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December 20, 2015 Guatemala Explorer

Example 8 Day Tour
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Journey into the highlands of Guatemala to discover the modern Maya culture, as well as steep-sided temples and other vestiges of the Maya past. Start by exploring colonial Antigua and spend a few nights along the shores of the volcano-fringed Lake Atitlan. Experience the bustling market of Chichicastenango and finally the majestic ruins of Tikal. Along the way, the warmth and hospitality of Guatemala's people will make you want to return time and time again. A fabulous introduction to Guatemala travel!
Polenta grill at Solola marketUsing the big loom - natural color threadsLake Atitlan at EveningVolcanoes are easy to spot in GuatemalaJoe at the lakeGreat scenery on the lake!View of Temple II-TikalJoe and IA woman balances her goods on her headMarket day on Chici tour in GuatemalaLake AtitlanWatching the sun set in FloresJoe at the fountain in the main plazaMore ruins...Canoeing in the rain on Lake AtitlanHotel Aurora, AntiguaTemple in TikalBeautiful views hiking by Lake AtitlanSunset at Lake AtitlanAntiguaOne of many cathedrals in AntiguaView of lower poolsMiddle pools of Semuc ChampeyAnother view of middle pools Santigo de Atitlan- MaximonSan Andres Xecul churchPounding the cotton to make it thinnerFirst weaving co-op we visited Making threadAnother hand  loomSheree bought a beautiful blue apron from her.On Top of Temple IV over looking the Canopy and Skyscrapers.Im going to try this with my laundry basket
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive Guatemala City

Fly into Guatemala City where you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Antigua.

Day 2: Antigua City Tour

Volcan Fuego rises to the roof of the world above the streets of Antigua below. Once the capital of Guatemala and all Central America, Antigua resembles a living ruin. Mammoth churches and palaces tell the story of Antigua's past glory, and restored fascades speak of a bright future for this wonderful city. This morning we tour the city and admire Antigua's gilded cathedrals. The afternoon is yours to rent mountain bikes to explore the countryside, visit a coffee finca or macadamia nut plantation, or just people watch in the main plaza.

Day 3: Comalapa Market and Iximche

This morning rise and drive about an hour before arriving to San Juan de Comalapa. Enjoy the bustle of the lively market less visited by tourists. Vendors set out their handicrafts, vegetables, and animals to sell. Explore the market and see the local painters who continue the tradition of naïve paintings. See the famous mural painted by school children in 1996 depicting Guatemala's recent civil war events. Explore the town and try the bread in one of the local panaderias before you leave.

Next visit the Maya site of Iximché, a pre-columbian Mesoamerican archeological site abandoned in 1524. Walk amongst a number of pyramid temples, palaces, and two ballcourts and observe the painted murals on the sides of some complexes. Sculptures and ceramics are also displayed in the small on-site museum. Head next to the shores of beautiful Lake Atitlan, a deep caldera lake flanked by three majestic volcanoes. Settle into your charming hotel along the shores near Panajachel.

Day 4: Lake Atitlan Villages

Today board a passenger ferry and ride across the azure-colored waters of Lake Atitlan to the village of San Juan La Laguna. Here 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. You may also visit the home studios of the celebrated naïf painters.

Continue to the village of Santiago, where villagers still adhere to the traditional lifestyle of the Tz'utuhil Maya and on our walk we'll 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. 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. Visit Maximòn and leave an offering to this curious and revered deity. Return to Panajachel this afternoon and enjoy the rest of the day as you wish.

Day 5: Chichicastenango Market

Today 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. The market disperses early afternoon and you drive back to Guatemala City in time for an early evening flight north to the tropical lowlands of the Peten and the home of the ancient Maya. Overnight near Flores.

Day 6: Free Day Peten Jungle

Spend this day free to enjoy the jungle of the Peten region and the gorgeous views of Lake Peten-Itza. Swim in the hotel's pool, take a kayak out on the lake, or wander into town and explore the quaint colonial shops that comprise the island town of Flores. Ixpanpajul National Park is nearby with a great trail system and zipline tour as well. Plan an optional excursion this day, or relax at your hotel.

Day 7: Tikal Ruins

Meet up with your guide and visit the ruins of Tikal for a private tour today. Here you'll encounter towering pyramids rising above the thick jungle canopy, and learn how the city thrived as an important religious, scientific, and political center for 1500 years. The pristine forest engulfing the ruined city is home to howler and spider monkeys, white lipped peccary, brocket deer, coati-mundis, toucans, scarlet macaws, parrots, ocelots and the seldom seen jaguar. After lunch, the day is yours to explore the ruins until mid- afternoon when you return to Flores for an evening flight back to Guatemala City.

Day 8: Return Home

  • 1 Breakfast


Antigua - Hotels

Panajachel - Hotels

Flores - Hotels

Guatemala City - Hotels

Dates & Prices

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Rates based on El Convento, Hotel Atitlan, Camino Real Tikal, Biltmore Express Hotels

Special Holiday Departure
  • 7 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • 6 Days Guide Service
  • International Arrival Transfers are included.
  • International Departure Transfers are excluded.
  • International Flights
  • Meals not Included
  • Airport Departure Tax
  • Optional Excursions
  • Airport Arrival Tax


When to Go

Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.

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The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.
Gale Cantor

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