Maya Magic

Mayan cultures of Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Highlands, and Tikal
Overview

overview

In Guatemala, forest-covered volcanoes offer us our points of reference, and Mayan communities focus our exploration. Visit colonial Antigua, the villages on Lake Atitlan, the market at  Chichicastenango, and the grand Mayan ruins in the north, including Yaxha and Tikal.  Throughout Guatemala, Mayan arts and Mayan pride thrive as aspects of living culture. This is a relatively short but very full trip. You can choose to focus on the markets and textiles, on the historical and archaeological sites, or on the volcanoes, natural history and hiking trails; or you can sample a bit of it all.

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Antigua
    From the center of colonial Antigua, the vistas and the detail are equally impressive.

    You will be met upon arrival at Guatemala City Airport by your guide and driver and transferred about an hour to the colonial town of Antigua. You will receive a welcome pack that includes trip notes and general information on the destinations in Guatemala, including restaurant and shopping recommendations. Once in Antigua, you can relax in a beautiful colonial boutique hotel.

    Lodging
    El Convento or similar
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  • Day 2: Antigua and Azotea Coffee Tour
    Experience Antiguan charm.

    This morning, you’ll be met at your hotel by your guide, and you will have a choice of either an Antigua walking tour or an "As Green As It Gets" (AGAIG)  coffee tour. The Antigua city tour provides you with a behind-the-scenes look at some of the many churches, convents, and cathedrals, such as the Iglesia San Francisco, the Cathedral, Central Park, and La Merced Church. Visit various other monuments, museums, and attractions. Alternatively, the coffee tour supports a local charity called "As Green As It Gets," which independently produces and promotes environmentally responsible agriculture in Guatemala. During the tour, you will visit some of the families supported by this organization. You will help the coffee farmers in their daily coffee processing, before sampling the coffee yourself. Your guide will accompany you back to the hotel or take you to a recommended restaurant. The rest of the day is free to explore on your own.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    El Convento or similar
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  • Day 3: Iximché / Lake Atitlan
    Peaceful Lake Atitlan.

    En route to Lake Atitlan, visit the famous Maya site of Iximché for a guided tour. Iximché was the capital of the Kakchiquel Maya. The archaeological site sits atop a fortified hilltop surrounded by a moat about nine feet deep. The Kakchiquel Maya were powerful warriors and skillful builders. The stucco faces of many stone structures are still intact. It is thought that Iximché was founded in the year 1470 AD and throughout the life of the city were always the bitter enemies of the Quiché Maya. The first Spanish settlement on Guatemalan soil was in Iximché. After touring this fascinating site you can enjoy a traditional lunch in a local restaurant before continuing on to Lake Atitlan.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Hotel Atitlan
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  • Day 4: San Juan La Laguna and Santiago Atitlan
    The exterior of house and shops in San Juan Atitlan are typically decorated with mural paintings.

    Enjoy a boat tour of the exquitie lake today with visits to two very different villages. First, charming quiet San Juan La Laguna where the walls of many homes and shops are painted with colorful murals. Visit a local textile cooperative to see the back strap loom in use and how natural dyes are still used, as well as the home and workshop of a local naif painter. Then, Santiago village, larger, busier, and more city-like, known for hosting the strange Maya God Maximon.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Hotel Atitlan
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  • Day 5: Chichicastenango / Fly to Flores
    The colorful market in Chichicastenango will entice the senses.

    Drive about an hour to the market town of  Chichicastenango, known as Chichi. The market is enormous and stocked to overflowing with a huge variety of textiles, masks, ceramics and ceremonial wares. In the heart of things, visit the grand St. Tomas Church, where local Maya perform their indigenous rituals alongside Catholic worship. If you would like, hike up the hill to the Pascual Abaj ritual where you may meet with local shamans. From Chichi, drive two hours to the airport in Guatemala City for your flight north to Flores.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Hotel Camino Real Tikal
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  • Day 6: Yaxha National Park and Topoxte

    An hour from Flores, explore the significant -- and lesser visited -- Yaxha National Park. A short boat trip on Lake Yaxha takes you to the small island site of Topoxte where the temples remain densely covered with forest. This post-classic site is believed to be the last inhabited Mayan site in Guatemala. Later, at the ceremonial site of Yaxha, set atop a hill overloking two lakes, the tower of Temple 216 in the East Acropolis offers a magnificent panoramic view.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Camino Real Tikal
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  • Day 7: Tikal National Park

    Explore Tikal National Park.  This is perhaps the best known of all Mayan sites. Here, 3,000 ancient structures rise from the jungle floor amidst the colors and sounds of tropical birds and animals, including howler and spider monkeys.  Once home to an estimated at 50,000 residents or more, Tikal flourished from 800 BC to 900 AD.  Visit the majestic Great Plaza and its Temple of the Jaguar (44 meters / 144 feet), Temple of the Masks (38m / 125ft), the Acropolis and more. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, and an opportunity to explore the museum at the visitor center.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Biltmore Express (or similar)
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  • Day 8: Guatemala City / Onward

    Today you will be transferred to the Guatemala City Airport to catch your onward flight.

    Meals
    Breakfast
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Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Anytime Start on Sun or Wed
Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$3,195
The cost quoted is the Land Cost and is subject to change. This covers accommodations, transfers, activities, touring, guide services and meals as described in JOURNEYS' Trip Notes. The quoted Land Cost will apply when group size falls in the specified range and when travel is on the indicated dates.
Single Supplement:
$500
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

Duration:
8 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
3
delightful and superior hotels
Group Size:
2-10
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
1
delightful and superior hotels

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

There are currently no suggested extensions for this itinerary. Please ask the Destination Specialist if you'd like to customize one.

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