Traditional Maya Markets

Guatemala

Tired of the crowds?, come to enjoy a trip off the beaten path and discover the most hidden attractions of a country full of surprises. A trip through Guatemala to meet its people, its markets, its traditions and ancestral Mayan culture. These two weeks will take you through the most isolated Guatemalan populations to learn about their customs and traditions. You will visit its most emblematic cathedrals and traditional and colorful markets. Explore breathtaking landscapes and let yourself be captivated in the magic of the daily life of the ancestral Mayan populations in Guatemala.

Traditional clothing

Local Cuisine

The highlands

Antigua Guatemala

Highlights

Antigua Guatemala

Women’s textile cooperative

Coffee Farm

Chocolate Workshop

Comalapa Market 

Macadamia Nut Farm

Quetzaltenango

Hot Springs Georginas

San Andrés Xecul Church

Totonicapán

San Francisco El Alto

Huehuetenango

Todos Santos

Ixil Triangle

Lake Atitlan

Itinerary

Day 1. Arrival.
Your driver will meet at the Guatemala City airport and drive you to your hotel in Antigua to rest and relax for the evening. 

Day 2. Coffee and Chocolate.
In the morning we will visit a local coffee farm where you will learn about all the processes, from the ground to the cup, of this delicious beverage.  This tour will lead you to know in detail the daily coffee processing:  pulp, ferment, dry, sort and roast, to finish enjoying an invigorating cup of Guatemalan coffee.

In the afternoon you will meet another of the delicious Guatemalan beans, Cacao. In this Chocolate Workshop you will not only taste the ancient Mayan ceremonial drink but also learn how to make it. Learn to prepare your own customized handmade chocolate bars right from the cacao bean, the perfect souvenir to take home.

Day 3. Colonial towns.
The day begins with a visit to the local villages that surround the colonial city. Lear about the local culture in Saint Mary town where many women still wear the Mayan traditional costume.  In San Pedro and Ciudad Vieja you will visit colonial sights.  Learn how the complex and beautiful Guatemalan textiles are made by visiting a textile cooperative of women who manufacture them. Visit a Macadamia nut farm where you can enjoy a variety of products derived from the macadamia tree and learn from the process of this delicious nut.  In short, today you will be filled with Antigua Guatemala traditions, culture and delicious local cuisine.

Day 4. The Florence of America.
We will leave Antigua today to head first to the nearby town San Juan Comalapa.  This town is known as the “Florence of America” due to the many local painters who perpetuate the tradition of Naíf paintings that the town is notorious for.  First we will see a mural painted by local school children depicting important events in the country’s history. After we will visit a few local painters to admire their work to finally head to the authentic local market, here you will be able to see the locals still dressed in the traditional textiles of the area. Walk through the colorful and bustling market where the locals buy and sell food, delicious seasonal fruits, colorful textiles, and the most varied items.

After lunch we will head to Guatemala’s second-largest city called Xela. Its beautiful historic zone full of stately buildings contrasts with its countryside, rugged agricultural valleys dotted with beautiful Mayan villages.  The particular colonial and modern mix in its cobblestone streets, colonial buildings, coffee shops, restaurants, bars, lavish malls and colorful street markets make Xela a must-see place in Guatemala.

Day 5. Towns and hot-springs.
A ten minute drive will take us to the small town of Almolonga, known as “The Garden of Central America ” for its splendid vegetables.  We will visit its bustling produce market where we will appreciate its vegetables and the colorful typical local clothes.  After that we will visit Zunil, another agricultural town nearby.  Here we will visit a weaving cooperative where elaborately embroidered women’s tunics are made, a dazzling Cathedral and the colorful local cemetery. To put the cherry on the cake, the day will finish with a relaxing visit to the Hot Springs Fuentes Georginas, located on the slopes of Zunil Volcano, the pools of this gorgeous spa are filled naturally by hot sulfur and are famous for their healing powers and stunning natural beauty surrounding.

Day 6. Handicrafts and textiles.
Today your driver will take you to San Andrés Xecul, a little town very popular for its colorful church.  Once you arrive, you’ll understand why there is no other church like this in Guatemala. Its facade is painted in a lively yellow, lavishly garnished with saints, vines, animals and flowers of bright colors. During the visit though the town we will see a smaller and less glamorous replica of the main church, there are ceremonial grounds here where the locals perform its ancestral Mayan rituals. Enjoy the magnificent views of the surrounding forests and valley.

Deep in the beautiful Mayan highlands is located Totonicapán.  After a short ride we will reach its bustling center of trade and market where we will enjoy the unique handicrafts for which the region is well known.  Along the way we can see how the colorful textiles are made in giant wood looms or visit a ceramics workshop where they work on pottery wheels to make handmade clay dishes. After the interesting visit, your driver will take you back to your hotel in Xela.

Day 7. Unique traditional market.
An early morning drive will take us first to the highlands to visit San Francisco El Alto.  Every Friday this small and chilly town hosts one of the most authentic markets in Guatemala.  This large market is known for the array of livestock that it sells, the traditional fabrics, baskets full of thread of every color, giant bolts of cloth and the multitudinous textiles that it offers. We will also visit the town to check out its local cathedral.

We will continue to Huehuetenango, this department is home to the tallest mountain range in Central America, steep ravines and hillsides covered with coffee plantations. This region is famous for its coffee, considered one of the finest in Guatemala. It also has a colorful indigenous market, unique natural wonders and privileged views of the surrounding mountains.

Day 8. Todos Santos.
A three hour drive will take us deep into the Cuchumatanes mountain range to visit the Mayan town of “Todos Santos” – All Saints – Its remote location at 2,500 meters above sea level, has helped to preserve its customs and traditions.  One of the first things you will notice is that their population continues to use their traditional typical costumes. The women wear bright purple embroidered tunics and rolled skirts with black and blue stripes and straw hats with attractive color embroidery, while the men wear red and white striped pants, striped shirts with embroidered collars, and straw hats, a kaleidoscopic landscape worth appreciating.

Every Saturday takes place a bustling and diverse traditional market where you can find produce and regional handicrafts.  If you have the luck to visit around November 1st, you can behold one of the festivities for which the town is famous for, the All Saints Day, a mixture of folklore, tradition and adrenaline with unique traditional dishes, hundreds of families bring flowers to their loved ones in cemeteries, kites are flown and exciting horse races take place.

Day 9. Town of Nebaj.
We will continue exploring today the unique populations found in the Cuchumatanes mountain range. This stunning part of the country known as the Ixil Triangle contains several interesting towns, we will visit today the largest called Nebaj.  A quiet destination where its inhabitants maintain their traditional lifestyle, most men are farmers and most women weavers. During the visit, in addition to enjoying the spectacular views, we will visit its beautiful whitewashed church and see its picturesque houses and cobbled streets as well as the incredible local fabrics for which Nebaj is famous for.

Day 10. Ixil Triangle.
This day we will explore the towns of the Ixil Triangle, a handful of outlying hamlets really worth visiting. This isolated but stunning part of Guatemala will provide you with an up-close experience with the traditional way of life of its people.  One of the attractions of these towns is their regional costumes, as a general rule, here the typical clothing is everyday. You will enjoy moderate walks and panoramic views of its imposing mountains around. Visit its squares, local markets and churches, and let yourself be enveloped by the rhythm of local life by listening to the Mayan dialect of the region, the Ixil.

Day 11. Solola Local Market.
We will leave the Cuchumatanes mountain range today to go ahead to Sololá and visit its local market.  Called the landscape city, Sololá is located on a mountainside overlooking the beautiful Lake Atitlán.  Its bustling market is the commercial center of the surrounding towns where you can appreciate a great variety of local products and textiles. Afterwards you will be driven to your hotel on Lake Atilán.  Its  surrounding rugged hills and towering volcanoes make the landscape of this lake something really unforgettable.  Small Mayan villages inhabit its shores, practicing ancestral customs and a large percentage of its men and women continue to wear the vibrants and colorful traditional Mayan costumes.

Day 12. Boat excursion.
The morning will start with a boat transfer to San Juan La Laguna, a local village where your private guide will take you to learn how the backstrap loom is used in a local textile cooperative. You will also visit the workshop or local Naïf painters to admire their work. After we will continue to Santiago where we will visit the local church, one of the oldest in Guatemala, and learn about the history of this traditional town. Tour its traditional and colorful market where you can observe and learn about its famous art and textiles for which this town is famous. After this day of adventure and unique tours, we will take you back to your hotel to rest.

Day 13. Chichicastenango Market.
A transfer in the morning will take us to the highlands of Guatemala to reach Chichicastenango. Here we will visit the largest traditional market in Central America where you can admire a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and articles of daily use. This famous market is home to an infinite variety of color and striking local handicrafts, textiles, wood and ceramics crafts. Additionally, we will also visit its beautiful whitewashed Catholic church.

Day 14. Return home.
After you enjoy a delicious breakfast, your driver will take you to Guatemala City Airport for your departure flight.  Although if you want to extend the experience, you may contact us and we will happily advise you.

Expenses included

14 days & 13 nights

$1,800 per guest

Private transportation, door to door service

 13 nights hotel accommodation: hoteles selected according to your wishes and priorities

Local certified onsite guides

All park entrance fees

 3 traditional lunches and 3 traditional dinners

Boat transfers

Daily breakfast

Taxes

Not included: international flights, personal, travel and cancellation insurance and other expenses than indicated.

Extension

Takalik Abaj

This is a very interesting archeological site, since it evidences the historical transition between the Olmec and Mayan Civilizations. The park is located in the Pacific Tropical Savanna, surrounded by organic-coffee, rubber-tree, and sugarcane plantations. The site was a very important commercial center during the Late Pre-Classical period, and its Olmec influence is still evident in the numerous sculptures that visitors can admire at the site. 

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 still remains a site of utmost significance to Mayans from the highlands, who regularly visit it to perform their religious ceremonies. 

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