Guatemala – Volcanoes, Culture and Ruins

Day 1Arrival in Guatemala – Jet down to Antigua and meet your guide.  Time permitting, you’ll be taken on a walking tour of this exquisite Spanish Colonial town with elegant 16th & 17th Century architecture, cobblestone streets, tranquil central square, stylish hotels, luxurious shops, superb international cuisine. (D)

Day 2AGAIG Coffee Farm & Santiago Zamora – After breakfast 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 As Green as it Gets (AGAIG). AGAIG is a charity working to support small independent coffee producers and promotes environmentally responsible agriculture in Guatemala. This tour takes you to visit some of the families
supported by this organisation where you can work side-by-side with small coffee farmers in their daily coffee processing, pick, pulp, ferment, wash, dry, trilla, sort, and grade the coffee (depending on the season), roast coffee over an open fire and grind by hand on a grindstone before sampling their
handiwork. Coffee Season is Nov to Mar. This tour includes a donation to AGAIG. After an interesting coffee tour, your next stop in in a local Mayan village Santiago Zamora where upon arrival you join small groups for a welcome ceremony before taking a seat to watch the women demonstrate various traditional techniques that have been passed from generation to generation of indigenous Guatemalan women. The women of the cooperative will explain and highlight some of the techniques used to weave the beautiful and intricate tapestries, clothes and other textiles that Guatemala is so famous for as well as show how they make Petate mats from the reeds harvested from local lakes. They will also demonstrate the process of making corn tortillas which is another interactive part of the experience enabling you to have a go at making your own tortillas, something they make look very easy but that is much harder than it looks. After they have finished they serve you a traditional meal of Pepito and you have the opportunity to ask questions through your guide about the cooperative and the local community or to browse the locally produced textiles and handicrafts. (B, L, D)

Day 3Volcano Pacaya Hike – Today we head to Pacaya National Park to begin the volcano ascent (approx 2.5 hours).  On the hike we can enjoy great views to the northern volcanoes, the pacific lowlands and all the way to El Salvador. Upon reaching the summit, although a safe distance from the crater itself, we can see the lava inside the crater & experience the energy of an active volcano. Pacaya has been erupting nearly continuously since 1965. Half way down, we stop to enjoy a packed lunch with the impressive volcano in close sight. (B, L, D)

Day 4Authentic Maya Market of Comalapa – After breakfast, we will transfer to the highland town of Comalapa, en route to Lake Atitlan & Panajachel.  On arrival to the town we can see the famous painted mural that the school children of the town painted depicting mayor events in Guatemala’s history up to the signing of the peace accords in 1996. We spend the day visiting nearby village markets, each with a specialty such as baked goods, wood products fruits, vegetables, other foods and goods. (B, L, D)

Day 5Cerro de Oro, Santiago – We’ll start the day with a scenic boat ride across Lake Atitan to the village of Santiago. Once we reach the dock, we begin the hike through the village and up the “Hill of Gold”. After 1.5 hours of climbing, we reach the summit and enjoy impressive views over the lake area. Upon our descent, we will pass a Mayan altar; still used today. Lunch is in the town of Santiago, and after our meal we will enjoy a walking tour, visiting the vegetable market, main square and church, the famous saint of San Simón and other places of interest. In the afternoon our boat driver takes us back to Panajachel. (B, L, D)

Day 6Uaxactun -  Today we start our day early in the morning and will be transferred to the airport for our domestic flight to North of Guatemala, Flores.  Once we get there we are transferred to Uaxactun, which is famous for the oldest complete Maya astronomical complex found and is one of the longest occupied Maya sites. It´s also the community where the “Chicleros” (gum collectors) have lived for over 100 years. Many of Uaxactún’s residents nowadays make their living from gathering forest products such as chicle (exported to Japan), allspice and xate palm leaves (ornamental plant exported to the US and used for floral arrangements). For sunset we will go to the lookout tower. If you are lucky we will be able to see the ruins from Tikal rising above the jungle! The night will be spent in tents in this impressive site in the middle of the jungle where guests can enjoy the sounds of the jungle. (B, L, D)

Day 7Tikal/Guatemala City – An early morning start to explore the amazing Maya site at Tikal.  Here, ghosts of the Maya haunt the awe-inspiring ruins that rise above the jungle canopy.  The temples are surrounded by tropical rainforest, replete with Howler monkeys and various tropical bird species.  Afterwards, we return to the colonial center of Guatemala City and depart for home on Day 8. (B, L, D)

Day 8 - Guatemala City
Welcome Home!! (B)

Starting price
10 – 15 students + 1 chaperone: $ 2 190 / student
16 – 20 students + 1 chaperone: $ 1 890 / student
21 – 25 students + 1 chaperone: $ 1 820 / student
(Price depends on the time travelling e.g. Christmas and New Years period are peak season)

Price includes:
All the transfers mentioned in the program with van, boat or a local tuc tuc, domestic return flight Guatemala City – Flores, accommodation in an economic hotel or in a tent, all the meals as mentioned in the program (B, L, D), all the activities mentioned in the program with entrance fees,  a Students Journey guide

Price does not include:
International flights, beverages and meals not specified, phone calls and personal expenses, travel insurance,  all other services stated as optional or not explicitly stated as included.


Note! You can extend your program for example with our tour program Off the Beaten Path in Belize.

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