Begin your Guatemala travel adventure with a visit to the bustling Comalapa Market. Bargain your way through the rows of vendors and emerge with local arts and crafts, and vegetables and fruits - a taste of Guatemala. Spend the next couple of nights along the beautiful shores of volcano-fringed Lake Atitlan. Your last Guatemala travel days are spent back in historic Antigua to shop and explore this wonderful city, its decorative cathedrals, its lively markets, and the friendly people that make Guatemala such an exceptional place to travel.
Tour Antigua and visit mammoth churches and palaces
Attend Comalapa Market full of handicrafts, artwork & local crops
Travel to Lake Atitlan, a deep caldera lake flanked by three volcanoes
Volcan Fuego rises to the roof of the world above the streets of Antigua. Once the capital of Guatemala and all of Central America, Antigua resembles a living ruin. Mammoth churches and palaces tell the story of Antigua's past glory, and restored facades speak of a bright future for this wonderful city. In the morning, take a guided tour of the city and admire Antigua's gilded cathedrals. The afternoon is yours to rent mountain bikes and explore the countryside, visit a coffee finca or macadamia nut plantation, or relax and people-watch in the main plaza. In the evening, return to your hotel.
Spend a leisurely cultural day in the Comalapa Market, open Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Enjoy greeting the locals and admire their beautiful handicrafts and artwork, occasionally stopping to barter and buy. The market is also a selling-point for mounds of fruits, vegetables, meats, and clothing. The market disperses in the early afternoon, and you travel to the shores of beautiful Lake Atitlan, a deep caldera lake flanked by three majestic volcanoes.
After admiring the placid waters of the lake, set out about town on a walking tour. Scholars claim that the ancient Maya mysteriously disappeared 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. Villagers in Santiago Atitlan still adhere to the traditional lifestyle of the Tz'utuhil Maya, and you can see many people cloaked in brightly-colored, hand-woven clothing. Along Santiago's main street are art galleries filled with oil paintings depicting busy market scenes and typical life in the highlands. Weather depending, visit Maximòn and leave an offering to this curious and revered deity.
Rise early to visit the famous market of Chichicastenango. This beautiful town, surrounded by valleys and shadowed by mountains, has many shamanistic and ceremonial overtones. 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. Return to colonial Antigua in the evening.
Day 6: Return Home
In the morning, transfer on your own to the airport for your continued travels.
The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.