22 JUNE - 3 JULY 2017

Guatemala is an amazing destination and this trip offers you the most fantastic diversity of experiences – majestic Mayan ruins in the jungle, a gorgeous colonial town with a rich history, a fascinating insight into indigenous culture and daily life, inspiring examples of how a few volunteers can make a difference to quality of life and stunning scenery.

...and SHOPPING!!!

Thursday 22 June 2017         

Depart Havana this afternoon and fly to Guatemala City to stay overnight.

Friday 23 June 2017         

Fly to Tikal  to begin your discovery of Mayan civilisation with a visit to the ceremonial site of Yaxha. As you enter the lush rainforest the serenity is shattered by the roar of howler monkeys and the calls of a myriad of different birds. Arising from the mossy ground are the imposing excavated ruins. Climb to the top of the best temple to watch the sun set over a spectacular vista of lagoon and forest.

Tonight stay at the original archaeologist’s accommodation in Tikal National Park.    

Saturday 24 June 2017

Rise early to visit Tikal, the most majestic of the Mayan sites in Guatemala, right next to your hotel. As you wind your way along rainforest paths you might spot vibrantly coloured birds, cheeky racoons and hyperactive monkeys. Turn a corner and there, before you, is the stunning Central Plaza of the “navel” of Mayan civilisation. Further along, stand before the grandest pyramid of them all. You may wish to climb to the top for a panoramic view, remnants of the ancient city poking up through the jungle canopy.

After lunch in the park you can chose to return to explore the ruins on your own, visit the museums, walk the short distance back to the hotel to relax by the pool or, if you are game, take a jungle canopy tour by flying fox.

Late this afternoon fly from Flores to Antigua and check in to your stunning hotel – a restored monastery, complete with archaeological ruins and museums.

Sunday 25 June 2017

This morning visit the Santa Maria de Jesus local markets for a morning of authentic Guatemalan life. Men in their fantastic cowboy “outfits” selling hardware and ice cream. Women in their colourful traditional dress bartering over the week’s supply of fresh fruit and veg, and selecting the best materials and embroidery thread to make next seasons fashions. And, being Sunday, the faithful in their finery, attending church.

Monday 26 June 2017

Antigua is GORGEOUS, GORGEOUS, GORGEOUS and today you will explore it on foot. Walk along narrow cobblestone streets lined with colourful single -story houses, visit the imposing ruins of one of the many churches and monasteries dating from when the city was the capital of Guatemala, turn a corner and see one of Antigua’s 3 volcanoes puffing smoke, peak into colourful courtyards of colonial homes, now enticing shops and restaurants.

Tuesday 27 June 2017       

Today you will visit a village just outside Antigua. Learn about coffee and corn production and be amazed at the work a small NGO (As Green as it Gets) has done to enable farmers in the area to improve the lives of their families and their community. This is an inspiring and informative morning.

After lunch travel to Lake Atitlan for the next exciting instalment of your Guatemalan sojourn.

En route, visit a church to understand how Mayan customs have survived the best efforts of Catholicism. 

Wednesday 28 June 2017

Today take a boat trip to visit a couple of villages on the shores of beautiful Lake Atitlan. Watch dyeing, weaving and creating of the traditional fabrics and reed mat making. A visit to the herbal medicine clinic will help you understand some of the local health issues, in particular for women. A stop at a shrine in a garage and a cathedral will help you understand how the Catholic Church had (and still has) its work cut out if it thinks it can obliterate Mayan religious beliefs. Some time to explore the art galleries, meet the artists and SHOPPING – Guatemalan arts and crafts are fabulous.

Thursday 29 June 2017       

Today visit Central America’s largest and oldest markets in the town Chichicastenango. On Thursday and Sunday thousands of people come from the surrounding villages to buy and sell. Watch as women in colourful traditional dress, babies strapped to their backs, select from the delicious and colourful looking fruit and veg. Check out the tiny general stalls – surely the spot with votive candles, herbs, flowers and alcohol for ritual ceremonies should also sell dog food or chillies. SHOP. SHOP. SHOP.

A final dinner together at Lake Atitlan.

Friday 30 June 2017

After breakfast  return to Guatemala City and stay overnight.

Saturday 1 July 2017

Depart, arriving in Australia on Monday 3 July as we cross the international date line.

End of arrangements

Please note that this itinerary and costs may be subject to change.