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Ancient Lands of the Maya

Categories:

  • Holidays
  • Central America
  • Festivals

Price:

From $3,540

Stay:

14 nights

Travel Dates:

Saturday 28th of March 2020 until Saturday 24th of October 2020

Description:

Ancient Lands of the Maya - 15 Days / 14 Nights - from $3540* per person (with Explore Worldwide).

Guatemala is one of the only remaining places where the living Maya culture can be truly experienced. This trip contrasts old and new, visiting modern indigenous communities thriving in the highlands around Lake Atitlan, as well as the early Maya cities of Tikal, Quirigua and Copan (Honduras). Hitting the highlights as well as getting far off the beaten path, this trip encompasses the beauty and colour of ancient Central America.

  • Lake Atitlan - Take a boat trip on this stunning lake, encircled by volcanoes, and visit the neighbouring Maya villages
  • Maya sites - Discover the atmospheric site of Tikal, its spires poking out of deep jungle, and the peaceful site of Copan
  • Chichicastenango Market - Throw yourself into the bustle and colour of this busy market, and see the modern Maya culture come to life
  • Festivals - Witness the Holy Week celebrations in Antigua, or the giant kite festival celebrated as part of the Day of the Dead festivities in Sumpango

Itinerary:

DAY 1 - Join tour in Guatemala City

Join tour Guatemala City and check-in to hotel. Guatemala City is the busy capital of Guatemala, most of which is modern build. However the colonial centre around the main square harks back to the time when the area was officially declared the new capital in the eighteenth century.

ACCOMMODATION:

Hotel Pan American (or similar)

Grade: Standard Hotel

SINGLE ROOM AVAILABLE

MEALS PROVIDED: NONE

DAY 2 - Short city tour of Guatemala City, head to Copan (Honduras)

We will start our day with a short orientation tour by bus of Guatemala City before heading to Copan in Honduras. This afternoon, you have free time to visit Macaw Mountain (optional).

ACCOMMODATION:

Hotel Plaza Copan (or similar)

Grade: Standard Hotel

SINGLE ROOM AVAILABLE

SWIMMING POOL AVAILABLE

MEALS PROVIDED: BREAKFAST

DAY 3 - Explore the Copan archaeological site, optional Macaw Mountain trip

Everyone familiar with Catherwood's incredible drawings (which first appeared in John Stephens' 1841 narrative - 'Incidents of Travel in Central America and Yucatan') will recognise scenes and objects from this marvellous site. Stephens actually bought the entire site for US$ 50 from a local farmer! The Great Plaza is one of the most amazing achievements of the Classic Maya period (AD 750) and contains the greatest collection of Maya sculpture anywhere in Meso-America. The famous Hieroglyphic Stairway is composed of 2500 individual glyphs; its sides are flanked by serpentine birds and snakes. We have the whole day to enjoy this special place, leaving you plenty of time to explore on your own. The afternoon is free to either visit the museum dedicated to the site or visit Macaw Mountain.

ACCOMMODATION:

Hotel Plaza Copan (or similar)

Grade: Standard Hotel

SINGLE ROOM AVAILABLE

SWIMMING POOL AVAILABLE

MEALS PROVIDED: BREAKFAST

DAY 4 - Drive to Puerto Barrios, boat to Livingston

This morning we will stop en route at Quirigua, renowned for its fine Mayan carvings, covered with intricate glyphs which still remain a mystery to scholars and archeologists. Quirigua was dominated by Copan but was valued as a trading centre for the jade that can be found throughout the surrounding area. Independence from Copan was finally achieved under Quirigua's most powerful leader, Cauac Sky in 737AD. We will then continue to Puerto Barrios where we will board our launch and cross the bay to the lazy, laidback town of Livingston on the Caribbean coast. Here we can enjoy the colourful, lively Garifuna town, with its unique racial blend. In the evening there may be the chance to hear the increasingly popular local music or enjoy the fresh seafood in one of the many restaurants along the main street.

ACCOMMODATION:

Villa Caribe (or similar)

Grade: Premium Hotel

SINGLE ROOM AVAILABLE

SWIMMING POOL AVAILABLE

MEALS PROVIDED: BREAKFAST

DAY 5 - Boat trip on the Rio Dulce, continue to Tikal

We start our day by heading west on the Rio Dulce by boat. The river squeezes through an impressive gorge of towering cliffs covered in a mass of jungle creepers with Egrets, pelicans and cormorants lining the shores. En route we will stop at the small community project of Ak Tenamit where you will have the opportunity to learn more about this educational support project that has been set up. From the town of Rio Dulce we will continue by bus to Tikal, possibly the greatest of all the Mayan cities, located in the heart of the Peten jungle. The ruins of Tikal can easily be compared with the masterpieces of Egypt and Greece. Initially settled about 600 BC, Tikal was abandoned by its rulers around AD 890 and totally deserted a hundred years later, overgrown by the jungle. Rediscovered in 1848, they comprise many great temples and pyramids. The city covers an area of more than 16 square kilometres with temples, palaces, causeways, ballcourts, spacious plazas, and hundreds of other architectural ruins - a superb example of sophisticated Mayan engineering.

ACCOMMODATION:

Jungle Lodge (or similar)

Grade: Lodge

SINGLE ROOM AVAILABLE

MEALS PROVIDED: BREAKFAST

DAY 6 - Guided tour of Tikal, travel to Flores

We will have an early start to get into the site for a guided tour. The site is so large we leave you free time to explore at your own pace this afternoon. Those with a good head for heights could climb one of the pyramids which pierce the jungle canopy for splendid views over the whole area. In the afternoon we will drive to Santa Elena. This evening we have a chance to wander the streets of Flores Island. Situated on a small island in the tranquil Lake Peten Itza and joined to the mainland by a causeway, Flores remains a quaint and peaceful town.

ACCOMMODATION:

Maya International (or similar)

Grade: Standard Hotel

SINGLE ROOM AVAILABLE

SWIMMING POOL AVAILABLE

MEALS PROVIDED: BREAKFAST

DAY 7 - Visit Candelaria Caves before transferring to Coban

Leaving Flores behind we head south into the southern mountains for a long day's drive through varied scenery. We drive to Sayaxche where we cross the river by ferry before continuing to the Candelaria Caves. We make a tour of the caves before continuing onto Coban, where we will overnight.

ACCOMMODATION:

Park Hotel (or similar)

Grade: Standard Hotel

SINGLE ROOM AVAILABLE

SWIMMING POOL AVAILABLE

MEALS PROVIDED: BREAKFAST

DAY 8 - Drive to Nebaj; watch weaving demonstration from local co-operative

Today we embark on an adventurous journey into the Cuchumatanes Mountains, a spectacular drive winding west through valleys and passing gushing rivers. We stop at some of the small villages on route, but our destination is Nebaj, part of the Ixil triangle - three small communities of the Ixil Maya people who have lived in almost constant isolation for hundreds of years. This isolation has helped to keep the Ixil culture intact, despite the pervading Spanish language and modern influences. As part of our introduction to the village we see a weaving demonstration from a local co-operative. The Ixil are famous for their fine weaving (some of the best to be found in Guatemala), especially the geometric designs in purple, green, yellow and red on the huipiles (blouses) worn by the Indian women. Please note that accommodation available in this remote area is simple.

ACCOMMODATION:

Hotel Villa Nebaj (or similar)

Grade: Simple Hotel

SINGLE ROOM AVAILABLE

MEALS PROVIDED: BREAKFAST

DAY 9 - Explore the Nebaj Valley

We spend the day exploring and plan to follow a trail over and out of the Nebaj Valley to the neighbouring valley. Weather permitting, we will enjoy good views of the mountain range as we walk up over a pass and descend to the village of Acul. We are bound to come across colourfully dressed Ixil using the trails, but there are certainly few other foreigners in this isolated area.

ACCOMMODATION:

Hotel Villa Nebaj (or similar)

Grade: Simple Hotel

SINGLE ROOM AVAILABLE

MEALS PROVIDED: BREAKFAST

DAY 10 - Visit the Solola Market, transfer to Santa Catarina

We start today with a visit to the colourful local market of Solola, before continuing to Santa Catarina, a small village on the shore of Lake Atitlan; there are always magnificent views of the impressive volcanic peaks of Atitlan (3537m), San Petrod (3020m) and Toliman (3158m) towering over the lakeside.

ACCOMMODATION:

Villa Santa Catarina (or similar)

Grade: Premium Hotel

SINGLE ROOM AVAILABLE

SWIMMING POOL AVAILABLE

MEALS PROVIDED: BREAKFAST

DAY 11 - In Santa Catarina; boat trip to visit villages inhabited by Tzutuhil Indians

The volcano-ringed Lake Atitlan is a place of stunning beauty. Some 24km long by 16km wide, it lies at an altitude of 1585m. On the first day, we include a boat trip to visit villages inhabited by Tzututils Indians, including Santiago Atitlan. Poignant reminders of the recent history of this village are visible as we visit the church, originally built in 1547, and we may see more traditional Mayan rituals at the shrine to Maximon.

ACCOMMODATION:

Villa Santa Catarina (or similar)

Grade: Premium Hotel

SINGLE ROOM AVAILABLE

SWIMMING POOL AVAILABLE

MEALS PROVIDED: BREAKFAST

DAY 12 - Free day; optional Panajachel visit

The second day is left free visit the popular town of Panajachel, where you can enjoy the comfortable climate, relaxed atmosphere and stunning setting. The lake changes hue at different times of the day and can appear green, deep blue, or grey, while at sunset it glows fiery red.

ACCOMMODATION:

Villa Santa Catarina (or similar)

Grade: Premium Hotel

SINGLE ROOM AVAILABLE

SWIMMING POOL AVAILABLE

MEALS PROVIDED: BREAKFAST

DAY 13 - Discover Chichicastenango Market, journey to Antigua

Early this morning we drive to the famous market town of Chichicastenango, the 'sacred town' of the Indigenous Quiche. The Thursday market is a colourful affair which attracts people from the surrounding countryside to trade their produce and handicrafts. It is also the perfect place to pick up souvenirs of your visit. We will then continue to Antigua de Guatemala, set in a beautiful valley between the volcanoes Agua, Fuego and Acatenango.

ACCOMMODATION:

Villa Colonial (or similar)

Grade: Premium Hotel

SINGLE ROOM AVAILABLE

SWIMMING POOL AVAILABLE

MEALS PROVIDED: BREAKFAST

DAY 14 - Tour of Antigua; free afternoon

After an orientation tour this morning you will have free time to explore Antigua further. An orientation tour of this graceful old colonial city shows how it can justly claim to be one of the most charming in Central America despite the damage caused by a series of earthquakes and floods over the ages. The afternoon is free to wander the timeless streets and hunt for souvenirs. One of its lively restaurants makes a perfect setting for our last meal together.

ACCOMMODATION:

Villa Colonial (or similar)

Grade: Premium Hotel

SINGLE ROOM AVAILABLE

SWIMMING POOL AVAILABLE

MEALS PROVIDED: BREAKFAST

DAY 15 - Tour ends in Antigua

Our tour ends this morning in Antigua.

MEALS PROVIDED: BREAKFAST

Departs: 28 Mar and 24 Oct 2020

Conditions: * It is our policy to present the cost of our flights & holidays inclusive of all airport and government charges. Please accept however that these charges are not within our control, therefore we reserve the right to pass on any increase. Travel agent professional service fees where charged, will be additional to the advertised prices.

Ancient Lands of the Mayaimage

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