Day 1: Guatemala City, Guatemala / Antigua
Welcome to Guatemala, known for its nature trails, jungle ruins and fascinating indigenous culture. Mayan people have populated the country for centuries. Although Spanish is the official language, there are at least 21 Mayan dialects spoken by the country’s indigenous people. A representative greets you at the airport and transfers you to your hotel in Antigua, a luxurious and elegant boutique hotel located in front of a famous convent from the 18th century. Each room is decorated with Guatemala elements and with a unique wooden carven door that represents the name and style of each room. The restaurant offers fusions of Antigua’s traditional dishes with Italian and French. During dinner, enjoy of a special presentation and introduction about the rise and fall of this great civilization, including the Post-Classic period and the conquest by the Spaniards. El Convento Boutique Hotel (D)
Day 2: Antigua / Guatemala City
After an early breakfast, join your driver and guide in the lobby of your hotel for your transfer to La Democracia, the pre-Classic period archaeological site. This is considered one of the most ancient sites of the Americas and contains monumental stone heads carved by an artist 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. Your guide will show you the pre-classic characteristics and take you through the adjacent museum. Return to Guatemala City to explore The National Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, which houses indigenous textiles and jade pieces that date back to the Mayan culture. Dine this evening at a restaurant featuring Guatemalan cuisine. Hotel Westin Camino Real (B,L,D)
Day 3: Guatemala City / Peten / Uaxactun
Today, you have a very early wakeup for a 5:30am airport check-in for your local flight to Peten. A representative will meet you at the Mundo Maya Airport for your transfer to Flores to enjoy breakfast. Then, your guide will transfer you to Uaxactun, where you set out to explore the main plaza, pyramids and temples. Uaxactun was a major Mayan city just 19 kilometers/12 miles north of famous Tikal. Uaxactun was occupied between about 500 BC to AD 889. Its impressive Structre E-VIIsub is the focal point with three temples aligned along its eastern edge. Together these structures were likely 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 sunset with an astronomy specialist. Tonight you will be 'glamping' at Uaxactun. You enjoy a rare opportunity to stay the night in a Mayan archaeological site. After dinner, you spend the night in the middle of the jungle wilderness in a private tent. Wake up to the sounds of toucans and howler monkeys. "Glamping" – Tent (B,L,D)
Day 4: Uaxactun / Tikal / Guatemala City / Antigua
Watch the sunrise from the on top of the main pyramid. After breakfast, your driver and guide will transfer you to spectacular ruins of Tikal for a walk throughout the main plaza and temples to explain the history and importance of this city. Tikal became an important Mayan 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, contains some of the most fascinating archaeological remains. Enjoy a special picnic lunch in the middle of the jungle. Your guide will take you to Mundo Maya Airport for your flight to Guatemala City, where you are met and transferred to Antigua. El Convento Boutique Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 5: Antigua / Lake Atitlan
This morning, enjoy a walking tour of Antigua, among the best-preserved colonial cities in the Americas. It is a magical and captivating small town that makes you feel time might have stopped 300 years ago. Colonial architecture, fine arts, terracotta, ceramics, wooden sculptures, a great variety of traditional costumes and weavings are on display. Travel to Iximche Archaeological Site, the capital of the Late Post-Classic Kaqchikel Maya kingdom from 1470 until its abandonment in 1524. The architecture of the site included a number of pyramid-temples, palaces and two Mesoamerican ball courts. Enjoy lunch in route to Lake Atitlan. With three stunning volcanoes (Atitlan, Toliman and San Pedro) rising out of its emerald surface, Lake Atitlán is one of the most beautiful settings in the country. The famous writer Aldous Huxley considered it ¨the most beautiful lake in the world.¨ After check in at your hotel, you have time to relax and enjoy the sunset. Hotel Casa Palopo (B,L,D)
Day 6: Lake Atitlan / Chichicastenango / Antigua
After breakfast, your guide and driver will meet you at your hotel for your tour of the contemporary Chichicastenango Market, one of the most colorful and famous markets in Latin America. People arrive from all over every Thursday and Sunday to sell and buy all kinds of goods – everything from vegetables and fruits, to masks, colorful textiles and handbags. You may even witness a Mayan ceremony. Enjoy your last night and dinner in Antigua. Hotel El Convento (B,L,D)
Day 7: Antigua / Guatemala City / Depart
After breakfast, your driver will take you to Guatemala City Airport for your onward flight. (B)
Note: This Itinerary must start on a Tuesday or Saturday due to market days.
Land price, per person, double occupancy: From $3637. Valid for 2014. Holiday supplements apply during Christmas, New Year and Holy week.