Guatemala Reverent will inspire you—and leave you in awe. Breathe in the heady aromas of frankincense and pine in Antigua’s opulent Lenten processions. Savour the unique flavours of local cuisine in sprawling open-air markets. Treat your eyes to intricately handwoven fabrics, ornately carved wood, and naif paintings depicting everyday life.
Your expert guide will describe Guatemala’s rich culture, storied history, and natural wonders as you experience daily life on a coffee farm, visit a weaving cooperative, and hike the shores of glistening Lake Atitlan.
Centuries-old mysteries will whisper to you in the jungle archaeological sites of Iximché, Tikal, and Uaxatún, and you will witness the timeless beauty of a sunset from an observation tower before sleeping in a tent by the ruins. Awaken all your senses in Guatemala.
- Arrivals (to Guatemala City Airport)
- Transfer to Antigua Guatemala
- Antigua Guatemala, 3 nights
- Antigua streets & eats food tour with San Bartolo Lent procession
- Festive “Alfombra” making (processional street carpet) activity
- De La Gente Sustainable Coffee Farm tour, including lunch with local families
- Afternoon at leisure
- Comalapa market & Iximché Maya ruins with Mayan ceremony, en-route to Lake Atitlan
- Lake Atitlan, 2 nights
- Scenic lakeshore hiking
- San Juan & Santiago villages tour
- Chichicastenango market en-route to Maya Biosphere Reserve (with flights)
- Uaxactún jungle tented camp, 2 nights
- Uaxactún community and ruins tour
- Sunset drinks at the jungle observation tower
- Off-the-beaten track Tikal tour en-route to Guatemala City (with flights)
- Guatemala City, 1 night
- Departures (From Guatemala City Airport)
Arrivals, Antigua Guatemala
- All guest will fly into Guatemala City’s International Airport (GUA)
- You will be met at the airport by one of Viaventure’s professional drivers, and transfered to Antigua Guatemala.
- Check into your hotel in Antigua for three nights – 3 to 4 star equivalent
- Free afternoon/evening to explore the city unguided, depending upon arrival time
Founded in the sixteenth century, Antigua is a cosmopolitan destination with a rich colonial past. Its cobblestone streets are lined with pretty, pastel-hued homes, luxe boutique hotels, and an exceptional selection of smart restaurants and shops.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, this city of 35,000 people sits in valley between coffee farms, indigenous villages, and three imposing volcanoes. At the heart of town is the central park, a European-style plaza busy with shoeshiners, ice cream vendors, families, and tourists.
During its architectural peak, Antigua was home to dozens of colonial churches and monasteries, but an earthquake in 1773 damaged or reduced most to rubble. In the centuries thereafter, efforts were made to rebuild and restore, and the city today is ﬁlled with gorgeous and fascinating relics.
Antigua Guatemala “Streets & Eats”, Lent Processions & Carpet Making
- Breakfast at the hotel
- Your guide will meet you at the hotel for a colonial walking tour of Antigua with food tour twist
- Afternoon carpet-making for the San Bartolomé Lent procession
- Welcome dinner in a local restaurant
Your guide will meet you at your hotel to begin the walking tour along charming cobblestone streets lined with brightly painted Spanish colonial architecture, stopping to visit one or two of Antigua’s most picturesque sights. Then it’s on to some of the comedores (eateries) most loved by locals. You may sample delicious, authentic Guatemalan cuisine such as chuchitos (Guatemala-style tamales), pupusas (cheese-ﬁlled corn tortillas), rellenitos (plantain dough ﬁlled with beans and then fried), and even pigs’ feet.
The guide will describe the cultural background of these everyday delicacies and lead you through Antigua’s bustling community market to see, smell, touch, and taste the fresh ingredients used in their preparation. (Please note: This tour is for more adventurous eaters!)
San Bartolomé Lent Procession & “Alfombra” Making
2018 marks the 116th anniversary of the procession that leaves San Bartolomé on the 5th Sunday of Lent, which is the largest procession leading up to Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Guatemala.
Hundreds of volunteers dressed in vibrant purple robes will carry huge wooden ﬂoats weighing up to 7,000 pounds on their shoulders as the procession winds its way through the streets of Antigua. Exquisite “Alfombras” (carpets) made of ﬂowers, pine needles, and intricately patterned colored sawdust line the streets along the processional route.
Antigua Guatemala, De La Gente Sustainable Coffee Tour
- Breakfast at the hotel
- Your guide will meet you at the hotel for the De La Gente sustainable coffee tour, including lunch with local families
- Free afternoon/evening in Antigua
De La Gente Sustainable Coffee Tour
You will be met by your guide for a short transfer to the small town of San Miguel Escobar, just outside of Antigua.
In town we will be met by a local guide from De La Gente (DLG). DLG is a charity working to support small independent coffee producers and promotes environmentally responsible agriculture in Guatemala. On this tour you will visit some of the families supported by this organisation.
You can work side-by-side with local coffee farmers as you help pick, pulp, ferment, wash, dry, thresh, sort, or grade the coffee (depending on the season); roast the coffee over an open ﬁre; and grind it by hand on a grindstone before sampling the brew.
The Viaventure Foundation supports DLG’s work in Guatemala’s farming communities with annual contributions.
To Lake Atitlan, via Comalapa market & Iximché Maya Ruins with Mayan Ceremony
- Breakfast at the hotel
- Your guide will meet you at the hotel to transfer to Lake Atitlan via Comalapa market & Iximché Maya ruins with Mayan ceremony, with lunch
- Check into your hotel in Lake Atitlan for two nights — 3 to 4 star equivalent
Comalapa Market & Iximché with Shaman Ritual
Your guide will meet you at your hotel to transport you to San Juan Comalapa, a town known for its more than 500 painters, primarily of Maya Kaqchiquel heritage.
On arrival, you will see the famous mural, painted by local schoolchildren and adults, depicting major events in Guatemala’s history from the pre-Columbian era through the signing of the 1996 peace accords. You will then visit a few of the artists who continue the tradition of naïf painting for which the town is famous.
Finally, you can walk through Comalapa’s authentic market for a glimpse into daily life in this region, as local residents, dressed in the colourful textiles traditional to the region, buy their weekly produce and goods. You can also visit the small museum dedicated to the Comalapa-born composer who wrote Guatemala’s national anthem, before you head off to explore the Mayan ruins of Iximché.
Toward the back of the Iximché archaeological site is a lesser-known (to visitors), yet extremely important Maya spiritual ceremony area. Here you will meet a local shaman who will invite you to participate in an authentic Maya ceremony performed in the Kaqchiquel language. After the ceremony, you will continue on to Lake Atitlan with a stop on the way for lunch.
Surrounded by rugged hills, a trio of towering volcanoes, and a handful of small villages, Lake Atitlan will fascinate you with its grandeur. Located in the Guatemalan highlands, the lake was formed more than 80,000 years ago during a violent volcanic eruption.
Tz’utujil and Kaqchiquel Mayas have plied its shores for centuries and continue to do so today, wearing vibrant traditional clothing and practicing age-old Maya customs. Panajachel is the lake’s main hub. From here, boats depart regularly for destinations like San Juan La Laguna, which is known for its hand-woven, naturally dyed textiles, and San Pedro, where intrepid visitors can summit a 3,020-meter (9,908-foot) volcano. The area also offers great opportunities to kayak, bike, and zip-line.
Lakeshore Hiking & San Juan Village Tour
- Breakfast at the hotel
- Your guide will meet you at the hotel to begin your lakeshore hiking and San Juan Village tour with lunch
Lakeshore Hiking and San Juan Village Tour
This is a perfect walking tour to bring you close to the culture, community, and natural beauty of Lake Atitlan. Your guide will meet you at your hotel, then you’ll embark on a scenic hike along the lakeshore, passing through numerous villages dotting the water’s edge, where Mayan locals work in the ﬁelds, wash clothes in the lake, and ﬁsh from their hand-carved ‘cayucos’ (wooden boats).
After lunch, you’ll visit either the village of San Juan La Laguna. In San Juan La Laguna you’ll visit a local textile cooperative to see the back-strap loom in use and to see how they still dye with natural dyes. You will also visit the home and workshop of local naïve painters.
Chichicastenango Market Tour & Flight to Petén
- Breakfast at the hotel
- Your guide will meet you at the hotel to begin your transfer to Guatemala City by way of Chichicastenango Market for a guided tour with lunch
- From Guatemala City, board a local ﬂight to Flores
- Transfer to Uaxactún Jungle Camp (1.5 hours)
- Dinner at the camp
- Uaxactún Jungle Camp for 2 nights
Chichicastenango Market Tour
You will be met at your hotel by your guide and travel to the highland town of Chichicastenango. Along the way you will pass through the Central Highland region and see the local Maya people in their traditional dress going about their daily lives working in the ﬁelds, collecting ﬁrewood, travelling between markets and selling their wares.
Upon arrival at Chichicastenango, your guide will take you to explore this expansive, world-famous market. You’ll visit the fruit and vegetable markets where locals buy produce and household goods, and spend time in the artisan craft area where countless stalls overﬂow with an endless variety of handmade textiles, carved wood, and ceramic crafts. You can also visit the famous St Tomas Church, where both Maya and Catholic rituals are performed in the sanctuary, reﬂecting the intertwining of these two diverse faiths in this region.
If you wish, you can also hike up the hill to the Pascual Abaj, where you may see local shamans performing their rituals, or you can visit the cemetery on the outskirts of town, where the mausoleums are painted in vivid colours. Lunch is included. When the group is ready, you will be driven to Guatemala City.
El Petén, Northern Guatemala Rainforest
Although it covers nearly one-third of the country, El Petén is Guatemala’s most sparsely populated department. Here, parrots and monkeys far outnumber people, and the jungle ruins of early Maya civilizations stand in for modern cities.
A large tract of El Petén belongs to the Maya Biosphere Reserve, a more than 21,600 sq. km (8,340 sq. mi) wildlife haven that stretches from Belize through Guatemala to Mexico. The Tikal archaeological site is the department’s biggest draw, with its towering pyramids surrounded by dense jungle and wildlife, but it’s certainly not the only spot for ruins.
The region is also home to a host of intriguing, lesser-known (and less crowded) archaeological sites, such as Uaxactún, Yaxhá, Ceibal, Aquateca and El Mirador.
It’s one thing to visit Guatemala’s stunning ruins, but wait until you spend the night at one — in particular, Uaxactún, one the longest-occupied Mayan cities.
After your nighttime arrival at Uaxactún from Flores, you’ll drop your belongings in your tent at the campsite near the jungle-shrouded temples. But don’t even think about settling into your bed yet! First you’ll set out along jungle trails in search of nocturnal wildlife, such as owls, opossums, and spooky-looking insects. Uaxactún’s many structures include an elaborate, thoroughly accurate astronomical cluster, where you’ll gaze up at a twinkling blanket of stars and luxuriate in the jungle mystique.
Uaxactún Maya Ruins and Village
- Breakfast at the camp
- Full day in and around Uaxactún Maya Ruins and Village, with lunch
- Sunset at the Lookout Tower
- Candlelit dinner at the ruins
Uaxactún Experience (continued)
In the morning, you’ll embark on a guided tour of the Uaxactún ruins, stopping at partially restored temples that align perfectly with the sun on key dates of the calendar.
In the village, you’ll learn about the natural gum, allspice, and xate (exported globally for ﬂoral arrangements) that locals collect. For lunch, you’ll savour a traditional dish prepared with locally sourced ingredients. You can rest or explore at your leisure in the afternoon. At dusk, you’ll climb a lookout tower for sunset drinks, followed by a delicious, locally made dinner before another overnight in the jungle camp.
Tikal Maya Ruins & Flight to Guatemala City
- Breakfast at the camp
- Tour the Tikal National Park archaeological site, with lunch
- Transfer to Flores to ﬂight back to Guatemala City
- Transfer and check in to your hotel in Guatemala City, one night — 3 to 4 star equivalent
Your ﬁnal day starts with breakfast and a 30-minute drive to Tikal National Park, where some 3,000 ancient structures rise from the rainforest ﬂoor. Not only will you enjoy a fascinating tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, but you’ll also experience the sights and sounds of tropical birds and animals, including howler and spider monkeys.
Following in the footsteps of Maya royalty and commoners, you will visit the majestic Great Plaza and its Temple of the Jaguar, Temple of the Masks, Acropolis and much more. Lunch is included on the tour. You can also explore the museum at the visitor centre before departing for your next destination.
- Breakfast at the hotel
- Individual departures to airport for international ﬂights out
2018 Guatemala Reverent – Signature Series Departure
Featuring Renowned Guide and Expedition Leader, Carlos Vivar
- 8 Day Departure, March 17th-25th, 2018
- Spaces limited to 16 passengers
- Trip Cost: USD $2,795.00 per person, based on double occupancy
- Single Supplement: $433.00 (Single Supplement not available in Jungle Camp)
- All breakfasts (except on arrival day)
- All lunches (except arrival and departure days)
- Welcome Dinner in Antigua
- Dinner at the Maya ruins of Uaxactún
- Accommodation in 3- to 4-star hotels & Jungle Camp
- Double occupancy with Single Supplement (except Jungle Camp)
- All Tours and Activities as described
- Entrance fees and local guides as required
- Land and boat transfers as mentioned (private for the group)
- Domestic round-trip airfare Guatemala City to Flores
- Local taxes
- Alcoholic beverages or additional beverages with meals
- International ﬂights
- Airport taxes (where applicable)
- Tips and gratuities for drivers and guides
- Personal expenses
- Meals not indicated
Featured Guide: Carlos Vivar
For nearly two decades, Carlos Vivar has helped clients explore the rich local cultures, Maya history, and natural beauty of Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, El Salvador and Mexico.
He has led expeditions for renowned archaeologists and researchers from National Geographic, Cornell University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Carlos grew up in a remote village nestled deep within the Guatemalan jungle called Uaxactún, a small community where airplanes (bush pilots extracting Wrigley’s chewing gum) were seen long before cars.
Carlos’s village was like a giant jungle playground where he grew up climbing ancient temples and listening to the tales his grandfather, a Maya shaman (spiritual leader), shared about his ancestors. “It was the best time of my life and was where I learned to respect and love nature,” says Carlos. After losing his father in Guatemala’s civil war, Carlos took a job as a chiclero (a harvester of natural gum) at just 8 years old. “I journeyed into the jungle for work. It was hard, but it was also how I began to develop a better understanding of the region’s ﬂora and fauna.”
Carlos eventually found his way out of the jungle and enrolled himself in school. His weekly commute included a 14-mile trek through the jungle to get back to his village. Carlos eventually studied tourism and took a job with a tour operator, and the rest is history. Over the years, he’s been recognized by clients and tour companies alike for his exceptional guiding skills and warm personality.
Despite his many successes, Carlos has maintained close ties to his village of Uaxactún. Indeed, he now leads tours there for Viaventure, granting others the opportunity to experience the wild jungles and ancient temples of his beloved village.
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