10-Day Guided Adventure to Guatemala — in the heart of Central American architecture and culture
Guatemala is one of the most diverse and beautiful countries in Central America with an extraordinary landscapes and civilization-spanning culture that reaches back centuries. On this outing, we will explore the best that Guatemala has to offer, including the rich architecture and cultural life of the Spanish Colonial capital of Antigua, the Mayan ruins of Tikal, Iximché, and Uaxactun, and the native villages around stunning Lake Atitlan. We will be led by author, guide, and preservationist Elizabeth Bell and her professional staff and you’ll be in the company of fellow AARCH members, friends, and staff.
We hope you will join us!
Highlights from the Itinerary:
ANTIGUA & ENVIRONS
After flying into Guatemala City, the capital city and largest in the country, we will travel to the city of Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage site, by bus. Here, we’ll check into our hotel, explore a bit on our own during lunch, and come back together for a late afternoon talk entitled “Antigua Behind the Walls” by our guide Elizabeth Bell, followed by a welcome dinner at the hotel with live marimba music and a folkloric dance. The following day will include a morning tour of the local market and an afternoon guided tour that focuses on the city’s history, cultural trends and restoration efforts. This tour will include the Paseo de los Museos (museum) at Hotel Casa Santo Domingo, a walk to Central Park, the City Hall Palace, Royal Palace, San Jose Cathedral, and a tour of the Capuchinas church and convent. The city boasts a rich collection of Spanish Colonial Baroque architecture and charming vernacular neighborhoods.
On our second day in Antigua, we will explore its unique environs, including a visit to town of Santa Ines, where we will admire the elaborate carpets made of flowers and sawdust, and watch the street procession with the sculpture of Jesus Nazareno and the Virgen de Dolores.
IXIMCHE, PANAJACHEL, LAKE ATITLAN
We will travel by private shuttle to the Mayan ruins at Iximché. Situated at 7000’ on high plateau, Iximche was the capital of the Late Kaqchikel Maya kingdom from 1470 until its abandonment in 1524. There are 160 mapped structures at this fortress city, including six plazas, a number of pyramid temples, palaces, and two Mesoamerican ballcourts. Iximche was declared a Guatemalan National Monument in the 1960s. We will embark on a guided tour of the ruins and discuss the history, architecture, and significance of the site. In the afternoon, we will travel to Panajachel where we will have the rest of the afternoon on our own to explore the town. Panajachel is a village on the north shore of Lake Atitlan, one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.
Following our arrival, we will travel by boat around Lake Atitlan to Santiago Atitlan, the largest town at the lake. Here, we will visit the local church built in 1547, and after lunch, boat back to Panajachel for some free time, dinner, and drinks at the nearby Sunset Café , while the sun sets over the lake.
After a shuttle ride, we will visit Chichicatenango’s colorful market, Santo Tomas church where Maya-Catholic rituals are held, and see the “Moreria,” a ceremonial masks workshop. We will then continue to the Tecpan region for lunch in Katok, then make our way to Guatemala City, where we will first visit the Museo Ixchel to see indigenous weaving, textiles, and clothing, as well as learn about Mayan art and archaeology.
TIKAL NATIONAL PARK, UAXACTUN, FLORES
From Guatemala City, we will fly to Flores and then shuttle to Tikal National Park, a UNSECO World Heritage Site, to experience a complex of Maya ruins deep that includes more than 3,000 structures. Through both a guided tour and time on our own, we will explore Tikal’s Complex Q, the Central Acropolis and Central Plaza, North Acropolis and Temple IV. The following morning we will travel by bus to Uaxactun, a settlement was among the first Maya archaeological sites excavated in the Maya Lowlands. The earliest known public buildings date back to 600 BCE, yet archaeological research suggests that the site may have been occupied 400 years earlier. It was one of the longest-occupied Mayan settlements. We will travel by bus to Flores Island and spend some free time in the exploring Flores. Before departing the country, we will have some free time to explore Guatemala City.
Registration Instructions, Pricing, & Deadlines
To Register: Express interest via email, or by mailing request to AARCH, 1745 Main St., Keeseville, NY 12944. Deadline for registration is November 11, 2022.
If you have not traveled with AARCH, please include a paragraph or two expressing your interest in the trip and any previous international travel experience.
Pricing: The total cost for this ten-day adventure is $3,700 per person (based on double occupancy; please add an additional $900.00 for single occupancy). Airfare is NOT included; each traveler is responsible for his or her individual travel to and from Guatemala City. A deposit of 50% the registration fee is required at the time of registration. Final payment due by December 30, 2022.
- All hotel accommodations (4- and 5-star lodging)
- 10 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, and 8 Dinners
- English Speaking Guide
- Entrance Fees for All Sites
- Bus and Shuttle Transportation
- Airfare to and from Guatemala City
- Personal Expenses
Why Travel with AARCH
Adirondack Architectural Heritage has organized and offered several hundred day-long and multi-day tours across the Adirondacks for over 30 years. In 2016, we began offering international travel with a trip to Cuba. We took a group of members and friends to this country, off-limits to Americans for decades, and learned a great deal in our time there. Following the success and excitement of this first trip, we organized a second adventure to Cuba in 2017, and then in 2018 traveled to Armenia. Our most recent international trip was to Slovakia in 2019, before COVID paused international travel for several years.
Participants in our tours have the opportunity not only to explore the world’s rich diversity in architecture, culture, and landscapes, but also to make life-long friends. This unique travel experience allows you to explore new landscapes with a group of preservation- and architecture-minded individuals from diverse backgrounds. Plus, these trips help support AARCH’s work in the Adirondack region. We hope you can join us on our next adventure to Guatemala!