Cycles of the Mayan Calendarfrom
Learn about Maya Cosmovision through direct interaction with a local Indigenous Spiritual Guide (Shaman). Explore 4 UNESCO Heritage Sites. Explore the indigenous market of Chichicastenango. Take a boat trip on Lake Atitlan, surrounded by 3 volcanoes and 12 indigenous villages.
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging
- Learn about Maya Cosmovision through direct interaction with a local Indigenous Spiritual Guide (Shaman)
- Explore four UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Colonial Antigua; the most important city of the Maya World of Tikal; the site of Quiriguá with the tallest carved stelae and Copan with its rich background
- Immerse into the indigenous market of Chichicastenango
- Take a boat trip on Lake Atitlan, surrounded by 3 volcanoes and 12 indigenous villages
go to “itinerary” above for the day by day description.
Welcome to Guatemala
Arrival to Guatemala City and transfer to the hotel in Antigua.
Antigua Guatemala + Surrounding Villages
Antigua, colonial city declared by UNESCO “Cultural Heritage of Humankind”. In the morning we will visit the main historic monuments of the city, starting from the Main Plaza. Afterwards we head to the village of San Antonio Aguas Calientes, famous for its textiles and handicrafts. Then we continue to the Indigenous village of Santiago Zamora. Here you will learn about the Maya- Kaqchiquel culture and have the opportunity to interact with a group of women artisans called Ixoki’ aj Quiema’, who elaborate artisan products, mainly textiles using ancestral techniques. A typical lunch will be prepared by these women. Return to Antigua Guatemala.
Iximché (Ancient Capital of the Maya-Kaqchikel/Lake Atitlán
In the morning we head to the highlands. On the way to Lake Atitlán we will visit Iximché, an archaeological site located in the town of Tecpán. Iximché was the former capital of the Maya- Kaqchikel, place where in 1524 was founded Guatemala ́s first capital by the Spanish conqueror Pedro de Alvarado. After the visit we continue to Lake Atitlán. Time at leisure to enjoy the town of Panajachel, before we continue to the town of Santa Catarina Palopó.
Lake Atitlán (San Juan La Laguna- Special Tree Planting Ceremony & Santiago Atitlán)
Today we will visit two villages. We take a boat ride to San Juan La Laguna where you will have the opportunity to enjoy first hand interaction with the locals, and learn about their daily life, customs and traditions. We will visit several associations who work with natural dyes, for the manufacturing of textiles using traditional techniques; as well as several artisan workshops. We will enjoy a special “Tree Planting Mayan Ceremony” at the top of “Cerro de la Cruz”. Afterwards we continue by boat to the town of Santiago Atitlán famous for Maximón, a character that is widely worshiped by its inhabitants. Santiago also offers a variety of handicrafts, colorful textiles, woodcarvings and naïf paintings.
Chichicastenango Indigenous Market/PM Quetzaltenango
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 Tomás Church, where the Maya-Quiché pray mixing ancient Maya traditions along with Catholic Religion. We will visit the Sacred Maya Altar of “Pascual Abaj” and enjoy a typical lunch at the nearby home of a local family. In the afternoon we continue to Quetzaltenango. (x 2 nights)
Momostenango – Place of the Holy Altars. Interview with a Mayan Spiritual Guide
According to the Sacred book of the Maya: Popol Vuh, the ancient name Cho Tz’ak translates as ”altars in front of the hills”; the current name Momostenango is a derivative of two Nahuatl voices, Momoztli (altars) and Tenango (fortified place). Here, the 260-day Maya Calendar is still in use. Today you will enjoy an interesting interview with a local Shaman or Mayan Spiritual Guide. Return to Quetzaltenango.
Almolonga/Tak’alik Ab’aj/El Baul/GUA
After an interesting visit to the vegetable market in Almolonga, we wil leave the highlands and head towards the Pacific Coast to the archaeological site of Tak’alik Ab’aj, a pre-Columbian site with both Olmec and Maya Features; it is one of the largest sites with sculptured monuments on the pacific coastal plain and has one of the greatest concentratinos of Olmec style sculptures outside the Gulf of Mexico. Continue to Guatemala City.
Guatemala City: Archaeology and Ethnology Museum. PM Copán
Morning visit to the National Archaeology and Ethnology Museum where you will find a vast collection of Maya artifacts. Afterwards we continue to the border with Honduras crossing the Motagua Valley, which was the region source of Jade for the Maya. After short border formalities, we will arrive to the town of Copán Ruinas. (x 2 nights)
Copán- The baroque city of the Maya
Visit to one of the most impressive sites in the Maya World: Copán, declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. Copán presents a sophisticated architectural style and a unique art for stone carving. Visit the plazas, complexes and monuments, as well as the Sculpture Museum with a replica of the Rosalila Temple.
Quiriguá- The city of the Mayan Creation/PM Flores
After leaving the Copán valley we will drive back to Guatemala and then continue to the site of Quiriguá. Declared by UNESCO “Cultural Heritage of Humankind”, in Quiriguá we will see the Stelae C carved in 776 AD. After the visit we continue to Flores. (x 2 nights)
Ceibal- One of the last cities of the Classic Period
We depart by road to Sayaxché, where we take a boat through La Pasion river and continue to Ceibal. The site of Ceibal flourished from 200 AD to 900 AD and has an extraordinary number of Mayan stone carved monuments and temples. The stelae of Ceibal are one of the finest and best preserved. The site was discovered in 1985 and was one of the last cities of the Classic Period. It is considered one of the most important cities in the Petexbatún area.
Uaxactún- The first Astronomical Complex
Meaning “Born in Heaven”, Uaxactún is home to the first astronomical observatory in the Mayan Classic Period. Nowadays in this astronomical complex, the solstice and equinox are still observed. Among other, these events where very important in the agricultural calendar of the Maya. Overnight in Tikal National Park.
Tikal- The Ancient Capital of the Maya (Mayan Ceremony with Local Spiritual Guide)
The majestic city of Tikal, considered the largest and most monumental of all sites discovered in the Mayan World, was declared by UNESCO as a “World Heritage Site”. Enjoy a guided walking tour to visit the most important plazas, complexes, temples, ball courts, palaces and stelae. Also enjoy the tropical forest, nesting place of hundreds of exotic birds and the habitat of a wide variety of wildlife. We will celebrate a special Mayan Ceremony by a local Spiritual Guide. In the afternoon return to Flores to board the flight back to Guatemala City. Note: If time allows and park rangers authorize, a Sunrise if possible to enjoy on top of one of the main temples.
At the time specified, transfer to Guatemala City International Airport.