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15-day Guatemala LINDISSIMA

THE MAYA PATH

Included services:

  • 14 overnights in good country-typical 3* hotels or as indicated in tour itinerary
  • 14 American or typical Chapín breakfasts, dinner on Day 5, Day 8 and Day 9
  • all ground transfers, boat transportation and entrance fees as indicated in tour itinerary
  • local English-speaking guide for half-day archeological tour in Tikal
  • hotel taxes and VAT

Not included: Other meals, drinks, tips, additional 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.

 

Program Itinerary:

 

Day 1 (Saturday):

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 in colonial-style hotel.

 

Day 2 (Sunday):

FREE DAY. 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. Antigua has been declared UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. Options include: a) hike to Pacaya volcano; b) walking tour in Antigua – La Merced church, Santa Catalina arch, Central Plaza with cathedral and Palacio de Capitanes, University San Carlos, San Francisco church with the shrine of Guatemala’s only saint – Hermano Pedro; c) visit to coffee plantation; d) visit to Macadamia Nut Farm; e) visit to a Women’s Weaving Cooperative in San Antonio Aguascalientes; f) visit to Don Filiberto, a farmer in San Miguel Escobar; g) Tour de Pueblos visiting surrounding villages. PLEASE MAKE RESERVATIONS FOR OPTIONAL TOURS IN ADVANCE. Overnight.

 

Day 3 (Monday):

Early transfer to Copán (Honduras). Visit Copán archeological site (local guide, museum & excavation tunnels not included). The archeological site of Copán, 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 afternoon visit to Macaw Mountain Bird Park and Nature Reserve showing a variety of local bird and plant species. FREE TIME. Overnight.

 

Day 4 (Tuesday):

Transfer to Río Dulce. Visit Quiriguá archeological site with its famous steles on the way. Quiriguá, a smaller site, about 25 miles from Copán, offers enormous carved rocks & huge steles, amongst them the tallest ones found in the Mayan WorldBoot transfer from Rio Dulce to Livingston, the Garífuna town located at the mouth of the river. The Garífuna are descendents of African slaves who intermarried with the local Indians. They have their own distinct language, music, art and cuisine. Evening walk in Livingston. Overnight.

 

Day 5 (Wednesday):

Boat tour of jungle-bordered Río Dulce visiting Chocón Machacas Nature Reserve, Río Tatín, Hot Springs and Castillo San Felipe. Flowing down to the Caribbean Coast from Lake Izabal (Guatemala’s largest lake) is the 26-mile jungle-bordered Río Dulce.  Along the banks of the river are many natural and historic sites including the Castillo San Felipe, built by the Spanish to protect the coast from pirate attacks, and sulfuric hot springs. Located in the north central part of Rio Dulce’s El Golfete in Izabal is a 17.791 acre protected area created to preserve the manatee (sea cow) the largest mammal in Guatemala. Its habitat is within the connecting lakes of the reserve and the Rio Dulce, and between the Rio Dulce and the Caribbean Sea. The area has at least 60 species of trees, approximately 180 migrating bird species, of the existing 300, and a large variety of mammals, fish, turtles, toads, frogs and iguanas. Continue early afternoon to Tikal National Park. Overnight.

 

Day 6 (Thursday):

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 late afternoon to Flores. Overnight.

 

Day 7 (Friday):

Transfer to Yaxhá. Visit archeological site. Yaxha is located 30 kilometers to the southeast of Tikal and boasts plazas and an acropolis which are interconnected by "sacbes", or roads. The hieroglyphic inscriptions indicate that it was inhabited during the Early Classic period and the Late Classic period. Return early afternoon to Flores. Optional boat tour on Lake Petén Itzá and visit to El Petencito Zoo. Overnight.

 

Day 8 (Saturday):

Transfer to Sayaxché. Board boat launch to El Ceibal. Walk from river to nearby archeological zone.  Site visit includes: Group A, C, D, Circular Pyramid, Zoomorph Altar, Ball court. This archaeological site is located 12 kilometers to the east of Sayaxche, on La Pasion River, at 220 meters above sea level. Ceibal was the largest Maya settlement during the Late Classic period, having great power over the  western bank of La Pasion river, since it enjoyed a favorable geographic location as a control and interaction point for both transport and commercial activities, as well as political and military influence. Afterwards boat transfer to Petexbatún Lagoon. For nature-lovers: Nature Hikes and Bird Watching. Overnight at Hotel Chiminos Island Lodge.

 

Day 9 (Sunday):

Visit Aguateca archeological site overlooking the Petexbatún River - 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 to Candelaria Caves. Overnight in basic hotel.

 

Day 10 (Monday):

Visit Candelaria Caves. Candelaria Caves National Park is a subterranean river and cave system considered among the largest and most impressive in Latin America. In addition to its speleological attributes, this cave system has great cultural and natural significance since it was a main pilgrimage site for the ancient Maya civilization and it shelters diverse flora and fauna. For the archeology buff there are more than 20 archaeological sites surrounding the cave system and a lot of Maya pottery, which shows its relevance in ancient times. Continue afterwards to Cobán. Optional evening visit to Principe Maya Museum. Overnight.

 

Day 11 (Tuesday):

Visit orchid nursery “Vivero de las Verapaces”, only 5 minutes from Cobán, the capital city of Alta Verapaz, which holds over 60,000 varieties of some 750 species of orchids. The ideal time to visit is between October and February, when the orchids are in full bloom and turn into a sea of colors.

 

There are miniatures which can only be examined with a magnifying glass, and other varieties the size of large bushes. Some orchids are fragrant (such as vanilla and a coconut-scented variety) and others are fetid (such as an orchid pollinated by mosquitos, which stinks like a sweaty mammal). And there are many examples of Guatemala's national flower, the Monja Blanca (white nun - Lycaste virginalis, var. Alba).

 

Then continue to Biotopo del Quetzal and hike one of the beautiful nature trails thru the cloud forest.

 

’El Biotopo’ is a protected area founded by Mario Dary Rivera, former director of San Carlos University in 1977. The reserve covers 1,150 hectares of primary cloud forest, from 1,500- 2,300 meters (4,920-7,545 ft). The reserve was especially established in order to preserve populations of the Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno), the national bird of Guatemala. Today, due to isolation and increasing fragmentation, the Quetzal is rarely seen in this reserve. However, it is a valuable area for connecting the cloud forest of Sierra de las Minas with cloud forests in Alta Verapaz. This visit will give you a peek into what a typical cloud forest is like. It is full of tree ferns, epiphytic mosses, orchids and bromeliads forming an exuberant garden on top of tree branches. Within the reserve you may hear calls of the whistling Highland Guans (Penelopina nigra) and Collared Trogon (Trogon collaris), a relative of the Quetzal. Continue back to Antigua. Overnight.

 

Day 12 (Wednesday):

Transfer to Panajachel. 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. 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. Return to Panajachel. Overnight.

 

Day 13 (Thursday):

Transfer from Antigua to Chichi. Visit the indigenous market, observe Mayan rituals in Santo Tomás church, and alternatively hike to nearby ceremonial site Pascual Abaj. The colorful town of Chichicastenango located 20 miles north of this volcanic lake, hosts every Thursday and Sunday one of the biggest indigenous markets in Guatemala, attracting traders from the highlands offering beautiful traditional textiles & handicrafts. Chichi offers lots of shamanistic overtones with numerous religious brotherhoods & a mystic-spiritual combination of Mayan pagan rites and traditional Catholic devotion. Then continue to Xela. Overnight.

 

Day 14 (Friday):

Visit San Francisco El Alto market and explore Xela surroundings - San Andrés Xecul, Copavic glass factory, Zunil & Almolonga valley. This small highland town built on a very large, steep hill which is located in the small Guatemalan department of Totonicapan. Situated at 8,500 ft above sea level, this village commands a great view of the enormous Quetzaltenango valley. The Friday market is the largest native market in Guatemala. Transfer to Antigua. Overnight.

 

Day 15 (Saturday):

FREE MORNING in Antigua for last-minute shopping at the local craft market, or to just enjoy for a very last time the colonial flair. Drop-off at La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City.

 

END OF SERVICES

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27-Apr-2017

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