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Guatemala Tour
TOURCODE: GU1
Duration: 9 Days Countries Visited: 1 Activity Level: 2 Tour Style: Cultural
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Guatemala Tour

9 Days
TOURCODE: GU1

Chichicastanengo's weekly market; Lakeside traditional villages; Shimmering waters of Lake Atitlan; Charming Antigua walking tour; Spectacular Tikal: site tour; Birds, volcanoes, indigenous cultures

Tour Overview
Tour Overview
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Countries Visited: 1 Activity Level: 2 Tour Style: Cultural

Touching down in Guatemala City, we begin our cultural journey by browsing the stalls of one of the country's largest markets at Chichicastanengo, paying a visit to the nearby cathedral and mingling with the locals, who are reportedly the purest descendants of one of the world's greatest ancient civilizations; the Maya. Via traditional villages inhabited by friendly peoples who adhere to long-established, centuries-old customs and adorn themselves in the traditional dress of their ancestors, we set a course for Lake Atitlan, an incredibly picturesque body of water set against the backdrop of volcanoes and for the superlative Maya site at Iximche. We find evidence of the country's more recent past in the colonial architecture, palaces and cathedrals of Antigua and we end our adventure with a stop off in Tikal, perhaps the finest of Guatemalan Mayan sites, with temples and ruins dating from 500BC.

 


 

Dates & Prices
Dates & Prices

 

 

Prices below are per person, twin-sharing costs in US Dollars (USD). Pricing does not include airfare to/from the tour and any applicable taxes. For single supplement rates and taxes (if any), please refer to below Prices & Dates table. For general information on flights to/from the tour, click here.

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The above prices are subject to an additional $48 for taxes/fees levied on flights that occur as part of the tour. The internal airfares ARE included (any exceptions are listed in red below), but we list the taxes separately on your invoice as they are beyond our control and can change at any time.

Optional Single Supplement: $540 USD (number of singles limited).



$500 USD DEPOSIT REQUIRED per person
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Full Itinerary
Full Itinerary

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Day 1 Arrive in Guatemala City
Today we arrive in Guatemala City.

Overnight in Guatemala City.

Included Meal(s): Dinner



Day 2 Guatemala City - Antigua: Walking Tour
This morning we drive the short distance to Antigua (+/- one hour), located in a valley and surrounded by many green small hills and three volcanoes: Agua, Fuego, and Acatenango. On arrival we'll embark on a walking tour of this beautiful city (we may be be joining travellers arriving yesterday from Honduras on tour GU7).

We will explore both the restored colonial buildings as well as those left as ruins throughout the city. Among the intricate colonial buildings and interesting museums we will visit on our tour, we will explore the ornate La Merced church, the ruins of the Capuchinas convent, and the San Francisco Cathedral, where pilgrims go to see the tomb of Saint Hermano Pedro.

Wandering down the cobblestone streets of this magical city or through the central plaza to view the mermaid fountain, you will quickly realize why people call Antigua "the colonial jewel of the Americas" and why most vow to return. Our tour will take us to the impressive town square (plaza) where travellers are often drawn to the beauty and activity. The massive trees offer friendly shade, and combined with the cold drinks and snacks sold by countless vendors, it is a perfect place to beat the heat. Around the perimeter of the central park are many buildings of note, including the Palacio de los Capitanes, and the Museo de Arte Colonial (Colonial Art Museum). Directly east of the plaza is the Santiago Cathedral, which has been damaged and rebuilt many times. This cathedral is said to contain somewhere within the remains of Don Pedro de Alvarado, conquistador of Guatemala.

We also visit the Kojom (music) Museum in Jocotenango during our time in Antigua. Later this afternoon, we may be joining other travellers arriving from Copan, Honduras on tour GU7.

Overnight in Antigua.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 3 Antigua: At Leisure
Today you are free to explore Antigua. Sit and relax in the Plaza de Armas, the central square, and enjoy the view of the Palace of the Captains General, the old City Hall, and the remains of the Cathedral and Archbishop's Palace, excellent examples of Spanish colonial architecture. Antigua is also known for excellent shopping opportunities; this is an excellent place for independent exploration. Your Tour Leader will help you plan your day.

Overnight in Antigua.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 4 Antigua - Chichicastenango - Panajachel
This morning we depart for Chichicastenango (locally known as Chichi) where we will tour this world famous market. On Thursdays and Sundays there is a large market here where vendors sell handicrafts, food, flowers, pottery, wooden boxes, condiments, medicinal plants, candles, pom and copal (traditional incense), cal (lime for preparing tortillas), grindstones, pigs and chickens, machetes, and other tools. In the central part of the market plaza are comedores (small eateries). Among the items sold are textiles, particularly the women's blouses. The manufacture of masks, used by dancers in traditional dances has also made this city well known for woodcarving.

Our walking tour through the market will bring us to the 400-year old church of Santo Tomas. It is built atop a Pre-Columbian platform, and the steps originally leading to a temple of the pre-Hispanic Maya civilization remain venerated. Shamans still use the church for their rituals, burning incense and candles. In special cases, they burn a chicken for the gods. Each of the 18 stairs that lead up to the church stands for one month of the Maya calendar year.

This market is reputedly the largest outdoor market in Central America, and it attracts buyers and sellers from near and far. Originally only the indigenous population of the Quiche region frequented the market, but its fame has reached all corners of Guatemala and beyond.

After our time at the market we will drive south to the town of Panajachel, on the shores of Lake Atitlan. Arguably one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, Atitlan owes its grandeur to its enormous size and spectacular, volcanic setting. Lake Atitlan was formed after a volcanic eruption. Three stately volcanoes, Atitlan, Toliman and San Pedro rise gracefully from its southern shore, their perfect cones reflected in the azure mirror of the lake.

Overnight in Panajachel.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 5 Panajachel & Lake Atitlan
Today we will take a boat tour around Lake Atitalan and will see some of the many lakeside villages.

Our journey today takes us across the shimmering waters of Lake Atitlan, nestled beneath the three volcanoes of San Pedro, Atitlan, and Toliman. When we visit Santiago de Atitlan you will notice the unusual headdresses that the locals wear which are called Tocoyal and consist of 12 metres/40 feet of material. This is easily the most beautiful and fascinating village on the lake, as well as the largest, with a population of almost 15,000 people if the outskirts are included. Built on the slopes of Volcano Atitlan, is it surrounded on three sides by water and faces Volcano San Pedro across a small bay. Originally the capital of the Tzutuhil Indian nation, Santiago was 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.

As our boat approaches Santiago's shore, you will see dozens of women standing knee-deep in water, washing their families' clothes against the rocks, often with babies in colourful slings on their backs. This sets the mood for the rest of our visit. Just wander through the streets of this village and you will catch a firsthand glimpse of indigenous life as it is today.

As we walk around we see towering volcanoes and spectacular scenery. Flowers are abundant; the white blossoms on coffee plants, bright wildflowers and hibiscus cover the landscape. Once again colour is the focus, costumes which are very vibrant are worn by nearly everyone. The women's costume consists of white and purple huipiles embroidered with birds and flowers, bright red skirts and unique headdresses made from narrow, woven red bands (sometimes over twenty feet long) that are evenly wrapped around their heads until a wide brim is formed. The men's outfits are equally vibrant, with purple and white striped knee-length pants, white shirts and multi-coloured sashes worn nowadays with cowboy hats.

While in Santiago we also see Maximon-the mayan "Judas Esacriot" diety. Maximon ("mah-shee-mon") is a popular post-Columbian Mayan folk deity who apparently blends aspects of the Christian Saint Simon with a Mayan god, perhaps Maam, an underworld god.

Overnight in Panajachel.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 6 Panajachel - Iximche - Guatemala City
This morning we travel to Guatemala City.

Our journey takes us through the spectacular volcanic landscape of Guatemala's western highlands to visit Iximche en route, an excellent Maya site which became a model of civic planning. Most of the buildings here were erected around four large courtyards, and there are also two smaller courtyards at Iximche that may have been used for religious ceremonies. Terraces were leveled from the natural terrain to accommodate platforms for temples, palaces, and other structures. The structures had roofs of thatch or of wooden beams and plaster and have long since perished. Ball courts were common at all civic and religious centers, and at Iximche there are two ball courts, one of which has been restored.

Overnight in Guatemala City.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 7 Guatemala City - Flores - Tikal Site Tour
Today we fly to Flores and, on arrival, embark on a guided tour to experience the wonder of Tikal (+/- one hour drive), possibly the most magnificent of all Mayan sites.

Here we discover ancient temples, pyramids, and stone structures dating from 500 BC. The five great pyramids of Tikal give this ceremonial centre a majestic grandeur unique among Maya cities. The height of the temples, crowned with tremendous roof combs; the complicated assemblage of the palace structures of the central Acropolis; and the complexity of the chronology of the North Acropolis are staggering to anyone visiting Tikal for the first time. In ancient times Tikal functioned mainly as a ceremonial centre in which the aristocratic elite and their priests ruled, dictated, and directed the activities of the architects, builders, craftsmen, and labourers. All endeavours in the region of Tikal were directed to enhance the city, to glorify the gods, to amass wealth, and to acquire tribute for the ruling upper strata of society. To sustain this activity for over a thousand years demanded a well-disciplined peasantry.

Overnight near Tikal.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 8 Flores - Fly To Guatemala City
Today we hope to have some free time to visit the island of Flores before flying back to the capital.

Overnight in Guatemala City.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast



Day 9 Departure
Departure from Guatemala City.

BUEN VIAJE!

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

 


 

Trip Info
Trip Info

 

Inclusions
Breakfast and dinner daily (hotels and local restaurants).

Full-time Tour Leader services, all transport, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary.

Gratuities for local guides, drivers, restaurant staff, hotel porters (if available).

Airport transfers for land & air customers and for early arriving/late departing land & air customers who book their air and extra hotel nights through us.


Exclusions
International airfare to/from the tour. Tour Leader gratuity, lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), departure taxes, domestic and international air taxes (if applicable).

Airport transfers for Land Only customers.

Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on not included meal costs, shopping, and locally paid departure taxes.


Seasonality and Weather
Temperature can vary greatly depending on elevation -- cloud forest/mountain areas can be quite cool and misty, while coastal areas are much hotter and humid. Most of our tour occurs at 1500-1600m, which, at the cooler/drier time of year that we schedule our tours(Oct-Mar), means comfortable spring-like weather with low humidity in most locations. The exception to this is our time at Tikal, which is much lower and will feature some tropical heat and humidity.


Transport and Travel Conditions
Road transport by private air-conditioned motor coach, 12-30 seats depending on ultimate group size (see 'group size'). The countries' roads are generally good though we do have some long (though scenic), winding road journeys. Numerous nature walks and walking tours on uneven surfaces. Internal flights via scheduled carriers.

Our difficulty rating "Level 2" refers to our full days of travel and sightseeing, some early starts, walking tours of towns and cities, the possibility of heat, and our leisurely on-foot explorations of Copan and Tikal, which are LARGE (but flat). This is not a strenuous tour per se, but we will have full days and plenty of time on our feet.

Am I suitable for this tour? Please refer to our self-assessment form.


Accommodation
Well-located, heated/air-conditioned, mid-range (3 star) hotels with en suite toilet and bath throughout. Single rooms are limited in number and likely smaller than twins.

Hotel porter service is sometimes available (see 'Inclusions') though you should be independent with your luggage, especially at airports. Some hotels have outdoor swimming pools.

To view some sample hotels in some locations, please click on the "Map & Hotels" tab elsewhere on this page.


Staff and Support
Tour Leader, driver/s, and local step-on guides at various locations.


Group Size
Maximum 18 plus Tour Leader

 


 

Map & Hotels
Map & Hotels

Regions visited: Central America
Countries visited: Guatemala


*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


Barcelo Hotel
5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation
Location: Guatemala City
Country: Guatemala
This upscale hotel is only 3 km from Aeropuerto Internacional La Aurora airport.Featuring sliding glass doors and balconies, the laid-back rooms provide free Wi-Fi and cable TV, along with minibars, ... and coffeemakers.
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Porta Antigua Hotel
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Antigua Guatemala
Country: Guatemala
This charming, upscale hotel is an 8-minute walk from San Francisco Church. It's also a 10-minute walk from the Santa Catalina Arch, a 17th-century landmark. With wood furnishings, the plush, ... rooms offer safes, free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. Most have fireplaces
Read More
Regis Hotel Spa
3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation
Location: Panajachel
Country: Guatemala
Surrounded by landscaped gardens, this gated Colonial-style hotel is 2 minutes from Reserva Natural Atitlán and 4 minutes from Museo Lacustre Atitlán. Featuring ceilings with exposed beams, the relaxed rooms ... garden views and cable TV. Wi-Fi is available.
Read More
Peten Esplendido Hotel
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Flores
Country: Guatemala
On the shores of Petén Itzá overlooking the island of Flores, this relaxed hotel in a bright building is 2 km from Mundo Maya International Airport. A laid-back international restaurant ... a terrace with lake views. There's also an outdoor pool with a and a poolside bar.
Read More

 


 

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Frequently Asked Questions
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FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
ASK A QUESTION
01. What is the maximum number of participants on a trip?
Most of our tours carry a maximum of 18 participants; some tours (ie hiking tours) top out at 16. In the event that we do not achieve our minimum complement by our 60-day deadline, we may offer group members the option of paying a "small-group surcharge" as an alternative to cancellation. If all group members agree, we will confirm the trip at existing numbers; this surcharge is refundable in the event that we ultimately achieve our regular minimum. If the small group surcharge is not accepted, we will offer a refund of your deposit or a different trip of your choice.
02. Can I extend my tour either at the beginning or end? What about stopovers?
Yes, you can extend your tour either at the beginning or the end and we can book accommodation in our tour hotel. Stopovers are often permitted, depending on air routing. Stopovers usually carry a "stopover" fee levied by the airline.
03. How do I make a reservation? How and when do I pay?
The easiest way to make a reservation is to contact us by telephone. You can also book online through our website. A non-refundable deposit is payable at the time of booking; if a reservation is made within 60 days, full payment is required. Some trips require a larger deposit. If international airline bookings require a non-refundable payment in order to secure space or the lowest available fare, we will require an increase in deposit equal to the cost of the ticket(s). Early enrolment is always encouraged as group size is limited and some trips require greater preparation time. Once we have received your deposit, we will confirm your space and send you a confirmation package containing your trip itinerary, any visa/travel permit related documents, invoice, clothing and equipment recommendations, general information on your destination(s), and forms for you to complete, sign and return to us. Your air e-tickets (if applicable), final hotel list, final trip itinerary, and instructions on how to join your tour, will be sent approximately 2-3 weeks prior to departure.
04. What about cancellations, refunds, and transfers?
Should you need to cancel your trip, you must notify us in writing, by letter, e-mail, or by fax immediately. Deposits are non-refundable, though if you cancel more than 90 days prior to tour departure date, the deposit is transferable to any other tour taken within 12 months of the original tour start date, minus a per person transfer fee (some tours have a 100% nonrefundable/ nontransferable deposit; you will be informed of this at the time of booking). Less than 90 days prior to departure, all monies paid are 100% non-refundable, nontransferable. Name changes are not permitted. Insurable risks may be covered under trip cancellation insurance policies, if purchased. We will not grant partial refunds for any unused trip arrangements—voluntarily missed meals, sightseeing, transport, etc—after the trip has commenced, or any refunds to trip members who do not complete any portion of the itinerary for whatever reason. All air tickets are non-refundable and valid only for the flight(s) indicated. We may cancel departures if forced to do so by circumstances such as war, civil or political unrest or what is commonly referred to as force majeure. In these instances we will refund all passengers in full if cancellation takes place more than 60 days prior to tour start date. If cancellation occurs within the 60 day period, we will offer to postpone your trip to another departure of the same tour code within 12 months of the original tour start date; or, if circumstances do not permit, an alternative will be offered at that time. We will not be responsible for costs associated with re-issuance or extension of visas, airline change fees, or for any compensation. We strongly recommend that all travellers purchase trip cancellation insurance, either through Adventures Abroad or elsewhere, as this may provide coverage under such circumstances. If we cancel your tour due to insufficient enrolment, we will endeavour to find an alternative tour for you. If this is not acceptable, all monies paid will be refunded in full and will constitute full settlement. We will not be responsible for any expenses incurred, such as visas, vaccinations, independently purchase airfare, or any compensation. Notice of cancellation due to insufficient enrolment in any program will be given approximately 60 days prior to departure.
05. I am a single who prefers my own room. What is a single supplement?
All of our tours have a single supplement for those who want to be guaranteed their own room at each location. This supplement is a reflection of the fact that most hotels around the world do not discount the regular twin-share rate for a room by 50% for only one person occupying a room. Most hotels will give a break on the price, but usually in the range of 25-30% of the twin-share rate. This difference, multiplied by each night, amounts to the single supplement. The conventional amount can also vary from country to country and some destinations are more expensive than others for single occupancy. In order to be "single friendly," the supplements we apply are not a profit centre for us and we do our best to keep them as reasonable as possible. On most tours we limit the number of singles available, not to be punitive, but rather because many hotels allow for only a limited number of singles; some smaller hotels at remote locations also have a limited number of single rooms available. Please note that most single rooms around the world are smaller than twin-share rooms and will likely have only one bed.
06. Do you have a shared accommodation program?
Yes! If you are single traveller and are willing to share, we will do our best to pair you with a same-gender roommate. On most of our tours, if we fail to pair you, we will absorb the single supplement fee and you will default to a single room at no extra charge. At some destinations, however, where single rooms are not significantly discounted, or not at all, we may apply a "mandatory" single in the event that we cannot find you a share partner. This is usually 50% of the usual supplement, but can be as much as 100%. If applicable, this proviso will be noted on each tour page on this website, on your invoice, and in our tour date/price book (available for download under "Resources").

 

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