Come visit Lake Atitlan Guatemala in November and save BIG. Discounts for one week only; November 16 – 23, 2013. This complete package includes everything; airport pick-up, transfers to Lake Atitlan, deluxe overnight accommodations at Villa Sumaya in Santa Cruz la Laguna, all meals, all activities, all tours and excursions. Come and stay for the entire week, or for a few days.
Nov. 16 – 22, 2013 – Complete package from $99.00 per person per day.
ARRIVAL DAY, SATURDAY – NOV. 16
· Airport transfer from airport to Anitgua.
- Antigua, Guatemala is an exquisite Spanish Colonial town with elegant 16th & 17th Century architecture, cobblestone streets, a tranquil central square, stylish hotels, luxurious shops and superb international cuisine. The town enjoys a unique and impressive setting nestled beneath three towering volcanoes and surrounded by lush evergreen forests.
· If you arrive early enough, you can spend the afternoon & evening exploring beautiful Antigua! You may want to start your exploration with a drink at Sky Cafe, which overlooks this amazing 400-year-old historic colonial city – t the former capital of Guatemala.
· Take a short walk to Antigua’s Central Park and meet at the fountain for a leisurely and informative Walking Tour of Antigua. The tour will focus on Antigua’s architecture, history, restoration and cultural trends. Your tour will include a visit to the Jade Museum and also the museums at Paseo de los Museos at Casa Santo Domingo.
- In the evening you may want to consider dining at Hector’s, Panza Verde, El Sereno’s or El Cazador Italiano. Each of these restaurants serves wonderful food, but for those who love beautiful Colonial Architecture a dinner at Panza Verde or El Sereno’s is a must.. Other restaurant ideas can be found by visiting the following website >>> www.degustantigua.com Overnight in Antigua.
DAY 1, SUNDAY – NOV. 17
>>> ANTIGUA and CHICHICASTENANGO
Depart Antigua at 7:00 am for travel to the spectacular outdoor market of Chichicastenango – one of the world’s most famous outdoor markets! People watch in this very Mayan village, and also ‘shop until you drop’ or until 1pm when the market closes. After a leisurely lunch in ChiChi, we depart for Lake Atitlan and several days of fun adventure.
Massage is available in the afternoon for an additional cost.
· About ChiChi >>> Located at 2500 meters above sea level, this town is famous amongst tourists for its market on Thursdays and Sundays, where spats of traditionally dressed villagers in a kaleidoscope of colors, come to sell their very colorful textiles, fruits, vegetables and flowers. Although seemingly very commercial, there is much mysticism in the air. You will be amazed by the religious blend that exists, where colonial Spanish Catholicism, modern evangelism and ancient Mayan tradition, blend in a uniquely harmonious fashion. There is something deeply moving about watching a Mayan Indian or shaman, engulfed by incense and surrounded by flowers, praying to a catholic God and at the same time practicing ancient Mayan rituals, all in an old Spanish colonial Cathedral. It is here, in Chichicastenango, that Father Francisco Ximenez in the 17th century discovered the Popol Vuh, the illustrious Mayan bible.
Arrive in Panajachel approximately 3:00 pm. Transfer by boat to Santa Cruz and Villa Sumaya. Overnight at Villa Sumaya.
DAY 2, MONDAY – NOV. 18
>>> LAKE ATITLAN – PADDLE AND HIKE EXCURSION
Meet at the dock to gear up for a day of adventure. It is best to wear your swimsuit or other appropriate boating atire as you will get wet along the way. We supply dry sacks for your backpacks and other gear for the second part of the day. Be sure to bring your camera, drinking water, and some sunscreen.
We paddle for 1 ½ -2 hours along the shores of Santa Cruz la Laguna, El Jaibalito, and Tzununa, ending in San Marcos. You will have many up close encounters with Mayan men who fish from hand hewn cayukas as they have for centuries. You will feel privileged to share the lake with these proud fishermen who make Lake Atitlan so unique. You paddle along rugged cliff faces filled with exotic plant and bird life. You have the opportunity to soak in the hot springs and cliff- jump into the crystal clear waters, or just enjoy a swim and sun.
We pull into the Bay of San Marcos and gear up for the next part of our adventure. The north shore of Lake Atitlan has no true road access, so you will be hiking along ancient paths that have been used by the Maya for centuries. You will view villagers going about their daily life, encounter farmers tending their maiz and coffee fields, and see some
of the most magnificent scenery in the world. This rugged and remote section of Lake Atitlan has barely been touched by the outside world. Our hike takes us several hundred feet above the ever changing waters of Atitlan for breath taking views of the famous volcanos. We end our hike in Santa Cruz la Laguna at the end of our day of adventure.
Overnight at Villa Sumaya.
DAY 3, TUESDAY – NOV. 19
>>> HIKE THE UPPER MAYAN TRAIL, SOLOLA MARKET AND MOUNTAIN VILLAGES
The day begins in Santa Cruz and the start of our 3-4 -hour hike. Visit the village of Santa Cruz la Laguna and then head high into the mountains. You hike along ancient paths that have been used by the Kachekel Maya for centuries. You will view villagers going about their daily life, encounter farmers tending their maize and coffee fields, and see some of the most magnificent scenery in the world. You can visit a sacred Mayan site where rituals are performed by the local shamans, and make your own offering at the alter.
This rugged and remote area has barely been touched by the outside world. Our hike takes us 2500 feet above the waters of Atitlan for breath taking views and pristine scenery.
It is a difficult walk/climb, but is not overly challenging for those in good health. The walk is approx. 4-5 hours through magnificent scenery. Enjoy a picnic lunch along the way, or in a local comidor. You walk though a remote Mayan village high in the mountains where we find the road. There we take a collectivo (shared van/pick-up) the last few miles into Solola. You visit the second largest market in Guatemala, then return via chicken bus or pick up into Panajachel and then Santa Cruz.
On the return, we stop at Crossroads Café to sample some of the best coffee in the world. All the coffees served are from Guatemala.
Overnight at Villa Sumaya.
DAY 4, WEDNESDAY – NOV. 20
>>> LAKE ATITLAN – 3 VILLAGE BOAT TOUR
· In the morning, make your way to the boat dock in front of your hotel and join Lee for a 3-Village Private Boat Tour. This spectacular full day trip will take you from one end of the lake to the other. You will visit the villages of San Marcos, San Juan and San Pedro, with time to explore each village. Easy walking is involved and the trip is approximately 6 hours.
· The day begins in Santa Cruz where you depart for the west end of the lake. You get to see the villages of El Jaibalito, Tzununa, San Marcos, and San Pablo as you make your way along the north shore. Your first stop is San Marcos, where you stop for breakfast and optional cliff jumping. Then you will depart the north shore for San Juan, the “Swiss village” of Lake Atitlan. You will spend approximately 3 hours on a guided walking tour and visit art galleries, two woman’s weaving cooperatives, a medicinal and curative plant garden, or you can learn about fishing and paddle a traditional cayuka (canoe).
· Several famous painters are from San Juan so you will also visit their galleries to see them at work. Women Weavers and Nuestra Artesania includes demonstrations showing how the beautiful fabrics are made; from harvesting the cotton, to spinning it into yarn, dying the yarn, and then creating one of-a-kind fabrics with the back strap loom. The Qomaneel center is a medicinal and curative herb garden operated by the midwives of San Juan. You are guided through the garden and given samples of each plant along with a description of its curative powers. There are no entrance fees at the cooperatives. Your gift purchases or donations are how these centers function.
· Your third stop is San Pedro.. This village is very popular with tourists and is the second largest of the villages surrounding the lake. It is a busy traditional village where life still goes on as it has in the past. Once you move away from the hotel zone, you will experience the strong Tzutulil Mayan culture..
Overnight at Villa Sumaya.
DAY 5, THURSDAY – NOV. 21
>>> BICYCLE EXCURSION – SAN LUCAS, CERRO de ORO, and SANTIAGO VILLAGE.
In the morning, be preparied for an early am departure. Transfer by boat from Santa Cruz to Panajachel, and watch the sun rise across the lake. We meet to collect our bicycles, and load into a shuttle. This ride is designed to be mostly downhill with some rolling hills and is a moderate ride. We will have a “sag wagon” along if you get tired and want to hop in the support vehicle. Ride high into the mountains above Lake Atitlan to an overlook – mirador overlooking both Lake Atitlan and the volcanos. We descent into San Lucas as we pass through many coffee fincas. The coffee is starting to be harvested, so you will see the villagers bringing the coffee in from the fields for weighing and grading.
The road between San Lucas and Santiago is one of the most picturesque on the lake. Gentle rolling hills make this ride a joy.
The end of the ride is Santiago. Your first stop is a visitor center that offers insight into the life of the Tzutujile Maya. There are interpretive displays on the history of the traje (traditional clothing), spiritual beliefs and Maximon. We tour the local church and visit Maximon. The Mayan visit Maximon to ask for healthy crops, to help cure illness, to find love, or to cast a spell on a neighbor. Be sure to buy some candles, cigarettes, or liquor to make your own offering!!! A small fee is required for admittance.
Depart Santiago for travel to Santa Cruz and Villa Sumaya. Overnight at Villa Sumaya.
DAY 6, FRIDAY – NOV. 22
>>> ATITLAN ORGANICS PERMACULTURE FARM
Come spend an amazing morning on our beautiful organic farm and food forest. We will pick you up at the Tzununa public dock and drive up to the farm on the back of a pick up. From there we will take a farm tour, where you will experience the smells, sights, sounds, and tastes of a fully-functioning, small-scale, permaculture-inspired, organic farm. After a coffee or tea, all grown on the farm, we will walk to the nearby waterfall where you can hop in and cool off or just hang out and enjoy the breath-taking views. Coming down from the falls, we will pass back to the farm where a 100% organic, from-the-farm lunch will be served.
Visit our small-scale, highly diversified, super low-input, direct-to-consumer, downright ninja farm. The Atitlan Organics Permaculture Farm is an amazing destination for school field trips and family outings. The beautiful natural surroundings provide a great setting for a variety of educational activities. Children of all ages can come and enjoy learning about where food comes from and what we can do to help protect and improve the environment. Baby goats and chicks, ponds with frogs and lizards, and fresh fruit and berries to eat make this an unforgettable destination. Lunch can also be provided and is made from 100% farm-grown or Tzununa-grown ingredients.
Atitlan Organics believes that farming should be fun and profitable. While we always keep our eye on local markets and bottom lines, our farm foundations lie in diversified edible landscapes, open-pollinated seeds, perennial crops, and traditional breed animals, as well as farm-produced fertility, compost teas, and homeopathic preparations.
Shad Qudsi, Co-Founder of Atitlan Organics, is always ready and willing to share ideas and open up discussions about food production, land design, sustainable living, and other related topics. Founded in 2010, Atitlan Organics is the brain child of Shad Qudsi and Colleen Donovan, who started this permaculture farm in Tzununa, a small Mayan village on the shores of beautiful Lake Atitlan. Focusing on sustainable food production and direct-to-market sales, the farm is also used as an educational facility for both locals and foreigners interested in small scale farming and land development. Overnight at Villa Sumaya.
DEPARTURE DAY, SATURDAY – NOV. 23
All good things must come to an end. Transfer by boat to Panajachel, and then by shuttle back to La Aurora airport in Guatemala City in time for your departure.