Come visit Lake Atitlan Guatemala in January and save BIG

Lake Atitlan Tours

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

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