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TREASURES OF GUATEMALA

March 25-Apr. 2, 2023

Featuring the Mayan Temples of Tikal and Xaxha, the native markets of Chichicastenengo and Solola, a visit to the colonial city of Antigua and three glorious days along the shores of stunningly beautiful Lake Atitlan.


Tikal National Park


Lake Atitlan - pictured with two of the three volcanoes which serve as a backdrop to this gorgeous lake
(Also pictured is the aerial view of our hotel where we will enjoy three nights along the lake)

 

Join us for an incredible week exploring the amazing sites of Guatemala.

While most only know Guatemala for the Mayan temples at Tikal, there is so much more to this Central American treasured country.

We will enjoy visits to both Tikal as well as the Mayan temples of Xaxha.  We will enjoy three nights on the shores of the stunningly beautiful lake Atitlan, with its backdrop of three dramatic volcanoes framing its shorelines.

Here we will enjoy a boat ride to visit a native Indian village.

We will also enjoy an opportunity to Soak in the Thermal Baths at Los Thermales, or go kayaking on the lake.

And for an even greater feel of the serenity along the lake, enjoy an opportunity to attend either a spiritual yoga class with a stunning view or, attend a native Cacao ceremony (or attend both)

Also, we will visit two native outdoor markets, one known for its great opportunities to barter/bargain for local handicrafts, while the other is known for the opportunities to watch the locals bargain with each other for their own local goods.

Lastly, an opportunity to enjoy a zipline ride over one of the Mayan temples is a final Wow Experience on this one of a kind tour.

The start of November through the end of April is the dry season in Guatemala, with average highs in the mid to upper 70s and an average of 29 days of sunshine and clear blue skies per month in the dry season.  March is also the Least humid month, so the weather should be quite pleasant during the time period of our tour.

 

Daily Itinerary         Meals Key:      AB – American Breakfast included that day
                                                         L – Lunch included that day
                                                         D  Dinner included that day

 

SAT. MARCH 25, 2023 

U.S.A- to GUATEMALA: Depart USA for Guatemala Cit.   Arrive and private transfer from the airport to our 5 star Hotel Barceló Guatemala.

This evening we will have a brief group orientation at our hotel.

 

SUN MAR 26, 2023 --CHICHICASTENANGO: OPEN AIR MARKET 

In the morning we will depart for the picturesque town of Chichicastenango… 

And today is market day in Chichicastenango!

Visit the most colorful and picturesque Indian Open-Air market in the country. Hundreds of natives from the surrounding villages –wearing their unique and colorful dresses, gather to barter their goods and products.

Situated in the El Quiché valley and surrounded by beautiful mountain views, Chichi may seem like a tranquil, sleepy village outside of market days, when the narrow cobbled streets and red-tiled roofs transport visitors to a different era. But twice a week, on Sunday and Thursday, Chichi comes alive as representatives and groups of Mayan communities from the whole of Guatemala gather here to engage in lively trade, buying and selling products at what is thought to be the largest market in Central America.

Some of the stalls sell beautiful, handcrafted goods that are sold to curious tourists and visitors, but the majority of the traders here actually focus on inter-village trade between a number of cooperating Mayan highland communities. Chichi is their meeting point and a chance to exchange news and goods.  This makes for a fascinating experience for visitors/tourists to witness the locals carrying on their own trade amongst themselves.

Also, witness the captivating religious ceremonies held on the steps and inside the 400-year old Church of Santo Tomás –(No shorts or bathing suits are allowed inside the Church) here, the Mayan Quiche indigenous observe unique religious and spiritual customs and experience their 9 sacred sites. 

This Afternoon we will be transferred to Lake Atitlan - "one of the most beautiful lakes in the world", with its 3 volcanoes in the background -San Pedro, Toliman and Atitlan, providing stunning panoramic vistas all around.

Overnight at the 4 star Hotel Portadel Lago, located on the shores of Lake Atitlan for three nights. (AB)

 

Welcome to Porta Hotel Del Lago


A BEAUTIFUL HOTEL BY LAKE ATITLAN

Framed by lush gardens and breathtaking views of Lake Atitlán and Guatemala’s three majestic volcanoes – Volcán San Pedro, Volcán Atitlán and Volcán Tolimán – Porta Hotel del Lago offers a truly majestic destination for your next getaway to Panajachel. You’ll find our tranquil, intimate and warm boutique hotel overlooking lake waters just steps from the town main attractions, shopping and restaurants. Here, the rich comforts of a modern hotel blend seamlessly with authentic Guatemalan design and décor to create a truly unique ambience.

Treat yourself to a rejuvenating private massage before dropping into a comfy chaise lounge by our freeform outdoor pool.

 

                              


Scenes along Lake Atitlan

     

 


Our 4 star hotel along the beautiful Lake Atitlan.


Our 4 star hotel along the beautiful Lake Atitlan.


Our 4 star hotel along the beautiful Lake Atitlan at Sunset!

 

Each room offers a private balcony or a terrace with garden access, two double beds, a telephone, a radio/alarm clock, a TV with cable, a work desk and a lamp, a closet and luggage storage.

Bathrooms are appointed with either a tub or a shower and a hair dryer.

 

MON MAR 27, 2023 - LAKE ATITLAN TRIBAL VILLAGE VISIT

This morning we will be boarding a boat to visit one of the twelve interesting indigenous lake shore villages. Their inhabitants are for the most part descendants of the Cakchiqel and TzutilIndians

 Return to Panajachel for the rest of the day at leisure

AFTERNOON

Optional afternoon tourVisit a Guatemalan chocolate shop and coffee beanery shop.

Relax tonight, our 2nd night again at Hotel Portadel Lago, located on the shores of Lake Atitlan. (AB)

 


TUE MAR 28 2023   ATITLAN-SOLOLA-ATITLAN  

Morning depart for Solola market, a very different atmosphere from that we experienced at Chicicastenengo. The Solola market is one of the most vivid in Guatemala, filled with indigenous people -with very colorful and distinctive dresses-who have journeyed from all over the area to sell and buy produce.  It is only open on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  It feels like a very authentic experience. The explosion of colors, shapes, smells, the variety of fruits and vegetables is amazing. The top floor offers countless booths with brilliantly colored assortments of textiles which you can barter/bargain/negotiate for.

The town of Solola where the market takes place gives unrivalled views over the lake, with imposing volcanoes in the backdrop.

Return to our hotel along Lake Atitlan for free afternoon and optional activities:

AFTERNOON

-Optional afternoon excursions:

-        Activity One - Kayak or swim on the lake
-        Activity Two - Soak in the thermal baths at Los Thermales

Or for those not interested in joining us on either of this afternoon’s optional two activity package excursion, they can simply have a free afternoon to explore the shops/cafes at leisure, or for anyone certified, they can do a full afternoon scuba diving excursion.

Overnight at Hotel Portadel Lago, located on the shores of Lake Atitlan. (AB) 

 

WED MAR 29, 2023 - LAKE ATITLAN  - Free morning for optional activities along the lake, or just relax, shop, or swim at your leisure., 

Optional three activity combination package this morning:

First – Enjoy a short thirty minute hike to the Indian Nose viewpoint for spectacular views

Next, feel the spiritualty of the region by participating in a Yoga class with an another spectacular view at Eagles Nest Retreat

Lastly, feel even more of the local spirituality by attending a local Cacao Ceremony 

The three activities in this package have the same theme of natural beauty and spiritual enrichment.

Free time for lunch at leisure at one of the many cafes along the lake.

 

PM - LAKE ATITLAN-to ANTIGUA 

We will all depart as a group around 3pm for Antigua, a two and a half hours drive, that gets us there by around 5:30pm, ideally in time to see the sunset which will be around 6:15pm.

Overnight at Hotel Casa Santo Domingo or Camino Real Antigua.(AB)

 

THURS MAR 30,2023 - ANTIGUA-city tour and then transport to Guatemala City

 Morning guided tour of Antigua, the former Spanish Colonial Capital of the country and today a national monument of the Americas. A very pleasant city of cobble stones streets, houses and mansions with colonial-style facades and tile roofs. Your local tour guide will take you to visit convents, monasteries and other colonial buildings,

 
Scene from the historic town of Antigua Guatemala

 

 Mid-afternoon we will return to Guatemala City (approx. a 90 minute drive).

Overnight at the 5 star Hotel Barceló in Guatemala City. (AB)

 

FRI MAR 31.2023 –TIKAL NATIONAL PARK  MAYAN RUINS TOUR OR PACAYA VOLCANO HIKING TOUR

 Today you will have a choice between an included two day/one night tour visiting two of the most important temple and pyramid complexes in the Mayan world, or a one day tour to hike or horseback ride up the path at one of the most impressive volcanoes in Guatemala, followed by a free day to explore Guatemala city at your leisure, with its impressive museums and more, or to just enjoy the second day relaxing poolside, at our 5 star hotel in Guatemala City with its outdoor pool, whirlpool, poolside bar and more.

 

Option One – TWO DAY TOUR OF TIKAL AND XAXHA MAYAN TEMPLE/PYRAMIDS COMPLEXES

 

Friday – Today we will go back more than 2,000 years in time when you visit the Tikal National Park. Early morning you will be picked up at your hotel for transfer to the airport to board the flight to Flores, Petén . On arrival, our representative will take you to the Mayan City of Tikal which is located in the center of the National Park that bears its name, and has an extension of 222 square miles. Tikal was inhabited from 600 BC., till 869 AD. Its highlight was between 690 till 850 AD., a time period known by archaeologists as the Late Classic. Visit the Twin  -Pyramid Complexes “Q” and “R”, Lost World Complex where the Great Pyramid and Temple 5C-49 are the most important. Also, visit Temple III and the Palace of the Windows, the Great Plaza, squared off with the pyramids of the Grand Jaguar and the Masks, the Palace of the Nobles, and Pyramid IV. This one is the highest of the Mayan pyramids, from its top a complete view of Tikal and its surrounding jungle can be enjoyed. 

 

Tikal National Park is one of the few World Heritage properties inscribed according to both natural and cultural criteria for its extraordinary biodiversity and archaeological importance. It comprises 57,600 hectares of wetlands, savannah, tropical broadleaf and palm forests with thousands of architectural and artistic remains of the Mayan civilization from the Pre-classic Period (600 B.C.). You may also see monkeys and/or even a jaguar at Tikal National Park.


Images from Tikal National Park

 


Images from Tikal National Park

Optional afternoon zipline

Overnight in the area at the hotel Camino Tikal. (AB,L)

 

SAT APR 01, 2023  XAXHA MAYAN RUINS

Morning sightseeing tour of the Mayan ruins at Xaxha. Transfer  from your hotel to Yaxha Lake for a visit to the Archeological site of the same name (It means green waters). 

 Time to explore the area and after lunch transfer back to Flores and to Santa Elena’s Airport to board the flight to Guatemala City.

Arrive and transfer to 5 star Hotel Barceló Guatemala (AB,L)

 

 OPTION 2 – One day tour to hike or horseback ride up the Pacaya Volcano, followed by one free day to explore Guatemala City at leisure, or relax poolside at our five star Guatemala City hotel.

 

Friday

For those wishing to skip the overnight tour to see the Mayan ruins, we will be picked up at our hotel and taken on an approx. 90 minutes scenic drive to  Pacaya Volcano (about 7,000 feet high, where we will enjoy a choice of a guided hike or horseback ride, of approx. one to two hours, to see more amazing views.   It is part of a large volcanic caldera that includes Lake Amatitlán and Laguna de Calderas.  From the volcano you will have spectacular views of Guatemala, Antigua and the surrounding areas.

Along the way, you will see local food stands.  The most popular item offered are marshmallows which, if you wish, you can toast over the heat emanating from the volcanic rocks around those food stands. (You can even enjoy the experience of eating a tasty s’more made of marshmallow, chocolate and graham crackers). Another local favorite you may wish to try at these local food stands is fresh orange with pumpkin seeds.

Those who have chosen to take today’s volcano tour, but whom do not wish to hike, can choose the option of doing the same trail by horseback (which can be purchased at the base of the trail for approx. $35).  Those wishing to do the guided hike, can purchase a walking stick for approx. $1 at the start point of the hike.  There are several photo stops along the hike for picturing taking and just for rest & relaxation.

This hike is considered moderate with some segments considered a bit on the strenuous side, so passengers choosing today’s volcano experience tour should be in reasonably good physical shape for approx. 4 hours of physical activity by either foot, horse or the combination of both if desired.  It takes most people approx. 2 hours to reach the summit of the volcano and there enjoy amazing views.  The walk down takes most people approx. 1 hour to one hour and a half.  You may also choose to do this tour on a combination basis, by opting for the uphill horseback ride followed by the downhill walk.

Either way you choose to go up and down the volcano trail, you will surely have an incredible experience, photos and memories from today’s tour.


Horseback riding the trail up the volcano

At the end of our day at the volcano, we will be returned back to our 5 star hotel in Guatemala city, the Barceló Guatemala City, for the evening at leisure.

Saturday – For those who chose the one day volcano tour instead of the two day Mayan ruins tour, today is a free day to either explore Guatemala City at your leisure or just relax poolside at our five star hotel in Guatemala City.

The Museo Popol Vuh is one of Central America's most famous Maya art museums. Its collection is renown due to its large number of funerary urns. It also includes unique Maya pottery pieces and other artifacts spanning from 2000 B.C. through colonial times.

Suggested duration to visit this museum
1-2 hours

Museo Ixchel Del Traje Indigena

Textiles and clothing of the Mayan people, Guatemala's indigenous community, are displayed at this outstanding museum, which also contains paintings, interactive weaving exhibits, a bookstore and gift shop
Suggested duration of visit – up to one hour

 

The National Museum of Archeology and Ethnicity

The National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology is a public institution and is part of the Directorate General of Cultural and Natural Heritage. Protects and disseminates the most important collection of archaeological artifacts of Mayan Culture, as well as a collection of ethnological material showing the cultural diversity of Guatemalan society. The permanent exhibition occupies 3500 square meters including pieces of jades, pottery, textiles and masks. Two rooms for temporary exhibitions present general topics of Mayan Culture and Guatemalan Archaeology.

          Suggested duration of visit at this museum – 1-2 hours.

Palacio National

The elaborate interior of this former presidential palace houses paintings and sculptures by famous Guatemalan artists

            Suggested duration of this visit – Up to one hour

 

Our 5 star hotel, The Barceló Guatemala City hotel, features a splendid outdoor pool, Jacuzzi and poolside bar making for a great half or full day of relaxation, if you wish.  The hotel also offers a spa with massage services and our hotel has three restaurants on site.

Tonight, you will have the opportunity to reconvene with those returning from the two day Mayan ruins tour for a final evening together and an Optional farewell dinner in town at “Guatemala Espectacular”, a local dinner show.  

(This can be signed up for during the trip and the cost of this optional dinner show can be paid to our local guide on the tour this week).

 

SUN APR 2,2023  – FLY Home

We will be Transferred as a group to the airport for your flight home.
All passengers should book your own flight from Guatemala City back to your home city, departing any time today. (AB)

 

 RATES INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING

- Accommodation as indicated in the trip itinerary, including 12% VAT, and 10% Tourism (Inguat) Tax
- All tours as listed in the trip itinerary
- Meals as listed in the trip itinerary, including 12% VAT and 10% gratuity
- Sightseeing transportation as specified, including 12% VAT
- Entrance fees to visiting sites
- Tips to porters at hotels

Domestic Flights Gua/ Frs/ Gua with TAG Airlines (for those choosing the included two day/one night Mayan ruins tour at the end of our trip)

            Gua/Frs: 06:30/07:30 Hrs. (5U 110)
            Frs/Gua: 18:30/19:30 Hrs. (5U 115)

Airport Security Tax domestic flight (US$3.00 per person, per flight FRS/GUA)

The permitted luggage weight for the domestic flight is 20 pounds for checked luggage and 10 pounds for hand luggage per person. ***The airline will charge US $1.00 for each extra pound upon check in

 

* RATES DO NOT INCLUDE:
-International airfares from your home city to/from Guatemala,
 Travel Insurance (highly recommended)
- Meals not specified as included in the trip itinerary 
- Tips to Chambermaids, Driver, and Guide
- Personal expenses such as:  beverages, phone calls, laundry, health and travel insurance,

All passengers must provide proof of Covid vaccination (either 2 shots of Pfizer or Moderna or one shot of JJ)

TRIP COSTS:

Based on double occupancy: $2889 per person

Optional single room supplement: Only $489

PAYMENTS:
A deposit of $250 is due within 7 days of booking your space on this trip.

The balance payment will be due Nov. 21st.

Cancelations:        If you wish to cancel by October 1st, you will get a full refund of your $250 deposit.
                              If you wish to cancel between October 1st and the payment of the trip balance, you will get a $250 future trip credit toward any trip on our site departing by the end of next year (2023).

                              If you wish to cancel after making the balance payment, the full payment is non-refundable.

 

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