Guatemala Tours3 tours available
GU7 Guatemala Tour
12 days from San Pedro Sula to Guatemala City
MY1 Mayan Discoverer Tour
16 days from Managua to Guatemala City
More About Guatemala
The southernmost country in Central America, and bordered by Mexico, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador, Guatemala was once home to perhaps the western hemisphere's greatest ancient civilization, the Maya.
The Mayan empire of old has long been revered for its sophistication, all though the country itself was not the origin of the advanced conceptions of writing and the calendar, these ancient people did develop them to an astounding extent and at times were using multiple calendars simultaneously.
Dominating the entire region and increasing their territory to cover Guatemala, Belize and Mexico, the Mayans left their indelible mark on the continents landscape and the surrounding cultures; evidence of which is in abundance today in the forms of ruins and sculptures, some of which were discovered up to a staggering 1,000km from the Mayan homeland.
Tikal, located in the Northern Peten Province, is perhaps the most important Mayan complex according to UNESCO. A major Pre-Columbian political, economic and military centre, many of the original decorations including stone carvings, murals and hieroglyphics are still visible.
Set in the magnificent Maya Forest, big cats such as jaguar and puma, along with monkeys, anteaters and 300 types of birds are found within the lush rainforest.
No more is the Mayan legacy more evident, however, than in the Guatemalan people, their way of life and their traditions.
Our Guatemala tours include visits to villages such as Chichicastenango (locally known as Chichi), with a bustling market that is reputedly the largest in Central America, as well as local 400-year old church of Santo Tomas. Built atop a Pre-Columbian platform, the steps originally leading to a temple of the pre-Hispanic Mayan civilization remain venerated. Shamans still use the church for their rituals, burning incense and candles. Each of the 18 stairs that lead up to the church stands for one month of the Mayan calendar year.
Villages in Guatemala are often surrounded by scenic settings such as the quaint town of Panajachel, on the shores of Lake Atitlan with three volcanoes rising gracefully from its southern shore.
Across Lake Atitlan, villages such as Santiago, the former Tzutuhil Indian nation capital that turned into an important missionary and trading outpost after the Spanish conquest. Today Santiago is one of the most traditional Indian villages in Guatemala, with a purely Indian population that lives much as it did hundreds of years ago.
In terms of a Spanish legacy, none of our Guatemala tours are complete without a visit to Antigua. The city is a colonial masterpiece in terms of charm with restored pastel facades over cobblestone streets leading to a plaza complete with fountains, monuments and a cathedral dominating the skyline along with the three volcanoes that encircle the city.
The city, founded in 1543, was the seat of Spanish colonial government for the Kingdom of Guatemala. Throughout its history the city was repeatedly damaged by earthquakes, and always rebuilt, bigger and better. The crumbling ruins that spread throughout the city are a stark reminder of the power of mother nature.
One of our Guatemala tours is not just a tour to view the relics of a long-gone ancient civilization, but is rather a tour that brings you face-to-face with an ancient civilization in a modern and picturesque setting.