Highland Maya Markets
- Lake Atitlan
- San Francisco el Alto
This cultural Guatemala travel adventure begins with a visit to the busy, colorful markets of Antigua. Spend a a day with a Maya host family and let them introduce you to their culture and their beautiful Guatemala. Then we'll take a trip to serene Lake Atitlan and explore its volcano-fringed shoreline. Your final days are spent visiting the workshops of local artisans, and markets deeper into the highlands. Immerse yourself in Maya culture and create friendships that will last long after your Guatemala travel adventures are over.
- Day 1 Arrive Antigua
- Day 2 Coffee and Antigua
- Day 3 Maya Hospitality in Totonicapan
- Day 4 Totonicapan/ Lake Atitlan
- Day 5 San Juan and Santiago
- Day 6 San Andres Market, Zunil cooperatives
- Day 7 San Francisco el Alto
- Day 8 Transfer to Chichicastenango
- Day 9 Chichicastenango
- Day 10 Return Home
- Additional Tour Options
- $2290 - 2 person rate
- $1925 - 3 person rate
- Community StayHomestay with local families or overnight in community-supported campground or lodge for unique cultural immersion.
- Cultural ActivitiesIncludes cultural activities such as a visit to a traditional village or a local market to give a unique perspective.
- HistoryVisit ancient ruins and historical sites.
Arrive to the Guatemala City airport where you will be met and transferred to Antigua for the night.
This morning we take a tour to visit families supported by As Green as it Gets (GAIG), a small independent coffee producers charity promoting environmentally responsible agriculture in Guatemala. You will have the opportunity to work side by side with small coffee farmers in their daily coffee processing, either pick, pulp, ferment, wash, dry, trilla, sort, or grade the coffee, depending on the season. You may even help roast the coffee over an open fire and help grind it by hand before sampling it for yourself. (Coffee season in Nov – Mar. By taking this tour, we are donating to GAIG).
Volcano Fuego rises to the roof of the world above the colonial streets of Antigua below. This afternoon we embark on a walking city tour of the city’s most architectural structures remaining from its colonial past. Mammoth ruins of churches and palaces tell the story of Antigua's past glory, and restored facades speak of a bright future for this wonderful city.
Scholars tell us that the Ancient Maya disappeared mysteriously a thousand years ago, but anyone who has intimately explored this fascinating region knows that the Maya continue to thrive in the highlands of Guatemala. This morning is free for you to enjoy Antigua.
Mid-day we move towards the highland town of Totonicapan, arriving in late afternoon. Here a community of over twenty K`iche families reaches out to visitors with the vision of bringing people into their homes to share their culture with the outside world. In return, your host family is eager to learn about your life back home. We’ll arrive in time to share a communal evening and overnight with families.
Alternate itinerary available without the homestay night if preferred.
This morning is market day in Toto, but don't expect a guided group tour of this bustling local market. This is part of your host family's weekly tradition, and you'll be accompanying them around this early morning market as they do their shopping. After the market, we'll have a chance to visit the workshops of ceramic artists, weavers, mask makers, and wood workers. After lunch we're off to Lago Atitlan, often referred to as the most beautiful lake in the world. Our home for the next few days is a charming lodge in the village of Santiago de Atitlan.
Today you will take a scenic boat ride across Lake Atitlan to the village of San Juan La Laguna. Here you can visit the women's textile cooperative to see hand weaving and the natural dye process used to make their famous petates, woven mats made from lake reeds. Also you will visit the home studios of the celebrated naïf painters. From here guests continue to the village of Santiago where they have lunch in a local hotel and tour the and learn about the textiles, spiritualism and beliefs of the T’zutujil Maya. It's also worthwhile to visit Maximon and leave an offering to this curious deity. The rest of the day is free to explore as you wish. Go canoeing on the lake, horseback riding to a nearby cloudforest, or rent a mountain bike.
We leave the lake today to drive deeper into the Maya highlands. (Approx 3-4hr). Take a stop en route to visit the market at San Andres Xecul with its famous yellow church combining Catholic and Maya iconography. Continue to Zunil where the centuries old ways of life are still practiced. Here you visit the textile cooperative in which more than 500 local women participate. Weaving lessons are also offered here. Also, you can visit the blown glass cooperative. If time permits guests can also hopefully catch the end of the market in Almolonga, the town well known for its predominantly evangelical Christian population and the country's largest grown vegetables!
Today we travel to visit what is known as Guatemala's garment district, jammed with vendors selling sweaters, socks, scarves and more. The large plaza is covered in goods on Fridays when the biggest and most authentic market in the country is in full swing. Return to Quetzaltenango for the evening.
Enjoy a leisurely morning in Quetzaltenango before transferring on to Chichi for the night. (3hr) This beautiful town, surrounded by valleys and shadowed by mountains, has many shamanistic and ceremonial overtones. Stroll the town tonight to see the market setting up for the next day.
To visit Todos Santos Market this day, please contact us for a modified itinerary.
Today we rise early and explore the famous market of Chichicastenango. Its large market brings villagers from throughout the region, who often arrive the night before and sleep on blankets in the market square. Rising early, they set out their colorful fruits, vegetables and handicrafts. The market disperses in the early afternoon and we travel back to Antigua for a relaxing final night in this colonial town.