Festivals – Semana Santa in Antigua


During Semana Santa, Antigua hosts the most beautiful religious celebration in the Americas. Participate in the elaboration of a traditional sawdust carpet, where the processions go through. Explore 2 World Heritage Sites.

  • Reviews 0 Reviews
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided Tours
  • Activity Level Leisurely
Festivals – Semana Santa in Antigua.

  • Sample Program Dates 2021: IN:31/MAR/2021; OUT: 06/APR/2021
  • During Semana Santa, Antigua hosts the most beautiful religious celebration in the Americas; participate in the elaboration of a traditional sawdust carpet, where the processions go through
  • Explore two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Colonial Antigua and the most important city of the Maya World:  Tikal
  • Immerse into the indigenous market of Chichicastenango
  • Take a boat trip on Lake Atitlan, surrounded by 3 volcanoes

go to “itinerary” above for the day by day description.

  1. Day 1 Welcome to Guatemala

    Arrival to Guatemala. Meet at the airport and transfer to Antigua. (x 3 nights)

  2. Day 2 Antigua Tour + Semana Santa Celebrations

    Antigua Guatemala 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”.  During Semana Santa, Antigua Guatemala hosts the most beautiful religious celebration in the Americas, when huge processions wind their way through the town’s streets. You will witness the amazing sawdust carpets tradition and as a special activity you will have the opportunity to participate in the elaboration of one of these.  The following processions can be seen today:

    • Procesión San Cristóbal El Bajo
    • Procesión San Francisco.
  3. Day 3 Semana Santa Celebrations

    Continue exploring the streets of Antigua during Semana Santa festivities. On Good Friday the streets of Antigua are covered with natural, aromatic carpets (alfombras) of flowers, pines, clover and fruits, which the residents put together and place in front of their homes. There are all kinds and shapes. Some are very long, even up to a kilometer, with colonial, Mayan, Roman or other original designs. At 3:00 A.M., preparations begin for the mock trial and sentencing of Christ. Participants dress as Roman soldiers, Pontius Pilate and other participants in the drama. At 5:00 A.M., the sculpture of Christ carrying his crucifix is moved through the carpeted main streets of Antigua on the shoulders of his worshipers until early afternoon, when the image is replaced by another of Christ being laid to rest.  Antigua becomes adorned with black crepe paper as thousands of people, burning incense and dressed in black, crowd the plazas and streets. A spectacular procession is led by the man bearing the crucifix, with hundreds of followers (cucuruchos) carrying black banners and standards engraved with the final words of Christ and the pronouncements of God. Life-like images representing the archangels, the Stations of the Cross, the Cavalry, the apostles and many others are part of the silent procession through the streets, where multitudes pray quietly.  During the day there are a lot of activities, some are:

    • Crucifixion Ceremony in Escuela de Cristo and Cathedral
    • La Merced Procession (Jesús Nazareno)
    • La Catedral, Escuela de Cristo and San Felipe Processions (Santo Entierro)
  4. Day 4 Antigua/Iximché Archaeological site/Atitlán

    In the morning we head to the highlands.  On the way to Lake Atitlán we will visit the archaeological site of Iximché, located on the town of Tecpán.  Iximché was the former capital of the Maya-Cakchiquel and the place where, in 1524, was founded Guatemala’s first capital by the Spanish conqueror Pedro de Alvarado.  In the afternoon continue to Lake Atitlán, one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.  (x 2 nights)

  5. Day 5 Chichicastenango

    Departure to Chichicastenango, where you will see the most colorful and picturesque outdoor market in Guatemala, where locals from the region gather to buy and sell fruits, vegetables, flowers, grains, animals, textiles and handicrafts. Relevant is the visit to the Santo Tomas Church, where the Maya-Quiche pray to their gods according to the old Maya traditions. Here you will admire some local traditions of Holy Week. In the afternoon return to Lake Atitlan to visit the towns of Panajachel and San Antonio Palopó, known for their ceramic artisan products.

  6. Day 6 Santiago Atitlán/GUA/Flight to Flores

    Lake Atitlán was formed by a caldera (collapsed volcanic cone) and is surrounded by three impressive volcanoes (San Pedro, Atitlán and Tolimán) and 12 picturesque Maya-Cakchiquel and Maya-Tzutuhil villages. Morning boat trip to the Maya-Tzutuhil village of Santiago Atitlán, famous for Maximón, a folk Saint venerated in various forms.  The origins of his cult are not very well understood by outsiders to the different Mayan religions, but Maximón is believed to be a form of pre-Columbian Maya god, blended with influences from Catholicism.  Maximón may also be called San Simón. Return by boat to Panajachel and drive back to Guatemala City to board the flight to Flores.  Arrival and transfer to the hotel.

  7. Day 7 Tikal National Park. Flight to GUA

    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 until 1940 when the restoration works started. A visit from 3 to 5 hours in the jungle, allows the visitors to discover the history of this mystical of this Maya Metropoli, exploring the most important plazas, complexes, temples, ball courts, palaces and stelae.  Also enjoy the tropical rainforest, nesting place of hundreds of exotic birds and the habitat of a wide variety of wildlife.  Afternoon return to Flores to board the flight back to Guatemala City.  Arrival and transfer to the hotel.

  8. Day 8 See you soon

    At the specified time, transfer to the airport in Guatemala City.