Maya family, Chichicastenango

Intricately woven textiles are one of the traditional crafts of Guatemala. Our Guatemala Private Journey explores exquisite colonial Antigua, the villages surounding sapphire-blue Lake Atitlan, and the majestic Mayan ruins at Tikal, a World Heritage Site.

Photo by David Page

display information about this photo
Guatemala Private Journey route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $2495  
Length: 8 days
Arrive: Guatemala City, Guatemala
Depart: Guatemala City, Guatemala
Lodging: 7 nights in comfortable, well-appointed hotels
Meals: All breakfasts and 1 lunch included
Activity: Walking, Archaeology, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: Easy day hikes, exploration of ruins
2

Highlights

  • The towering temples of Tikal soaring from the rainforest
  • Antigua, Chichicastenango, and mountain-ringed Lake Atitlan
  • Extension to the Belize Barrier Reef, with its famous Blue Hole


Far exceeded my expectations. Well done! Would definitely travel with Wilderness again.Richard B.—Philadelphia, PA

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.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

Enter the heart of El Mundo Maya, with its intriguing Mayan culture and lavish temple cities rising out of misty rainforests. Our Private Journey in Guatemala 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. For a grand finale, explore Tikal, the greatest Mayan religious center yet discovered, where thousands of structures have been cleared from the surrounding jungle. Tikal is magnificent not just for its towering temples and pyramids but also for its situation within a vast canopy forest of mahogany, cedar, palm, and ceiba where you’ll see playful monkeys and fantastic birdlife. We also offer optional extensions to the extraordinary Mayan city of Copan in Honduras and to the glorious Barrier Reef of Belize for world-class snorkeling adventures in an extraordinary coral reef kingdom.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2
Colonial Antigua, Maya Culture

Surrounded by three majestic volcanoes, Antigua is an enchanting highland city of cobbled streets, courtyard cafes, finely preserved plazas, and ornate colonial-era fountains. Its beautifully preserved examples of Spanish Renaissance art and architecture make you feel as if you’ve stepped back 300 years in time. Explore this exquisite city—once one of the great cities of the Spanish empire and now designated a World Heritage Site—on a fascinating walking tour, discovering its traditional artisan markets. Textile weaving has played an important part in Guatemala’s indigenous K’iche culture for centuries, and the region is renowned for its unique fabrics and complex use of color. Weaving is done by K’iche women on backstrap looms, with each village and family retaining its own distinct weaving patterns, motifs, and colors.

Days 3-4
Chichicastenango and Lake Atitlan

World-famous for its outdoor market full of color and textiles (the largest in Central America), the highland town of Chichicastenango is a rainbow-hued cache of traditional Mayan designs. Explore narrow lanes that lead to the mystical 16th century Santo Tomas Catholic Church, where Mayan shamans perform ancient ceremonies on the front steps. Each of the 18 steps that lead up to the church stands for a month of the Mayan calendar year. Continue to Lake Atitlán, one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in the world, ringed by three majestic 10,000-foot volcanoes—Toliman, Atitlan, and San Pedro. Enjoy an excursion by private motor launch on Atitlan’s deep blue waters where simple wooden dugout canoes remain the primary form of transport, and visit lakeside villages where life and customs have changed little over the centuries.

Day 5
Guatemala City / Flores

Return to Guatemala City and, time permitting, visit the Museo Ixchel del Traje Indigena, with its extraordinary collections of ceramics, textiles, jewelry, and indigenous clothing from different regions of Guatemala. You will also visit the Museo Popol Vuh to view its collection of pre-Hispanic art (stone sculpture and ceramics) as well as Pre-classic, Classic, and Post-classic Maya exhibits. Fly to the pretty lakeside city of Flores, gateway to Tikal.

Days 6-8
Secret World of Ancient Tikal

Explore Tikal, an unforgettable towering temple-city spread over a dozen square miles in the heart of the wild Peten jungle. Once a wealthy metropolis of 100,000 inhabitants and the seat of power for the great Jaguar Clan lords, Tikal now lies still and mysterious, its immense temples and multi-level palaces cloaked in vines. As you explore this ancient Mayan world, you’ll learn about the enigmatic civilization that built thousands of amazing structures here. The pyramids and giant temples are incredibly breathtaking, most notably the famous Temple IV, the highest Mayan temple still standing and the highest known structure built in the Americas before the arrival of Europeans. On Day 7, return to Tikal for a half day tour or explore the seldom visited Maya ruins of Yaxha, set on the northern shores of a lagoon. Optional afternoon nature walk on hanging bridges or ride the local ziplines for an up-close view of the fantastic rainforest canopy world of screeching howler monkeys and squawking parrots, Depart on Day 8.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

What the Trip is Like

This trip is Level 2, Easiest. It features vehicle-based sightseeing and day walks, with hotel accommodations throughout. The walking at the ruin sites sometimes involves stairs or rough, uneven surfaces, and that can be strenuous. We do recommend that everyone make special efforts to get in good physical condition for the trip, as it will greatly increase your enjoyment.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

When to go

January to December

For our Private Journey trips, you choose your own group and your preferred dates—there are no set departure dates. Private Journeys are available to groups as few as two people or as large as you like. Contact us for availability, questions, or to book your adventure!

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2014

First Class Option: Villa Colonial, Villa Santa Catarina, Villa Maya

$2495 per person, double occupancy
Internal airfare: $300 (subject to change) subject to change

Deluxe Option: Casa Santo Domingo, Casa Palopo, La Lancha

$3295 per person, double occupancy
Single supplement: $895
Internal airfare: $300 (subject to change)

Holiday surcharges may apply for Christmas, New Years, and Easter, call for details

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

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Private guides
  • Accommodations as noted, based on double occupancy
  • All breakfasts and 1 lunch included
  • Land transportation and airport transfers as noted in the Full Trip Brochure

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, optional activities, airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to staff, additional hotel nights made necessary by airline schedule changes or other factors, pre-trip expenses such as medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, or passports and visas; and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20% of trip cost
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

More than 90 days prior to departure: $250 per person
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Villa Colonial

Villa Colonial (First Class Option)

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

The Villa Colonial, with its colonial-style architecture, beautiful courtyard garden with cobblestone paths, and inviting swimming pool, is a ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Casa Santo Domingo

Casa Santo Domingo (Deluxe Option)

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 ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Villa Santa Catarina

Villa Santa Catarina (First Class Option)

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 ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Casa Palopo

Casa Palopo (Deluxe Option)

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

This enchanting hotel, perched high on a hillside overlooking Lake Atitlán, was once a stunning private home. The main building features seven ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Villa Maya

Villa Maya (First Class Option)

Days 5 to 7 (3 nights), Flores, Guatemala

The Villa Maya is a quiet retreat located on the shores of Petenchel and Monifata lagoons in a private natural reserve just 45 minutes from Tikal. ...
Click here for full description and more photos

La Lancha

La Lancha (Deluxe Option)

Days 5 to 7 (3 nights), Lake Peten Itza, Guatemala

Developed by the filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, La Lancha is a romantic hideaway perched on a hill under a canopy of trees overlooking Lake Peten ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Extension Accommodations

If you would like to view the accommodations offered with our extensions options:

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

Belize

Barrier Reef: Turneffe Island Extension

Snorkeling Belize’s Barrier Reef

Snorkeling
5 days  -  Level 2

Honduras

Ancient Copan Extension (2 Nights / 3 Days)

The Athens of the New World

Archaeology
3 days  -  Level 1

Client Comments

Far exceeded my expectations. Well done! Would definitely travel with Wilderness again. Richard B., Philadelphia, PA
Highest praises for both our guide and driver. They were very knowledgable, thoughtful, considerate, and funny. We enjoyed every moment we spent with them and are so grateful to have met them. Radha N., Hillsborough, CA