January 15- 22, 2022
Discovery goes hand-in-hand with travel in Guatemala, a tiny country with an astonishing portfolio of superlatives. Its volcanoes are the highest and most active in Central America; its treasury of Maya cities is the region’s most extensive and awesome; and its colonial art and religious architecture are the most impressive. And in Guatemala, color is king in the markets of the Indian Villages where local dress and crafts come in brilliant shades of pink, orange, vermillion and cobalt blue.
Visiting Guatemala City, Lake Atitlan, Antigua, Pacaya Volcano, the Native Market of Chichicastenango
and Solola and the Capital of the Mayan Empire “Tikal” & Yaxha
8 days/7 nights
JAN 15, 2022 SAT U.S.A-GUATEMALA:
Depart USA for Guatemala City Arrive and private transfer to 5 star Hotel Barcelo Guatemala.
JAN 16 SUN GUATEMALA-CHICHICASTENANGO:
In the morning you will depart for the picturesque town of Chichicastenango.
And today is market day in Chichicastenango! Visit the most colorful and picturesque Indian open-air market in the country. Hundreds of natives from the surrounding villages –wearing their unique and colorful dresses, gather to barter their goods and products. Also, witness the captivating religious ceremonies held on the steps and inside the 400-year old Church of Santo Tomás –(No shorts or bathing suits are allowed inside the Church) here, the Mayan Quiche indigenous observe unique religious and spiritual customs and experience their 9 sacred sites. Overnight at Hotel Maya Inn. (AB)
JAN 17 MON CHICHICATENANGO -ATITLAN
Morning transfer to Lake Atitlan – “one of the most beautiful lakes in the world”. with its 3 volcanoes in the background -San Pedro, Toliman and Atitlan. You will be boarding a boat to visit one of the twelve interesting indigenous lake shore villages. Their inhabitants are for the most part descendants of the Cakchiquel and Tzutil Indians. Return to Panajachel for overnight at Hotel Porta del Lago, located on the shores of Lake Atitlan. (AB)
JAN 18 TUE CHICHICASTENANGO-SOLOLA-ATITLAN:
Morning depart for Solola to visit one of the major market centers. The market is filled with indigenous people -with very colorful and distinctive dresses-who have journeyed from all over the area to sell and buy produce. Then, continue to the first Capital of Guatemala “Antigua”. Overnight at Hotel Casa Santo Domingo or Camino Real Antigua.(AB)
JAN 19 WED ANTIGUA-PACAYA VOLCANO-GUATEMALA:
Morning guided tour of Antigua, the former Spanish Colonial Capital of the country and today a national monument of the Americas. A very pleasant city of cobble stones streets, houses and mansions with colonial-style facades and tile roofs. Your tour guide will take you to visit convents, monasteries and other colonial buildings, then continue for an exciting hiking of the Pacaya Volcano (about 7,000 feet high) At the same time it is part of a large volcanic caldera that includes Lake Amatitlán and Laguna de Calderas, it has a secondary pipeline called “Pico Mackenney” that is currently in activity. From the volcano you will have spectacular views of Guatemala, Antigua and the surrounding areas. Mid-afternoon return to Guatemala City for overnight at Hotel Barcelo. (AB)
JAN 20 THU. GUATEMALA-TIKAL:
Today you will go back more than 2,000 years in time when you visit the Tikal National Park. Early morning you will be picked up at your hotel for transfer to the airport to board the flight to Flores, Petén . On arrival, our representative will take you to the Mayan City of Tikal which is located in the center of the National Park that bears its name, and has an extension of 222 square miles. Tikal was inhabited from 600 BC., till 869 AD. Its highlight was between 690 till 850 AD., a time period known by archaeologists as the Late Classic. Visit the Twin-Pyramid Complexes “Q” and “R”, Lost World Complex where the Great Pyramid and Temple 5C-49 are the most important. Also, visit Temple III and the Palace of the Windows, the Great Plaza, squared off with the pyramids of the Grand Jaguar and the Masks, the Palace of the Nobles, and Pyramid IV. This one is the highest of the Mayan pyramids, from its top a complete view of Tikal and its surrounding jungle can be enjoyed. Overnight in the area at the hotel Camino Tikal. (AB,L)
Optional excursion Zip Lining Cost pp US $43
JAN 21 FRI XAXHA- GUATEMALA:
Morning sightseeing tour of Xaxha. Transfer to Yaxha Lake for a visit to the Archeological site of the same name (it means green waters). Yaxha was a large Mayan city, time to explore the area and after lunch transfer back to Flores and to Santa Elena’s Airport to board the flight to Guatemala City. On arrival, our representative will transfer you to Hotel Barcelo Guatemala. (AB,L)
JAN 22 SAT GUATEMALA-U.S.A:
Morning transfer to the airport for return flight. (AB)
Not only the transportation gateway to the rest of the country, but Guatemala City is also a cosmopolitan capital that offers a compelling mix of new shopping centers and traditional markets, fine hotels very good restaurants, a lively nightlife and excellent museums. The latter provide an essential introduction to the antiquities and living Maya culture you will meet in the historic hinterlands. Among the city’s 21 zones, four of them—1, 4, 9 and 10—are home to places of interest to tourists. Some of the city’s most impressive building border the Parque Central, such as the National Palace that houses the government offices and whose second floor is decorated with murals of Maya and Spanish colonial scenes. And on everyone’s short list of leading things to see are the Metropolitan Cathedral on Plaza Major de la Constitution, the pretty little churches of La Merced and San Miguel de Capuchinas, and three museums—the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, the textile collection in the Ixchel Museum, and the Popul Vuh Museum whose artifacts cover Guatemalan civilization from the pre-Classic period to the colonial era. Zones 9 and 10 make up the Zona Viva, an upscale neighborhood housing most of the visitor-favored hotels and where dozens of old mansions have been converted to restaurants, nightclubs and art galleries showcasing works by contemporary Guatemala artists.
The first Spanish city in Guatemala, Antigua is certainly one of the loveliest Spanish colonial towns in Central America. As a matter of fact, it was once the capital of all of Central America, and along with Mexico City and Lima, Antigua was one of the most splendid outposts of the Spanish Empire. Located 30 miles from Guatemala City, this picture-perfect colonial city, full of 16th and 17th century cathedrals and convents, is Guatemala’s most popular weekend-away from the capital and visitor destination, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A citywide restoration program has given new life to historic buildings framing the Plaza Major, including the imposing Royal Palace of the Captains General and the neo-classical Cathedral, next door to the Archbishop’s Palace. Antigua’s religious monuments are superb: San Franciso Church with its treasury of frescoes and paintings; richly decorated La Merced Convent; the cloisters of Las Capuchinas, to name a few.
Along cobblestone streets, colonial homes are now painted in a rainbow of colors, while historic mansions have been converted to elegant little inns, restaurants and boutiques. Certainly a wonderful choice of accommodations—top notch hotels, boutique inns and B&Bs, excellent and informal dining in romantic settings, and a wide range of shopping options from high-end clothing and accessories shops to art galleries to handicraft and artisan markets make Antigua just a gem of a town. Visitors have many options for visiting local villages in the surrounding area, for biking and horseback riding, for volcano-climbing—Volcan Pacaya is the most popular.
.Lake Atitlan & Highlands
Three hours from Antigua, Lake Atitlan is Guatemala’s most majestic natural wonder, breathtakingly beautiful, a mile high, and framed by three massive volcanoes: Atitlan, Toliman and San Pedro. The lake’s shores are dotted with 12 Indian villages, each named for one of the disciples. When here, visitors travel by boat from the pier in Panajachel town to the weaving center of Santiago Atitlan, where Friday and Saturday are principal market days. Yet any day one can see women wearing their huipiles (blouses), intricately embroidered with birds and flowers. When staying in one of many choice hotels and inns around the lake, visitors drive to Solola for its Tuesday and Friday market days, go kayaking on the crystalline waters or just climb a volcano.
Lake Atitilan is also the starting point for following the circuit of Guatemala’s fascinating and undiscovered highland markets. From the lake, one can head for Quetzaltenango, stopping at the market at San Andres Xecul with its famous yellow church; visit textile and blown glass cooperatives in Zunil; catch the enormous vegetable market in Almolonga. On longer highland swings, travelers continue to San Francisco El Alto to visit one of the largest market in Central American, en route to Huehuetenango and beyond, the traditional village of Todos Santos.
Such a loop through the highlands ends in Chichicastenango, “Chichi,” as everyone calls one of Guatemala’s most popular visitor destinations, was once the home of Maya-Quiche kings. Today it is actually Guatemala’s most famous Indian market, open at dawn for business on Thursdays and Sundays and presenting a grand and spectacular outdoor emporium of textiles, woodcarvings—masks are a good bet here, ceramics and basketry—brought in from villages all across the highlands. Sunday is a special day to be in town, for on the main square is the 17th century Santo Tomas Church, built atop an ancient Maya site of worship and used as much for traditional Maya ceremonies as it is for Catholic practices. The church is a Mecca for Indians who come seeking guidance and grace from many gods; on the steps of the church, flowers and food are left as offerings to the saints. Thousands of spectators come to Chichicastenango for the Santo Tomas Festival; it takes place on December 21, but there is a frenzy of processions and traditional dances during the week leading up the city’s patron saint’s feast day.
Tikal & El Peten
Amidst the think tropical rainforests of El Peten province lies Tikal, considered one of the greatest of Maya cities, one that flourished in the Classic period from 250 to 900 A.D. Some 40,000 residents filled its plazas and toiled to build its huge palaces and towering pyramid-temples. Emissaries journeyed from other Maya centers such as Copan in Honduras and Palenque in Mexico to —Tikal, and the city-state led its world in developing architecture, science and mathematics. Tikal collapsed around 900 A.D., and for a thousand years lay buried in the rain forest. During the last quarter century, the site has been restored, a museum has been guild at the entrance and 222 square miles of surrounding jungle have been set aside as a natural park.
Five temples in and around the Great Plaza were the Americas first skyscrapers, the tallest group of structures in the New World before the 20th century. Climbing the temples of the Great Plaza — Temple I, called the Temple of the Great Jaguar, or Temple II, known as the Pyramid of the Masks—required a certain amount of agility; but at ground level, one can also explore smaller structures and ponder the hieroglyphs carved on dozens of stelae. The North Acropolis is particularly interesting, with a number of separate temples and a labyrinth of stairways and passages to reach them.
In the jungleland of the national park, are more than 200 species of birds, and the area is home to howler and spider monkeys, armadillos, kinkajus, coats, raccoons, deer and peccaries.
Flores, the airline gateway to El Peten and Tikal, is built on a small raised island in Lake Peten-Itza, connected to the mainland—some 25 miles from Tikal—by a causeway. While there are a few small lodges at Tikal site, most visitors stay in or closer to Flores, where there are several choices of first class accommodations. Flores is also the gateway to exploring El Peten, which is full of other Maya sites that the adventurer can ready by road and river travel. Among them is El Ceibal, whose stelae are among the finest sculptures of the Maya Late Classic period. When visiting El Ceibal, spend the night at a lodge on the Petexbatun Lagoon and visit the ruins of Aguateca—its main plaza, stelaes and the underground passage connecting with the lagoon. From the Petexbatun Lagoon, the Pasion River flows westbound and eventually meets the Usumacinta. Not only does this waterway offer a grand river boat trip, but it follows to the marvelous palaces and temples of the Maya city state of Yaxchilan, and on to the Mexico border for those interested in following this major Maya route to Bonampak and Palenque in Mexico. by Carla Hunt
Land tour cost: (includes local airfare to Tikal)
Based on 6 to 9 minimum people DBL $2,146 TRP $2,274 SGL $2,610
International airfare not included.
DEPOSIT: $250 pp
PAYMENTS WITH CREDIT CARDS:
Due to the increase on credit card fees from the banks we are force to charge 2.5% when paying with cc. (No fees when paying with checks).
NOTE: You can pay deposit with CC and final payment with check (no fees will apply)
* RATES INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:
– Accommodation as indicated, including 12% VAT, and 10% Tourism (Inguat) Tax
– Meals included include 12% VAT and 10% gratuity
– Sightseeing transportation as specified, including 12% VAT
– Entrance fees to visiting sites
– Covid-19 precautions & protocols (safe distance, sanitation of vehicles, antibacterial gel….)
– Tips to porters at hotels
– Flight Gua/ Frs/ Gua with TAG Airlines
Gua/Frs: 06:30/07:30 Hrs. (5U 110)
Frs/Gua: 18:30/19:30 Hrs. (5U 115)
– Airport Security Tax domestic flight (US$3.00 per person, per flight FRS/GUA)
– The permitted luggage weight for the domestic flight is 20 pounds for checked luggage and 10 pounds for hand luggage per person. ***The airline will charge US $1.00 for each extra pound upon check in
* RATES DO NOT INCLUDE:
– International airfares
– Meals not specified
– WiFi access at hotels and restaurants
– Tips to Chambermaids, Driver, and Guide
– Personal expenses such as: beverages, phone calls, laundry, health and travel insurance, covid test or vaccinations, etc.
TAKE NOTE, AT THE PRESENT TIME GUATEMALA REQUIRES
Negative Covid-19 test to enter the country taken 72 hours prior to travel or the Covid vaccine (the 2 doses at least 14 days taken before arrival)
Refundable until Oct.1, 2021 less $100 processing fee
105 to 60 days US $250.00 service per person ; 59 to 31 days before departure US $350.00 per person plus any fees from local airlines and hotels; Less than 30 days – NO REFUNDS – CANCELLATIONS MUST BE IN WRITING!
Issued airline tickets non refundable plus above charges.