Heart of Guatemala
Land of the Maya!
Although small in size, Guatemala is a country of incredible diversity. At the heart of the Mayan world, Guatemala offers much to discover from active volcanoes, jungles, colonial cities and pyramids – all to be experienced in a wonderful climate that has led Guatemala to be known as ‘the land of eternal spring’. Experience an extraordinary journey as we learn about culture, share in traditions, and simply enjoy the natural beauty of Guatemala.
DAY 1 – VANCOUVER, BC
Join together for an overnight at the Sandman in Richmond before our flight the next morning.
DAY 2 – ANTIGUA
Our flight to Guatemala City departs Vancouver this morning. A private transfer will take us to Antigua City for the next three nights. Surrounded by three volcanoes, it is undoubtedly the most beautiful historic city in the entire country.
Once a powerful seat of the Mayan empire, the Tikal ruins are now the most famous archeological site in Guatemala and the most visited in all Latin America.
DAY 3 – ANTIGUA
Today, choose a bike tour on the cobbled streets of Antigua and visit – Central Park, Santa Clara Convent and Le Merced Church. Finish the tour in an 18th century coffee farm. Or, enjoy a walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site steps. Transfer by ‘tuk tuk’ to San Juan El Obispo. This old historic town dates back from the early days of Spanish colonization. Main attractions include its church, episcopal palace and streets lined with old colonial mansions.
EXPERIENCES & HIGHLIGHTS
The Guatemalan Caribbean is the place where the living culture Garifuna converges. Comfortable cabins inside the jungle with tropical decoration of the Caribbean await.
Experience both the landscapes and culture of Guatemala, that will forever be in your mind and heart. Experience a sunrise from a pyramid, participate in a Mayan Ceremony, bask on Caribbean beaches, this is an adventure like no other.
DAY 4 – ANTIGUA
Pacaya Volcano is our destination today. With a height of 2,552 meters, it is one of four active volcanoes in Guatemala and the most recommended for its easy accent and magnificent views. During the 90-minute ascent enjoy nature and exuberant vegetation that soon changes to volcanic sand; you will walk on the cold lava fields, possibly see lava flows and will eat roasted marshmallows on the hot stones of the volcano. A special treat is the lunch prepared by Don David Garcia who will prepare the only volcanic pizza in the world for you to enjoy! For those wanting to spend the day in Antigua exploring on their own, the possibilities are endless.
DAY 5 – PANAJACHEL
Journey to Panajachel, a small Kakchikel village located on the shores of Lake Atitlan, considered to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Travel by boat to San Juan Bautista where we learn about the cultural, artisan and artistic traditions of the Mayan Tzutujil culture. Visit a cooperative that will introduce you to a variety of Mayan bees that produce natural honey. You will be taught the process of making honey and will learn of the importance of bees in the ecosystem for this region. End this perfect day with a Guatemalan rum at Café la Cabana, known for its magnificent view of the lake to watch the sunset. Return to Panajachel.
DAY 6 – CHICHICASTENGANGO
We start the day in Chichicastenango, one of the most beautiful corners of Guatemala that revolves around its market and the ancient Mayan culture. The market is a gigantic, lively, colourful place and the best place to buy art and typical handmade crafts of the country. During your visit you will enjoy a tasting of tropical fruits. Our next stop is Santo Tomas Church, an important sanctuary for the Mayan cults. Lunch is at the Ignacio family home and includes a folk dance performed by the children of the family in which they use very colourful clothing and masks carved out of wood by themselves. We continue to Guatemala City for the night.
DAY 7 – TIKAL NATIONAL PARK
Board an early morning flight to Flores, Peten, one of the most picturesque towns to be seen, characterized by its colourful colonial houses and tranquility. Transfer by boat to El Chechenal beach, known for the beauty given to it by the turquoise water. There is free time to swim or take a walk on the trails to Mirador Roi Canek where you will have a 360-degree view of the lake and the Island of Flores. Tour the archaeological site of Yaxha, an ancient ceremonial center of the Mayan civilization considered the ‘best kept secret of the Mayan world’. The visit will end at the top of Temple 216, from where the Yaxha Lagoon, considered the most important water mirror in the entire Mayan biosphere will serve as a setting to enjoy a magnificent sunset. Transfer to the Hotel Jungle Lodge, located in the heart of the Peten jungle. You will be staying in the heart of the Mayan Biosphere, in the first scientific camp established in the Tikal Archaeological Park. Enjoy a rest surrounded by magnificent flora and faunae.
DAY 8 – RIO DULCE
Jaguars, pumas, monkeys and anthills – oh my. The Tikal National Park is one of the best spots to see the sunrise. Surrounded by magic and tropical jungle, you will enjoy the sunrise among the ruins with joyful bird songs. The tour continues with visits to Plaza Mayor and the Twin Pyramids, the Temple of the Jaguar, Temple of the Masks and the Temple of the Two Headed Serpent. Return to the hotel for breakfast. Following lunch, depart to the Guatemalan Caribbean, the place where the living culture of “Garifuna’ converges. Overnight is the Hacienda Tijax.
DAY 9 – RIO DULCE
Today we cross the Rio Dulce, one of the top boat trips in Central America and home to a diverse aquatic ecosystem where hundreds of species of birds inhabit, even manatees. You might recognize the area from Pirates of the Caribbean. High cliffs covered with tropical jungle are a wonder to the eyes. Our route continues to Livingston, located at the mouth of the River in the Caribbean Sea. Discover its colourful painted houses and the calm Caribbean rhythm of the people. The population is originally from Jamaica. Arrive in Guatemala City for our final night.
DAY 10 – RETURN HOME
It’s an early departure today to the airport for our morning flight back to Vancouver, arriving late this evening with amazing memories from this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.