Church of Santo Tomas, Chichicastenango

Built in 1540 on the site of an existing Mayan altar, the Church of Santo Tomas is still in use by shamans for colorful rituals. It's located right next to Chichi's famous open-air market.

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Guatemala Highlands Extension

Antigua, Chichicastenango, and Lake Atitlan

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $1425  
Length: 5 days
Arrive: Guatemala City, Guatemala
Depart: Guatemala City, Guatemala
Lodging: 4 nights hotels
Meals: Meals as indicated (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: Cultural explorations and walking tours

Visa Requirements

A visa is not required for U.S. citizens visting Guatemala.

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Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

Our Guatemala Highlands Extension features elegant Antigua, colonial capital of the Spanish realm in Central America, the mysterious mountain village of Chichicastenango, with its famous open-air market, and the stunning volcano-ringed lake called Atitlan, surrounded by traditional Mayan villages.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1
Guatemala City / Antigua

After a morning arrival in Guatemala City, transfer to enchanting Antigua, set in the coffee-growing Panchoy Valley at 5,000 feet with spectacular Volcano Agua (12,400') dominating the skyline. In this same valley are Volcano Acatenango and the always-steaming Volcano Fuego. Founded in 1543, Antigua was the seat of Spanish colonial government for the Kingdom of Guatemala, which included Chiapas (southern Mexico), Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. It was one of the first planned cities in the Americas, with a grid pattern inspired by the Italian Renaissance and a European-style plaza at the center of town. The Spanish Colonial style permeates every part of town, from the elegant stucco houses painted in bright colors to its traditions and folklore. On arrival enjoy a city tour with your guide. The balance of the day is free to explore on your own, and lunch and dinner are on your own. Overnight at the Casa Santo Domingo, a 16th century monastery converted into a lovely accommodation...B

Day 2

Antigua’s beautifully preserved Spanish Renaissance architecture make you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time 300 years, and the city offers a glimpse into the modern-day Maya culture. Enjoy a day to explore the cobbled streets, fine public plazas, and ornate colonial churches. Some of Guatemala’s most skillful Mayan artisans sell their wares here through galleries and open-air markets. Their work includes stunning weavings that express the history and traditions of the Mayan people. An optional visit to the weavers’ village of San Antonio Aguas Calientes is available. Overnight at Casa Santo Domingo...B

Day 3
Chichicastenango / Lake Atitlan

En route to Lake Atitlan, we visit Chichicastenango (6,500'), a small town famous for its open-air market, the largest in Central America. The handicraft market draws not only the K’iche’ Maya of the surrounding region, but also vendors from all over Guatemala, representing linguistic groups including the Mam, Ixil, and Kaqchikel. All gather in this densely packed outdoor market full of color and traditional clothing. After roaming the market, visit the adjacent Santo Tomás Church, built in 1540 on the site of an existing Mayan altar. Shamans still use the church for their rituals, burning incense and candles. Each of the 18 stairs that lead up to the church stands for one month of the Mayan calendar year. Overnight at the lakeside Villa Santa Catarina, with its lovely gardens full of birds...BL

Day 4
Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan, a natural wonder of blue, wind-tossed waters, is set against a backdrop of three 10,000-foot volcanos—Toliman, Atitlán, and San Pedro. Lining the shores are Indian villages where life has changed little over the centuries. Journey by private motor launch to the beautiful lakeside villages. including the Kaqchikel town of San Antonio Palopó on Atitlán’s eastern shore, where both men and women still wear traditional clothing. Women wear backstrap-loomed red striped huipiles (blouses), red head-ribbons, and blue skirts, while men dress in traditional striped shirts and pants with a small woolen blanket called a rodillera around the hips. There is also a chance to visit Santiago Atitlán and the shrine to Maximón, a colorful pagan saint. Overnight at the Villa Santa Catarina...BL

Day 5
Lake Atitlan / Guatemala City

Transfer to Guatemala City for departure on homeward-bound flights.

Extension Cost

Prices valid through December 15, 2016
$1425 per person, double occupancy

Prices are not guaranteed until services are confirmed.
more on pricing

Extension Cost Includes:

  • Accommodations as noted
  • Meals as indicated (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • Sightseeing and activities as noted with private guide
  • Land transportation

Extension Cost Does Not Include:

Gratuities for local guide, meals not specified (BLD), and items of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).

Casa Santo Domingo

Casa Santo Domingo

Days 1 to 2 (2 nights), Antigua, Guatemala

With its beautiful gardens and traditional colonial courtyards and fountains, the Casa Santo Domingo is an oasis in the heart of Antigua. A former ...
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Villa Santa Catarina

Villa Santa Catarina

Days 3 to 4 (2 nights), Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

The Villa Santa Catarina, a peaceful retreat right on the shores of volcano-ringed Lake Atitlán, conveys a Spanish-Colonial flavor and a ...
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Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.