|from $1,910* per person||9 Days||Year-round
Exertion level: 4
|Operator: Adventure Life Journeys
12 people max
Journey into the highlands of Guatemala to discover the modern Maya culture, as well as steep-sided temples and other vestiges of the Maya past. Start by wandering through rows of vendors at Chichi's magnificent market, and spend a few nights along the shores of the volcano-fringed Lake Atitlan. Explore colonial Antigua, the rainforest of the Peten, and finally the majestic ruins of Tikal. Along the way, the warmth and hospitality of Guatemala's people will make you want to return time and time again. A fabulous introduction to Guatemala travel!
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, Lake Atitlan
, Chiminos Lodge
, Tikal, Guatemala, Central America
2 testimonials about this trip
Reviewer: B. Simmons
I've never had such a well-executed tour anywhere, anytime! Traveling in a third world country is generally a crapshoot, at best. Adventure Life made it an amazing adventure! The guides were wonderful and Chimino's Island was unforgettable. Staying at Posada de Santiago was a truly beautiful experience. The entire trip was way more than we ever hoped for!
Reviewer: S. Schaffer
Excellent! The small size of the tour allows you to get to know other tour members, and to stay in smaller, yet beautiful and culturally relevant hostels. I was impressed by the variety, yet comfort and cultural appropriateness of accommodations. From the Chiminos Island Lodge in the jungle, to the Biltmore, it was possible to get a feel about the diversity of life styles in Guatemala. This is my second Adventure Life Tour (last year was Machu Picchu by Train). Both have ranked among the best tours I've ever taken.
This will rank as one of my favorite trips! Guatemala is such a magnificent country. The tour itself took me from the colonial beauty of Antigua, to the colorful market of Chichicastenago, to the unique jungle lodge of Chiminos, to the historic ruins of Tikal, to the Biltmore in Guatemala City -- in all a vast expanse of diverse culture in a short period of time. As a single traveler I felt comfortable with the quiet, secure accommodations and the timeliness of the guides during all phases of the trip.
Reviewer: S. Cook
Adventure Life is one of the few organizations in the world that get what matters most - customers. Your staff and services were excellent and of quality. It is clear that everyone at Adventure Life loves what they do and do what they love.
- 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.
- May accommodate certain types of disabilities. Contact the operator for more information.
Day 1 Arrive Antigua lodge
Fly into Guatemala City where you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Antigua.
Day 2 Chichicastenango (B) lodge
Today we rise early to visit the famous market of Chichicastenango to begin our Guatemala travels. This beautiful town, surrounded by valleys and shadowed by mountains, has many shamanistic and ceremonial overtones. Its large market brings villagers from throughout the region, who often arrive the night before and sleep on blankets in the market square. Rising early, they set out their colorful fruits, vegetables and handicrafts. The market disperses in the early afternoon and we travel to the shores of beautiful Lake Atitlan, a deep caldera lake flanked by three majestic volcanoes. A passenger boat takes us across the azure-colored water to our charming lodge in the village of Santiago Atitlan.
Day 3 Lake Atitlan (B) lodge
This morning after admiring the placid waters of the lake, we set out about town on a walking tour. Scholars tell us that the ancient Maya disappeared mysteriously a thousand years ago, but anyone who has intimately explored this fascinating region knows that the Maya continue to thrive in the highlands of Guatemala. Villagers in Santiago Atitlan still adhere to the traditional lifestyle of the Tz'utuhil Maya and on our walk we'll see many people cloaked in brightly-colored, hand-woven clothing. Along Santiago's main street are art galleries filled with oil paintings depicting busy market scenes and typical life in the highlands. We may also visit Maximòn and leave an offering to this curious and revered deity.
Day 4 Lake Atitlan (B) lodge
We board the lancha this morning for our return trip across Lake Atitlan. A few miles down the curvy mountain road, known as the Interamericana, we reach the town of Solola. The main plaza is home to one of the most authentic markets in the highlands, and we'll spend some time wandering through the stalls, admiring the palette of colors created by mounds of fruits, vegetables, meats, housewares and clothing. After our sensory feast, we return to colonial Antigua for the evening.
Day 5 Antigua (B) lodge
Volcan Fuego rises to the roof of the world above the streets of Antigua below. Once the capital of Guatemala and all Central America, Antigua resembles a living ruin. Mammoth churches and palaces tell the story of Antigua's past glory, and restored fascades speak of a bright future for this wonderful city. This morning we tour the city and admire Antigua's gilded cathedrals. The afternoon is yours to rent mountain bikes to explore the countryside, visit a coffee finca or macadamia nut plantation, or just people watch in the main plaza.
Day 6 Chiminos Lodge (B,L,D) lodge
From Antigua we fly to Flores and transfer onward to the Chiminos Island Lodge, an eco-archaeological preserve in the forested Peten region. From your mahogany bungalow you're enveloped by the sounds of the jungle: parrots, toucans, and myriad other bird species share their song, while the uncanny roar of nearby howler monkeys adds a primal feel to the jungle. As the sun begins to set, we'll head out on a guided rainforest hike to see what wildlife we can spot.
Day 7 Maya ruins (B,L) lodge
The ruins of Aguateca, while not as imposing as those we'll see at Tikal, are among the best preserved and restored Maya sites in Guatemala. We spend the morning here learning about the Classical Mayan period before returning to the lodge in time for lunch. A three hour transfer by boat and bus brings us to the shores of Lake Peten Itza, where we settle in for the evening.
Day 8 Tikal (B,L) lodge
Tikal's towering pyramids rise above the thick jungle canopy like stoic sentinels of ancient mysteries. The ancient Maya began building this city around 600 B.C., and for the next 1500 years the area was an important religious, scientific, and political center. Pyramids to honor dead kings were built, administrative buildings rose, storage houses appeared and houses for royalty were carved out of the jungle. Tikal became one of the greatest centers of Maya culture and sprawled over 46 square miles with more than 4000 structures in the core city center alone. Today, the pristine forest engulfing the ruined city is home to howler and spider monkeys, white lipped peccary, brocket deer, coati-mundis, toucans, scarlet macaws, parrots, ocelots and the seldom seen jaguar. This morning we explore the ruins with an experienced guide before flying to Guatemala City where we overnight. A perfect finish to your Guatemala travel adventures!
Day 9 Return home (B)
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