Delve into the amazing history and rich heritage of Guatemala as you explore colonial towns, Maya communities, Indian markets and ancient sites. You will find yourself transported back in time as you stroll along cobblestone alleys admiring wrought iron balconies and ornate churches in the colonial town of Antigua; the Maya communities around Lake Atitlan will fascinate you with their rituals and ancient lifestyle. In the Indian Market of Chichicastenango you will have to sharpen your bargaining skills if you plan to walk out triumphant on your souvenir hunting expedition. And then you will arrive in Tikal, the mesmerizing Tikal, with its soaring temples that jot out of the jungle and its lush surroundings teeming with wildlife. Watching the sunset from the top of a temple at nearby Yaxha will wrap it up in grandiose style.
Arrive in Guatemala (Antigua) After clearing customs and immigration, proceed to the reception area, where our local representative is holding a board with your name on it. You will be greeted with a “Bienvenidos a Guatemala” and immediately transferred to the colonial city of Antigua, located one hour from Guatemala City. Free time to get acquainted with the surroundings and savor the delicious local cuisine in one of the beautiful colonial restaurants. Overnight.
The colonial jewel (Antigua) Our guide will meet us after breakfast and escort us on a walking city tour of this stunningly beautiful and elegant colonial town. As we stroll around this ancient city we learn about its main architectural monuments and interesting history and take punctual visits of some churches and monasteries. The rest of the day is free for you to enjoy the city at your own pace. You may want to scout the surroundings on horseback, peruse the numerous art galleries, or hunt for local souvenirs. If interested, we can also arrange a tour with our resident Maya textile expert to learn about the world famous Maya textiles and other folk art. (B)
Meet the descendants of the Maya (Lake Atitlan) Aldous Huxley labeled Lake Atitlan as the most beautiful lake in the world so we guessed we should include it in our itinerary. Located deep in the highlands, this fascinating lake of crystal blue waters is flanked by three spectacular volcanoes and surrounded by 12 small Indian villages named after the apostles, forming a setting of incomparable beauty. Upon arrival we board a local boat and depart for Santiago Atitlan, one of the most picturesque communities surrounding the lake. We pass by local fishermen, indigenous Maya women doing their washing and men working in the fields and wearing their traditional Santiago shorts. Once in Santiago, our guide will take us to visit the Maya God Maximon, which locals revere and perform rituals in front of to bring good luck…and at times bad, and other interesting community houses where other gods are revered. (B)
Free day at the Lake (Lake Atitlan) Atitlan is one of the most magical places in Guatemala. We recommend you stay one more day to take in all its beauty and charm. During your free day you may hike around the lake or up to the volcano foothills, take a horseback riding excursion, rent a kayak and explore the lake on your own, visit the hippie market in the quaint town of Panajachel, or just relax and savor the magnificent views of the lake and the surrounding volcanoes. (B)
Bargaining in Chichi (Guatemala City) Chichicastenango is the most famous Indian market in Central America. This bustling market is the gathering point where hundreds of craftsmen and villagers from all over the highlands sell their wares every Thursday and Sunday. Stalls display colorful hand-woven textiles, hand-carved masks, small nativities, jade works, musical instruments, and even wicker furniture. Our guide will show you the famous church of Santo Tomas, a true colonial gem built in 1540, where many village shamans perform Maya rituals on behalf of people in their community on Sundays. Then you will have some free time to roam the market (or our guide can go with you and help you with “negotiations”), and wrap it up with lunch at the cozy Santo Tomas Hotel. In the afternoon continue to Guatemala City where you will overnight in preparation for your morning flight to Tikal. (B,L)
Mystery and sunsets in the rainforest (Tikal) A morning flight will take you to the northern jungles of Peten. Upon arrival, check in at our beautiful hotel and enjoy some free time until lunch. In the afternoon depart for a journey deep in the rainforest to visit the atmospheric Mayan site of Yaxha, located on the shores of a peaceful lake. You will tour the site and then climb up to the top of the main temple from where you will be rewarded by breathtaking views of the surrounding rainforest, Lake Yaxha, and a spectacular sunset while you enjoy some drinks. Sunset time is also a great time to spot wildlife around the site so keep your eyes peeled for unexpected visitors. Finally trek back through the jungle with torches as it starts to turn dark - perhaps spotting some nocturnal wildlife along the way. Return to hotel in the evening. (B)
Skyscrapers in the jungle (Tikal) Tikal, once the most powerful city in the Americas, is a huge complex comprising more than 3,000 structures including temples, altars, pyramids, and palaces that reach out to the sky among a sea of green foliage. The surrounding national park is home to several endangered species such as jaguars, pumas, monkeys, deer, tapir, and anteaters as well as more than 260 species of birds, 130 species of medicinal plants and 300 orchids’ species. You will tour the site in the company of our knowledgeable guide while listening to the sounds of the jungle. After learning about the great history of Tikal and its mysterious decline, hike up one of the towering temples for an outstanding view of the surrounding jungle. After lunch at the site and some free time to revisit the site or peruse the local museum, return to the hotel. (B,L)
Depart Guatemala Today our local representative will be transferring us to the airport in time for our departing flight. We recommend you continue your trip with a fabulous extension to the Belizean Cayes that is available in conjunction with this itinerary. Otherwise we wish you a pleasant trip back home and hope to enjoy your company in another exciting adventure very soon. (B)
From: $2,143 per person in double occupancy
June Special : Book any 2010 departure and receive a $75 per person discount!
Departure: Sundays and Wednesdays year round
Duration: 8 Days / 7 Nights
Type of services: Private services throughout with local English-speaking guides.
Highlights: The colonial city of Antigua; a visit to a Maya deity at Lake Atitlan; the traditional market of Chichi; the ancient Maya city of Tikal; the magnificent sunset from Yaxha.
Travel documents: American, Canadian and European Union citizens only need a valid passport for stays of up to 30 days.
Inclusions: All ground and air transportation at the destination; lodging, meals and tours per itinerary; hotel taxes; English-speaking assistance.
Not included: International airfares; airport departure taxes; tips of any kind; incidentals at hotels; any meals not included in the itinerary; alcoholic beverages; souvenirs.
It is the travelers responsibility to have all proper travel documents which can include passports and foreign visas. Learn more here: Passport & Visa Information
Travel Insurance is highly recommended to protect your travel investment and for any emergencies that could occur while traveling. Learn more here: Travel Insurance
All rates are “From Prices”
and correspond to the lowest season in the year.
Expect moderate to high increases for high season
and holiday periods. Low season dates vary from
destination to destination. Please inquire for details.
All rates on this website are per person and based
on double occupancy, unless otherwise indicated.
If a hotel included in a program is not available
at the time of the reservation, we will substitute
it for a hotel of similar category.
Room and cabin upgrades are available at most hotels
and cruises. Please inquire at the time of reservation.
Most programs can be customized.
All itineraries are subject to change without notice.