Journeys International - vacations and travel

Maya Magic

Guatemala, Central America

from $3,395* per person 9 Days Year-round
Comfort accommodations Exertion level: 3
Operator: Journeys International 10 people max
  • Guatemala city, guatemala
  • Culture & Nature trips
In Guatemala, forest-covered volcanoes offer us our points of reference, and Mayan communities focus our exploration. Visit colonial Antigua, Chichicastenango, the villages of Lake Atitlan , the Highlands, and the wild north where the ruins of Tikal declare past Mayan glory. Throughout Guatemala, Mayan arts and Mayan pride thrive as aspects of living culture. On this relatively short but very full trip, you will choose to focus on the markets and textiles, on the historical and archaeological sites, or on the volcanoes, natural history and hiking trails; or you can sample a bit of it all.

Locations visited/nearby

Guatemala, Central America

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3 testimonials about the provider, Journeys International:

  • Reviewer: located in Chagrin Falls, OH USA
    We love that JOURNYES is eco-minded. The quality of the overseas tour companies are excellent. We have been very pleased with the quality and diversity of the content of your tours. We will definitely be back.
  • Reviewer: located in Sahuarita , AZ USA
    The major reasons that we enjoy traveling with JOURNEYS, are the fast responses to questions and information, talking to a real person who is friendly and empathetic to individual needs, the professionalism of the staff and the knowledge of all trips we have taken.
  • Reviewer: located in Chicago, IL USA
    This trip captured our souls and will live with us forever.  Our daughter still talks everyday of the Masaai people in the Sinya camp who carried her during our stay.  Our son bores anyone who comes through our door with our slide show.  We all look at our pictures and pinch ourselves…..were we really there?!  Did we really watch and listen as a mother lion “spoke” to her cubs and they sassed back?  Did we really see giraffes, monkeys, elephants and zebra….all in the same spot?!  Could we really see for hundreds of miles across the savannah?!  Could the sky hold any more stars and has the Milky Way ever been clearer?!  Could the people have been any nicer!?  It is all like a magical dream…

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Special information

  • This is a custom departure, meaning this trip is offered on dates that you arrange privately with the provider. Additionally, you need to form your own private group for this trip. The itinerary and price here is just a sample. Contact the provider for detailed pricing, minimum group size, and scheduling information. For most providers, the larger the group you are traveling with, the lower the per-person cost will be.


Day 1      Guatemala City / Antigua

You will be met upon arrival at Guatemala City Airport by your guide and driver and transferred about an hour to the colonial town of Antigua. You will receive a welcome pack that includes trip notes and general information on the destinations in Guatemala, including restaurant and shopping recommendations. Once in Antigua, you can relax in a beautiful colonial boutique hotel. In the early evening, you will be met by your specialist guide, who will take you to dinner and provide you with an informal lecture to explain some of the history of Guatemala, including the Mayan civilization and the Spanish colonization. She will help paint a picture of contemporary life in Guatemala and how it has evolved. Overnight in Antigua at the Panza Verde Hotel, or similar, for three nights.
Meals: Dinner    

Day 2      Antigua Colonial Tour

This morning, you’ll be met at your hotel by your guide to begin a half-day walking tour of Antigua. Enjoy the architectural and historical highlights of this colonial city with a behind-the-scenes look at some of the many churches, convents, and cathedrals, such as the Iglesia San Francisco, the Cathedral, Central Park, and La Merced Church. As a flexible tour, you may choose to visit other monuments, museums, or attractions. Your guide will accompany you back to the hotel or take you to a recommended restaurant. The rest of the day is free to explore on your own.
Meals: Breakfast    

Day 3      Jocotenango and Azotea Coffee Farm

This morning, you will be met by your driver and guide for your transfer to the village of Jocotenango, which lies just on the outskirts of Antigua. Visit the local workshops of traditional woodcarvers to see their crafts. Also visit the pink and white façade of the Jocotenango Church before transferring to the wonderful Azotea Coffee Farm and museums. Here you will have a guided tour of the Mayan traditional music and costumes. Learn about the importance of coffee in Guatemala’s history and its impact today as well as hearing about the Mayan way of life.
Meals: Breakfast    

Day 4      Comalapa and Lake Atitlan

Today you will be transferred to the town of Comalapa by your guide and driver. On arrival you will see the famous painted mural that schoolchildren of the town painted depicting major events in Guatemala’s history up to the signing of the peace accords in 1996. From here you will visit local painters who continue the tradition of naïf paintings that the town is so famous for and visit a local bakery to see how they make the small, rock hard biscuits known as “Roscas” that sell by the thousands each day in Guatemala.

Next, visit the wonderful authentic market of Comalapa to see the local people go about their daily life buying produce and goods for the rest of the week. The locals are still dressed in the traditional textiles of the area. Visit the small museum dedicated to the Comalapan composer who wrote Guatemala’s national anthem. After lunch you will be transferred to the beautiful Lake Atitlan, which is surrounded by three imposing volcanoes. Overnight for two nights near Lake Atitlan at the Hotel Atitlan or similar.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch    

Day 5      San Juan, Santiago, and Santa Catarina

After breakfast you will be met by a local specialist of the Mayan people for a lake tour by boat to visit some villages and see contemporary Mayan life. In San Juan La Laguna, visit a women’s cooperative where they still dye with natural dyes and weave by using traditional methods. Guests will also visit the homes and studios of famous local naïf painters before boarding the boat to continue onto Posada Santiago for lunch. From here you will board local trucks for a bumpy, fun ride into town to see a statue of the Mayan God, Maximon, and perhaps have a chance to see local shaman performing a ritual. You then head back to the boat to visit Santa Catarina Palopo before returning to your hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch    

Day 6      Chichicastenango / Flores

This morning, travel about an hour to the highland town of Chichicastenango. Along the way you will pass through the central highland region and see the local Mayan people in their traditional dress going about their daily lives, working in the fields, collecting firewood, traveling between markets, and selling their wares. Upon arrival at Chichicastenango, your guide will take you to explore this famous market. At this market, you will discover both the local areas of the fruit and vegetables and everyday items, as well as the craft area where you can find endless variety of beautiful textile, wooden, and ceramic crafts. Guests can also visit the famous St. Tomas Church, where local Mayan people come to perform rituals within the Catholic Church, demonstrating the interesting way the two faiths have combined in recent times. You can also hike up the hill to the Pascaul Abaj ritual site to see if any local shaman are performing rituals and to visit the cemetery. Have lunch in the Hotel St. Tomas before your transfer to Guatemala City Airport in time to catch the early evening flight to Flores. In Flores you will be met and transferred to your hotel in the rainforest. Stay two nights ata rainforest lodge.

Meals: Breakfast    

Day 7      Yaxha National Park

Enjoy a free morning to relax at the hotel in its beautiful lakeside setting amidst the rainforest. After lunch you head to Yaxha National Park where you can enjoy a private guided tour of this lesser visited, atmospheric site. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the howler and spider monkeys as well as many colorful tropical birds and other mammals in this area. This region is truly rich with wildlife. At the end of your tour, enjoy sunset drinks on top of the main temple with views over the surrounding rainforest and nearby Lake Yaxha. Trek back through the jungle with torches as it starts to turn dark, perhaps spotting some nocturnal wildlife along the way.

Meals: Breakfast    

Day 8      Tikal

Today you will travel to Tikal National Park, where you can enjoy a private guided tour of this fabulous site, known for its huge temples rising up through the jungle canopy. The park is home to a large variety of tropical animals and birds. Some of the species you may observe today include the howler monkey, the spider monkey, and a plethora of tropical birds. Enjoy lunch today in a restaurant located within Tikal National Park. Explore the park’s museum before returning to the airport for you flight back to Guatemala City. Overnight at the Camino Real Guatemala Hotel, or similar.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch    

Day 9      Guatemala City / Onward

Today you will be transferred to the Guatemala City Airport to catch your onward flight.
Meals: Breakfast

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