Explore and learn about one of the most representative advances of Mayan Culture, their Calendar, on this fascinating and educational 8-day tour of Guatemala. The Maya were a splendid civilization. Their advanced knowledge in mathematics, astrology, and astronomy, among other sciences, is part of the extended legacy that they left to humanity, and some of these contributions are still in use today. The mathematical advances realized by the Maya civilization allowed them to develop the precise observation of the cosmos, allowing them to predict changes in the weather, lunar eclipses, and how best to utilize the seasons for agriculture.
The study of astrology allowed the Mayans to establish favorable periods for individual and collective activities. Combining their scientific knowledge, the Mayans created approximately 20 different calendars, each with a specific purpose. Go on a journey with our professional guides to learn about the Mayan Calendar.
Day 1. Arrival
Upon your arrival, a driver will welcome you to take you to the city of Quetzaltenango, also known as Xela. It is a beautiful city nestled in a large valley surrounded by volcanoes and mountains. Xela still conserves many of the ancient Mayan traditions, mixed up with a colonial past and dynamic modern life. Xela is also known as “The Cradle of Culture”. Home to numerous jazz and blues bands in addition to traditional musicians, there is also a broad art scene focused on painting, singing, and sculpture.
Day 2. Volcanic Hot Springs
After breakfast, you will explore the city of Xela with a local guide. The city is set against a backdrop of impressive volcanoes.
Later we will go to the hot springs Fuentes Georginas. Guatemala is a country full of delicate natural wonders, which includes many dramatic volcanoes, and where there are volcanoes, there are hot springs. The ride to the hot springs alone makes the trip worth taking, with spectacular views of the volcanoes and mountains lining the route. The water of the hot springs is heated naturally by the volcanic activity of the area, with 3 pools of differing temperatures to suit all tastes.
The hot springs have four thermic pools. Volcano Zunil creates the thermal warmth that makes the pools four distinct temperatures. There is a wide barrier of jungle that makes a breathtaking backdrop. The pools are fed by sulfur springs, and there is a gorgeous backdrop all around them to enjoy as you relax in the water. The perfect way to start your trip in Guatemala.
Day 3. Takalik Abaj Ruins
After breakfast, we will visit the archeological site of Takalik Abaj. A distinct feature of this city is the considerable number of round boulder sculptures that include numerous potbellied animal and human representations. During an invasion of the city in 300 AD, the city was ransacked, and most of the Mayan-style monuments were decapitated. The park remains a site of utmost significance to Mayans from the highlands, who regularly visit it to perform their religious ceremonies.
Later, you will visit the towns indigenous towns of Salcaja, San Andres Xecul, and San Cristobal Totonicapan. You’ll be part of the enriching Mayan culture of Guatemala. Enjoy the flavors, and customs of this interesting cultural experience. Traditions, architecture, and handicrafts are the essential ingredients of this excursion through these towns. You will see the church of San Andres Xecul, a delicate yellow church that got famous being portrayed on the cover of Lonely Planet. We’ll visit local stores, and families to learn about the making-process of delicate masks, astonishing handicrafts, and test local drinks.
Day 4. Chichicastenango market
Today we will drive to Chichicastenango where the most colorful market of Central America takes place every Thursday and Sunday. To fully experience the form of life at Chichicastenango, follow your guide into the vast market for a sight at its increasingly busy loading areas. Families arrive from outlying villages aboard trucks and carts loaded with products from their farms and workshops. They stock their stalls with a dizzying assortment of merchandise while the family leader strikes deals with the vendors who will sell their goods.
Experience Chichicastenango in full swing, and follow your guide to explore the vast market. You will see collections of splendidly colorful handicrafts expertly woven into rugs, blankets, skirts, blouses, napkins, and much more.
Rustic porcelains such as graceful miniature village displays, butterflies, and illustrated housewares. Long-established wooden masks depict jaguars, deer, rabbits, and other characters from indigenous dances. Banks of vegetables appear to glow in an animated shadow of purple, orange, green, yellow, and red. Walk into a real-time, Diego Rivera display between lines and lines of flowers and their restless merchants. Eyewitness energetic dealings, as locals and buyers from neighboring villages, stock up on ordinary farm supplies and goods. After this fascinating experience, we will drive to your hotel in Antigua Guatemala.
Day 5. Antigua Guatemala
Together with a professional guide, you will discover the delightful colonial city of Antigua Guatemala, which is one of Guatemala’s crowning treasures. With outstanding landscape, living Mayan culture, baroque architecture, and exquisite food, travelers surely won’t run short of things to discover.
Surrounded by three volcanoes and mountains, Antigua, Guatemala, was the colonial capital of Central America until earthquakes destroyed the city in the 18th century. However, the UNESCO World Heritage Site now blooms as a dynamic living ruin. With a blend of Maya flavor and baroque colonial architecture, Antigua Guatemala lets travelers experience the unique Guatemalan result of these two cultures crashing.
Later, we will discover some of the most interesting colonial towns and plantations that surround Antigua Guatemala. You will gain a fuller perception of the history, and culture of the region. First, we will visit San Juan del Obispo, where you’ll see the monastery of Francisco Marroquín, the first bishop of Guatemala. The monastery is charming and has original furniture. Next, you’ll goto Ciudad Vieja. Here you will learn about the history of this town, which was the second city founded by the Spanish in Guatemala. The town was destroyed in 1541 by volcano activity from Agua Volcano.
The next stop is at an organic macadamia nut farm. While here you’ll learn about the medicinal benefits of macadamia nuts, as well as their contribution to sustainable agriculture. You have the opportunity to taste macadamia pancakes, chocolates, and macadamia oil skin-care products. Afterward, we’ll go to a local cooperative market in the town of San Antonio Aguas Calientes. This town is known for its complex handicrafts. The excursion ends in a jade factory where you’ll learn how important jade has been for centuries for the Mayan culture.
At the end of the excursion, you will have free time to explore the many restaurants, bars, and coffee shops that Antigua Guatemala offers.
Day 6. Mixco Viejo
Today, you will discover the Mayan site of Mixco Viejo. The Archeological Site Old Mixco used to be one of the two great Mayan capitals of the area. Nowadays, this is an archaeological site of great interest where visitors get a feeling of peace and spirituality. Of the 120 structures, the two most famous are the Twin Pyramids, and two fields for ball games, also excavations have discovered many objects of everyday use such as pots, jugs, and pitchers, amongst others. According to Mayan cosmology, Old ‘Mixco’ is a trade center where the prayers of the congregation find their way to reaching divinity.
Day 7. Iximche
In the morning, we will go to the Mayan site of Iximche which covers approximately eight square kilometers. Buildings were built with carved stone and stucco-covered over with painted walls. Ceremonies for power, justice, stability, and harmony would have been carried out here. We will spend the rest of your day in the town of ‘Tecpan’, which was the cradle of the brave warriors who inhabited the area and was witness to one of the most powerful and significant political groups.
Day 8. Gumarcaj
Today, you will go to the archeological site of Gumarcaj located on the top of three majestic hills. Archeologists believe that the city was constructed here for its strategic advantage over possible enemies. During the height of power of this city, it contained at least 70 structures that functioned as temples, palaces, residential homes, and administrative buildings.
Gumarcaj has been granted the category of the Symbol City of Guatemala. Nowadays this archaeological site is a sacred place, visited by spiritual leaders to celebrate ceremonies in the underground caves that maintain an impressive mysticism constituting for the Mayan culture an entrance for communication with the underworld.
Day 9. Departure
Today marks the end of this cultural holiday. You will be transferred to the international airport. However, if you would like to extend your holiday we offer the option to include a Spanish language package on this trip or you can choose to combine this trip with one of our other trips. Contact us for more information.
8 days & 7 nights
$1,500* per guest
Private transportation, door to door service
7 nights accommodation in small boutique hotels
Local certified onsite guides
All park entrance fees
Price varies by group size
Not included: flights, personal, travel insurance and other expenses than indicated
Walk around ruins, eat traditional and delicious food all over the captivating Antigua Guatemala. In this imposing city of large walls and huge doors, enjoy a few of the savory jewels hidden all through this delightful city. It is a small city with approximately 300 food-related businesses, a lot of them small. Enjoy the delicious tastings and learn entertaining, exciting, and amusing anecdotes of the cooks who aim to carry quality dishes to both locals and tourists… It is an authentic experience. Duration: 3 hours. Price from $70
You will be able to take a Volcanic Sauna, a marvelous experience like no other. Additionally, you will have the option to take a massage or a jacuzzi with hot springs from the volcano as well. In the end, travelers will have the opportunity to eat at the restaurant which has a wide variety of Guatemalan traditional dishes. All while having breathtaking views of the amazing surrounding mountains. Duration: half day. Price $35
Monterrico is located on the Pacific coast and is considered to be the most beautiful beach of Guatemala. It is famous for its long, volcanic, black sand beaches and a charming small town. Relax at the beautiful beach and enjoy the tropical flavor. Or, if you like, you can visit the sea turtle project and check out the beaches of Hawaii and Mañanita (just outside of Monterrico) where the baby turtles are released back to the ocean. Duration: 1 day. Price from $120
Find the best charming spots to take delicate photos of the most meaningful markers of Antigua Guatemala. Your photographer guide will give you tips and procedures to make your photography technique, and lead you to dramatic places that many tourists overlook. Among its architecture and volcanoes, you will be in love with Antigua, a colonial piece of art that emanates passion. From early morning walks over the particular cobblestone streets to afternoon chats in one of the many cozy cafes, this city is the perfect destination for those who love photography. Duration: 3 hours. Price from $30