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14-day Guatemala ACTIVA

SACRED MAYAS

Included services:

  • 13 overnights in good country-typical 3* hotels or basic accommodation where indicated
  • 13 American or typical Chapín breakfasts, dinner on Day 9, Day 10 and Day 11
  • all ground transfers, boat transportation and entrance fees as indicated in tour itinerary
  • German-Spanish or English-Spanish speaking guide services Day 1-14, other languages upon request
  • hotel taxes and VAT

Not included: Other meals, drinks, tips, other transfers or extra guided tours, border fees, departure tax.

 

PLEASE NOTE THAT ENTRANCE FEES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE ANYTIME WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE. TRANSPORTATION BASED ON PRIVATE AND SEAT-IN TRANSFERS. THIS TRIP IS RATED ACTIVE TRAVEL AND REQUIRES MEDIUM PHYSICAL CONDITION, ACCEPTANCE FOR EARLY DEPARTURES AND LONG DRIVING HOURS..

 

Program Itinerary:

 

Day 1 (Tuesday):

Reception at airport and transfer to Antigua. Depending on your arrival time, you can still enjoy a relaxed evening walk through the cobble stone streets of this colonial town. Overnight.

 

Day 2 (Wednesday):

Walking tour Antigua North – La Merced church, Santa Catalina arch, Central Plaza with cathedral and Palacio de Capitanes – including also a visit to the school for working children „Niño Obrero“ or similar. Continue in the afternoon with walking tour Antigua South, visiting San Francisco church with the shrine of Guatemala´s only saint – Hermano Pedro, Old University San Carlos or Museum Santiago. Antigua Guatemala served as capital of all Central America from 1543 until 1773, when destroyed by an earthquake and the capital subsequently moved to its present location. The city was original known as La Muy Noble y La Muy Leal Ciudad de Santiago de los Caballeros. Optional excursions to Macadamia Nut Farm, Finca Filadelfia coffee plantation, women’s weaving cooperative in San Antonio Aguascalientes or Don Filiberto can be scheduled upon request. Overnight.

 

Day 3 (Thursday):

Transfer to Chichi. The colorful town of Chichicastenango hosts every Thursday and Sunday one of the biggest indigenous markets in Guatemala, attracting traders from the highlands offering beautiful traditional textiles & handicrafts. Visit the colorful market, observe Mayan rituals in Santo Tomás church, and alternatively hike to nearby ceremonial site Pascual Abaj. Continue to Quetzaltenango. Quetzaltenango, the second largest city in Guatemala, is situated in a large valley surrounded by mountains, volcanoes, and indigenous villages. It maintains the traditions of its Maya cultural heritage as well as its colonial past and dynamic modern life. Overnight.

 

Day 4 (Friday):

Transfer to San Francisco El Alto. Visit the exhilarating highland market. Then continue to Huehuetenango. Visit Zaculeu archeological site and Chiantla, a lovely highland town just outside Huehuetenango famous for its leather and bronze products and the Silver Virgin Mary, dating back to the 17th century. Arrive late afternoon in the picturesque highland village of Todos Santos. Spectacular landscapes, ranging from sparse highland plateaus to steep mountain passes, mark the route to Todos Santos. Nestled high in the Cuchumatán Mountain Range, this Mam village provides a perfect example of traditional Guatemalan life in the highlands. A typical sauna bath can be visited upon request. Overnight in basic hotel with mostly shared bathroom. 

 

Day 5 (Saturday):

Visit colorful Saturday market and hike to nearby view point Las Letras, from where you can enjoy a magnificent view on the Todos Santos valley. Afterwards depart for Panajachel via San Andrés Xecul, the Almolonga valley and the highland town Zunil, home to one of the religious brotherhoods of Maximón where you can observe fire and candle rituals (cost for entrance fee to sanctuary and photos not included). Arrive late afternoon in Panajachel. Boat transfer to El Jaibalito. Overnight.

 

Day 6 (Sunday):

FREE DAY to swim and relax. A natural treasure is the sapphire-blue Lake Atitlán, surrounded by 3 dormant volcanoes in the Western Highlands. Located around the lake’s shore are 14 picturesque indigenous villages which are home to Kakchiquel and Tzutuhil families and where Mayan dialects are first language. Optional activities include: a) hike San Pedro Volcano, or b) hike at lakeshore to nearby village. Overnight.

 

Day 7 (Monday):

Participate in a real Mayan fire ritual with local shaman who will introduce you to typical Mayan shamanistic practices explaining about basic beliefs of the 4 elements – sun, wind, earth and water – and other holy traditions.  You are welcome to address a certain issue in your life that you want to send energy to. Afterwards boat tour of majestic Lake Atitlán visiting Santiago Atitlán with its great art galleries and the Maximón sanctuary, San Antonio Palopó and Santa Catarina Palopó, both offering a great selection of typical pottery and hand woven products. Return to Panajachel. Transfer to Antigua. Overnight.

 

Day 8 (Tuesday):

Early transfer to Copán (Honduras). On the way, you will be visiting a children’s hospital and orphanage in Jocotán (Guatemala). Donations like medicine, clothing, toys & linnen are welcome!!! ONLY IF TIME ALLOWS!!! OTHERWISE DIRECTLY TO COPAN. Visit Copán archeological site (local guide, museum & excavation tunnels not included). The archeological site of Copán (Honduras), 7 miles from the Guatemalan border, shows the most elaborately decorated monuments & steles of all Mayan cities. Copan was declared a heritage of humanity site in 1980 by UNESCO. Optional visit to Macaw Mountain Bird Park and Nature Reserve showing a variety of local bird and plant species. FREE evening to explore the charming little town of Copán ruins. Overnight.

 

Day 9 (Wednesday):

Transfer to Quiriguá. Visit archeological site. Quiriguá, a smaller site, about 25 miles from Copán, offers enormous carved rocks & huge steles, amongst them the tallest ones found in the Mayan World. Then continue to Rio Dulce. Boat ride (approx. 1 h 45 min) to Aktenamit Project. Start 24-hour-program to observe life in a rural Mayan village and to learn about how this NGO works in the sector of community development. Aktenamit is an EU-sponsored NGO focusing on health & education, organic agriculture, gender equity, integral community development amongst others. All income from eco-tourism and handicrafts is channeled directly to community members!!!! Hike to Mayan community PG Q’equchi (approx. 1 h 45min). Upon arrival, you can observe making of local handicrafts out of banana leafs. Dinner. The day ends with a typical Mayan fire ritual that is frequently performed for curing and protection purposes accompanied by traditional Q'equchi'es dance & folkloric music. Overnight in community guesthouse.

 

Day 10 (Thursday):

Hike to Livingston (approx. 1 h 30min). Brief walking tour in Garífuna town. Board boat launch that takes you to main project site and visit the boarding school, the hospital and the other facilities that Aktenamit puts at service for the local communities. Afterwards boat transfer to Rio Dulce. Continue to Tikal. Overnight.

 

Day 11 (Friday):

Optional early morning bird-watching tours or canopy tours available. Start guided tour of Tikal archeological site, visiting Complex Q, Main Plaza, North and Central Acropolis, Complex Lost World, Temple IV. Once the ceremonial center of the ancient Maya, the ruins at Tikal were rediscovered in 1955 and comprise the largest collection of Mayan ruins ever excavated. Now, a National Park covering 358 square miles of prime rainforest, Tikal is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, including spider and howler monkeys, ocelots, jaguars, and almost 250 bird species. UNESCO declared Tikal a World Heritage site in 1979 due to its exceptional natural and cultural value. Toucans, monkeys, coatis, turkeys, trogons, parrots, macaws and other birds and mammals are commonly sighted along the trails. Continue early afternoon to Sayaxché and boat transfer thru Petexbatún Lagoon to hotel. Overnight.

 

Day 12 (Saturday):

Take boat launch to Aguateca and visit this archeological site overlooking the Petexbatún River. Visit the Central Plaza, the ceremonial center, the North Complex, Necropolis and the natural fortress. Aguateca lies high ground atop a limestone outcrop, 100 meters above sea level. The site is conformed by a ceremonial center covering an area of approximately one square kilometer, spread among three high hills, each one separated from the other by deep ravines, which drain into the river. A high concentration of buildings is found on each of its avenues, which have been designated as groups A, B, C, and D. Continue around noon towards the Green Heart of Guatemala, the Verapaces, to Lanquín. Overnight.

 

Day 13 (Sunday):

Start the day with a visit to the spectacular waterfalls of Semuc-Champey National Park & Lanquín Caves. FREE TIME to swim in pristine waters and relax. TRANSFER LANQUIN-SEMUC ONLY IN PICK-UP TRUCK; approx. Q50pp to be paid directly. A site of natural beauty is the waterfalls of Semuc Champey, amidst a rocky landscape, the Cahabón River tumbling into cascades and forming a series of pools. The dense vegetation is home to hundreds of bird species. Depart late morning for Cobán. Only 5 minutes from Cobán, the capital city of Alta Verapaz, is the Vivero de las Verapaces, which holds over 60,000 varieties of some 750 species of orchids. Optional visit orchid nursery and Biotopo del Quetzal (only if time allows). Continue early afternoon to Antigua. Overnight.

 

Day 14 (Monday):

FREE morning in Antigua to take care of last-minute shopping at the local craft market and then it is time to say good-bye. Drop-off at La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City.

 

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27-Apr-2017

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Tikal - Monuments...

...and Landscapes.