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Getting There

By Bus -- Monja Blanca (tel. 502/2251-1878 in Guatemala City, or 7951-3571 in Cobán) has buses leaving every half-hour between 2am and 5pm. Their station in Guatemala City is at 8a Av. 15-16, Zona 1. In Cobán, the buses leave from 2a Calle 2-77, Zona 4. The fare is Q45 ($6/£3) each way.

The tourist shuttle companies all have daily routes from Guatemala City to Cobán and Semuc Champay. The fare is around Q225 to Q300 ($30-$40/£15-£20).

You can also use Cobán as a midway point between Guatemala City and Tikal and the Petén, or Lago Izabal, Río Dulce, and the Caribbean coast.

By Car -- If you have a car, take the Carretera al Atlántico (CA-9) out of Guatemala City to the crossroads at El Rancho. The exit and road to Cobán is well marked.

    Say a Little Prayer -- As you drive into Cobán, keep your eye out around Km 199. You'll see a sign for Aldea Chitul, and there on your left are a couple of small caves that are actively used as sights for Maya ritual prayers and ceremonies. If you choose to stop and observe, be respectful, and do not take photos.

Getting Around

Cobán is very compact, though the very center of the city sits atop a plateau with steep hills on all sides, making walking strenuous at times. Taxis are plentiful and inexpensive. If you can't flag one down, have your hotel call you one, or try Taxis Central (tel. 502/7951-4283) or Taxis Coban (tel. 502/7952-1490).

If you're going to any of the nearby attractions such as Semuc Champey or the Candelaria Caves, your best bet is to join a tour. Alternately, you can get to most of these places on a local bus. Ask your hotel for current times and departure locations.

Renting a car once you arrive in Cobán is also a good option. Check out Tabarini Rent A Car (tel. 502/7952-1504; www.tabarini.com). Rates run around Q300 to Q900 ($40-$120/£20-£60) per day depending on whether you opt for a compact sedan or small SUV.

Orientation

Cobán's central plaza is a long, thin trapezoid, with the Catholic church, Catedral de Santo Domingo, at the widest, eastern end. This spot has the highest elevation in town, and is also the busiest.

Fast Facts

The post office is located at 2a Calle 2-02, Zona 3 (tel. 502/7951-4476). Most hotels have their own Internet cafes, and there are many around downtown Cobán, such as the ones at Café Fantasia and Hostal Doña Victoria.

There are several banks and ATMs within a block or two of the city's central plaza. Dial tel. 502/7952-1225 for the police, tel. 502/7952-1459 for the Red Cross. If you need medical attention, head to the Centro de Salud, 7a Calle 6-24, Zona 11 (tel. 502/7951-4155).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.