Xamanek Student Inn (Zona 10, Guatemala City; tel. 502/2360-8345; www.mayaworld.net): This place has finally given true budget travelers a very respectable option in the heart of the Zona 10. There's a hostel-like vibe throughout this cozy converted home and common areas, and all the restaurants, bars, and bustle of Zona Viva are just outside its doors.
Posada Belén (Zona 1, Guatemala City; tel. 866/864-8283 in the U.S. and Canada, or 502/2253-4530 in Guatemala; www.posadabelen.com): You'll feel at home in this long-standing family-run hotel. The rooms are charming and beautifully done, and the converted home is filled with a wealth of art and Maya artifacts. Although it's near the heart of the city's colonial center, it's on a quiet street, away from the hustle and bustle. These folks have an excellent in-house tour operation.
Posada Asjemenou (Antigua; tel. 502/7820-2670): The entrance to this pretty budget hotel is practically underneath the iconic Santa Catalina arch in Antigua. Rooms are kept immaculately clean, and there's a convivial hostel-like vibe to the whole operation. The antique tile floors and worn wood furniture remind you that you really are in the colonial heart of town. The attached restaurant specializes in thin-crust pizzas and other Italian fare.
Hotel Posada La Merced (Antigua; tel. 502/7832-3197 or 7832-3301; www.merced-landivar.com): As the name implies, this popular hotel is just around the corner from beautiful La Merced church. The friendly and welcoming staff is a real plus. Those looking for longer stays can book the fully equipped apartments. Interior courtyard areas and a communal kitchen lend themselves to a friendly vibe.
Hotel Primavera (Panajachel; tel. 502/7762-2052; www.primaveratitlan.com): I enjoy the neatly varnished wood and slightly European feel to this place. Some of the rooms feature large bay windows overlooking Calle Santander. If you land room no. 9, you're in for a real budget treat, as it comes with its own private stairway, entrance, and balcony.
Hotelito El Amanacer Sak'cari (San Pedro La Laguna; tel. 502/7721-8096; www.hotelsakcari.com): The rooms here lack something in the way of style and personality, but for just Q195 ($26/£13) for a double, you can enjoy the sunrise from a hammock stretched out on the veranda of one of the second-floor units.
La Casa del Mundo (Jaibalito, Lake Atitlán; tel. 502/5218-5332; www.lacasadelmundo.com): Set atop an isolated rocky outcropping jutting into Lake Atitlán, this hotel offers a few rooms with shared bathrooms that are a real steal (even the private bathrooms are a bargain), with stupendous views of the lake. A lakeside fire-heated Jacuzzi and several open-air terraces make this place really special.
Casa Doña Mercedes (Quetzaltenango; tel. 502/5569-1630; www.geocities.com/guest_house_mercedes): In a town with a glut of budget lodgings, this one stands out for its friendly service, immaculate rooms, and central location.
Hotel Santana (Flores, Petén; tel./fax 502/7867-5123 or 7867-5421; www.santanapeten.com): This lakefront hotel is the best budget choice on the island of Flores. In fact, it might just be the best hotel on the island itself, regardless of price. All of the rooms come with private balconies with wonderful views.
Hotel Alcazar Doña Victoria (Cobán; tel. 502/7952-1143; www.hotelescoban.com): I love the rustic yet refined feel of the rooms in this beautiful colonial home. All of the rooms are different. Those on the second floor are my favorite, with high ceilings featuring exposed wood beams. Throughout the hotel there are eye-catching artistic touches. The owners have a couple other hotels in town, as well as the best adventure-tour operation in the region.
Yat B'alam (Copán Ruinas, Honduras; 504/651-4338; www.yatbalam.com): This new little hotel has more style and class than any other option in Copán Ruinas, and at a great price to boot.
La Casa Rosada (Livingston; tel. 502/7947-0303; www.hotelcasarosada.com): Set on the waterfront in Livingston, the individual bungalows feature cheerful design touches, with brightly painted furniture, architectural accents, and sea shell decorations. You'll have to use one of several communal bathrooms and showers, but these are just steps away and kept spotless. Moreover, the restaurant and in-house tour operation are great.
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.