I'd planned to arrive in San Francisco about ten days before Burning Man to give myself plenty of time before hand to sort out all the preparations I would need to make to survive a week in the desert. However I messed up and assumed I would be able to figure out accommodation close to when I got there. By the time I did try and book somewhere, I couldn't find anywhere to stay that was going to be much less than USD$150 a night. This led to a lot of stress!
The next stop in my whirlwind tour of the northern parts of Guatemala was the Rio Dulce. I got a bus (an actual comfortable coach style bus with reclining seats and everything), that left an hour late at Flores, but still somehow got me to Rio Dulce early. I didn't think this was possible in Guatemala so it was a very welcome surprise!
After Semuc Champey I headed to Flores, the city closest to Tikal. It was another long minibus day, 11 hours on the bus, but at least this time I got a single seat near the door without one in front of it, so I had plenty of legroom and nobody taking up the space where my shoulders go. I stayed the night in a hotel where I was the only guest. I really don't think the travel agent made much effort to get me in somewhere cheap as I had to walk past a few different hostels to get there. I made good use of the air conditioning at least!
After Rachel and I parted ways, I had 10 days left before my flight to the USA and I still hadn't been to Semuc Champey, Tikal or the Rio Dulce, so I enlisted the help of a local travel agent to sort out all the shuttles and buses, places for me to stay, and tours, to make sure I could fit in all that I wanted to see and do and still make it back down to Guatemala City in time for my flight.
After finishing up in Xela for the second time, Rachel and I headed back to Lake Atitlan. I'd wanted to go back and do more yoga in San Marcos and some very novel scuba diving in the lake itself, and she had enrolled for another week of Spanish lessons and weaving in San Juan.