Come join us in an epic Easter celebration in Antigua. Also visit Indian markets and the tropical jungle-swathed Mayan ruins at Tikal.
Arrival and transfer to the Hotel in Guatemala City for overnight accommodation. Select Hotel
Breakfast. ANTIGUA PROCESSIONS.
One of the most exciting moments when you are traveling in Guatemala is the arrival of a Holy Week procession in Antigua. Thousands gather outside of the churches, on sidewalks, and even on rooftops along procession routes to watch these spectacles. First, the aroma of copal incense fills the air as hundreds of men and boys in silken purple robes, some swinging incense censers, fill the street. Soon dirges played on brass instruments and processional drums grow louder, heightening the anticipation. And then suddenly, emerging from a cloud of incense, the float appears.
Gleaming with gold and silver adornments, the immense float is nothing short of spectacular. Up to 100 cucuruchos (male float carriers), dressed in royal purple, shoulder the main float. Weighing up to three metric tonnes (7,000 lbs), the wooden float sways slowly with each step the carriers take. Larger-than-life 17th- and 18th-century sculptures arranged on top of platform portray biblical scenes or religious messages, and at the float’s central stands a poignant sculpture of Jesus in his crown of thorns, carrying a heavy cross. Just behind the main float, cargadoras (female carriers) shoulder a second, slightly smaller float bearing a sculpture of the grieving Virgin Mary. The faces of these sculptures vividly express the passion of the crucifixion, and it is not uncommon to spot tears in the eyes of faithful onlookers as the image of Jesus or Mary passes.
Originally considered a penance in the 1500s, carrying the float is now also considered a privilege, and each carrier pays a small fee for the honour. A single procession can last more than 18 hours, often starting or ending before daybreak. Because the carriers take turns shouldering the massive floats, more than a thousand may carry a float over the course of a long procession.
Exquisite street carpets that line the processional routes are Antigua’s most famous and best-loved Holy Week tradition. Walking the route before daybreak on Good Friday is like experiencing an almost endless gallery of stunning works of art. But these works must be treasured in the moment, as they are destined to be destroyed in an instant when the procession passes.
The street carpet tradition started in 8th-century Spain, although Mayan rituals have also long involved pine-needle carpets. Over the years, Antigua’s Street carpets have evolved into magnificent works crafted by generations of families living along the procession route. Families often plan and design their carpets months ahead and may start constructing their carpet up to 20 hours before the procession arrives. Some even make several different carpets over the course of a few days if more than one procession passes their home.
Some of the most elaborate carpets use layers of brilliantly hued sawdust to produce a plush, carpet-like effect. Simpler but nonetheless striking carpets may instead feature beds of pine needles, flower petals, fruits, vegetables, and fragrant corozo palms. Some families add creative innovations, like marbles, egg shells, candles, toys, and bottle caps. Carpet themes may reflect religious messages, elements of nature, geometric patterns, and sometimes even statements of humor or political views.
Overnight Mercure Guatemala Casa Veranda
Set amid the green valleys, sharp-edged mountain peaks and sprawling forests northwest of Guatemala City, vibrant Chichicastenango is famous for its rich indigenous Mayan heritage and its lively, colorful market. The atmospheric cobbled streets and red-tiled roofs lead to the massive market characterized by bright, gorgeous handmade textiles, intricate jade jeweler, and traditional wooden handicrafts. Renowned for their loyalty to pre-Christian beliefs and practices, the local Mayan people hold an array of processions, ceremonies, and other events to honour their religion, and many churches are used for both Catholic and Mayan services. Believed to be thousands of years old, the Sacrifice Stone (Pascual Abaj) stands on the town’s hilltop and is served to this day.
BREAKFAST - LAKE ATITLAN - CHICHICASTENANGO
Departure from Guatemala City for the highlands, Once arrives into Panajachel, aboard the boat to Santiago Atitlan for a visit with Guatemala’s favorite indigenous saint, Maximón. Afterward, hop aboard a boat and cruise to San Juan, where you’ll visit weaving co-ops, medicinal herb gardens and art naïf painters. Go on foot or squeeze into a tuc-tuc and ride like the locals. You will be back at your hotel just in time for a sunset drink or a relaxing dip in the pool. return to Panajachel for transfer to Chichicastenango.
After hotel check-in at Chichi, follow your guide into the cavernous market for a peek at its increasingly busy loading areas. Families arrive from outlying villages aboard trucks and carts loaded with products from their farms and workshops. They stock their stalls with a dizzying assortment of merchandise while the family leader strikes deals with the vendors who will sell their goods.
Afterward, explore nearby streets to witness the daily routines of Chichi residents, noting the traditional clothing (traje) worn by many of the locals. In the evening, a family working to preserve the community’s indigenous traditions welcomes you into their home for a fascinating evening of food and culture. Children wearing colorful costumes and wooden masks perform a traditional dance (Baile de los Moros), portraying Conquistadors and the Maya they encountered. Share a traditional dinner with the family, sampling potent cusha (Maya moonshine) if you dare.
• DAILY LUNCH AND 1 DINNER IN CHICHICASTENANGO
Breakfast. In the morning, return to the increasingly frenzied market to experience it in full swing! You’ll see piles of brightly hued textiles skillfully woven into blouses, skirts, rugs, blankets, tablecloths, purses, and much more. Traditional wooden masks depict deer, dogs, jaguars, rabbits, and other characters featured in traditional dances, like the one performed for you at the family home.
Rustic ceramics include delicate butterflies, miniature village scenes, and brightly painted kitchenware. Mounds of vegetables seem to glow in vivid shades of red, yellow, green, orange, and purple. Step into real-time, Diego Rivera scene amongst rows and rows of fresh flowers and their eager vendors.
Witness animated bargaining, conducted mostly in the K’iche’ language, as locals and shoppers from nearby villages stock up on household goods and farm supplies. Their shopping lists include vegetables, herbs, seeds, machetes, and livestock, such as chickens, turkeys, pigs, and goats.
Following your before-and-after market adventure, stroll to the nearby Santo Tomás Church, where Maya and Catholic rituals mingle. Hike up the hill to the Pascual Abaj, where you may see shamans (Maya spiritual leaders) performing rituals, and visit the cemetery on the outskirts of town, where the mausoleums are painted in vivid colors.
Your Guatemala adventures would be incomplete without a market visit, but when you go “beyond the market,” you’ll leave Chichi with a far deeper understanding of the community’s rich Maya heritage, its thriving indigenous culture, and its wonderful people.
afternoon transfer back to Guatemala City
Overnight at Mercure Guatemala Casa Veranda
Breakfast & Lunch
You will be transferred to the airport to board your flight to Mundo Maya International Airport in Petén. At arrival, visit the Archaeological Site of Tikal “Place of Voices”, surrounded by the tropical forest that has kept Tikal in its millennial dream. Visit the main Plaza and the Temple of the Great Jaguar, central acropolis, Mundo Perdido and temple IV from where you can observe the majesty of the city and the emerald, green jungle. After lunch (included – no drinks), transfer to Yaxha.
The City of Yaxhá is located in the middle of the Mayan Biosphere, so besides the history and the Mayan culture on the tour, you’ll discover a lot about the flora and fauna that for years hid this treasure of humanity. at the proper time return to the hotel in Flores.
Overnight at Casona de la Isla
Hotel Casona de La Isla is located on the picturesque island of Flores and on the shores of Lake Peten Itza. It has 26 comfortable single, double and triple rooms. In addition, guests can enjoy the services of laundry, security boxes, Wi-Fi, restaurant, swimming pool, Jacuzzi and bar which also has a beautiful view of Lake Peten Itza.
Breakfast & Lunch
Located in the heart of Guatemala, the bustling city of Coban is best known as a cardamom and coffee-producing area. It is fast developing a reputation as a popular destination for eco-tourism. It serves as the gateway to the natural wonders of the beautiful Alta Verapaz region. Coban is surrounded by an impressive landscape characterized by beautiful waterfalls, caves, and forested mountains scattered with the rare Monja Blanca orchid, Guatemala's national flower. Visitors can look forward to an array of fantastic activities in the city including visiting the picturesque Parque Central, edged by the massive 16th-century Cathedral of Santo Domingo, and exploring the hilltop temple of El Calvario, boasting spectacular views overlooking the town. Don't miss the wonderful Las Victorias National Park, offering an array of trekking opportunities along a network of scenic mountain trails as well as a wide selection of adventure sports.
Candelaria Caves, Guatemala
The fantastic limestone caves of Candelaria are composed of seven separate caves that are interconnected by the Río Candelaria. The caves are spread across 14 miles (22 km) and have ceilings that reach as high as 200 feet (60 m). Candelaria is one of Central America’s largest cave systems.
Set within the limestone mountains in northern Alta Verapaz, the Candelaria caves were long sacred for Q’eqchi Mayans. The caves were thought of as passages into the underworld and were likely used as a place of worship. The caves of Candelaria were lost with the disappearance of the Maya but were rediscovered by Frenchman Daniel Dreux in 1974.
The caves, which were recently awarded national park status, were formed by the persistent flow of the Río Candelaria. The caves are 60–100 feet (20–30 m) wide, 30–200 feet (10–60 m) tall, and occasionally punctuated by skylights. It’s possible to explore them on foot or in an inflatable raft. There are three main gateways for exploring the caves. The most convenient option is at the Complejo Cultural y Ecoturístico Cuevas de Candelaria, which is near San Antonio Las Cuevas. Created by Daniel Dreux, this organization aims to protect the surrounding forests and also aid in the sustainable development of the local community. While here, you can tour the Cueva del Mico, which features large and impressive chambers. One in particular, the “Tzul Tacca,” is especially exceptional. This 650-foot (200-m) long chamber, with its shafts of sunlight and incredible rock formations, is gorgeous. South of this is the community tourism project of Candelaria Muq’b’il Ha’. A 30-minute walk along a trail leads to the Venado Seco cave. You can ride inner tubes on the Río Candelaria that runs through these caves. lunch on site and then drive to Cocan.
Breakfast & Lunch
Overnight at Park Hotel
The Park Hotel is located within a few kilometers from Santa Cruz Verapaz, on the route to Coban Alta Verapaz. The hotel features comfortable rooms with modern amenities, including desks, closets, TVs with cable channels and private bathrooms. Guests can enjoy delicious meals at the on-site restaurant. Other hotel facilities include a swimming pool, a gym and a garden area.
Breakfast. transfer from your hotel, very early, to Semuc Champey is a natural monument in the department of Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, near the Q'eqchi' Maya town of Lanquín. It consists of a natural 300 m limestone bridge, under which passes the Cahabón River. Atop the bridge is a series of stepped, turquoise pools, a popular swimming attraction.
The name Semuc Champey is from the Qʼeqchiʼ language, meaning where the river hides under the earth.
The best and most popular way to see Semuc Champey is from the "El Mirador" viewpoint. Though it is a roughly 45-minute hot, uphill jungle hike from the parking area, the views into the valley are unparalleled. lunch . visit the Kanba Caves.
At the proper time transfer back to hotel.
Overnight at Park Hotel
Planned: Located in the heart of Guatemala, the bustling city of Coban is best known as a cardamom and coffee-producing area. It is fast developing a reputation as a popular destination for eco-tourism. It serves as the gateway to the natural wonders of the beautiful Alta Verapaz region. Coban is surrounded by an impressive landscape characterized by beautiful waterfalls, caves, and forested mountains scattered with the rare Monja Blanca orchid, Guatemala's national flower. Visitors can look forward to an array of fantastic activities in the city including visiting the picturesque Parque Central, edged by the massive 16th-century Cathedral of Santo Domingo, and exploring the hilltop temple of El Calvario, boasting spectacular views overlooking the town. Don't miss the wonderful Las Victoria’s National Park, offering an array of trekking opportunities along a network of scenic mountain trails as well as a wide selection of adventure sports.
Breakfast. departure for Guatemala City, visit along the route the Quetzal Bird Biotope, where we can admire the best Tropical Rain Forest. We will visit one of the trails, and if we are lucky will be able to see our National bird. then on to Guatemala City
Biotopo del Quetzal
Planned: Located just outside of Coban in Guatemala, Biotopo del Quetzal is a tropical forest reserve that plays an important role in the protection of the Quetzal, a highly symbolic bird in Guatemala. The reserve covers an area of roughly 2,580 acres of the region's cloud forest. Only part of the reserve is open to the public. There are trails that visitors can use to explore the public areas of the reserve.
Breakfast & Lunch
Overnight Mercure Guatemala Casa Veranda
Breakfast transfer to the airport
per person in person
· ACCOMMODATIONS AT LISTED HOTELS (ALLOCATION 10 ROOMS)
o Mercure Guatemala Casa Veranda (4 Nights) in Guatemala City
o Hotel Santo Tomas (1 Night) Chichicastenango
o Hotel Casona de la Isla (1 Nigh) Forest Peten
o Park Hotel (2 nights) Coban
· DAILY LUNCH AND 1 DINNER IN CHICHICASTENANGO
· DAILY BREAKFAST
· BOAT TOUR IN LAKE ATITLAN (SHARE)
· PRIVATE SERVICES
· AC TRANSPORTATION
· ENGLISH SPEAKING GUIDE
· ENTRANCE FEES
· MEALS INDICATED ON PROGRAM
· AIR TICKET GUAFRS WITH 23KG BAG INCLUDED
· LOCAL AIRPORT TAX
· ENTRANCES TO TIKAL AND YAXHA NATIONAL PARK
· ENTRANCES TO SITES AS PER ITINERARY
· TRANSPORTATION – DRIVER – GUIDE WITH GROUP FOR ITINERARY
· 24/7 LOCAL ASSITANCE
· EXTRAS IN HOTELS
· MEALS NOT SPECIFIED
· SERVICES NOT INDICATED
· INTERNATIONAL AIR
Price per person double