Festivals – Santo Tomás Day in Chichicastenango


December 21st is the celebration of “Santo Tomás”, the Saint Patron of Chichicastenango. The town celebrates during the whole week with folkloric dances, processions, ceremonies and different cultural activities.

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  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
  • Activity Level Fairly Easy
Festivals – Santo Tomás Day in Chichicastenango.

Chichicastenango is the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Quichés and known for its cultural richness. Today the Mayas-Quiches still practice Syncretic Rites (Mayan-Catholic). In this city there is there still a parallel power recognized: the Mayan Maire:  the “ Indigenous Mayor”.  Besides being famous for its market, it is also known as “The Mecca of the Mayas” since the discovery of the Popol Vuh: the sacred book of the Maya.

go to “itinerary” above for the day by day description (December 2020)

  1. Saturday Dec 12 Welcome to Guatemala

    On arrival to Guatemala City you will be met by STP Guatemala staff for the transfer to the hotel.

  2. Sunday Dec 13 GUA City Tour/Quetzal Biotope/Cobán

    Panoramic city visit including the Main Plaza, where we can find the Cathedral and the Palacio Nacional de la Cultural (former Governments offices and residence).  Drive to the eastern side of the country through the dry tropical climate of the Motagua river valley and onto the cooler climate of Alta Verapáz.  Visit to the lush cloud forest ecosystem of the Biotope “El Quetzal – Mario Dary Rivera,” natural habitat of the national bird, the Quetzal. Continue to Cobán.

  3. Monday Dec 14 Cobán/Candelaria Caves/Flores

    This morning we drive to Candelaria Caves, the largest complex found in Central America (30kms long) located at the foot of the Chamá Mountain Range. It is one of the most extraordinary underground systems on Earth.  Afterwards we continue to the north:  Flores, Petén.  (x 2 nights)

  4. Tuesday Dec15 Tikal National Park

    Hidden in the middle of the jungle, Tikal’s monumental ruins are a part of the Marvels of the Americas.   UNESCO  included it  in the World Heritage List  on 1979 and declared it as  “Cultural  & Natural  Heritage”  due  to  the big quantity of  archeological  vestiges and  ecosystems. Known originally as ” City of the Voices ”, it was discovered  on 1848, and it was not but up to in 1940 when they started the restoration works.  A visit from 3 to 5 hours, in  the jungle, allows to the visitors to discover the history of this mystical Maya Metropolis. Afternoon return to Flores and if time allows, walking visit to Flores Island, the capital of Petén.  The old part of the city is located on an island on Lake Petén Itzá, connected to the mainland by a short causeway.

  5. Wednesday Dec16 Flores/Río Dulce (Boat to Livingston)

    Morning departure to Río Dulce where we will take a boat ride for a panoramic view from the river of Castillo San Felipe, a fort that was built in early XVI century to protect the merchandise from pirates of the Gulf of Mexico.  Admire the lush tropical forest, hundreds of birds and the impressive Río Dulce Canyon.  Visit to the local Indigenous Cooperative AK Tenamit.  Arrival to the Garífuna town of Livingston.

  6. Thursday Dec17 Livingston/Puerto Barrios/Quiriguá/Copán

    Boat transfer to Puerto Barrios. Continue to visit the archaeological site of Quiriguá.  Declared by UNESCO “Cultural Heritage of Humankind”, Quiriguá is famous for having the tallest stone-carved stelae in the Maya World.  After the visit drive to Copán, Honduras.

  7. Friday Dec18 Copán Tour/Antigua

    Copán is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the Maya World. It was declared “World Heritage Site” by UNESCO, and presents a sophisticated architectural style and a unique art for stone carving. Visit the main plazas, complexes and monuments (entrance fee included only to the archaeological site, not to the tunnels or sculpture museum).  Afterwards drive back to Guatemala City and onto Antigua. (x 2 nights)

  8. Saturday Dec19 Antigua City Tour + Coffee farm

    Stepping in Antigua is like stepping back in time… cobbled stone streets, sprays of bougainvillea bursting from crumbling ruins, pastel façades under terracotta roofs, parks with fountains & a dramatic setting surrounded by three volcanoes: Agua, Fuego & Acatenango.  These are one of the reasons why Antigua is one of the most beautiful colonial cities in the Americas & declared by UNESCO as “Cultural Heritage of Humankind”. Visit to Antigua, starting from the Main Plaza and visiting the main monuments of the city.  After Antigua, visit to a coffee farm to learn about the history of coffee.

  9. Sunday Dec 20 Chichicastenango visit + Santo Tomás Day Celebrations

    Departure to Chichicastenango. its name means  “ Place  between nettles” .  Chichicastenango is the ancient capital of the  Kingdom of Quichés and known for its cultural richness where the  Mayas-quiches survived the outside influences: they still practice  Syncretic Rites   (Mayan-Catholic).  In this city there is there still a parallel power recognized:  The Mayan Maire.  The “ Indigenous Mayor” .  This city is famous for its market, where every Thursday and Sunday, locals from surrounding villages gather around the Main Plaza to buy and sell their goods.  A tradition hundreds of years old.  It  is also  known  as   “The Mecca of  the Mayas” since the discovery of the  Popol Vuh: the  sacred book  of the  Maya.  December 21st is the celebration of “Santo Tomás” who is the Saint Patron of Chichicastenango.  The town celebrates during the whole week with folkloric dances, processions, ceremonies and different cultural activities.

  10. Monday Dec 21 Santo Tomás Day Celebrations/ PM drive to Lake Atitlán

    Continue with the celebrations of Santo Tomás.  Afternoon drive to Lake Atitlán.  (x 2 nights)

  11. Tuesday Dec 22 Lake Atitlán (Boat to Santiago)

    In  Nahualt  dialect, Atitlán means:   “ Abundance of Water”. According to the geological history, this area was an enormous volcano that erupted  85,000 years ago.   The result  of  this  huge  eruption is  a  125 square kilometres and  300 mts. depth  caldera,  which  is  now  Lake Atitlan.  Its shores are inhabited by 12  Mayan descendant etnias (Tzutujil  and  Cakchiquel).  Atitlan is at 1560 masl and  surrounded by  3 volcanoes:   Volcan San Pedro (3020 masl),   Volcan  Toliman (3158 masl)   and  Volcan  Atitlán  (3537 masl). Towns you will visit:  Santa  Catarina  Palopó: Community  of  less than  3,000 people  belongs to the  Cakchiquel  etniaThis little  town of  8 Kms., is  famous  because of the traditional blue- turquoise traditional dress.   Women  learn  how to  weave at  05  years  old  and  keep  this  ancestral traditions  associated  to  fertility.  Santiago Atitlan: Is the  biggest community  around  the lake.    Its   name before of the  Spanish  conquest,   was  T´zikin´ ha, which means “House of  Birds”, it  is located at  the base  of the Atitlán Volcano. Santiago Atitlan  is  famous for “Maximon” a pagan Saint that is widely worshiped. Santiago is also known for their naif painting artists.

  12. Wednesday Dec 23 Lake Atitlán/GUA Airport

    At the time specified, drive to Guatemala City  airport (3hrs drive).  Important:  flight must be in the afternoon due to the distance to GUA City.