About Guatemala & Honduras Travel
Antigua: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Antigua in the central highlands is famous for well-preserved Spanish Baroque and colonial architecture as seen in its elegant historic homes, palaces, cathedrals and churches including San Francisco Church, the cathedral, central park and La Merced Church. The area is a mosaic of wild forests, streams, Indian villages and farms.
Chichicastenango: In the Guatemala highlands, this large indigenous town spreads out on the crests of mountaintops at an altitude of 1,965 meters/6,447 feet. It is known for its traditional K’iche’ Mayan culture. Here, one of the more famous markets takes place on Thursdays and Sundays. Vendors sell all manner of goods – handicrafts, food, pottery, medicinal plants, pigs, chickens, machetes and textiles. The city is also known for the manufacture of carved wooden masks used in traditional dances.
Copan: In western Honduras, Copan boasts impressive Mayan creations such as intricately carved stelae, striking carved inscriptions and an amazing hieroglyphic stairway. The city sits next to the Guatemalan border. The ancient kingdom flourished from the fifth century to the early ninth century, with earlier groups dating back to the second century. The Mayan civilization began a marked decline in the ninth century, so by the time the Spanish arrived, the city had been abandoned to the jungle.
El Salvador: This is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. It is also one of the most rapidly developing. The capital and largest city is San Salvador. Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers. El Salvador edges up to the Pacific Ocean on the south. It borders both Guatemala to the west and Honduras to the north and east, making it within easy reach for a beach stay or a visit to Suchitoto, known for its church and cobblestone streets. It also has art galleries, cultural centers and handcrafts. Forest cover has expanded by nearly 20% between 1992 and 2010, making it one of the few countries experiencing reforestation.
Flores: Flores sits on an island in Lake Peten Itza, and is connected by a causeway to the mainland and its two sister towns of Santa Elena and San Benito. All three are often referred to as Flores. Close to Tikal, Flores is a charming city worth exploring with its colonial, red-roofed buildings, narrow cobblestone streets, historic church and open plaza. It is also close to Yaxhá National Park, the first multi-disciplinary project involving archaeologists, architects, restaurateurs, biologists and workers. It embraces more than 500 discovered buildings, including the only twin pyramid complex outside of Tikal.
Iximche: This Mayan ruin sits in the Western highlands of Guatemala in Tecpan between Antigua and Lake Atitlan. It is not as well-known as the major archaeological sites of the Classic Period (250 to 900). It served as the capital of the Kaqchikel Maya from 1470 to 1524. Here, visitors can witness an authentic Mayan shaman ritual.
Lake Atitlan: The Guatemalan lake is volcanic in origin, filling an enormous caldera formed in an eruption some 84,000 years ago. It is the deepest lake in Central America with maximum depth about 340 meters/1,115 feet. The lake is shaped by surrounding escarpments, three volcanoes on its southern flank. The majority of inhabitants of the region are of Mayan ancestry. The Tz’utujil culture belongs to one of 21 Maya ethnic groups in Guatemala. The Tz’utujil people are noted for maintaining cultural practices in their distinctive embroidered dress and mud-and-thatch homes.
Livingston: Livingston sits at the mouth of the Rio Dulce at the Gulf of Honduras. On Guatemala’s Caribbean Coast, it is noted for its unusual mix of Garífuna, Afro-Caribbean, Maya and Ladino people and culture. The town was Guatemala’s main port until the construction of nearby Puerto Barrios.
Roatan Island: Near the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the largest barrier reef in the Caribbean Sea, Roatan is an important cruise ship and scuba diving destination in Honduras. The pre-Colombian indigenous peoples of the Bay Islands are believed to have been related to Paya, Maya, Lenca or Jicaque, which were the mainland cultures.
Tikal: The country’s most priceless gem, Tikal ranks among the great ancient cities of the world. This epic site’s towering pyramids loom out of the thick jungle canopy like stoic sentinels of ancient mysteries. It was once an affluent city complex with more than 100,000 inhabitants, and the seat of power for the Jaguar clan lords. The site was discovered by outsiders in 1848. Tikal is mesmerizing in its elegance and scale. This UNESCO Heritage of Humanity Site includes a staggering 3,000 or so structures: palaces, temples, plazas, ceremonial platforms, ball courts, terraces, avenues and steam baths. The Maya began Tikal about 600 BC, and for the next 1,500 years it served as an important religious, scientific and political center. Tikal National Park is also home to howler monkeys, boisterous parrots, white-lipped peccary, brocket deer, coati mundi, toucans, scarlet macaws, ocelots and the rare jaguar.
Uaxactun: Uaxactun is one of the longest-occupied Mayan sites. It is also a community where traditional “Chicleros” (gum Collectors) have lived for over 100 years. Many residents now make their living from gathering forest products including chicle, allspice and xate palm leaves, used in floral arrangements. Travelers explore the Mayan site and encounter this traditional community to learn about their lives. Guests overnight at a tented campsite in the middle of the jungle.
Suggested Guatemala & Honduras Tour Itinerary
Day 1: Guatemala City, Guatemala/Antigua
Antigua is a colonial masterpiece known for its architecture.
Day 2: Antigua/Lake Atitlan
Lake Atitlan is renowned as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.
Day 3: Lake Atitlan & Santiago
The region is home to Mayan descendants who maintain the traditions the ancient Tz’utujil culture.
Day 4: Chichicastenango/Antigua
The hill town of Chichicastenango is known for its traditional K’iche’ Maya culture and its indigenous market.
Day 5: Antigua/Copan, Honduras
Copan has been called the Paris of ancient Mayan cities.
Day 6: Copan
The famous Mayan site is recognized for the intricately carved stelae and an amazing hieroglyphic stairway.
Day 7: Copan/Livingston
Livingston is noted for its mix of cultures including the Garifuna.
Day 8: Livingston/Flores
Flores is a charming city with colonial buildings, cobblestone streets and is the gateway to Tikal.
Day 9: Flores
Yaxhá National Park includes the only twin pyramid Mayan complex outside of Tikal.
Day 10: Tikal/Guatemala City
The ancient Mayan temple city of Tikal is one of the premier archaeological complexes in the world.
Day 11: Guatemala City/Depart
Custom Travel Options
El Salvador (3 days)
Bordering both Guatemala and Honduras, El Salvador offers beaches, art galleries and cultural centers.
Roatan Island (4 days)
This Caribbean island offers ocean kayaking, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, fly fishing and swimming with dolphins.
Uaxactun Deluxe Camping In (2 days)
Uaxactun is famous for the discovery of the oldest complete Maya astronomical complex ever found.
Land price, per person, double occupancy: Approx. $300 - $450 per day.