban is only paved about half way, and has some rough stretches. Travel time (in 2010), including time spent waiting for buses, is about 6 hours from Quiche to Coban and 2.5 hours from Uspantin to Coban.
Coban is a relatively walkable city in terms of size (sidewalk conditions are horrible, however, and you should always assume that cars will take the right of way). For local destinations around Coban, there are buses that leave in front of Plaza Magdalena. You can take a taxi almost anywhere around town for between Q15 and Q20. Always get in the taxis that are marked with a Taxi number on the door, the unmarked ones are not licensed to work as a taxi.
the Main Cathedral at the town Center. Semuc Champey about two hours from Coban. There are private tours you can hire to get there. Check with Hostal d'Acuna or Hostal de Dona Victoria.
You don't have to book tours or walk around with your nose buried in your LP guidebook to figure all this out. If you want to go to Champey, hop on a colectivo across from Plaza Magdalena (a big yellow shopping mall - everyone knows it, just ask) and go to Lanquin; get off there, hit up the dudes at El Zapote immediately to your right when you get off for a free ride down to Las Marias hostel, and pay 15Q for a mattress and 15Q for a tour. Simple as that.
Every Sunday there is a small crafts market in the center of town. Be sure to offer a lower price or ask what the sellers best price is. Same goes for the market behind the cathedral. Take a tour around and buy some of the local clothing. A Huipil, or women's woven and sometimes embroidered shirt can go for as much as 500 Quetzales / $50 USD or more depending on the quality and detail of the work, so don't be surprised if it seems like a high price for a non-tailored shirt. More simple styles can be found for about 100 Quetzales.
"De La Abuela" Hotel and restaurant serves traditional dishes and fresh seafood, but their specialty is the meatiest barbecue ribs in Guatemala. They have outdoor eating areas upstairs and downstairs surrounded by nature, the atmosphere and service are very friendly.
"Al Carbon d'Fiora" serves really good burgers as a local alternative to MacDonalds. It costs about Q25-Q30 for a burger and about Q60 for Churrasco (grilled steak). The food is really good and the place is hygienic although the atmosphere is nothing fancy. Fiora is on Calle Minerva a few blocks inward (toward downtown) from Plaza Magdalena.
Tourists tend to spend only a night or two in Coban. The most popular place to stay is Casa d'Acuna, which is a relatively inexpensive and reliable hostel. There are a number of other small hotels around the main plaza, though, most of which are comparable in price.
Most buses and microbuses use the northern bus terminal, located about 1.5 km from the city centre, rather than the Monja Blanca station. Travel agencies and Casa d'Acuna will book shuttles.