Volcano-cactus 1aws

Come visit Lake Atitlan Guatemala in January and save BIG

Antigua Guatemala News, Antigua Guatemala Travel Blog, Antigua Guatemala Travel Reviews

Come visit Lake Atitlan Guatemala in January and save BIG.  Discounts for one week only; January 18 – 26, 2014.  This complete package includes everything; airport pick-up, transfers to Lake Atitlan, deluxe overnight accommodations in Santa Cruz la Laguna, ALL meals, ALL activities, ALL tours and excursions.  Come and stay for the entire week, or for a few days.

January 18 – 26, 2014 – Complete package from $149.00 per person per day, or $1192.00 for the entire itinerary.

ARRIVAL DAY, SATURDAY – Jan. 18

·               Airport transfer from airport to Lake Atitlan. Overnight at Lake Atitlan.

DAY 1, SUNDAY – Jan. 19

 KAYAK EXCURSION and ATITLAN NATURE RESERVE

·         After breakfast we take a leasurely kayak excursion around Santa Cruz.  This is a great morning activity that allows you to view the lake and the surrounding mountains. This is not a challenging activity.  Later we explore the village of Santa Cruz and visit two non-profit foundations to see how they are helping improve the lives of the local Maya.

In the afternoon visit the Atltan Nature Reserve.  You can hike the nature trails and enjoy the zip lines.

Overnight at Lake Atitlan.

DAY 2, MONDAY – Jan. 20

 LAKE ATITLAN – 3 VILLAGE BOAT TOUR

·         After breakfast, make your way to the boat dock in front of your hotel for a 3-Village Private Boat Tour. This spectacular full day trip will take you from one end of the lake to the other. You will visit the villages of San Marcos, San Juan, Santiago, with time to explore each village. Easy walking is involved and the trip is approximately 8 hours.

·         The day begins in Santa Cruz where you depart for the west end of the lake. You get to see the villages of El Jaibalito, Tzununa, San Marcos, and San Pablo as you make your way along the north shore. Your first stop is San Marcos, where you stop for swimming and optional cliff jumping. Then you will depart the north shore for San Juan, the “Swiss village” of Lake Atitlan. You will spend approximately 3 hours on a guided walking tour and visit art galleries, two woman’s weaving cooperatives, a medicinal and curative plant garden. Enjoy lunch at a local comedor to sample the local foods.

·         Several famous painters are from San Juan so you will also visit their galleries to see them at work. Women Weavers and Nuestra Artesania includes demonstrations showing how the beautiful fabrics are made; from harvesting the cotton, to spinning it into yarn, dying the yarn, and then creating one of-a-kind fabrics with the back strap loom. The Qomaneel center is a medicinal and curative herb garden operated by the midwives of San Juan.  You are guided through the garden and given samples of each plant along with a description of its curative powers. There are no entrance fees at the cooperatives. Your gift purchases or donations are how these centers function.

        •        Your third stop is Santiago. The bay of Santiago is a photographer’s dream. We take a tour along the shore of the bay before we start our walking tour. Your first stop is a visitor center that offers insight into the life of the Tzutujile Maya. There are interpretive displays on the history of the traje (traditional clothing), spiritual beliefs and Maximon. We have lunch before we tour the local church and visit Maximon. The Mayan visit Maximon to ask for healthy crops, to help cure illness, to find love, or to cast a spell on a neighbor. Be sure to buy some candles, cigarettes, or liquor to make your own offering!!! A small fee is required for admittance.

 Overnight at Lake Atitlan.

DAY 3, TUESDAY – Jan. 21

HIKE (or drive) THE UPPER MAYAN TRAIL, SOLOLA MARKET AND MOUNTAIN VILLAGES

After breakfast, the day begins in Santa Cruz and the start of our 3-4 -hour hike.  You can either hike or drive. Visit the village of Santa Cruz la Laguna and then head high into the mountains. You hike along ancient paths that have been used by the Kachekel Maya for centuries.  You will view villagers going about their daily life, encounter farmers tending their maize and coffee fields, and see some of the most magnificent scenery in the world.  You can visit a sacred Mayan site where rituals are performed by the local shamans, and make your own offering at the alter.

This rugged and remote area has barely been touched by the outside world.  Our hike takes us 2500 feet above the waters of Atitlan for breath taking views and pristine scenery.

It is a difficult walk/climb, but is not overly challenging for those in good health.  The walk is approx. 4 hours through magnificent scenery. Enjoy a picnic lunch along the way, or in a local comidor (included).  You walk though a remote Mayan village high in the mountains where we find the road. There we take a collectivo (shared van/pick-up) the last few miles into Solola.  You visit the second largest market in Guatemala, then return via chicken bus or pick up into Panajachel and then Santa Cruz. On the return, we stop at Crossroads Café to sample some of the best coffee in the world.  All the coffees served are from Guatemala.

Overnight at Lake Atitlan. 

DAY 4, WEDNESDAY – Jan. 22

LAKE ATITLAN – PADDLE AND HIKE EXCURSION

·         After breakfast, meet at the dock to gear up for a day of adventure.  It is best to wear your swimsuit or other appropriate boating atire as you will get wet along the way.  We supply dry sacks for your backpacks and other gear for the second part of the day. Be sure to bring your camera, drinking water, and some sunscreen.

We paddle for 1 ½ -2 hours along the shores of Santa Cruz la Laguna, El Jaibalito, and Tzununa, ending in San Marcos.  You will have many up close encounters with Mayan men who fish from hand hewn cayukas as they have for centuries.  You will feel privileged to share the lake with these proud fishermen who make Lake Atitlan so unique. You paddle along rugged cliff faces filled with exotic plant and bird life.  You have the opportunity to swim and cliff- jump into the crystal clear waters, or just enjoy a swim and sun. Enjoy a picnic lunch along the way, or in a local comidor (included).

We pull into the Bay of San Marcos and gear up for the next part of our adventure. The  north shore of Lake Atitlan has no true road access, so you will be hiking along ancient paths that have been used by the Maya for centuries.  You will view villagers going about their daily life, encounter farmers tending their maiz and coffee fields, and see some

of the most magnificent scenery in the world.  This rugged and remote section of Lake Atitlan has barely been touched by the outside world.  Our hike takes us several hundred feet above the ever changing waters of Atitlan for breathtaking views of the famous volcanos.  We end our hike in Santa Cruz la Laguna at the end of our day of adventure.

Overnight at Lake Atitlan.

DAY 5, THURSDAY –  Jan. 23

AMAZING CHICHICASTENANGO – ANTIGUA

·         Shuttle departs at 8:00 am for travel to the spectacular outdoor market of Chichicastenango – one of the world’s most famous outdoor markets!  People watch in this very Mayan village, and also ‘shop until you drop’ or until 1pm when the market closes.  After a leisurely lunch in ChiChi (included) board the shuttle for travel to Antigua.

·         About ChiChi >>> Located at 2500 meters above sea level, this town is famous amongst tourists for its market on Thursdays and Sundays, where spats of traditionally dressed villagers in a kaleidoscope of colors, come to sell their very colorful textiles, fruits, vegetables and flowers. Although seemingly very commercial, there is much mysticism in the air. You will be amazed by the religious blend that exists, where colonial Spanish Catholicism, modern evangelism and ancient Mayan tradition, blend in a uniquely harmonious fashion. There is something deeply moving about watching a Mayan Indian or shaman, engulfed by incense and surrounded by flowers, praying to a catholic God and at the same time practicing ancient Mayan rituals, all in an old Spanish colonial Cathedral. It is here, in Chichicastenango, that Father Francisco Ximenez in the 17th century discovered the Popol Vuh, the illustrious Mayan bible.

Overnight in Antigua.

DAY 6, FRIDAY – Jan. 24

ANTIGUA – PACAYA

Morning Pacaya Volcano hike starts at 8:00 am and ends at 4:00 pm. Afternoon/Evening Pacaya Volcano hike starts at 2:00 pm ends 8:30 pm.

Lava Fields and Smoking Crater – Pacaya, one Guatemala’s youngest volcanoes, offers climbers a unique glance into the geologic bowels of the earth. A relatively easy climb of 1.5 hours brings us to the fertile shelf just below the cinder cone called “la Meseta.” From here we get an awesome view of recent lava flows. We will explore these lava fields, and as the smoking crater looms above, the environment quickly changes to resemble that of an extraterrestrial setting. We’ll enjoy a fresh lunch, enjoying the views before we make our way back down.

Overnight in Antigua.

DAY 7, SATURDAY – Jan. 25

ANTIGUA

· Enjoy a relaxing day to explore on your own

  • Antigua, Guatemala is an exquisite Spanish Colonial town with elegant 16th & 17th Century architecture, cobblestone streets, a tranquil central square, stylish hotels, luxurious shops and superb international cuisine. The town enjoys a unique and impressive setting nestled beneath three towering volcanoes and surrounded by lush evergreen forests.

. Overnight in Antigua.

DAY 8, SUNDAY – Jan. 26

>>> ANTIGUA TO GUATEMALA CITY & DEPARTURE

· Enjoy a relaxing morning

Solola, holds market days on Friday

Antigua Guatemala Travel Reviews

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To be honest each and every day across the towns and villages provide market days in Guatemala. Sadly, for the traveler, the markets promoted to tourists are not always the best or most authentic ones. Here we’ve provided a sampling of our favorites.

Chichicastenango, located about 140 km and 2-3 hours drive northwest of Guatemala City, is home to what is surely the most colorful native market in North and Central America, perhaps in all the Americas. Market days are Sundays and Thursdays, and draw not only the K’iche’ Maya of the surrounding region, but vendors from all over Guatemala, representing many of Guatemala’s linguistic groups such as Mam, Ixil, Kaqchikel and others, each hawking his or her products in a riotous cacophony of color, dialects and costumes, smoke, and smells. Though it’s hugely promoted as a tourist destination, it’s still worth taking in the market days in Guatemala via “Chichi.”

Vendors begin setting up portable booths in the main plaza and adjacent streets of Chichi the night before and set-up continues in the early daylight hours. Cohetes (homemade rockets) carrying aloft loud bombas (firecrackers) commence early in the morning and continue sporadically through the day, adding the smell of fireworks to the incense burned in copious quantities on the steps and in the nave of the 400-year old church of Santo Tomás.

Solola, holds market days on Friday. It’s market draws a crowd since Solola is the capital of the department of Solola, an area that includes 19 municipalities around Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.  The majority (approximately 90%) of the city’s inhabitants are Cakchiquel Indians who proudly retain their heritage.  It is one of the few municipalities where both men and women routinely wear their traditional Mayan dress.

Women often carry their wares in the traditional Mayan market basket, balancing a few vegetables from their garden, tortillas, textiles or even a couple of chickens that they hope to sell at market. The common blue plastic pans are scales used to compare the weight of different products.

Panajachel (Pana) is a town in the southwestern Guatemalan Highlands, in the department of Sololá. It serves as the administrative centre for the surrounding municipality of the same name. The altitude is 1,597 metres (5,240 ft). The population is 11,142.

The town of Panajachel is located on the shore of Lake Atitlán, and has become a centre for the tourist trade in the area as it provides a base for visitors crossing the lake to visit other towns and villages. In Pana, every day is market day in Guatemala as the main road into Pana and lake is lined with hundreds of vendors selling mostly clothing. This is more of a tourist market which requires bartering for goods. Pana also has a fresh produce and meat market that offers the best in produce grown locally in the region.

Antigua Guatemala has a large concentration of historical Churches

Antigua Guatemala News
Churches in the Villages surrounding Antigua

ANTIGUA, GUATEMALA – AREA CHURCH TOURS

Antigua Guatemala has a large concentration of historical Churches for travelers to enjoy tours of. The surrounding areas of Antigua Guatemala also have some of the most spectacular Churches in the Villages surrounding Antigua. Sadly many travelers and tourists visiting Guatemala miss the opportunity to explore this wonders of History.

Our tour is made up of 5 villages in the Antigua Guatemala area. This is a full day trip with everything included. A trip that you will not forget soon.

When you pull into town, from no matter from which direction, you will want to get walking and exploring this charming cobblestone Spanish colonial town. Your instincts will guide your feet as you will likely start in the very heart of Antigua, Parque Central. Get a feel for the place by strolling in any direction from the park.

You will be struck by the authentically restored and well preserved Spanish architecture, dating back to the 18th century with a few 16th century models too. Moorish touches are everywhere as they are integral to the Spanish tradition brought here. Personally, when I first set foot here, I just walked and walked, discovering on my own the earthquake-ravaged El Carmen Church, built in the latter 16th century.

The arch on fifth avenue is magnificent in daylight or night illumination as is La Merced, a butter-coloured convent, built in the 18th century and now lovingly restored to at least most of its former glory. These are only a few highlights.

 

The Pacaya Volcano tour includes climbing to the top of the volcano

Antigua Guatemala Travel Reviews

Volcan de Pacaya. Duration 1 day

PACAYA – Awesome Live VolcanoPACAYA – Awesome Live Volcano

The Pacaya Volcano is one of the active volcanoes of Guatemala, the tour includes climbing the volcano, a visit to the lagoon of boilers, Palin’s visit to the town and its market under the national tree, ceiba, and then by way of the Pacific to taste the best ice cream in Guatemala, and then return to Antigua and photograph the volcanoes of Fuego and Acatenango.PACAYA – Awesome Live Volcano

There are two ways to appreciate the volatility and beauty of the Pacaya Volcano. You can sit on a terrace in some bars and restaurants in Antigua Guatemala and watch the red lava ribbon make its way down the volcano slope. It’s most dramatic at night. Or you can go to Pacaya on a guided or unguided tour. Both are great experiences.

Pacaya is only a 90 minute drive from the centre of Antigua and there are a variety of excursion packages from which to choose. You can choose an all-day trip, which includes a hike up the volcano to watch the lava and steam flow first-hand, then a stop over at a lunch place and, for the ultra package, a rest at a spa to enjoy sitting in the hot springs.

Price depends on how elaborate you want to make your trip. Just about everyone we know opted for the simple half-day package and they were pretty pleased with the experience. Whether a full day or half, be prepared for a 6:30 a.m. start. You’ll get back to Antigua about 1 p.m. if you choose a half day. Or you if you’re out all day you’ll get back around 6 p.m.day.

Be warned though. The climb up the volcano slope is a bit of a hike. While you don’t need to be an Olympic athlete, you do need to be in reasonably good shape for the climb.

Our Half day packages start at $30; full day packages are around $60. Be prepared to pay extra for an English speaking guide and about 50 Q ($6.00 US) to get into Pacaya National Park. These excursions can be arranged through any number of local operators.