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10 days & 9 nights
The goal of this tour is travel to different regions that make Guatemala a unique archeological center. To witness its archeology, its abundant flora and fauna and its rich culture, history and people.
This tour is based mainly on archeological history and culture, but in the different destinations you can observe other attractions, such as nature and great volcanic scene.
My first contact with an ancient culture was at the age of 12, when I first visited the ruins of Iximche in the Guatemalan highlands. I was so captivated by the experience that I didn’t hesitate to make a decision, later on, to study archaeology; I got my bachelors degree in archaeology at Universidad del Valle de Guatemala.
Stepping into an archaeological site is a unique experience that must be lived to understand the drive behind it. In my career I’ve had the opportunity, not only to visit a number of sites through out Guatemala, but also to perform field work and excavations at magnificent Mayan sites like Piedras Negras, Tikal, Uaxactun, El Zotz and El Peru – Waka’. I’ve also carried out field reconnaissance of Post Classic sites in Northwestern Petén and Izabal, Guatemala.
Based on these experiences plenty of stories can be told. One of the highlights was being part of the archaeological team that found Panel 15 at Piedras Negras, one of the most important sculptural findings in the last 65 years, in the Usumacinta region. Also, as a member of the Tikal Osteological Project, I had the chance to hold in my hands the lower jaw of Tikal’s ruler Siyaj K’ak (Smoking Frog), an astonishing experience as well.
Today’s main objective aims on setting expectations for the archaeological tour by discussing the different time periods, thru exhibited museum artifacts. Mapa en Relieve (relief map) will allow a geographic/archaeological explanation of the tour.
Departure from Guatemala City early in the morning, towards the south coast. Option of visiting one the following museums plus the archaeological site of Takalik Abaj
Day 3 objective focuses on understanding the origins of prehispanic cultures in Guatemala.
Spend the night at the Takalik Maya Lodge
Uncover the magic of a late classic Ceremonial Center with a real expert. The site flourished in the Pre-classic and Classic periods, from the 9th century BC through to at least the 10th century AD, and was an important center of commerce, trading with Kaminaljuyu.
After lunch head to Panajachel via Quetzaltenango, approx. arrival time 5pm
Spend the night in Pana.
Atitlan is such a magical body of water full of mysticism and history, Post-classic ceremonial centers are found all around the lake an even underwater. Therefore we visit the Museo Lacustre in Panajachel – set expectations about the archaeological history around the lake, including Samebaj and Chuitinamit.
Boat trip to Santiago Atitlan – visit the Post classic site of Chuitinamit. Head back to Santiago to have lunch.
After lunch we’ll visit Maximon shrine and the Catholic church.
One of the largest and most well-known markets in all of Latin America can be found in the small indigenous Mayan town of Chichicastenango, located in the western highlands of Guatemala.
The town’s main attraction is its enormous market! The market is held every Thursday and Sunday and this is when locals travel from villages throughout the countryside and meet at this market to sell their beautiful handicrafts, colorful textiles, fresh produce, traditional clothing and more at this bustling and vibrant local market.
Leave Panajachel early in the morning and head to Chichicastenango to visit the market and the cemetery.
After visiting Chichi the group will head to Iximché, following the Post Classic chronology. After the visit we’ll head to Antigua Guatemala to spend the night.
Antigua Guatemala City is located 30 miles from La Aurora International Airport, at an elevation of 5000 feet above sea level. This city is a UNESCO Cultural Heritage since 1979 due to the well state of conservation structures from 1700’s. Some of the more emblematic places are: Palace of the Captains General, Saint Joseph’s Cathedral, Santa Catalina Arch, La Merced Church, Capuchin’s Convent and Saint Francis the Great, Church.
Full day in Antigua
Day 6 objective focuses on visiting and the most important colonial sites, discussion on their historic relevance and their role during the Colonial period.
Spend the night in Antigua.
After breakfast, you will be guided through one of the most amazing Maya destinations; Uaxactun is the perfect spot to enjoy a fantastic adventure tour that combines a mixture of nature and archaeology.
Discover the Mayan forest that inhabits abundant tropical flora and fauna, breathtaking temples quiet witnesses of the beginning and splendor and also the fall of one of the most important cultures in our planet, all of this is included within our visit to the Maya World. Leave Antigua at 4:00am heading to Guatemala City to take the flight to Flores, Petén.
Have breakfast at Isla de Flores
Leave Isla de Flores around 9:00am, heading to Tikal National Park
Check in at Tikal’s Jungle lodge
Visit the site of Uaxactun during the rest of the day.
Spend the night at Tikal
After breakfast, we depart for Tikal National Park, where you will be guided by a truly expert along the paths of the City of the Voices, Tikal, which is one of the most beautiful Mayan sites. Tikal is easely considered the heart of the Mayan world that inhabit the abundant wildlife, the Mayan forest and millennial temples silent witnesses of the birth and splendor as well as of the collapse of one of the most important civilizations on the planet
Full day at Tikal including museums
Lunch at the site
Sunset at Mundo Perdido
Spend the night at Tikal
After breakfast, you explore Yaxha Archaeological site, and its exuberant forest, where howling monkeys flood the atmosphere with their howls to impress the females or to move away an intruding male in their pack. We will go up some temples that are the photographers’ accomplices, as they offer wonderful views.
Sunrise at Tikal (optional)
Leave Tikal at 8:00 am, heading to Yaxha and Topoxte
Return to Isla de Flores approx. 5:00 pm
Dinner at Isla de Flores
8:00pm flight to GUA City