NOTE: This itinerary is subject to change should hotel availability, road access, flight cancellation, or other situations beyond our control arise. Our promise to provide our guests with the best possible experience while looking after your interest and safety is always the determining factor for any changes which may occur. We work very closely with our ground agents to ensure the best possible experience for you.
Art and Photography tour of Guatemala
Main Tour March 24 – April 6( Flights depart Vancouver March 23) Tikal Extention: April 6 – April 9
Day 1 ~ Tuesday March 24: We arrive in Guatemala City and will be greeted by our driver and transferred to the beautiful black lava beaches of Monterrico on the Pacific Coast of Guatemala. Here we stay in a lakeside resort with private bungalows, a pool, and all the amenities to relax and adjust to your arrival in one of the most beautiful countries in Central America. We will have an early night as we are going to wake up at the crack of dawn.
Day 2 ~ Wednesday March 25: Waking up at some ungodly hour while on holidays is not this tour leader’s idea of fun — however, there are times where the rewards far outweigh the the cost. To catch the early morning light as the mangrove forest and all its wildlife awakens is a breathtakingly beautiful experience. Have your cameras handy as we tour the mangroves by boat and watch this forest come alive. After our tour we will stop in the small beach town of Monterrico for some lunch and an opportunity to draw, paint, and photograph as we explore this tiny village. We return to the hotel in the afternoon for an art/photography talk and time to relax by the pool.
Day 3 ~ Thursday March 26: A leisurely morning to walk the beach, relax and enjoy a a late morning poolside art session on composition and design. In the late afternoon we return to Monterrico for sunset and a visit to the Turtle Hatchery to watch as they release a batch of baby turtles into the Pacific tide to start their lives at sea. Following sundown we will enjoy some of the lively beach-town atmosphere as the town comes alive at night. After enjoying dinner in a local restaurant we return to our hotel to prepare for the next leg of our adventure.
Day 4 ~ Friday March 27: An early morning departure for the highlands. Our 3-hour drive will be broken up with a few stops to admire the stunning vistas along the way. In San Lucus Toliman we catch a boat across Lake Atitlán to Panajachel. We will arrive in time for a little dip in the hotel pool in Panajachel, an old hippy hang out from the 60’s and 70’s, is now Lake Atitlán’s main hub, though a visit to some of the lake’s other villages is a must. Lake Atitlán is one of Guatemala’s main attractions — a highland lake formed from a volcanic eruption some 84,000 years ago, it’s surrounded by three giant volcanoes, myriad indigenous villages, and rugged swaths of rock and wilderness.
Day 5 ~ Saturday March 28: Following breakfast at the hotel we take a “lancha” (a small motorized boat) across the lake to Santiago, one of the largest villages along the shores of this lake, to explore some of the many arts and crafts stalls as well, as visit Cojolya Weaving Center and Museum, founded by the Cojolya Association of Maya Women Weavers. The museum shows the history, tradition, and process of backstrap-loom weaving, and the evolution of the traditional costume of the Tzutujil, the indigenous people of Santiago Atitlán. We return in the late afternoon in perfect time for happy hour at the Sunset grill to take in . . . yes, you guessed it, the sunset, as well as a few cocktails and some good music.
Day 6 ~ Sunday March 29: Following breakfast we set off for our day at Chichicastenango, the largest outdoor market in the Americas. Colours on colours – our guests will have the opportunity to wander, shop, photograph, paint, and enjoy an experience you won’t soon forget. We return to our hotel to collect our bags and then boat across the river to our next destination, San Pedro la Laguna, to check into our hotel and enjoy Hotel Mikaso’s famous paella.
Day 7 ~ Monday March 30: An early morning drawing, painting, and photography session is planned as we explore the streets of San Pedro, strolling thorough the street market and the upper village, and ending up in the lower lakefront portion of the town for lunch and a stroll along the waterfront businesses and cafes. We will return to our hotel after lunch to relax and enjoy the best views of the lake and village from our hotel perched at the water’s edge, before a free evening to explore the many restaurants and lively beatnik nightlife of San Pedro.
Day 8 ~ Tuesday March 31: Following breakfast, an optional morning excursion is planned to neighboring village San Juan la Laguna and continues to San Pablo and San Marcos before returning to our hotel to collect our bags and transfer across the lake to San Pedro. We will reconvene back at the hotel for happy hour and a sunset art class and demonstration.
Day 9 ~ Wednesday April 1st: Breakfast at the hotel and a leisurely morning before a transfer to our hotel in Antigua. Following check-in we will head out for a short orientation walk of what is believed to be the most outstanding and best preserved colonial city in Spanish Americas. The spanish Colonial style permeates every aspect of the town; its houses, churches, squares, parks, and ruins. For those interested, an optional tour is available for an evening hike of the Volcano, including dinner cooked on the Volcanic Lava.
Day 10 ~ Thursday April 2: Breakfast at the hotel is followed by an art and photography class in the gardens of our hotel. Following lunch we will enjoy an amazing walking tour of Antigua’s historic sites, Churches, and ruins at this very special time of year. Our walk will be followed by a light group dinner and a visit to some of the more famous Alfombras as they are being created along the cobblestone streets. (One of the best times to see them is Thursday night before La Merced church’s 4:00 a.m. Good Friday procession). For obvious reasons, an early night is planned.
Day 11 ~ Friday April 3: Alfombras are colorful carpets made of sawdust, pine needles, and flowers that decorate the streets during religious processions and are one of the highlights of the Lenten season in Antigua. Yes, we are going to get up early to head out then to see them and then go straight to La Merced to catch the start of the 4:00 a.m. procession. After that we can sleep in as we won’t be missing much since the next Friday procession doesn’t start until 3:00 p.m.
Day 12 ~ Saturday April 4: Breakfast at the Hotel and a morning to relax, a visit the market with an afternoon excursion to a nearby coffee plantation, and an evening at La Pena de Sol Latino, a local restaurant, for dinner and some excellent live Peruvian music.
Day 13 ~ Sunday April 5: A lazy Easter morning with a large brunch planned at our Hotel, followed by a free day for our group members to explore Antigua and the Easter activities.
Day ~ 14 Monday April 6: A quiet morning to enjoy breakfast at the hotel with time to pack and enjoy the morning before a midday transfer to the Airport in Guatemala City for the return flight home, or the extension to Tikal for those who are interested in this 4 day adventure.
Tikal Extension: Day 14 ~Monday April 6 cont’d: Following a short 50 min flight from Guatemala City to Santa Elena, Peten, we will be transferred to our Hotel in Las Flores, the twin City to Santa Elena. Sitting on the shore of Lake Peten, these sister cities are separated by an easily walkable causeway. From our hotel we can easily stroll to either side to enjoy the many restaurants, bars, and cafes.
Day 15 ~ Tuesday April 7: We will be met at our Hotel early in the morning to make the transfer to the Tikal Park, where we will enjoy the morning light and tour this ancient Mayan City, lost for years to the dense jungle of Northern Guatemala. Walking through the jungle, hearing the calls of howler monkeys and tropical birds, and seeing (and climbing) the pyramids and other awe-inspiring monuments in the experience of a lifetime. In the afternoon we return to our hotel in Las Flores for a refreshing swim and a cocktail by the pool before a well deserved rest.
Day 16 ~ Wednesday April 8: A casual morning over breakfast at the Hotel will be followed by a tour of Lake Peten by boat, with the rest of the day fto enjoy these two picturesque towns.
Day 17 ~ Thursday April 9: An early morning departure and transfer to the airport for the short flight back to Guatemala City and the early afternoon flight home.