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Odysseys does everything with style, but without pretension. Beautiful meals and hotels. Excellent guides.

Barbara Schoetzau
New York, NY
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Small Group Tour Highlights
  • Maya archaeological sites of Tikal, Yaxhá, and Topoxté
  • Artesania market in Chichicastenango
  • Two days at Lake Atitlan
  • Indigenous Maya town of Santiago Atitlan
  • Opportunities to interact with local people
  • Pleasing mix of guided touring and free time
  • Colonial city of Antigua, UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Visits with local artisans
  • Excellent accommodations, including restored 17th-century monastery in Antigua
Day-by-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Depart U.S. for Guatemala City, ­Guatemala After our arrival in the country’s capital city, this afternoon and evening are free to relax and have dinner on our own.

Day 2: Guatemala City Following a briefing with our tour director, a morning tour of Guatemala City includes the grandiose Palacio National, once home to presidential offices and now an art museum; and the Spanish colonial Catedral Metropolitana, constructed over a period of nearly a century and finally completed in 1871. The afternoon is free to explore on our own. Tonight’s welcome dinner is at Portal del Angel, a hilltop restaurant overlooking the city and offering magnificent views of the entire valley. B,D

Day 3: Guatemala City/Yaxhá/Topoxté Early this morning we fly north to Flores, and transfer by coach deep into Guatemala’s northern rainforest. Here we call on two important but less visited Maya sites on opposite sides of Yaxhá Lake. First, we visit Yaxhá, Guatemala’s third largest ruin with 500 buildings linked by a series of causeways. Across the lake sits Topoxté, whose restored structures occupy five islands and give us a glimpse at how the Maya lived and defended themselves. Mid-afternoon we reach our resort hotel on the shores of Lake Petén Itza, a half hour from the ruins at Tikal and where we dine tonight. B,L,D

Day 4: Tikal Part of the vast Maya civilization that dominated the region a millennium ago, the celebrated archaeological site of Tikal (c. 200 BCE) once was the most important city in the Maya universe. Upon arrival this morning we explore a portion of the jungle-clad ruins of palaces, temples, ball courts, and ceremonial platforms: the “Q” ­Complex, the Great Plaza with the Pyramid of the Grand Jaguar and Pyramid of the Masks, the Palace of the Nobles, and Pyramid IV. We also visit the nearby museum housing priceless pre-Columbian ­artifacts excavated from Tikal. We return to our ­hotel late afternoon and dine there tonight. B,L,D

Day 5: Tikal/Guatemala City This morning is free for individual pursuits at our lakeside hotel which offers kayaking, sailing, and windsurfing ­along with an outdoor pool. Early this afternoon we transfer to the airport for the return flight to Guatemala City. Dinner tonight is at a local restaurant. B,D

Day 6: Chichicastenango/Panajachel Departing by coach early today, we reach the white-washed highland town of Chichicastenango mid-morning. It’s market day, so our first stop is at the colorful open-air artesania market, Guatemala’s largest. Here locals sell such wares as woven baskets, woolen blankets and other textiles, carved wooden masks, and numerous traditional crafts in a whirl of commerce­ and socializing. Next we visit the Catholic church of Santo Tomás (c. 1540) to witness some of the ancient Maya ceremonies that, surprisingly, have long been practiced there. This afternoon we continue on to the village of Panajachel, with its dramatic ­setting on the shores of Lake Atitlan and surrounded by three volcanoes and numerous indigenous villages. Our lakeside hotel, a Spanish-style inn, boasts beautiful grounds and lovely sunset views. B,D

Day 7: Panajachel/Santiago We cross the lake by motor launch this morning to the picturesque town of Santiago Atitlan, capital of the ­native Tzutuhil people known particularly for their colorful textile design, traditional clothing, and fierce independence. The Tzutuhil count as just one of ­Guatemala’s indigenous tribes that comprise some 44% of the population, speaking at least 21 different dialects. After time to explore here, we return to our hotel and an afternoon at leisure. We have time tonight to stroll through Panajachel’s market area before dinner at a local restaurant. B,D

Day 8: Panajachel/Antigua En route to Antigua, Guatemala’s most important colonial city, we stop at the Maya archaeological site of Iximche, capital of the Kaqchiquel people who were known for their skill at building fortified cities. Despite Iximche’s strong walls, the city was abandoned just 50 years after its founding, as the 1519 arrival of the Spanish in Central America brought disease and strain to the area. This ­afternoon we reach Antigua and our hotel, a ­restored 17th-century monastery, and take a tour of the property whose grounds cover an entire city block and which houses an open-air museum. Guatemala’s ­capital from 1543 until a devastating earthquake in 1776, Antigua is one of The Americas’ oldest and most beautiful ­cities, with pastel-colored buildings, wide cobblestone streets, and a lovely natural setting. This evening we enjoy dinner together at our hotel. B,D

Day 9: Antigua Our morning tour of this ­magnificent highlands city ringed by three volcanoes and known for its 16th-century Spanish colonial ­architecture includes lively Plaza Mayor flanked by the impressive Catedral de San José and Palace of the Capitanes Generales. We also see the ruins of churches and monasteries, some with hidden ­underground passages, destroyed by the earthquake of 1776; tour a jade factory; and visit artisans weaving­ textiles on primitive foot looms. The afternoon is free to explore this UNESCO site on our own. B

Day 10: Antigua We spend the morning discovering more of this lovely city, once home to some 30 monastic orders. Then we enjoy another afternoon at leisure for independent exploration. Potential activities include touring the Colonial Art Museum, with religious art dating from the 17th century; or admiring the local crafts for which ­Antigua is known at some of the many local galleries and artisans’ shops. Tonight we gather at a local restaurant for a farewell dinner. B,D

Day 11: Depart for U.S. After breakfast we transfer to the Guatemala City airport for our return flights to the U.S. B

Please note: This trip involves considerable walking on uneven terrain, cobblestone streets, and at sites of ancient ruins. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to its fullest.

B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included

Tour Price Includes
  • Round-trip air transportati­on from listed cities; all flights within itinerary
  • 10 nights’ accommodations in Deluxe and First Class hotels
  • 20 meals: 10 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 8 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
  • $100 frequent traveler credit towards your next Odysseys Unlimited tour ($200 after three tours; $300 after 10 tours)
Tour Dates & Prices

2019 Tour Dates & Prices
including international airfare and all taxes, surcharges, and fees

Mar 12Feb 19Jan 15
Feb 5
Houston, Miami$2,884$2,984 $3,084
Atlanta, Baltimore,
Boston, Chi, Dallas,
Los Ang, New York,
Orlando, San Fran,
Tampa, Wash, DC
$3,184$3,284 $3,384
Charlotte, Denver,
Phil, Phoenix
$3,284$3,384 $3,484
Cincinnati, Cleve,
Detroit, Minn,
Port (OR), Seattle
$3,384$3,484 $3,584

Please call if your city is not listed or for land only prices. Prices are per person based on double occupancy and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $289, which are subject to change until final payment is made.

Single travelers please add $795. Your $375 deposit is fully refundable up to 95 days prior to departure. All 2019 tour prices above (excluding airline taxes, surcharges, and fees) are guaranteed.

A visa is not required for this tour.

Accommodations
    Westin Camino Real, Guatemala, Guatemala City / Days 1-2, 5, Extension / Deluxe

    The elegant Westin Camino Real offers a stylish, European-inspired stay just minutes from the local shopping and entertainment district.  The 279-room hotel features a variety of amenities including four dining options, outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, fitness center (with jacuzzi, spa, and sauna), and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  Air-conditioned guest rooms are tastefully decorated and have private bath with hair dryer, coffee-making facilities, in-room safe, minibar, TV, and phone.

    Camino Real Tikal, Tikal / Days 3-4 / First Class

    Set in the midst of a rainforest on the shores of Lake Peten-Itza and just a half-hour’s drive from the ruins at Tikal, this resort hotel offers two restaurants and two bars, laundry service (for a fee), fitness center, outdoor pool with Jacuzzi, and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  The 72 rooms comprise a series of thatched-roof structures, each with air conditioning, private bath with hair dryer, safe-deposit box, minibar, private balcony, TV, and phone.  Please note that while this is the best hotel available in this region, you will find the accommodations to be more basic than at other sites on your tour.  Your room will be clean and comfortable but not luxurious.

    Atitlan Hotel, Lake Atitlan / Days 6-7 / First Class

    This 60-room lakeside hotel, situated near Guatemala’s indigenous villages, is built in the style of a Spanish Colonial hacienda with ceramic tiles and hand-carved wooden furniture.  Surrounded by ornate gardens and a 250-acre rainforest, the hotel boasts more than 250 species of birds on its property.  Amenities include a restaurant and bar, gift shop, laundry services (for a fee), private beach, sauna, swimming pool, and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  Guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer (upon request), TV, phone, and private balcony.

    Casa Santo Domingo, Antigua / Days 8-10 / Deluxe

    Once a colonial-era monastery, now a 129-room hotel, family owned Casa Santo Domingo boasts two popular museums, one of Spanish colonial art and the other of classic Maya art, as well as shops featuring locally made handcrafts. It also has beautiful grounds with gardens, fountains, statuary, plazas, and patios.  Other hotel amenities include a restaurant and bar, laundry service, pool, sauna, Jacuzzi, and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  Guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

    Hotel Marina Copán, Copan / Extension / First Class

    Located less than a mile from the celebrated ruins at Copán, the 50-room Hotel Marina Copán sits in the center of the colonial village of Copán Ruinas.  The hotel combines classic Spanish colonial architecture with such modern conveniences as a restaurant; bar; café; gift shop; laundry and dry cleaning services (for a fee); complimentary Wi-Fi internet access; fitness center with sauna and jacuzzi; and outdoor swimming pool.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, TV, and phone.

Ratings are based on the Hotel & Travel Index, the travel industry standard reference.
Post-Tour Extension

Copan, Honduras

4 days/3 nights for $795 total price
Single Supplement: $195

Experience a unique private excursion into Honduras and see the magnificence of Copan, which many consider to be the most artistic and well-preserved city in the Maya world.

 

Your Tour Price Includes
  • Private car/van transportation Antigua/Copan (Honduras), returning to Guatemala City
  • 3 nights’ accommodations: 2 nights in Copan at Hotel Marina Copan (First Class); 1 night in Guatemala City at Westin Camino Real (Deluxe)
  • 6 meals: 3 breakfasts, 3 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing, including comprehensive tour of the Copan ruins (main site, plus El Bosque and Las Sepulturas); tour of Quirigua (Guatemala) Maya site en route back to Guatemala City; all entrance fees to included sites
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Gratuities for dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers

Please see the Accommodations tab for hotel information.

Extension not available on Mar 12 departure.

Tour Directors for this Journey
Sergio Garcia

Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director

Gary Ortiz

Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director

Destination Insight

Suggested Reading

William Carlsen
Jungle of Stone
Alongside his own 2,500-mile journey through Central America, William Carlsen retraces the Catherwood-Stephens Expedition, one of the first excursions to the Mayan temples of present-day Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico.

Lisa Vaughn
Culture Smart! Guatemala
A concise and practical guide to local customs, etiquette and culture.

Rough Guide
Rough Guide Guatemala
This comprehensive guide features good cultural information and the best overview of where to go and what to do throughout the country. It’s got consistently more
— and more accurate — information on markets, towns and excursions than the competition. With chapters on Copan and the Honduran Bay Islands.

National Geographic Maps
Guatemala Adventure Map
Water- and tear-proof with parks, preserves, underwater features and topography at a scale of 1:500,000.

Amy E. Robertson
Moon Handbook Honduras & the Bay Islands
A comprehensive guide to Honduras, its history, culture and attractions.

Stephen Schlesinger, Stephen Kinzer
Bitter Fruit, The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala
A foreign policy classic first published in 1982, brilliantly written and devastating in its implications. Schlesinger and Kinzer provide a dramatic account of the CIA- backed 1954 overthrow of Guatemala’s democratically elected government of Jacobo Arbenz.

Elizabeth Burgos (Foreword), David Stoll
Rigoberta Menchu and the Story of All Poor Guatemalans
This book alleges that Rigoberta Menchu took liberties with events depicted in her landmark autobiography. Updated with foreword by Elizabeth Burgos.

Greg Grandin (Editor)
The Guatemala Reader
A lively, literate sourcebook on the politics, economy and society of Guatemala, aimed at students, travelers and scholars. (Item GML18)

Mary Ellen Miller
Maya Art and Architecture
An illustrated overview of the art and architecture of the Maya, making use of the latest discoveries at Tikal, Copan and Palenque to demonstrate the range of Mayan artistic influence. Revised and updated, this new edition includes color illustrations throughout.

Linda Schele, Peter Mathews
The Code of Kings, The Language of Seven Sacred Maya Temples and Tombs
A vivid guided tour of seven Maya sites, including Palenque, Tikal and Chichen Itza. This outstanding book features photos and line drawings throughout, and introductory chapters with a succinct introduction to Maya history and culture.

Barbara W. Fash
The Copan Sculpture Museum, Ancient Maya Artistry in Stucco and Stone
Director of the Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions Program & Mesoamerican Laboratory at the Peabody Museum, Fash brings insight and an on-the-ground perceptive to this illustrated overview of Copan. It’s both a museum catalog and an introduction to the Maya.

Fabio Bourbon
The Lost Cities of the Mayas
The discoveries of British artist Frederick Catherwood and his American companion John Lloyd Stephens, the first Westerners to see the Maya cities of the Yucatan, are
chronicled in this illustrated, oversized volume. Featuring 200 color engravings of the monuments of Central America, Chiapas and the Yucatan.

Stephen Houston, Michael Coe
The Maya
Coe’s clear, concise, illustrated survey of the Maya highlights their chronology, accomplishments and legacy. Ninth edition.

Stephen Connely Benz
Guatemalan Journey
Opening with a long chapter on life in Guatemala City, Benz’s memoir moves on to the remote highlands and other little-visited regions. An excellent account of Guatemala’s political history, traditions and indigenous cultures.

Marcela Serrano, Margaret Sayers Peden (Translator)
Antigua and My Life Before
Set in Santiago, Chile, and the Guatemalan city of Antigua, this is the story of two women — one a famous singer, the other an artist/architect — and a tragic shooting that sparks memories of their friendship.

Dennis Tedlock (Editor)
Popol Vuh, The Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life
The definitive, unabridged collection of creation myths and stories of the Quiche people, fundamental to understanding the worldview of the highland Maya.

Paul Theroux
The Mosquito Coast
This taut psychological novel about a man who abandons civilization for the wilds of Honduras is both an adventure story and a dark utopian tale of colonial ambitions run amok.

Larry Habegger (Editor), Natanya Pearlman (Editor)
Travelers’ Tales Central America
Organized thematically with contributions set in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, this collection of eyewitness reports includes works by Joan Didion, P.J. O’Rourke and Paul Theroux.

J.C. Kricher, Mark Plotkin (Introduction)
The New Neotropical Companion
From plants and animals to birds and bugs, it’s all here in this wonderfully written overview of the ecology, habitats, plants and animals of Central and South America. A revised second edition.

Adrian Forsyth, Ken Miyata
Tropical Nature
Two uncommonly observant and thoughtful field biologists offer a lucid portrait of the tropics through 17 marvelous essays that introduce the habitats, ecology, plants and animals of the Central and South American rainforests.

Hector Perez-Brignoll
A Brief History of Central America
A good overview of the region’s economic, political and social history through the 1980s by a professor at the University of Costa Rica. Well-written, informative and concise.

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