ABOUT THE PACKAGE
One of our most popular group departures, Guatemala Highlights offers a comprehensive and affordable way of getting to see the country’s most popular sights. Included are stays in colonial Antigua, magical Lake Atitlan and the Peten rainforest, home to spectacular Tikal ruins.
1 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 at Aurora Hotel or similar.
2 Chichi market enroute to Atitlan (Lake Atitlan)
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 and wrap it up with lunch at a local eatery. In the afternoon continue to Lake Atitlan. Overnight accommodations will be provided at Dos Mundos Hotel in Panajachel.
3 Meet the locals and…their gods (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. This morning we board a local boat and depart for San Juan La Laguna to visit a textile cooperative, medicinal plant center and local naif painter workshops. Then we continue to 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 learn about the textiles, spiritualism and beliefs of the T’zutujil Maya. Return to hotel in the afternoon.
4 Solola Market and Iximche (Antigua)
Today we will visit the colorful authentic market at Solola and enjoy a tour of the market. Lunch will be in a traditional restaurant en route back to Antigua. There will also be a short tour of the small Maya Archaeology site at Iximche. Overnight at Aurora Hotel or similar.
5 Architecture and History Tour (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.
6 To the Peten jungle (Tikal)
A morning flight will take us 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. Overnight at Maya Internacional Hotel.
7 Tikal: Skyscrapers in the jungle (Guatemala City)
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 we will be transferred back to Flores airport and fly to Guatemala City. At the airport we will be met by our local representative for an unguided transfer to the Biltmore Hotel. Free evening.
8 Depart Guatemala
Farewell Eco Voyagers! Today our local representative will be transferring us to the airport in time for our departing flight. We wish you a pleasant trip back home and hope to enjoy your company in another exciting adventure very soon.