Of course you want to stay longer in Guatemala. 90 days on your visa are sometimes too short to really experience all the beauty of the country of eternal spring, especially if you took the time to learn Spanish or you started volunteering. To renew your visa, you can’t just go south. Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala have an agreement that acts much similar like the Schengen zone in Europe, no new visa for you.
The only two viable solutions to prolong your stay in Guatemala, are Mexico and Belize. The first one is the most known one and the one that really is my personal favorite. I went to the city of San Cristóbal de las Casas.
A trip to the Mexican city shouldn’t cost you more than 30 dollars from the city of Quetzaltenango in Guatemala. There are shuttles from Panajachel, Antigua and Huehuetenango to the beautiful colonial city with its picturesque cathedral. The border town La Mesilla generally is a smooth place to cross the border and you don’t lose a lot of time at the Mexican side either.
The city, well, it’s a beauty. San Cristóbal de las Casas is up there with the touristic cities of Guatemala and is the travel hub for the whole of Chiapas. There’s a kind atmosphere and cars surprisingly let you cross with a kind gesture. Tourism levels are much higher than in cities like Quetzaltenango and at first, this might seem scary, poverty is more apparent.
There are a ton of hotel options in the town, many are for budget travels. You could just walk into anyone and ask the price. Do reserve in the high season, though, you wouldn’t want to be left to sleep on the street. A good option to sleep would be 13 Cielos Hostel, an easy going hostel close to the central park. It has a nice atmosphere, a kitchen to use and rooms varying from dorms to private rooms.
After a great few days, you can come back to Guatemala to receive the valuable stamp that gives you the right to stay an extra 90 days in Guatemala, or for that matter El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. Do not hesitate to do it, it’s totally worth the trip.