Guatemala – The Heart of Mayan Culture

Escorted or Guided Tour Guatemala 15 Days Tour From $3,350.00 CAD per person based on double occupancy
Guatemala – The Heart of Mayan Culture

Tour Dates: January 28th to February 11th, 2023

From $3350.00 CAD per person based on double occupancy

With the Mayan majority on constant display, dramatic geography, and prices any frugal traveller could love, for some, Guatemala is the quintessential Central American experience. Incredible Antigua, one of its mandatory stops, was once the capital of an enormous swath of the Americas. Frozen in time for centuries thanks to repeated earthquakes, today it has been impeccably restored in all its rubble and glory... not to mention it's the best traveller's hub from here to Cusco. From crater lakes to the ruins of Tikal, it's a miracle Guatemala is still off the radar for so many.
Antigua (3 nights), Lake Atitlan (2), Nebaj (1), Lanquin (2), Rio Dulce (2), Livingston (2), Flores (2), Guatemala City (1)

Guatemala Highlights:

  • Walking tour in the colonial city of Antigua Guatemala
  • Explore an active farming area utilizing traditional Mayan farming techniques
  • Visit Finca Valhalla Macadamia Nut Farm
  • Enjoy a ChocoMuseo Tour in the city of Antigua
  • Take a boat ride to visit a women’s weaving co-op featuring natural dyes and handspun thread
  • Browse/shop the famed market in the town of Chichicastenango
  • Wander through a local orchid sanctuary before visiting our jungle lodge for the night
  • Take a 4x4 vehicle to explore the natural limestone pools and scenic hikes at Semuc Champey Natural Monument
  • The culinary experience of Guatemala – we have chosen several local spots to showcase Guatemalan flavors
  • Visit the Archaeological Museum of Guatemala, and the National Palace of Culture
  • And more…..

Tour price includes:

  • 14 nights accommodation based on double occupancy
  • Meals: all breakfast, 4 lunches and 7 dinners
  • Fully escorted by a Canadian Tour Leader and local guide
  • Entrances fees and activities mentioned in the itinerary
  • Air-conditioned motor coach transportation
  • Local flight one way from Flores to Guatemala City via TAG Airlines
In order to make each tour a special experience space is limited to 20 people. We encourage you to book early to avoid disappointment and for the best air fares.
Flights: Call us for flight and air fare information from your closest airport in Canada as we can often access flights not easily found on the Internet and offer alternatives.

Itinerary:


Day 1 - January 28th/Antigua – Hotel Posada Los Bucaros – 3 nights

Welcome to beautiful Guatemala! Today you will fly into Guatemala City and transfer to Antigua. There will be no planned activities today so you can take your time getting the feel for this majestic UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Arrive and transfer to your hotel.
January 28th/Antigua – Hotel Posada Los Bucaros – 3 nights

Day 2 - January 29th/Antigua – Hotel Posada Los Bucaros

Meet your guide at the hotel this morning and start your day with a walking tour in the enchanting colonial city of Antigua Guatemala.
A living museum and colonial masterpiece founded in 1542, the highland city of La Antigua, commonly known simply as Antigua, is known for its well-preserved Spanish baroque architecture as well as several spectacular ruins of colonial churches. This magical and captivating small town makes you feel like time might have stopped some 300 years ago.
The afternoon is free to wander this impeccably preserved city. In the evening, we will come together for a welcome dinner.
Breakfast and Welcome Dinner Included

Day 3 - January 30th/Antigua – Hotel Posada Los Bucaros

This morning we will visit Finca Valhalla, a Macadamia nut farm. Here we will learn all about the cultivation of macadamia nuts, its agro-industrial process and the reforestation project this fascinating farm has adopted. Try the products, relax with a facial massage with their macadamia oil and spend some time in the beautiful garden.
After lunch, we will return to Antigua to enjoy a ChocoMuseo tour. During the tour we will learn the history of cacao and chocolate, the whole process from the harvest to the chocolate production and transformation. This visit will be very interactive, seeing and touching real cacao beans and pods.
The afternoon will be free to enjoy how you wish. 
Breakfast and Lunch Included at Finca

Day 4 - January 31st/Lake Atitlan – Hotel Dos Mundos – 2 nights

Today we will journey to Lake Atitlan. En route we will make a stop in the municipality of Conception to hike through an active farming area and witness Mayans planting, watering and harvesting beautifully hand-tilled terraces of onions, beans, and cabbage.
Breakfast and Dinner Included
January 31st/Lake Atitlan – Hotel Dos Mundos – 2 nights

Day 5 - February 1st/Lake Atitlan – Hotel Dos Mundos

Walk to the dock to take a boat ride across the lake to San Juan la Laguna. The paintings here are descriptive testimonies of the Tz'utujil daily life. Most of these local artists are self-taught without any formal training, which is why objects and people are presented on different levels and without symmetry. Local artists express themselves on the walls of their villages, businesses or even their own homes. Here we will visit a woman’s weaving cooperative featuring natural dyes and handspun thread and learn about medicinal plants at a nearby cooperative. Many of these indigenous cultures survive today and are great part of Guatemala’s population. Complete the day by visiting at Galeria de Arte Gil Yojcom and enjoy a delicious typical lunch at Casa Maya project, where we not only taste the local flavor but also learn about this dish.
Breakfast and Lunch Included
February 1st/Lake Atitlan – Hotel Dos Mundos

Day 6 - February 2nd/Santa Maria Nebaj – Hotel Santa Maria - 1 night

Before we transfer to Santa Maria Nebaj, we first travel to the highland town of Chichicastenango. See, smell and shop the famed market filled with traditional ingredients used in Guatemalan cuisine. Have lunch just like the locals do and stroll to the Church of St. Thomas. This Roman Catholic Church was built around 1545 atop a pre-Colombian temple platform, and the steps originally leading to a temple of the pre-Hispanic Maya civilization remain adored and profoundly respected. K'iche' Maya priests still use the church for their rituals, burning incense and candles.
This afternoon we continue our travels to Santa Maria Nebaj, the community named in part for Nebaj, a pre-Columbian archaeological site of the Maya civilization. A fascinating part of the highlands, although one of Guatemala's most inaccessible regions, is the so-called Ixil Triangle of which Nebaj is a part. The Ixil Triangle is home to the indigenous Ixiles, who speak a unique Mam-based language, different from the Quiché spoken in the surrounding area. Isolation has meant that the people here have been able to preserve a rich culture; you'll have some trouble finding fluent Spanish speakers here.
Breakfast Included
February 2nd/Santa Maria Nebaj – Hotel Santa Maria - 1 night

Day 7 - February 3rd/Lanquin – Hotel El Retiro – 2 nights

This morning we travel into Lanquin where we will enjoy lunch and a visit to a local orchid sanctuary. Due to its location and tropical weather, Guatemala has more than 1,400 species of orchids. Get ready to be amazed by this delightful place! After your tropical tour, we will head to our jungle lodge to get rested up for tomorrow.
Breakfast and Dinner at Hotel
February 3rd/Lanquin – Hotel El Retiro – 2 nights

Day 8 - February 4th/Lanquin – Hotel El Retiro

We start our day with a 4x4 vehicle trip to Semuc Champey Natural Monument. Here we will explore the natural limestone pools and scenic hikes in the area. Semuc Champey is truly one of Guatemala’s natural wonders and the best way to fully appreciate its beauty is not just by swimming in the pools but by seeing it from above. Take a nice 45-minute hike through the jungle to the viewpoint, “El Mirador”. The view at the top is gorgeous, both of Semuc and the lush green mountains surrounding it.
Breakfast and Lunch Included at the Park
February 4th/Lanquin – Hotel El Retiro

Day 9 - February 5th/Rio Dulce – Hacienda Tijax – 1 night

Today we travel to the town of Rio Dulce, or “Sweet” River. Though petite, the Rio Dulce is a big-time biological marvel, with a diversity of flora and fauna rivaling any other place outside of the Amazon River. It’s also home to several distinct cultures, including multiple indigenous Mayan tribes and the Afro-Caribbean Garifuna people. On our journey to Rio Dulce, we will pass through colorful villages leading us to the ancient Mayan city of Quiriguá. Here we enjoy lunch and then continue our journey to Rio Dulce. 
Breakfast and Dinner Included

Day 10 - February 6th/Livingston – Villa Caribe – 2 nights

We start our day on the water, with a boat tour of Castillo de San Felipe de Lara, a Spanish colonial fort at the entrance to Lake Izabal.
Continuing along the river, we stop at the Ak´Tenamit Project dedicated to providing access to education, healthcare and supporting micro-enterprise efforts to locals. Our day concludes when we arrive in the Caribbean town of Livingston. There are no roads connecting Livingston with anything else on the planet, and definitely no airstrip. For many visitors, Livingston’s attractiveness can be found in the town’s unique cultural heritage and offbeat Caribbean vibe, and its proximity to some of the region’s most scenic and enigmatic destinations. In the evening, we have a cooking class in the home of a local. 
Breakfast and Dinner Included
February 6th/Livingston – Villa Caribe – 2 nights

Day 11 - February 7th/Livingston – Villa Caribe

Spend the day enjoying yourself in this beautiful Caribbean town however you would like.
Breakfast Included

Day 12 - February 8th/Flores – Hotel Peten – 2 nights

Transfer by boat back to Rio Dulce where we continue our journey to the island of Flores.
In the afternoon we will enjoy a scenic walking tour of this unique island. Dense with colonial, red-roofed buildings, narrow cobblestone streets, an historic church and Spanish plaza, and restaurants that are easy to stumble upon walking the city's charming streets, Flores is a wonder to behold. 
Breakfast and Dinner Included
February 8th/Flores – Hotel Peten – 2 nights

Day 13 - February 9th/Flores – Hotel Peten

This morning we start our day by going to the exquisite ruins at Tikal, an ancient Mayan citadel in the rainforests of northern Guatemala. Possibly dating to the 1st century A.D., Tikal flourished between 200 and 850 A.D. and was later abandoned. Its iconic ruins of temples and palaces include the giant, ceremonial Lost World (Mundo Perdido) Pyramid and the Temple of the Grand Jaguar.
Enjoy lunch with scenic views, while the rest of the afternoon is free for you to spend some more time in this great expanse of ruins or simply enjoy the beautiful landscape.


Day 14 - February 10th/Guatemala City – Hilton Garden Inn Hotel – 1 night

Today will start bright and early with breakfast at the hotel. The group will be transferring to the Flores airport for a local flight to Guatemala City.
Upon arrival, we visit the Archaeological Museum of Guatemala, a national institution dedicated to preserve and exhibit archaeological and ethnological vestiges and artifacts from the cultural and historical heritage of Guatemala. This exhibition comprises about 20,000 archaeological artifacts and approximately 5,000 ethnological pieces.
We will also stop to visit, the Relief Map of Guatemala and the National Palace of Culture whose murals reveal a historical review of the country from the colonial period until the Independence. (This last visit is just from outside, because most of the time the palace is busy due to governmental activities.)
Later, you will be picked up from the hotel and transferred to the Farewell Dinner.
Breakfast and Dinner Included
February 10th/Guatemala City – Hilton Garden Inn Hotel – 1 night

Day 15 - February 11th/Guatemala City

Adios! Today you transfer from the hotel to La Aurora International Airport on time to catch your international flight back home.

Singles wishing to share: We often get requests for single travellers wishing to share accommodation. If you are interested in traveling with a companion please let us know and we can try to match you up with a suitable traveling partner.

Transfers: To and from the airport to your hotel are included on the tour dates. Airport transfers can be arranged for a cost when you purchase extra nights before or after the vacation.

Insurance: Medical insurance is mandatory. Cancellation and trip interruption insurance is optional. Premiums depend on your age, the length of time away and the cost of your tour and insurance will be discussed and quoted at the time of booking.

Payment Schedule:

Tour Deposit: $300.00 per person.

Forms of Payment: Cheque, Visa and Master Card or by e-mail. Payments made by credit cards will be subject to a 3 percent processing fee. For information regarding e-mail payments contact your financial institution. It is easy and convenient.

Cancellation Policy: In the event that you have to cancel you must notify Discovery Tours immediately in writing. The following scale of charges will apply according to the date that notice is received. Air fare penalties may differ and will be discussed at the time of ticket purchase.

Notification: Penalty:
65 days or more Deposit Only
64 to 30 days 50% of Tour cost
29 days or less 100%

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"Guatemala – The Heart of Mayan Culture"