Guatemala & Colombia

Delve into the ancient cultures of these two countries, from staying overnight at Guatemala's Maya Uaxactun Archeological Site, to exploring the pyramids of Tikal, to examining some of the 500 millennia-old stone statues of Colombia's Pre-Inca San Agustin Archeological Site.

Country Information

Guatemala, Honduras & Nicaragua

Colombia

Guatemala & Colombia Enrichment Series

(Countries Visited)

Guatemala, Honduras & Nicaragua

,

Colombia


(Interest Type(s))
(Tour Length)

13 Days


Tour Highlights

Starting at: $10,360
  • New copySavor the unique opportunity to watch the sun set and rise during a private overnight tented stay in Guatemala’s Maya archeological site of Uaxactun
  • Experience one of Latin America’s most established and colorful markets in Chichicastenango
  • Walk with your specialist guide throughout the main
    plaza and temples of world-renowned Tikal to understand the importance of the site
  • Explore Colombia’s San Agustín Archaeological Park, where an enigmatic civilization left behind more than 500 carved stone figures some 5,000 years ago
  • Take in the classic colonial city of Cartagena

Day 1: Guatemala City, Guatemala 
Welcome to Guatemala. Your representative will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. Guatemala is a magical combination of mountain trails, jungle ruins and a fascinating indigenous culture.  You see the Maya culture in the woman weaving wonderfully intricate textiles on a back strap loom and in the remarkable, ancient pyramid complexes. Although Spanish is the official language, there are at least 21 other Maya dialects spoken by the country’s indigenous people.  During dinner, you will enjoy of a special presentation about the Post-Classic Maya world and the conquest by Spain, which serves as a great introduction to the rise and fall of this great civilization.  Westin Camino Real Guatemala (D)

Day 2: Guatemala City - Antigua - Guatemala City
After breakfast, your driver and guide will meet you at your hotel and take you to La Democracia near Antigua. Your guide will show you the Pre-Classic characteristics of the site and walk you through the museum. La Democracia is one of the most ancient sites of the Americas. It contains monumental stone heads carved by artists of the Monte Alto culture (mid Pre-Classic Period, 1800BC to 250 AD).  Other sites in this same style are Cotzumalguapa, El Baul and Las Ilusiones. All have large sculptures of the Cotzumalguapa culture, which flourished during the Pre-Classic Period.  Return to Guatemala City for a museum visit, with lunch en route.  Later, savor Guatemalan cuisine at a local restaurant. Westin Camino Real Guatemala (B,L,D)

Day 3: Guatemala City / Uaxactun
This morning, you have a very early wake up call because you need to check in at the airport at 5:30 am for your flight to Peten. A representative will meet you at Mundo Maya Airport and escort you to Flores to enjoy breakfast. After breakfast, your guide will transfer you to Uaxactun to explore the main plaza, pyramids and temples. Uaxactun was a major Maya city situated about 12 miles north of Tikal. The most impressive ruin is the  Structre E-VIIsub. the focal point for the plaza with three temples aligned along its eastern edge. Together these structures were used for astronomical studies. The equinox and solstice were accurately determined by sighting the sunrise from the eastern stairway to one of the three pyramids to the east.  Watch the sun set  in the company of an astronomy specialist.  Then, you are in for a rare experience…  glamping at Uaxactun. This overnight stay in the ruins offers a unique way to experience this ancient Maya site in the comfort of your own private camp.  Glamping at Uaxactun (B,L,D)

Day 4: Uaxactun / Tikal / Guatemala City / Antigua
Another early wake up allows you to experience sunrise from the top of the main pyramid. After breakfast, travel to Tikal with your driver and guide. The Tikal complex is one of the most famous Maya sites.  Your guide will accompany you throughout the main plaza and temples to explain the history of this massive city and why it was so important.  The city and ceremonial center of the ancient Maya civilization, Tikal became an important ceremonial center with the construction of major pyramids and temples.  Its best years were the Late Classic Period (600-900AD). Tikal National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is Guatemala´s most famous cultural and natural preserve. After the tour, you take a break for a very special picnic lunch prepared just for you.  Enjoy the magic of having a great meal in this remarkable jungle landscape.  It is prepared and catered using fresh local ingredients from the region. Your guide will take you to Mundo Maya Airport for your flight to Guatemala City and transfer to Antigua.  El Convento Hotel Antigua (B,L,D)

Day 5: Antigua / Lake Atitlan
After breakfast, you and your guide take a walking tour of Antigua, one  of the best-preserved colonial cities in the Americas. Around any corner, you might run into the past. From its colonial architecture to its array of fine arts in terracotta, ceramics, wooden sculptures, textiles and traditional costumes, Antigua is captivating. Later, you discover Iximche Archaeological Site, a Post-Classic site in the Western Highlands, founded by the Kaqchikel Maya in 1470 after a prolonged conflict with the Kiche.  It was the capital of the Late Pre-Classic Kaqchikel Kingdom from 1470 until its abandonment in 1524 with the Spaniards arrival.  Then, you set out for Lake Atitlan, with lunch in route. With three stunning volcanoes (Atitlan, Toliman and San Pedro) rising out of its emerald surface, Lake Atitlan is characterized by natural beauty with indigenous villages and towns scattered along its edges. The famous writer Aldous Huxley considered it ¨the most beautiful lake in the world.¨  Once you are checked into your wonderful hotel, you have time at leisure to relax and enjoy the sunset. Hotel Casa Palopo (B,L,D)

Day 6: Lake Atitlan / Antigua
After breakfast, you will investigate one of Latin America’s most established markets in Chichicastenango.  On market days, people from all over the region meet very Thursday and Sunday to sell and buy all manner of goods. While you can certainly shop here, this  is not a tourists’ market.  People gather from all over, including distant villages, to buy, sell and trade everything from vegetables, fruits, masks, colorful textiles and handbags.  After the tour, travel back to Antigua to enjoy your last night and dinner. El Convento Hotel Antigua (B,L,D)

Day 7: Antigua / Bogota, Colombia
After breakfast, your driver will transfer you to Guatemala City Airport for your flight to Bogota, Colombia’s lively capital city.  A representative from Big Five will be waiting to escort you to your hotel. In the new financial and commercial centers of Bogotá, your hotel is in one of the most historic and traditional buildings of the city.  This boutique hotel, one of the finest in South America, guests will find a unique environment where comfort and elegance coexist beautifully.  The Colombian Ministry of Culture declared the hotel a monument of cultural interest.  This afternoon, you are met by your archeological specialist guide, who introduces you to the pre-Inca culture and to the small but fascinating Gold Museum, housing an extraordinary selection of pre-Colombian gold work – the largest such collections in the world, and which includes the legendary Muisca Raft of El Dorado in gold. Casa Medina Boutique Hotel (B)

Day 8: Bogotá  / Neiva / San Agustin
This morning, you go to the local airport to board your flight to Neiva, where you are assisted at the airport and driven to San Agustin.  On this roughly five-hour scenic drive, you pass fruit, maize and coffee plantations, rice paddies and fields of cotton and wheat.  You travel through the extensive floodplains of the Magdalena River Valley at about 700 meters/2,300 feet and climb up to 1,730 meters/5,675feet to reach San Agustín. Along the way, you pause to visit Cacica Gaitana Monument, a statue in honor of a 16th-century Yalcon woman who led the indigenous people of the Upper Magdalena River Valley in armed resistance against the Spanish. You will also glimpse a view of Betania Dam, and stop for achiras huilenses, a traditional cheese snack and a delicious cup of Colombian coffee.  In the afternoon, discover the pre-Incan San Agustín Archaeological Park, Colombia's most important archaeological reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  A mysterious and enigmatic civilization inhabited the region approximately 5,000 years ago. Their name, political or social structure remains unknown as well as their disappearance centuries before Spanish Conquistador arrived. They left behind more than 500 statues in the form of pumas, snakes, eagles holding snakes, warriors, good and evil, and women in childbirth. Most of the statues are part of the funeral pieces of the ancient inhabitants of the region and are related to burial rites, the spiritual power of the dead, and the supernatural world. View these enormous stone statues up close, and see how each raised plateau is manmade specifically for the stone monuments. The ceremonial site of Fuente de Lavapatas and the Lavapatas Terrace above offers remarkable views over the surrounding countryside. You can also visit the small Museo Arqueológico. Akawanka Lodge (B)

Day 9: San Agustín / Isnos / San Agustín
Today, you discover two other UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Alto de los Idolos and Alto de las Piedras, which features some well-preserved tombs that show some of the original paintwork and some of the largest stone figures found so far.  Following visit to the majestic landscape of the Colombian Massif and the spectacular waterfalls of Mortino and Salto de Bardones.  You will have lunch in Isnos before visiting a sugar cane mill to see how the cane is processed  (Note: Only during harvest time).  Akawanka Lodge (B,L)

Day 10: San Agustín / Neiva / Bogota
Today you visit a coffee hacienda before returning to Neiva for your flight to Bogota. Upon your arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel, with the remainder of the day free.  Casa Medina Boutique Hotel (B)

Day 11: Bogota / Cartagena
This morning, you are transferred to the airport to board your flight to historic Cartagena. Founded in 1533, it was given the name “Cartagena de Ponente” to distinguish it from “Cartagena de Levante” in Spain.  It rapidly turned into a jewel of the Spanish crown. Inhabited by the warlike Caribe Indians before colonization by the Spaniards, the colonial city was built between the 14th and 19th centuries.  The city came under constant attack by pirates and buccaneers, so the Spanish surrounded the Cartagena with the largest fortifications of any city in the Americas.  It was the first province to gain independence on November 11, 1811 as recorded in the Acta de Independencia Absoluta de España. The city remains an  architectural treasure of civil, religious, military and governmental buildings.  Included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, Cartagena’s history is evident in its alleyways and streets. You still find evidence today of pirate assaults, the dreaded Tribunal of the Inquisition and the severe religious rule imposed by the Dominican order that had great power to decide the fate of citizens.  The cultural wealth resulting from the mix of races, its history, art, architectural beauty and the sea make Cartagena one of the most fascinating towns in the Caribbean and a wonderful way to end your adventure.  Sofitel Santa Clara Hotel (B)

Day 12: Cartagena
Today’s half-day exploration of Cartagena starts with a panoramic view of the city from the monastery and church of La Popa.  Built in 1606, it is perched on the area’s only important elevation. It was formerly called “La Popa del Galeón” for its resemblance to the stern of a galleon.  Visit the fortress of San Felipe de Barajas, built on the San Lázaro hill in order to defend the city from pirate attacks.  Continue to the old town to visit the convent of San Pedro Claver and the artisan center in Las Bóvedas.   In the late afternoon, enjoy a horse and carriage ride “inside the wall.”   The Walled City was declared both Mankind’s Heritage Site and a Colombian National Heritage Site by UNESCO.  Inside the walls, the narrow streets are adorned with antique doorways and flower-filled balconies. This afternoon you are free to explore on your own.   Sofitel Santa Clara (B)

Day 13: Cartagena/Depart
Transfer to the airport to board your flight back home (B)

 

Land price, per person, double occupancy:  From $10.360.

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