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Adventure & Cultural Immersion in Guatemala

Adventure & Cultural Immersion in Guatemala

$2150 per person

Where it all began for The Heart of Travel

Guatemala has a very special place deep in our hearts. But beyond our personal bias, Guatemala truly possesses an unmistakable magic known to both locals and visitors alike. A country full of cultural richness that goes back centuries in time, it is also home to incredible natural beauty and some of the world’s friendliest and most cheerful folks. It has also faced disaster, tragedy and injustice and continues to recover from the civil war and prevail over present day challenges. Still, like many of its Latin America neighbors, Guatemala and her people exhibit a resilience and indomitable spirit that is nothing short of inspiring. Just be careful, you might come intending to stay a week only to find that the weeks turn into years and you’re still around town pinching yourself because you can’t believe it’s all real.

Upon touching down in Guatemala City, your Heart of Travel guide will be waiting for you just outside the airport doors ready to escort you back to the colonial town of La Antigua Guatemala. But before you arrive to this picturesque little town, complete with cobblestone roads and nestled in a valley surrounded by volcanos, you’ll buzz through the busy urban streets of Guatemala City.

Once settled into Antigua you’ll be able to enjoy all that the town and surrounding areas have to offer from coffee farms, to artisan chocolate & wine, beautiful old buildings, cheerful marimba music, delicious food, colorful markets, quiet mornings and busting night life, there is no shortage of activities in Antigua.

The fun doesn’t stop there, we will also explore the the massive Tikal ruins that loom over the jungle canopy, home to many species of birds, monkeys, jaguars and other critters. After an exciting adventure in the north we will enjoy a peaceful day floating leisurely down the expansive Río Dulce before arriving to the Caribbean.

Finally, our trip we conclude with a visit to the famed Lake Atitlán, where we will spend the night with local families and learn more about cultural customs and tradition in the area along with the artful skill of weaving.

4 Reviews
  • Included
    Accommodation
    Guide
    Meals
    Transport
  • Not Included
    Flights
    Insurance

Tour Plan

1
Day
Arrive in Guatemala City:Participants will be flying in from a variety of different places,therefore travelers are welcome to choose the flight path that best suits their travel preferences and needs. That being said, we encourage participants to book flights that arrive in Guatemala in the morning or early afternoon so that they have time to get settled before the welcome dinner that evening. If you need assistance booking your international airfare please let us know! Upon arriving at the airport one of the Program Directors, Chelsea or Ana, will be waiting to escort you to the beautiful colonial town of Antigua via private shuttle (45 minute drive). Once in Antigua, you will be checked into your hotel and be given a brief orientation of the city. If you need any assistance going to the bank, store, pharmacy, etc. Chelsea or Ana will be more than happy to accompany you. In the event you arrive early in the morning and would like to coordinate any specific activities during the day just let us know so we can accommodate your requests. 7:00 pm: Welcome dinner at Chermol (included) We will meet at the entrance of the hotel and walk together to Chermol, one of our favorite garden restaurants in town that is known for its Guatemalan/Argentine fusion menu, we highly recommend their empanadas, grilled shrimp and choripan! Here we will have a chance to meet the guides and fellow travelers and discuss the upcoming activities. After dinner, we will take a stroll around the Central Park Plaza before heading back to the hotel.
2
Day
7:00 am - 10:00 am: Breakfast at the hotel (included) 8:00 am - 1:00 pm: Pacaya Volcano Hike ($30 optional, not included) We’ll meet at the hotel entrance and get picked up in our private shuttle as we head to the famed Pacaya Volcano outside of Antigua. We will then hike for an hour and a half up this splendid volcano, appreciating the expansive views of Antigua and Guatemala City. Our local guide will stop at various places to explain interesting facts about the flora and fauna, as well as the neighboring towns. Upon arriving to the summit, we’ll visit a small jewelry stand that creates beautiful items utilizing the volcanic rock and ash before we roast marshmallows over lava. If you’d prefer not to participate in the volcano hike there are a variety of alternative activities that we are happy to recommend or organize for you, just let us know!
3
Day
7:00 am: Breakfast (included at the hotel) 8:00 am - 12:00 PM Tour de Pueblos Enjoy a tour of some of the most picturesque towns surrounding Antigua Guatemala. We start at San Juan del Obispo, visiting one of the first Catholic churches to be built in Guatemala, and the convent museum right next to it. Much of the original structure of the church and convent still remain after centuries of renovations, and we will be taken on a brief tour by one of the nuns that resides in the convent. Next stop is “El Vino del Abuelo”, a home-based winery where you will get to taste and buy some artisan wine from the region, with their specialty being the loquat wine. Close by we will try another San Juan speciality, artisan chocolate from the region at Brenda’s place, which has been the family’s business for four generations! 12:00 - 2:30 pm: Free time to grab lunch and freshen up before heading to the airport for our domestic flight to Flores. 2:30 pm: Transport to the Guatemala City airport to catch a short 1 hour flight to Flores. Please be packed and ready to go at 2:30 pm to catch our flight to the town of Flores as we begin our three day/three night journey to the eastern side of Guatemala. Our journey will take us to lakes, rivers, and the Caribbean as well as the jungles of Tikal National Park to marvel at the Mayan Ruins. *All transportation, lodging, and entrance fees are included. Lunches and dinners, however, are not included and we encourage bringing cash (U.S. dollars or local currency) as ATMs are harder to find on the eastern side of the country.* 6:00 pm: We will arrive in Flores to relax at our hotel with a beautiful view of the lake! From there we will have dinner and enjoy this lazy island town on the middle of Lago Petén Itzá. Then it’s time to get some sleep for an early morning rise to enter the jungle of Tikal.
4
Day
5:00 am: Breakfast at the hotel (included) 6:00 am: Tikal National Park (included) We’ll hit the road to make the 45 minute journey to the National Park of Tikal where our guide, Oliverio, will be waiting for us. Inside the park, we’ll be able to appreciate all different kinds of wildlife such as spider monkeys, howler monkeys, orange breasted falcons, woodpeckers, parrots, and much more. We’ll visit various temples, as well as the Central Acropolis, The Window Palace, and the Lost World. After exploring the park, there will be an opportunity for ziplining which costs approximately $50 extra. 12:00 pm: Lunch (not included) After finishing our tour in Tikal National Park, we’ll head back to the small village of El Remate for lunch and to browse the unique wooden handicrafts. After lunch, we’ll begin our journey to Rio Dulce where we will be spending the night and leisurely enjoying some down time. 7:00 pm: Arrive at hotel in Río Dulce We should be in Río Dulce by 7:00 pm. We will take a short boat ride to our hotel, where we will be staying in private bungalows on at Hacienda Tijax. Here we can enjoy the pool and expansive views of the river, as well as delicious dinner and drinks. (Dinner and drinks not included)
5
Day
8:00 am: Breakfast (included at the hotel) Our day begins with a delicious breakfast overlooking the water before boarding our private boat for a day on the river and ultimately onto the Atlantic. 9:00 am - 5:00 pm: Boat tour (included) We’ll board our private boat once again to explore Río Dulce and the town of Livingston. Our first stop is Castillo San Felipe, an ancient castle that once served as a fortress to protect the land from pirate invasions. Next, we’ll continue on to the Island of the Birds and then take a dip in the hot springs before the river meets the Caribbean Sea, giving us a view of neighboring Belize. We will then enjoy a late lunch in the small Caribbean town of Livingston. This is the only part of Guatemala that has a more Jamaican feel and where you’ll be able to experience the Garifuna culture. The food here is unique and delicious, loaded with seafood and rich with distinct Caribbean flavors (lunch is not included). 5:00 pm: Return to hotel in Río Dulce Arriving back at the docks of our hotel everyone will have time to relax and enjoy a leisurely and relaxing evening at the hotel. (Dinner not included)
6
Day
8:00 am: Breakfast (included at the hotel) Once again, we will enjoy breakfast at the hotel overlooking the river, before taking the boat back to our shuttle. 9:00 am: Drive back to Antigua We will board our private shuttle in the town of Río Dulce and make our way back to La Antigua. We will stop throughout our journey for bathroom breaks and to eat lunch on the road. 4:00 pm: Arrive in Antigua We should arrive in Antigua no later than 4:00 pm, at which point we will return to our hotel to get settled in. Everyone's free to enjoy the afternoon and evening exploring the city as they please. 7:00 pm: Optional group dinner with live music (not included)
7
Day
7:00 am - 10:00 am: Breakfast (included at hotel) 9:00 am - 2:00 pm Cooking class with Guatemala Foods (lunch included) Based in the small but unique town of Jocotenango (5 minutes away from Antigua) Guatemala Food offers a great experience of traditions, customs, and tasty meals using fabulous, locally sourced ingredients. The tour starts when your guide from Guatemala Food picks you up at your place and together you walk to the market. There you can explore the fresh and colorful local produce, while your guide explains the flavors, influences and stories of the local cuisine. After a short bus ride to the cooking school, you get to choose which traditional Guatemalan dish you would like to prepare, such as Jocón, Pepián or Chuchitos. Plus you get to make your own tortillas!
8
Day
8:00 am: Drive to Tecpán for breakfast (included) Friday we’ll meet at the hotel entrance to board our private shuttle for a 1 hour drive to the nearby farming town of Tecpán. Around 9:00 am we will arrive in Tecpán for a traditional breakfast typical to the region and can spend some time looking at the artisan crafts. After departing Tecpán we will continue driving to the country’s famous Lake Atitlán. 1:30 pm: Arrive to Lake Atitlán We will arrive to Lake Atitlán and take a short boat ride to the town of San Juan La Laguna. Here we will spend the day learning about this lovely lakeside community and tour their impressive cooperatives to learn about agriculture, weaving, textiles, chocolate making and more. We will then enjoy a homestay with the local families. Lunch and dinner included with the community.
9
Day
8:00 am: Breakfast (included) 9:00 am: Tour to other towns (included) After breakfast with our host families we will wave goodbye and return to our boat. We will spend the morning and early afternoon stopping at some neighboring towns, particularly San Antonio Palapó to learn about artisan pottery. Later in the afternoon we will arrive at our hotel. From here, you can visit the local nature reserve, rent a kayak, explore the nearby town of Panajachel and much more! Just let Ana and I know what you’re interested in doing and we can help arrange it for you!
10
Day
9:00 am: Breakfast at the hotel (included) and morning to enjoy hotel, lake and nearby areas 12:00 pm: Drive back to Antigua for a free day to rest and relax 3:00 - 4:00 pm: Hike to Cerro de la Cruz - Optional, included We’ll meet at Central Park and take a short, light hike up to Cerro de la Cruz, a hill overlooking Antigua that gives you a beautiful view of the entire city and the three surrounding volcanoes.
11
Day
7:00 - 10:00 am: Breakfast at the hotel (included) This is your last day in Antigua so it’s a great opportunity to do any last minute shopping, pack, or fit in an activity you were hoping to do in the Antigua area. Ana and I will be around to help with anything or just to hang out and enjoy our last day together :) 7:00 pm: Farewell dinner in the form of an epic street food tour (included) Meet in the hotel reception at 7:00 pm to walk to our farewell dinner.
12
Day
7:00 - 10:00 am: Breakfast at the hotel (included) Transportation to airport (included), please confirm your departure date and time with us so we can coordinate your transportation to the Guatemala City airport.
10.0

Superb

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Comments

  • David McReynolds
    December 2, 2018

    I’ve been on two trips of about a dozen people each that were organized and lead by Chelsea, one to Guatemala and the other to Peru. Chelsea worked very hard before, during, and all the way home to ensure that we had the best experience with the least hassles humanly possible at the most reasonable prices available. She speaks fluent Spanish and has a winning, though assertive personality which enabled her to deal with any issues that came up with local transportation or accommodations before they became problems. Chelsea is adventuresome and will take you into the very center of a huge local market to bargain for things you won’t see anywhere else, or soak in a hot spring in a jungle river, if that’s what you want. If not, she will have something else planned for you to do. Most important, she is a fun, positive person who will make your day brighter wherever you may be. I hope to make as many more trips with Chelsea as circumstances allow

    Overall
  • Tom Busch
    December 2, 2018

    I have been a guest on two trips organized and led by Chelsea (to Guatemala and to Peru). Each trip was very well organized and led. The itineraries, accommodations, travel arrangements, and guides were all first rate. Chelsea is gregarious, adventurous, unflappable, and resourceful, and she speaks beautiful Spanish. She has an ability to connect with everyone on the trip and put them at ease. I would recommend without hesitation any trip she was leading.

    Overall
  • Ed Davila
    December 2, 2018

    I had the pleasure of traveling to Guatemala with Chelsea between July and August of 2016. I have traveled out of country with other groups in the past and found that the travel arrangements and personal touch that Chelsea provides surpassed my previous experiences. Our group was in Guatemala for a ten day period over which time we visited several locations and archaeological sites. All arrangements went smoothly and never was there a time when I felt rushed or as if I didn’t have enough time to explore. As well, since I was in Guatemala I wanted to stay for an additional week after the main group departed so that I could attend one of the Spanish language schools. Chelsea helped tremendously with recommendations and arranging transportation for my flight home once that additional week was complete. Chelsea is very organized and a great facilitator. I would definitely travel with Chelsea again in the future and am looking forward to other adventures.

    Overall
  • Sally Mastos
    December 2, 2018

    As a frequent traveler and lover of more “exotic” locales, I place my trip to Guatemala led by Chelsea in 2014 among my top travel experiences. Chelsea speaks such fluent Spanish that the Guatemalans treat her as one of their own. This makes for unique and special experiences and smooth traveling “like a native.” Chelsea’s organizational skills are remarkable and no detail is left unattended. We marveled at the superior accommodations, meal and activities that she was able to arrange as part of our package price. Her ability to satisfy the needs of various travelers within the group was impressive. My final word: GO!! As for myself, it was my first trip with Chelsea but I’m confident that it will not be my last.

    Overall

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