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11 days & 10 nights
Guatemalan indigenous market tours are unique experiences and fantastic opportunities to immerse into a multi-color palette of fruits, spices, vegetables, wooden masks, carvings, jade, textiles, and costumes.
Most of these markets show up two times per week since ancient times; artisans, farmers, buyers, and shamans meet to sell, shop, and accomplish ceremonies on this special day.
Textiles are an important part of the Maya culture’s life and one of the most beautiful expressions of its traditions and culture; through them, its cosmovision and symbolism are represented.
Handicraft textiles are one of the primary sources of income for the Mayan people. They are also considered part of their colorful legacy, and you can be delighted to watch them in their everyday dress.
A representative from Authentic Travel will meet you at Guatemala City Airport and take you to your hotel in Antigua, Guatemala.
Two nights of lodging at Antigua Guatemala
This morning you will enjoy a tour through the villages around Antigua, Guatemala; In this cultural tour, you will visit:
The villages of San Juan El Obispo (The first archbishopric in Guatemala founded by Francisco Marroquín), San Pedro Las Huertas, Ciudad Vieja (home of Guatemala's former second capital, which was buried by an earthquake-triggered mudslide in 1541), the experimental Organic Macadamia Farm, Santiago Zamora women's cooperative and San Antonio Aguas Calientes.
Santiago Zamora cooperative is a women's association mainly focuses on showing tourists their local daily activities at home. The presentation begins with demonstrating the local textiles; you will learn how to form the threads, use the back-strap loom and get the final textile. Learn how to prepare a cup of coffee from the seed to the cup. Dance local music with the women's. In the end, enjoy excellent local food, "pepian" made of many spices, and add pork, beef, or chicken.
After breakfast, it is time to visit ruins, churches, and museums. In this city, the colonial times' stories and legends are still present, and the old paved streets. In this journey, you will visit: La Merced Church, Convent Las Capuchinas, Saint Joseph Cathedral, Central Park, local craft market & Chocolate Museum
After the tour, transfer to the Chichicastenango area (2.5 hours)
One night of lodging at Chichicastenango
Get ready to enjoy the native market. The scent of incense and the people's mysticism promises a unique atmosphere, flowers, bargaining of prices, and a church mixed Mayan beliefs and Catholic traditions. Chichicastenango is a unique market where only Sundays and Thursdays offer all kinds of goods to locals and visitors. After the cultural experience, you will be transported to Quetzaltenango (1 hour)
One night of lodging at Hotel Pension Bonifaz in Quetzaltenango
Early in the morning, visit Almolonga market, this is one of the best vegetable markets in Central America. Here you will enjoy every moment, taking pictures or sit to see the women shopping and walking with their little kids on their back.
After, transfer to San Francisco el Alto to see the largest indigenous market in Central America open only on Fridays. This is an authentic spot visited by few tourists; the market offer food, vegetables, tools, weavings, and live animals for sale.
You will also visit the colorful church of San Andres Xecul and Zunil; this small village is situated in a valley surrounded by impressive mountains and famous for the San Simon saint that is the place's patron. Then continue to Huehuetenango (3 hrs.)
One night of lodging at Huehuetenango
Today you will visit Todos Santos' market; this is a municipality of Huehuetenango, located at the Sierra de Los Cuchumatanes at 3,100 meters high. Todos Santos's people belong to the Mam ethnic group, who created a small kingdom during the Pre-Hispanic period. Its market day is on Saturdays; here, the locals exchange different types of products such as weavings, costumes, pottery, wool backpacks, furniture, poultry, and main grains of traditional crops.
This market attracts people from all the communities living in the mountains and is always fascinating. After the visit, transfer to Acul in the Quiche area.
Two nights of lodging at Acul
Morning walks through the market to take a look at the church and Central Plaza in Nebaj. After your visit, you will move to the village of Chajul. Chajul is a picturesque collection of quaint adobe houses with tiled roofs.
The main attraction here is the town's church, Iglesia de San Gaspar Los Reyes, one of Guatemala's most ornate, with wooden doors containing finely carved animals' depictions. An ornamented gold leaf altar guarded by two figures dressed in traditional garb surrounds its Cristo of Golgotha statue.
Then you will go to San Juan Cotzal. There is little to see in the town itself, though the weavings here are some of Guatemala's most refined.
The San Juan church fronts a pretty plaza that has been remodeled and adorned with benches and flowers. The churches are not nearly as elaborate as Chajul, but Christ curiously holds a staff with an Israeli flag.
Afternoon return to your hotel
Today, transfer from Acul to Lake Atitlan area (approx. 5 – 6 hrs.)
Two nights of lodging at Panajachel
This morning, you are going to take a scenic boat ride on Lake Atitlán (30 minutes) to the town of San Juan La Laguna, where you can visit the women's textile cooperative to see the hand weaving and natural dyeing process. Visit the studios/houses of the famous naive painters and then continue to Santiago Village.
After lunch, you will continue the tour through the town visiting the Mayan God Maximon, learning about textiles, spiritualism, and the Tz'utujil Mayans' beliefs. Each year a different "brotherhood" has the privilege of taking care of their God; therefore, his location change.
After the lake tour, you will be transferred to your hotel in Panajachel.
Today, visit Santa Catarina Palopo, whose names derive from "Palo," which means tree y "Po" derived from "Poj" = a tree of amate.
Continue to San Antonio Palopo, known for traditional pottery workshops, to see the process from preparation, molding, and baking. In the end, you will be transferred to Panajachel, where is located Calle Santander, one of the most important streets full of local stores. After the tour, transfer to Guatemala City.
One night of lodging at Guatemala City
After breakfast, you will take a shuttle from the hotel to Guatemala City International Airport on time to catch your flight back home. End of the trip!