Guatemala

OCTOBER 23 - NOVEMBER 4, 2011
$ 2,925

GUATEMALA TRAVEL ITINERARY
with optional Tikal extension

 

Day 1     OCT 23     GUATEMALA CITY
Arrival early evening. After clearing customs and security, you will be met by our representative and taken to the hotel in Guatemala city. As travelers will be arriving at different times, dinner is on your own at the hotel.
HOTEL BILTMORE EXPRESS

Guatemala photos

Day 2     OCT 24     GUATEMALA CITY – ANTIGUA
After breakfast at the hotel, your guide will meet with you and give a short orientation of the days ahead. Your private coach will take you first to the fascinating Ixchel Museum, named for the Mayan goddess of the moon, women and textiles. The Curator will take you on a "behind-the-scenes" tour of the museum and describe work being done to support the continuance of the unique Guatemalan tradition of weaving. Exhibits of indigenous costumes and other crafts show the incredible richness of traditional arts in highland villages. Your guide will take you on a short walk to the Museo Popol Vuh to see carved masks, textiles, pre-Hispanic figurines, Colonial paintings, silver artifacts and more. You can also see a copy of the Dresden Codex, one of the precious painted books of the Maya.

Following lunch in a local restaurant, you will be driven 1 hrs. to charming Antigua, one of the most idyllic destination in the world, with painstakingly restored Spanish colonial architecture, manicured parks, stylish hotels, superb international cuisine and a horizon shaped by three spectacular volcanoes. Nestled in a mountain valley and surrounded by evergreen forests, Antigua retains the aura of the 17th Century capital that it was, while blending modern amenities that make it an internationally appealing destination. Walking along cobblestone streets, visitors find art galleries, fascinating museums, shops with treasures and traditional markets packed to the rafters with locally made textiles and woodcrafts.

Upon arrival, you stop at the delightful Casa des Artes for a private lecture and demonstration of local weavings and embroidery. The items in their collection, antique and contemporary, are the best in the country, and many are available for purchase, along with jewelry, masks and ceramics. You will be taken to your nearby hotel to check in. www.palaciodeleonor.com A special Welcome Dinner is planned at the lovely restaurant Meson Panza Verde.
HOTEL PALACIO DE DONA LEONOR or similar     B,L,D

Guatemala photos

Day 3     OCT 25     ANTIGUA – NEARBY VILLAGES – ANTIGUA
After breakfast, you drive to the village of Santa Catarina Barahona and the home of Victoria Hernandez to see warping for a back strap loom and demonstrations of the "marcador" technique, for which this village is famous. It was taught by French nuns and is Gobelin tapestry finely done in cotton for use in guipiles (traditional blouses). In this village, the women double weave their belts. You will visit an indigenous home where you will see them make tortillas, which they share with our group. Returning to Antigua, you are invited to view the private collection of Gio Rosalini.

A guided walking tour of the town follows lunch at your hotel, located just a few steps from the main square. You will be charmed by the Colonial government buildings and churches. Your guide takes you to Tienda Nim Pot to see the 273 different techniques and "trajes" (local dress) seen throughout the country. www.nimpot.com. The Mercado Central is your first encounter with the markets filled with crafts and textiles for which Guatemala is so justly famous – each village has its own design as you learned at Nim Pot. You may have some free time to enjoy the market on your own.
HOTEL PALACIO DE DONA LEONOR or similar     B,L

Guatemala photos

Day 4     OCT 26     ANTIGUA – QUETZALTENANGO (XELA)
Leaving Antigua, you stop at San Andres Xecul to see the charming, canary yellow and orange ornately decorated church, featuring wild combinations of Catholic and Mayan iconography – brightly colored saints, angels and vines combine with frolicking monkeys! Many of these figures echo designs found in embroideries on guipiles (typical blouses) worn today by indigenous women. You'll see cascades of hand-dyed threads drying on roof tops, classic to this town. Visits to a private home are planned, as well as to a coop to see needle punch embroidery and some corte (women's skirts) production.

A 3 hr. drives takes you through the beautiful, fertile countryside of the Western Highlands, to Xela. After lunch you will have a guided walking tour of the town, the second largest in Guatemala.
HOTEL MODELO or similar     B,L

Guatemala photos

Day 5     OCT 27     XELA – ALMOLOGA – ZUNIL – SALCAJA – XELA
You drive to the nearby town of Almolonga to visit the colorful market, filled with flowers and produce. Women here wear cortes woven in the ikat technique. Their guipiles are red with geometric overlay and they wear ornate headbands. A 20 min. drive takes you to Salcaja, a village totally engaged in production of thread and corte, and is known for its traditional ikat style textiles. You may visit the workshops. The town is also home to the first Christian church in Central America. The "magic elixir" caldo de frutas (literally fruit soup) is produced here – a high-octane sangria guaranteed to send you into orbit!

After lunch, visit Zunil, founded in 1529, a beautiful, typical highland town. Traditional, indigenous agricultural is still practiced here – you may see farmers scooping up water from hand-hewn canals with a shovel-like instrument and throwing it over their plants. Women wash clothes in pools of hot water coming out of rocks; the centuries-old life cycle thrives.
HOTEL MODELO or similar     B,L

Guatemala photos

Day 6     OCT 28     XELA – PANAJACHEL, LAKE ATITLAN
This morning we drive to the lake, stopping at the village of Nahuala which has a nice little market. You may meet a friend of our guide, in his home, visit with his family and see items for sale – weavings and carvings – produced by family members. His life story is fascinating.

You drive on to gorgeous Lake Atitlan, to the town of Panajachel. After lunch, you'll visit your guide's home, a typical Guatemalan family compound, and meet her extended family. As your guide is a renowned quilter, you'll see quilts being produced by her workers. You are driven to your hotel, www.hotelatitlan.com on the lake, just outside of town.
HOTEL ATITLAN or similar     B,L,D

Guatemala photos

Day 7     OCT 29     PANA – SAN JUAN LA LAGUNA – SAN PABLO – PANA
Your private boat will take you on a 20 min. ride across the lake to the village of San Juan la Laguna. Here you meet women's groups with their own gardens, from which they extract natural dyes from the plants, and dye cotton fabric. The colors are soft pastels, so different from the traditional bright colors of Guatemala. The weaving style is ikat. You may meet with Socorro Perez, who first introduced this practice 20 yrs. Ago. There is also a collective producing herbal soaps and beauty products. Not to be missed is the atelier of husband and wife artists, with their unique and award-winning paintings.

After lunch, you return to your boat and go on to San Pablo to see the special textile techniques of this village. You return to the hotel by boat. The town of Panajachel (called Pana) is a 10 min. ride away, and the hotel has free shuttles to transport you, if desired, into town.
HOTEL ATITLAN or similar     B,L

Guatemala photos

Day 8     OCT 30     PANA – SANTIAGO LA LAGUNA – PANA
This morning you visit the interesting town of Santiago, on the lake, via your private boat. You will have a walking tour of the town, and then visit some private homes and studios. Lola Zapalu has been embroidering for 42 yrs., and has an interesting collection of this art dating from 1906. In the studio of Cameron Quiroa, a master corte designer, you see his use of a computer to design and track progress of his looms producing classic textiles. Zenobia Zapalu will show us her beadwork, loom peyote stitch and crochet beadwork. You'll visit the home of Miguel Chavez and his wife Andrea Sisay to see their collection of pre-Columbian ceramics from the Santiago region. Andrea is a jaspe weaver and you can see some of her work. In Santiago, men's pants and women's guipiles are beautifully embroidered with birds. Some of the older women still wear the traditional tocoyal, an 8 meter length of red fabric wound round their head like a halo. Santiago is also known for its production of petates (woven mats made from the lake reeds), and for Maximon, a carved wooden figure you will visit, a deity to which Guatemalans make offerings and receive blessings. Your guide will describe this in detail. Lunch is at the delightful Posada Santiago, overlooking the lake. You return to Pana by boat and you may have free time, depending upon time of return.
HOTEL ATITLAN or similar     B,L

Guatemala photos

Day 9     OCT 31     PANA – CHICHICASTENANGO – ANTIGUA
You drive one hour to Chichicastenango and its' colorful Sunday market. With your guide, you stroll through the craft and textile market, as well as to the flower and produce sections, all colorful and traditional areas. A visit to the San Tomas Catholic church is not to be missed, where you will see local Mayans performing Mayan rituals within the Catholic church, demonstrating how the two faiths have combined in recent times. You may want to walk up to the cemetery, where local shamans may be performing rituals for the townfolk. It is the day before the Day of the Dead, and families flock to the cemeteries to paint family tombs and decorate with flowers and offerings. You will have time to shop the market on your own, if desired, then have a delicious buffet lunch at the Santo Tomas Hotel, right next to the church. A 3 hr. drive takes you back to Antigua.
HOTEL PALACIO DE DONA LEONOR or similar     B,L

Guatemala photos

Day 10     NOV 01     ANTIGUA – SANTIAGO SAC – ANTIGUA
You spend the day in nearby Santiago Sacatepequez as the town celebrates the Day of the Dead, All Saints Day, today, in their unique style. It is a 3000 yr. old custom developed from a mixture of local religious practices and Christianity. Residents dress in traditional clothing and fly kites over the cemetery, to speak with the souls of the departed. They are not kites as we know them, but constructed of bamboo, cloth, paper and wire in a circular shape with religious or folkloric themes, and are gigantic. Most are than 40' in diameter! Families, community groups and religious communities often compete to see which kite is more colorful, and which flies the highest; there is a prize for the best design. While the day is dedicated to the dead, for the living it is a happy festival. In addition to the kites, locals gather together at home to eat, sing and dance. They may also have picnics at the gravesites; traditional foods are prepared for both the dead and the living – one such dish is fiambre, made only this day, of cheese, meat and vegetable cured in a special sauce. We'll have some for our own picnic lunch.
HOTEL PALACIO DE DONA LEONOR or similar     B,L

Guatemala photos

Day 11     NOV 02     ANTIGUA
Deborah Chandler, renowned author of "Learning to Weave" joins us for breakfast today. She'll discuss her work with women's coops and her organization called Mayan Hands. She will also bring some of the women's work with her, which we may purchase, the proceeds going back to the women in the coops. The rest of the day is free for your personal exploration of this charming town, or to relax in this lovely hotel.
HOTEL PALACIO DE DONA LEONOR or similar     B

Day 12     NOV 03     ANTIGUA
You have a full day at leisure for your personal pursuits. A special Farewell Dinner has been planned at the lovely Welten Restaurant.
HOTEL PALACIO DE DONA LEONOR or similar     B,D

Day 13     NOV 04     ANTIGUA – GUATEMALA CITY – USA
Very early morning departure for the airport, for your flight to the U.S. or on to Tikal extension. A boxed breakfast will be provided.     B



PRICE:

10 to 14 travelers $ 2,925 per person in double occupancy LAND ONLY.

If fewer than 10 people sign up, there will be a small supplement charged in order not to cancel the trip; clients will be advised.

Single supplement $ 595 if you desire to room alone, if available.

Price Includes:

  • Hotels as indicated with breakfast
  • Private coach as land transportation, bottled water on board
  • Excursions and activities as mentioned
  • English speaking expert textile guide
  • Joan Noble as Tour Manager
  • Entrance fees
  • Hotel and restaurant services and taxes
  • Airport transfers
  • Baggage handling

Not Included:

  • Airport security fees and departure taxes:
    $33 per person international departure tax exiting Guatemala
  • Items of a personal nature (i.e. laundry, phone calls, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, etc)
  • Tips to guide and driver


PLEASE NOTE: The itinerary, content, hotels, etc. are subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control. Every effort will be made to provide like or better arrangements.



PRICES BASED ON CURRENCY EXCHANGE AS OF TODAY'S DATE

04/29/2010


 

TIKAL EXTENSION (OPTIONAL)

Guatemala photos

Guatemala photos

Tikal Ruins

Tikal (City of Voices) – The world famous Mayan temple ruins at Tikal. Known as the "New York of the Maya World" for its spectacular temples that rise above the dense jungle canopy. Set in the protected rainforest this is an amazing climax to any trip to Guatemala, an incredible sight to behold. Monkeys and exotic birds complement the scene. Enjoy sunset from top of the temples.

Day 13     NOV 4     GUATEMALA CITY – FLORES
You are transferred to the airport and fly one hour to Flores. You will be met and taken to your hotel, and then drive to Tikal National Park. Your guide will take you to see the major sights in this impressive Mayan enclave. Lunch will be at a local restaurant. It is an impressive sight to experience sunset at the top of one of the temples.
HOTEL CAMINO REAL TIKAL     BL

Day 14     NOV 5     FLORES – GUATEMALA CITY
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Guatemala City. B

END OF SERVICES



Tikal Extension PRICES:

5 to 7 travelers $ 795 per person in double occupancy

8 to 10 travelers $ 720 per person in double occupancy

Single supplement $ 70 if you desire to room alone, if available.

Tikal Extension – Price Includes :

  • Hotel as indicated with breakfast
  • Private coach as land transportation, bottled water on board
  • Excursions and Activities as mentioned
  • English speaking guide
  • Entrance Fees
  • Flight Guatemala City to Flores and return
  • Airport transfers
  • Hotel services and taxes
  • Baggage handling

Tikal Extension – Not Included:

  • Airport security fees and departure taxes:
    $3 per person security fee internal flight in Guatemala
    $33 per person international departure tax exiting Guatemala
  • Items of a personal nature (i.e. laundry, phone calls, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, etc)
  • Tips to guide and driver


PLEASE NOTE: The itinerary, content, hotels, etc. are subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control. Every effort will be made to provide like or better arrangements.



PRICES BASED ON CURRENCY EXCHANGE AS OF TODAY'S DATE

04/29/2010

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