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14-day Guatemala & Mexico

VIVA MEXICO

Included services:

  • 13 overnights in good country-typical 3* hotels or good standard 4* or 5* hotels
  • 13 breakfasts
  • all ground and boat transportation and entrance fees as indicated in tour itinerary
  • local English-speaking guide for 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 AIRFARES AND ENTRANCE FEES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE ANYTIME WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE. TRANSPORTATION BASED ON PRIVATE AND SEAT-IN TRANSFERS, IN  MEXICO ALSO FIRST-CLASS BUS.

 

Please check for Sun & Beach extension packages in Tulum, Playa del Carmen or Cancun!

 

Program Itinerary:

 

Day 1 (Saturday):

Reception at airport and transfer to hotel in 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, it is located just 45 km from Guatemala City, its splendid beauty consists in its colonial architecture, its houses painted in Mediterranean colors, and its ruins and numerous churches. 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 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 airport in Guatemala City and flight to Flores. You will be met by our representative and brought to Tikal National Park. Start guided tour of Tikal archeological site with bilingual local guide, visiting Complex Q, Main Plaza, North and Central Acropolis, Complex Lost World, Temple IV. Lunch (included). 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. FREE afternoon to explore and re-enter the archeological zone. Try to be in the park for sunset. Overnight in Tikal.

 

Day 4 (Tuesday):

Optional early morning bird-watching tours or canopy tours available. FREE morning to visit onsite museums and re-enter the archeological zone (approx. Q50 not included). Afternoon transfer to Flores airport and flight to Guatemala City. Transfer back to Antigua. Overnight.

 

Day 5 (Wednesday):

Transfer to Panajachel. Boat tour of stunning Lake Atitlán - visiting San Pedro La Laguna, Santiago Atitlán with its great art galleries and the Maximón sanctuary, and San Antonio Palopó, offering a great selection of hand woven products and colorful ceramics. Lake Atitlán is located in the Guatemalan Highlands. At 320 m deep, it is the deepest lake in Central America. It is renowned as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Continuing volcanism has built three volcanoes in the caldera. Volcán Atitlán, Volcán San Pedro and Volcán Tolimán. The lake is surrounded by many villages, in which Maya culture is still prevalent and traditional dress is worn. The Maya of Atitlán are predominantly Tz'utujil and Kaqchikel. During the Spanish conquest of the Americas, the Kaqchikel initially allied themselves with the invaders to defeat their historic enemies the Tz'utujil and Quiché Maya, but were themselves conquered and subdued when they refused to pay tribute to the Spanish. Santiago Atitlán is the best known of the lakeside villages, and is noted for its worship of Maximón, an idol formed by the fusion of traditional Mayan saints, Catholic saints and conquistador legends. An effigy of Maximón resides in a different house each year, being moved in a grand procession during Semana Santa. Several towns in Guatemala have similar cults, most notably the cult of San Simón in Zuníl. Return to Pana. FREE TIME. Overnight.

 

Day 6 (Thursday):

Transfer to Chichi. Visit the indigenous market, observe Mayan rituals in Santo Tomás church, and alternatively hike to nearby ceremonial site Pascual Abaj. This Quiché town is known for its traditional Maya Indian culture and home to the most colorful native market in North and Central America, which takes place twice a week. It draws not only the K'iche' Maya of the surrounding region, but vendors from all over Guatemala. They represent many of Guatemala's linguistic groups: Mam, Ixil, Kaqchikel, and others (Guatemala has 23 indigenous languages). Each person hawks his or her products in a cacophony of color, dialects, costumes, smoke, and smells. Vendors start setting up their own portable booths in the main plaza and nearby streets of Chichicastenango the night before and set-up continues into the early daylight hours. The fruit and vegetable vendors have their traditional area that they occupy, as well as the vendors of pottery, wooden boxes, condiments, medicinal plants, candles, pom and copal (traditional incense), cal (lime for preparing tortillas), grindstones, pigs and chickens, machetes, and other tools. In the central part of the market plaza are comedores (small eateries). Among the items sold are textiles, particularly the women's blouses. The manufacture of masks, used by dancers in traditional dances has also made this city famous for woodcarving. Early in the day, homemade rockets and firecrackers are set off and continue randomly throughout the day. The smell of incense burned at the 400-year old Santo Tomás church (on the steps and in the nave) and fireworks mingle together. The church is situated next to the market. It is built atop a Pre-Columbian platform, and the steps originally leading to a temple of the pre-Hispanic Maya civilization remain venerated. Shamans still use the church for their rituals, burning incense and candles. In special cases, they burn a chicken for the gods. Each of the 18 stairs that lead up to the church stands for one month of the Maya calendar year. Other sights in Chichicastenango include native musicians playing in the streets, religious processions, mask carvers, antique and relic stores, the Popul Vuh Museum of Mayan artifacts, and the colorful cemetery. There is also the nearby ancient stone idol Pascal Abaj, where offerings of flowers, candles, incense and sugar cane rum are evident. Then continue to Xela. Overnight.

 

Day 7 (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.


FREE AFTERNOON in Xela. 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. In Pre-Columbian times Quetzaltenango was a city of the Mam Maya people called Xelajú, the name derived from "Xe laju' noj" meaning "under ten mountains". The city was said to already be over 300 years old when the Spanish first arrived. invader Pedro de Alvarado defeated and killed Maya ruler Tecún Umán here. When Alvarado invaded the city for Spain in the 1520s, he called it by the Nahuatl name used by his Central Mexican Indian allies, "Quetzaltenango", generally considered to mean "the place of the quetzal bird" (although see note on etymology below). Quetzaltenango became the city's official name in colonial times. However, many people (especially, but not only, the indigenous population) continue to call the city "Xelajú" (pronounced shay-lah-WHO) or more commonly Xela for short, and some proudly, but unofficially, consider it the "capital of the Mayas". Ask for optional excursions! Overnight.

 

Day 8 (Saturday):

Early transfer to San Cristobal de las Casas. San Cristobal de las Casas is located in the central region in the state of Chiapas, 85 km (53 mi) east of Tuxtla Gutierrez, the state capital, and has one of Mexico’s most beautiful urban designs, you can discover impressive religious edifices like the Cathedral or the Templo de Santo Domingo. These buildings were restored using a combination of profuse baroque-style details and local architectural elements, which perpetuate the cultural heritage of ethnic groups that live in the surrounding areas, such as the Tzotziles, Tzeltales and the Lacandons. FREE AFTERNOON. Optional: Visit to indigenous villages San Juan Chamula & Zinactán. San Juan Chamula is a municipio (municipality) and township in the state of Chiapas, with approx. 50,000 inhabitants. The municipality is situated some 10km (6.2 miles) from San Cristobal de las Casas and is located in the Chiapas Highlands, at an altitude of 2,200m (7,200 feet). It is also the ceremonial centre of the Chamula Indians, the largest Tzotzil-speaking group. As often observed in the mountain villages of this Maya tribe, three large crosses, symbolizing  the Tree of Life, are set up in the village and on the hills. It is worth visiting the small church in which people burn candles in memory of their dead. Catholic rites and old Mayan myths blend intensely here. Overnight.

 

Day 9 (Sunday):

Transfer to Sumidero Canyon. Sumidero Canyon (Cañón del Sumidero) is a canyon located about 40km from Tuxtla Gutiérrez, capital of the Mexican state of Chiapas. Its cliffs are 900m above sea level and overlook the Grijalva River, which extends across the states of Chiapas and Tabasco and flows into the Gulf of Mexico. In its southern entrance, the canyon begins near the city of Chiapa de Corzo, and flows into the reservoir of the hydroelectric dam–Manuel Moreno Torres, best known as Chicoasén. This canyon is a result of a geological fault during the Pleistocene. It is home to a great variety of wildlife including crocodiles. Return late afternoon to San Cristobal de las Casas. Overnight.

 

Day 10 (Monday):

Transfer to Palenque. Visit Palenque archeological site. A prime example of a Mayan sanctuary of the classical period, Palenque was at its height between 500 and 700 A.D., when its influence extended throughout the basin of the Usumacinta River. The elegance and craftsmanship of the buildings, as well as the lightness of the sculpted reliefs with their Mayan mythological themes, attest to the creative genius of this civilization. The ruins are embedded in the heart of a tropical jungle, which gets torrential downpours during the summer and has an average temperature of 26º C (79º F). Among the most important structures at the site are: El Palacio (The Palace), which has a notable tower that rises above the complex; Los Templos del Sol, de la Cruz and de la Cruz Foliada (The Temple of the Sun, Temple of the Cross and Temple of the Foliated Cross), which surround the Plaza del Sol. There’s also the Templo de las Inscripciones (Temple of the Inscriptions). In 1952, a tomb was discovered under this temple with a beautifully inscribed sarcophagus among the funerary furnishings of King Pakal. The ancient ruler of Palenque ordered the temple’s construction, which would also serve as a holy tomb after his death. Overnight.

 

Day 11 (Tuesday):

Transfer in First Class Bus to Merida. FREE TIME. Merida is a place where the old and new come together on Paseo Montejo, the main avenue lined with structures of varying colonial and European architectural styles. The best way to sightsee is to hire a horse-drawn carriage. In Merida’s surrounding areas, you can visit Mayan ruins at Uxmal and Chichen Itza, the henequen haciendas and the spectacular sinkholes (ponds connected by underground rivers). You can also visit quiet coastal towns like Puerto Progreso, which is known for its calm waters and delicious Yucatecan cuisine. When you return to the so-called White City, visit one of the traditional markets, where you can buy all kinds of crafts. The city also offers concerts and various cultural events in its parks and public squares.Overnight.

 

Day 12 (Wednesday):

Transfer to Uxmal. Visit Uxmal archeological site. Uxmal was one of the largest cities of the Yucatan Peninsula, and at its height was home to about 25,000 Mayans. Like the other Puuc sites, it flourished from 600-900 A.D. The name Uxmal means 'thrice-built' in Mayan, referring to the construction of its highest structure, the Pyramid of the Magician. The Pyramid of the Soothsayer, as the Spaniards called it, dominates the ceremonial center. Its rulers are said to have presided over the nearby settlements of Kabah, Labna and Sayil, considered the pinnacle of Mayan art and architecture. Return late afternoon to Merida. Overnight.

 

Day 13 (Thursday):

Transfer to Celestún. The city of Merida, the state capital of Yucatan, is an excellent base to visit 2 natural areas of incredible beauty: Celestún and Ria Lagartos. Located about 80km (50 miles) from the so-called White City, between Yucatan and Campeche, the mangroves and the springs of the Celestun Biosphere Reserve are home to hundreds of migratory birds and the spider monkey. It’s also the breeding grounds for thousands of pink flamingoes. At this place, you can observe unique bird and flower species, go on a photo safari or take a boat tour. Another point of interest is the Ria Lagartos Sanctuary, an area that covers 60,000 hectares (148,000 acres). Located 150km (93 miles) northeast of Merida, at this sanctuary you can help participate in the conversation of sea turtles, crocodiles, fish, crustaceans and diverse mammals and reptiles. Return late afternoon to Merida.

 

Day 14 (Friday):

Transfer in First Class Bus to Chichén Itzá. Visit Chichén Itzá archeological site. Chichén-Itzá is one of the largest and most impressive archaeological sites in Mexico. It is two cities: one was ruled by the Mayans from the 6th to the 10th century A.D. and the other was a Toltec-Mayan city that emerged in 1000 A.D. The site combines Toltec and Mayan influences and is ripe with cosmological symbolism. Its four sides contain 365 steps, 52 panels and 18 terraces (for the 18 months of the religious year). The site also contains a cenote (limestone sacred well or sinkhole) and an observatory. Afterwards continue to Tulum or Playa del Carmen or Cancun.

 

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21-Sep-2017

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