Guatemala: Tikal & Beyond

Guatemala: Tikal & Beyond

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16 Days
From

$3869

$3676

Guatemala: Tikal & Beyond

16 Days Starting in ANTIGUA and ending in GUATEMALA CITY

Visiting: Antigua Guatemala, Antigua guatemala, Lake Atitlán, Nebaj, San Agustín Lanquín, Sayaxché, Chiminos Island Lodge, Flores, Tikal, Laguna Yaxja, Rio Dulce, Livingston, Quirigua Gran Plaza, Guatemala City

Tour operator:

Wild Frontiers

Tour code:

TAB

Recommended For:

Couples, Singles

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

4 - 12

Age range:

1-99

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians, Please contact Wild Frontiers with any specific dietary requirements

Tour operated in:
English
Private Available:

Request A Private Tour

From:
$3869
$3676 (USD) The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$193

This tour is no longer available, please see similar tours below or send an enquiry

Tour Overview

Rising above the jungle canopy, the reminders of a once great Mayan civilisation cast their bewitching shadow across the Guatemalan landscape. Towering pyramids pierce the skyline as we gaze upon the remnants of one of the most dynamic and sophisticated civilizations ever to grace the highlands and coastal plains of the Americas.Guatemala is one of Central America’s hidden gems, a country of incredible diversity, with a history and a culture to match. Lush and volcanic and steeped in Mayan lore, it is a rich mix of natural wonder, native tradition and colonial elegance, much of it as yet unspoiled by the trappings of modern tourism. This incredible adventure takes us deep into the central highlands, where we can soak up the graceful charms of Antigua, gaze out across the breath-taking volcanic landscapes around Lake Atitlan and visit the traditional Mayan villages of the Ixil Triangle. We'll climb peaks with breath-taking views, pick coffee with local farmers, swim beneath waterfalls and in hot water springs, visit a national orchid farm, journey by boat via majestic lakes and meandering mangrove channels to the remote Mayan site of Aguateca, before visiting the unique community of the Garifuna on the shores of the Caribbean.This is a quintessential Wild Frontiers adventure, offering something for everyone, a journey filled with fascination and fun, where the ancient and the modern worlds come together before the slopes of a volcanic landscape as timeless and beautiful as any on earth. Beyond the ruins of Tikal the Mayan spirit lives on, in the villages and settlements that cling to Guatemala’s low lying plains and fertile mountains.

Highlights

  • Visit the UNESCO colonial sights of Antigua and a nearby traditional coffee farm

  • Discover the Mayan villages of the Ixil triangle and Lake Atitlan

  • Take a boat ride across Lake Atitlan, Central America’s deepest lake

  • Climb and explore the Mayan ruins of Tikal and Yaxha

  • Take a dip in the paradise that is Semuc Champey, surrounded by diverse rainforest

  • Explore the cultural melting pot of Livingston, home of the Garifuna people

Itinerary

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Day 1 : Tours Starts In Antigua
Location: Antigua Guatemala
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Casa de las Fuentes or similar
Meals Included: No Meals

Our journey begins in the central highlands of Guatemala, in the beautiful colonial city of Antigua. Nestling in a lovely valley that lies within the dominating embrace of three spectacular volcanoes: Agua (3766 m), Fuego (3763 m) and Acatenango (3976 m), the city is rightly considered one of the most graceful and picturesque in the Americas, despite suffering a series of devastating earthquakes during the 16th and 18th centuries. Founded by Spanish Conquistadors in 1543, the city today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site of some note, its rich mix of Mayan and Spanish customs and traditions still permeating every aspect of Antiguan life.

Day 2 : Antigua
Location: Antigua Guatemala
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Casa de las Fuentes or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

A walking tour of the city affords an opportunity to explore something of its historical core in some depth. We will visit a number of its ruined churches and convents, including the 16th century churches of Iglesia San Francisco and La Merced, the city’s once great Cathedral, which in its heyday was one of the Central America’s largest. Our aim is to keep this day’s activities as flexible as possible, allowing you sufficient time to discover this wonderful city for yourself.

Day 3 : Antigua
Location: Antigua guatemala
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Casa de las Fuentes or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

Guatemalan coffee is considered to be amongst the finest in the world, and this morning we will take a tour of one of the region’s small, independent coffee producers. Supported by a number of organisations that promote environmentally responsible agriculture, the tour affords a chance to see up close how the small coffee farmers go about their daily business. We will be able to see how the coffee is picked and washed, graded and then roasted over open fires, before being hand ground on a traditional grindstone. After lunch with the local farmers we’ll return to Antigua for some free-time and – for those that wish – to take part in a chocolate-making workshop!

Day 4 : Antigua - Lake Atitlan (Christmas Eve)
Location: Antigua Guatemala, Lake Atitlán
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Mikaso or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

Today we journey to the spectacular shores of Lake Atitlan, the deepest lake in Central America and considered by many one of the most beautiful in the Americas. An old caldera, the lake’s volcanic origins are still very much in evidence, the deep escarpments that surround it still being sprinkled with volcanic peaks that attest to its violent beginnings. Heading down to Lake Atitlan we then gaze upon a setting that Aldous Huxley once described as ‘...really too much of a good thing’. Covering over 130 square kilometres, the lake’s fertile shores are dotted with farms producing coffee and corn, avocados and strawberries, whilst the villages that blanket the basin still retain the deep seated traditions of their Mayan heritage. We continue to the small town of San Pedro La Laguna later this afternoon, where we will spend the next two nights.

Day 5 : Lake Atitlan (Christmas Day)
Location: Lake Atitlán
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Mikaso or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

Nestling on the western shores of the lake, beneath the imposing shadow of San Pedro Volcano, the town is made up primarily of Tz’utujil Mayans, a group who can date their origins back to the post-classic period of Mayan civilisation (circa 900-1500). Our intention this morning is to take a 2-hour hike up to a nearby viewpoint called Indian Nose. The path can be uneven and the climb is arduous, but there is a more easily attainable platform half way up for the less energetic! However the rewards for those that make it will more than compensate for your efforts. An hour-and-a-half walk down will then see us heading to the nearby village of San Juan, famed for the traditional intricate textiles they produce using organic dyes, and we’ll meet up here with anyone not wishing to participate in the hike. The rest of the day will be free in San Pedro for swimming, relaxing or hiring bikes to explore more of the stunning lakeside landscapes.

Day 6 : Lake Atitlan - Nebaj
Location: Lake Atitlán, Nebaj
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Hacienda Mil Amores or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

A boat transfer across Lake Atitlan this morning brings us to Panajachel before continuing by bus to the highland town of Chichicastenango, taking us up through a landscape of traditional Mayan villages that presents a rural setting that seems as timeless as the surrounding mountains. Chichicastenango is famed for its market and upon arrival there will be ample time to explore its dazzling array of colourful stalls, perhaps allowing us to pick up a bargain or two before we leave. There is an opportunity for those interested to take a stroll up to the 400-year-old Church of St Tomás. Built on top of a pre-Columbian temple, the church is steeped in a fascinating mix of Mayan and Catholic traditions. Here the scent of burning incense is often combined with the ritual slaughter of chickens as the gods of both religions are appeased. Departing the town after lunch we then head into the Quiche Province, home to the largest Mayan population still left in Guatemala. Our destination is the environs of the small town of Nebaj.

Day 7 : Nebaj
Location: Nebaj
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Hacienda Mil Amores or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

Isolated amongst the high landscapes of the Cuchumatanese Mountains, the small villages of Nebaj, Cotzal and Chajul make up the area more commonly known as the Ixil Triangle. As scenic as it is traditional, the area is the heartland of the Ixil people, whose language and culture still cling to the steep, lush hills, untainted by the influences of the outside world. The tranquillity of the setting and the friendly nature of the people belie a history that is steeped in blood. Brutalized during the Spanish conquests and scene of some of the worst human rights abuses witnessed during the civil war of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the area today is amongst some of the most visually and culturally fascinating regions in the country. The people in this region are traditionally farmers and weavers by trade and the intricate complexity of their clothing (especially the women’s huiplies) present a rich cacophony of geometric shapes and brilliant colours. Returning to our hacienda later this afternoon, you may wish to take a walk to the nearby village or just relax and enjoy the birdsong.

Day 8 : Nebaj - Lanquin
Location: Nebaj, San Agustín Lanquín
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: El Recreo or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

After breakfast this morning we leave the mountains of Quiche behind and head east towards the city of Coban via the Uspantan road. This is an adventurous route and although a long & bumpy day’s drive, it takes us into a region that is remarkably rich in flora and fauna and at the centre of one of the country’s major coffee- and cardamom-growing areas. Founded by Dominican friars in 1543 and declared an imperial city by the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, Coban was developed by German coffee growers during the latter years of the 19th century. Surrounded by mountains, cave systems and lush forests, Lanquin and the area around Coban is home to both the rare Quetzal and the Monja Blanca orchid, Guatemala’s national flower. We will have lunch in Coban and visit a local orchid sanctuary before heading on to our jungle lodge, which will be home for the next two nights.

Day 9 : Lanquin
Location: San Agustín Lanquín
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: El Recreo or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

We head this morning for the beautiful Semuc Champey, located in a steep-sided valley and surrounded by tropical rainforest. The site consists of a 300-metre limestone bridge which spans the River Cahabón. The bridge itself is riddled with natural pools of clear mountain spring water (in which you will not be able to resist taking a swim) which eventually rejoin the Cahabón by way of a 40ft waterfall that cascades over the edge of the bridge into the river below. Semuc Champey is a veritable haven of natural biodiversity, with over 90 species of birds, some 34 species of mammals and over 120 varieties of trees and shrubs in the area. An hour’s hike takes you up to a viewpoint giving you a bird’s eye view of the entire area.

Day 10 : Lanquin - Sayaxche - Chiminos
Location: San Agustín Lanquín, Sayaxché, Chiminos Island Lodge
Accommodation: Lodge
Accommodation Name: Chiminos Lodge or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

This morning we head for the small town of Sayaxche on the Rio La Pasión. Located close to El Rosario National and founded as a logging encampment in 1874, the settlement is our gateway to the rustic splendours of the Chiminos Island Lodge. Located on a protected portion of the beautiful Petexbatún Lagoon, the lodge is only accessible by boat and the 1-2 hour journey (dependant on water levels) from Sayaxche takes us deep into the heart of the Peten rainforest. On arrival we will find a lush refuge awaiting us that is ideal for bird watchers, with parrots and hummingbirds in abundance. At dusk the haunting sounds of howler monkeys will be sure to contribute towards this magical experience.

Day 11 : Chiminos - Sayaxche - Flores (New Year's Eve)
Location: Chiminos Island Lodge, Sayaxché, Flores
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Maya Internacional or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

This morning we pay a visit to the ancient Mayan site of Aguateca, a UNESCO Cultural and Natural Heritage site that is accessible only by boat. Dating back to the Late Classical Period of Mayan development, the ruins are amongst the best preserved in the country, spanning a period of power that lasted from 600 AD until 830 AD. Once the capital of the Dos Pila/Aguateca dynasty, the site sits atop a 90-metre limestone bluff overlooking the waters of the lagoon. Surrounded by a defensive wall that stretches for nearly 5 kilometres, the city nonetheless fell to invaders sometime during the 9th century, its centre being destroyed by fire and its city streets left strewn with valuables and artefacts. At its peak, the city was one of the most densely populated in the Mayan world and its rapid abandonment provided archaeologists with a fascinating insight into the life of a Mayan city. After our visit we will transfer back to the shore and resume our journey north, travelling up to the charming town of Flores, spectacularly located on an island in the middle of Lago Petén Itza.

Day 12 : Flores - Tikal - Flores (New Year's Day)
Location: Flores, Tikal, Flores
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Maya Internacional or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

We’ll have a leisurely start this morning and there maybe some free time in Flores to explore something of its densely packed streets and colonial charm. Ideal for exploring on foot, Flores is filled with narrow cobbled streets and interesting plazas, its red-roofed buildings adding to its enchanting appeal. Leaving Flores mid morning, we will visit the remarkable ruins of Tikal, set within the lush landscapes of the Parque Nacional Tikal. Considered by many to be the finest collection of Mayan ruins on earth, this stunning UNESCO World Heritage site lies encased in a remote jungle setting. Abandoned over a thousand years ago, the city was once one of the largest and most powerful in the Mayan world, its temples and pyramids spreading across an area of over 16 square kilometres. Deserted since the end of the 9th century AD the city lay lost for centuries, before it was rediscovered in 1848 and its temple complexes again stood testimony to the incredible ingenuity of Mayan engineering. The site is still only partially excavated and the jungle trails that wind through the expansive plazas and past towering Mayan pyramids, enhanced by the choral accompaniment of howler monkeys and toucans, only add to its feeling of remoteness. The views from atop Temples 4 & 5 provide vistas that overlook the jungle canopy and stretch out as far as Mexico and Belize. We will watch the sunset from Mundo Perdido Temple before returning to Flores.

Day 13 : Flores - Yaxha - Rio Dulce - Livingston
Location: Flores, Laguna Yaxja, Rio Dulce, Livingston
Accommodation: Villa Caribe or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

Today will be an early start as we drive to the amazing site of Yaxha. Although less well known that Tikal, the ruins at Yaxha are very impressive with over 500 structures, including temples and and a twin-pyramid complex. Climbing to the top of one of the restored temples will give us a truly amazing panorama of the surrounding jungle and the Yaxha and Sacnab lakes, and we'll spend a few hours here, before returning to Flores for lunch. After lunch we hit the road once more and head south towards the Rio Dulce which flows into the warm waters of the Caribbean. Meandering its way through the verdant landscapes of the Rio Dulce National Park the ‘Sweet River’, as it is known in Spanish, runs from Lake Izbal down to the coast and the glittering waters of the Bahia de Amatique. Our destination today lies along the shores of the river itself, just a short boat transfer from the town of Rio Dulce and deep in the heart of this natural haven. We will then travel by boat down to the settlement of Livingston at the mouth of the Rio Dulce where we will spend the next two nights.

*Please note that today will be a long driving day*

Day 14 : Livingston
Location: Livingston
Accommodation: Villa Caribe or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

Today we have the day at leisure on Livingston. Once the country’s main Caribbean port (before it was replaced by Puerto Barrios), Livingston is the cultural heartland of the Garifuna people and indeed is the only settlement of Caribs in the entire country. Descended from the black slaves, who were brought to the Caribbean to work on the plantations, the Garifuna settled in the area towards the end of the 18th century and have retained many of their traditions, as well as their music and language. Proud of their culture, the Garifuna have created something of a unique cultural enclave in Livingston, more Caribbean in outlook than Latin American. Food and music are a big part of life here, with seafood and reggae being a big attraction for both the locals and visitors alike.

Day 15 : Livingston - Quirigua - Guatemala City
Location: Livingston, Quirigua Gran Plaza, Guatemala City
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Stofella or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

The end of our astonishing adventure sees us heading back to Guatemala City today, via the archaeological ruins of Quirigua. Lying along the Motagua River in the south-eastern part of the country, the ruins at Quirigua date back to the Maya Classic Period (AD 200-900) and once lay at the crossroads of a number of trade routes than ran between Guatemala and the ancient site of Copán in neighbouring Honduras. Culturally, this site offers a fitting end to our country-wide exploration of Mayan civilisation, with an array of extraordinary preserved and deciphered stelae, depicting watershed events in Mayan history. After the visit we will continue back to the Guatemalan capital’s zona viva for a farewell dinner in the heart of one of the city’s affluent centres, offering a chance to reflect on an incredible journey of priceless encounters.

Day 16 : Tour Ends In Guatemala City
Location: Guatemala City
Meals Included: Breakfast

After breakfast we will transfer to the airport in time to catch the group flight.

What's Included

  • MEALS

    15 x Breakfasts, 14 x Lunches, 14 x Dinners

  • GROUP SIZE

    Maximum: 12

  • TRANSPORT

    On this tour we will use a combination of minibuses and motorised boats to get around the country.

  • CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

    Contributions to carbon offset & tree planting projects for all bookings

  • EXPERT TEAM

    The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

  • ACCOMMODATION

    5 nights x Premium10 nights x Superior

  • ENTRANCE FEES

    All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

  • FITNESS RATING

    Low / Moderate

What's Not Included

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatoryTips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documentsInternational .Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UKAirport .Transfers: We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flights.Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com  For this tour UK passport holders currently do not require a visa for Guatemala. Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements.  NB. Please note that as of January 2016 US policy (subject to change) has stated that anyone wishing to travel to or via the USA must have a biometric passport. In addition, anyone  who has travelled to several countries including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen or Somalia since March 2011, is required to apply for a US visa (rather than just an ESTA). If you are affected by this, the process is fairly straightforward and you can read more about it here:- www.wildfrontierstravel.com/us-visa.  Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Key Aspects to Consider

Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour, as many of the activities are optional. However, please note that to get the most out of this trip, you should come prepared for some activity every day. While there is ample opportunity for walks in almost all locations, none of the walks are obligatory and therefore can be opted out of.

Check out our Q&As

  • Do you require a visa for this holiday?

    For this tour UK passport holders currently do not require a visa for Guatemala. Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements.

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flights

  • What is the maximum group size?

    12

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    We have a complete Covid-19 hub here: https://www.wildfrontierstravel.com/en_GB/covid-hub

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Over 70% of passengers on our group tours are solo adventurers. Unlike many tour operators, we don’t believe in charging solo travellers a premium, so if you are happy to share a room with a fellow traveller of the same sex, you will pay exactly the same as a couple..Occasionally you may even end up with your own room. You can travel as a single traveller on any of our holidays, from our escorte

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Yes

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Since 2002

  • Do I need to be double-vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel with you?

    In most cases, yes. Not only are many destinations making double-vaccination a requirement of entry to the country and/or access to restaurants, museums etc., but additionally on all our group tours for the foreseeable future, for everyone’s peace of mind, we are asking that all clients be double vaccinated.

Reviews from Travellers on this Tour

Helen Edwards  

Helen Edwards

Guatemala has everything, I absolutely loved every minute of this trip.

Mehmuda Mian  

Mehmuda Mian

Still buzzing after 16 days spent in this marvellous welcoming and diverse country .

Joyce Isaac  

Joyce Isaac

Great insight into Mayan and Spanish settler life and wonderful wildlife and bird watching,

Elizabeth Girvin  

Elizabeth Girvin

Pretty much everything was a highlight!. It exceeded expectations for all of us.

Kit Argilla  

Kit Argilla

Wonderfully colourful and varied itinerary!

Nicola Stanhope  

Nicola Stanhope

The trip to Guatemala was a fantastic and fascinating, dazzlingly colourful mix of culture, history and nature, and the balance between them just right.

Read all 6 reviews

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Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Wild Frontiers allows you to make 2 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 90 days before the start of the tour.

  • Low Deposit

    Wild Frontiers requires a minimum deposit of 200 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 70 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of wild frontiers charges.

    Up to 71 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 51 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

  • Wild Frontiers' COVID Promise

    You will have the right to transfer without any transfer fee, from any of our trips at ANY time if your trip is not Covid Viable (see below).*
    We will not ask you to pay your final balance if your trip is not yet Covid Viable.
    If your trip is not Covid Viable, by 30 days prior to departure at the latest, we will cancel your holiday and you can either transfer your funds to another departure or have a refund.**


    We will only consider a trip Covid Viable*** if pre-departure it meets all of the following criteria:

    There is no national lockdown or ban on foreign travel for the period when your trip is due to depart.
    Destinations on the tour must not be on the UK’s Red List. ****
    No destinations visited on the tour have in place any significant COVID-19 restrictions for travellers.
    Tourist visas (if required) are available.
    There is reliable airline access to/from the start/end of the trip.
    Following an assessment by both Wild Frontiers and our local partners we are confident that your trip is able to run in both a safe and enjoyable manner.*****




    ** If you were originally booked to travel before 30 April 2020 and transferred to a later date, or if you have a tailor-made booking, there may be some irrecoverable costs which we cannot refund. Please speak to us and we will be able to advise you if this is the case for your booking.
    ***Since our HQ is in London, Covid Viable status for our Group Tours will be assessed on UK-based travellers. However we are fully aware that many of our clients live in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and beyond. As such, when we deem a trip to now be Covid Viable, everyone booked will have a chance to review their own personal situation before deciding whether or not to remain booked on the trip. Anyone wishing to, will have the option to transfer without fees to another trip at this time. For tailor made bookings, we may also able to consider additional countries’ travel advice when deciding if a trip is Viable. Please discuss this with us at the time of booking.
    **** This relates to bookings from UK clients only. We may operate trips to destinations which the British FCDO advise against travel for Covid reasons. If this is the case, anyone wishing to will have the option to cancel with a refund or transfer to another trip. In some cases we may choose to offer a tour to a Red destination but these will be at both clients’ and Wild Frontiers’ discretion and will be subject to alternative conditions to be discussed on an ad hoc basis.
    *****If a destination, that we have deemed to be Covid Viable, subsequently fails any aspect of the criteria for two consecutive weeks, you will have the right under our Covid Promise to transfer without any fees.

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