The Great Mayan March : hiking tour in Guatemala

Hike in Guatemala during this 14 day tour

Do you like hiking, meeting people and want to discover Guatemala in a different way? This trip is made for you! Discover the majestic Lake Atitlan during a 3-day walk punctuated by nights at the inhabitant’s home. Climb the Pacaya volcano at nightfall to observe the lava flows and feel the warmth of the magma. Discover the archeological sites at sunset or in the early morning for privileged moments. Explore the jungle, the Caribbean coast and colonial cities. An active trip that will give you an authentic vision of Guatemala.

Length of stay: 14 days

Kind: Trek and adventure trips

Fix: good physical condition

Countries visited: Guatemala

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Day 1 : Guatemala City

Bienvenidos a Guatemala !

Arrive at La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City, meet your driver and transfer to your hotel. Overnight stay at the hotel Stofella.

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Day 2 : Guatemala City

Market day in Chichicastenango

Departure at 7am for Chichicastenango and its famous market (Thursday and Sunday). The Kaqchikel Indians come down twice a week from the surrounding villages to sell their goods. The women wear the traditional huipil representing the seasons of the Mayan calendar. The city is then transformed into a real kaleidoscope of colours and smells. In the centre of the village, shamans purify the church stairs with incense and perform Mayan rituals.

Transfer to Quetzaltenango , the main city of the Guatemalan Altiplano. Overnight stay at the hotel Modelo.

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Day 3 : Quetzaltenango

Trekking from Quetzaltenango to Lake Atitlan (3 days – 41 km):

The hike offers a wide variety of landscapes in the heart of the Sierra Madre volcanic chain. Along the way, there are spectacular valleys and a myriad of rivers that lead to the majestic Lake Atitlan , a highly emblematic place in Guatemala. It is nestled between 3 volcanoes at an altitude of 1600 metres and offers magnificent panoramas. The small villages along the lake – often only accessible by boat – perpetuate festivals and markets rooted in local traditions.

Day 1: Quetzaltenango to Lake Atitlan

Departure at 06:00 from the main city of the Guatemalan Altiplano by private transport to the starting point of the trekking at 3000 meters altitude (45mn). The walk is pleasant, we cross forests and cornfields and enjoy the view of the volcanoes. Copious lunch with local flavours (included). Then descent to return to the track and walk to the community of Como Oj which means place of lawyers in Maya Quiché. Afternoon relaxation with a Temazcal (traditional Mayan sauna). Lunch and overnight in the community (small dormitories, basic comfort).

19km walk; 6 to 7 hours (3 hours of descent, 1 hour of flat, 2 hours of descent, 30 minutes of ascent).

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Day 4 : Quetzaltenango

Overnight stay at homestay in San Juan Laguna.

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Day 5 : San Juan la Laguna

Landing on a private lancha. Sailing on the majestic Lake Atitlan to the village of Tzununa. Tuk tuk trip (included) to the Lomas Hotel in Tzununa.

Overnight stay at the hotel Lomas de Tzununa.

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Day 6 : Tzununa

Free day in Lomas de Tzununa.

The small hotel (10 rooms) is away from the tourist roads. Each room offers a breathtaking view of Lake Atitlan. The hotel lends itself to relaxation with a spa, a swimming pool with panoramic views, a typical restaurant, yoga workshops. Possibility to rent kayaks to explore the surroundings and swim in the lake.

Suggestions for activities in the area:

– discovery of the Panajachel Atitlan Reserve (zip line routes, suspension bridges, butterfly greenhouse, interpretive trails, monkey and bird watching)
– visit the colourful village of Santa Catarina Palopo (15mn by taxi from Panajachel)
– kayak or paddle board on Lake Atitlan visit of the Mayan villages along the lake accessible by taxi boat: San Juan, San Marcos, Santa Catarina, Santiago Atitlan. . .
– guided hikes
– Paragliding

NB: day without transport service.

Overnight stay at the hotel Lomas de Tzununa.

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Day 7 : Tzununa

Transfer in private lancha from Tzununa to Panajachel.

Collective shuttle from your hotel in Panajachel to your hotel in Antigua.

Available hours (optional): 9:30 a. m. ; 12:00 p. m. ; 4:00 p. m.

End of the day free in the pretty colonial city. Explore Antigua

Surrounded by 3 majestic volcanoes, the ancient capital of Central America has suffered throughout its history many natural hazards: earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions… But Antigua is now one of the most beautiful cities in Guatemala.

We invite you to discover the city which is host to more than thirty monasteries and convents and a grand cathedral in the central square. The cobblestone streets adjoin the colorful patios of the colonial houses. Stroll along the arcades of Parque Central, admiring in the distance the volcanoes Fuego, Agua and Acatenango.

NB : walking visit of the city (no vehicle). Overnight stay at the hotel Casa del Parque.

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Day 8 : Antigua

Lava and magma at the Pacaya Volcano

Departure at 3pm for the Pacaya volcano, one of the 3 active volcanoes in Guatemala. After 1h30 of transport, start of the ascent (3h of walking, 400 meters of altitude difference). The hike is accessible to all and offers beautiful views of the valley. Night falls when we arrive at the base of the cone. We then observe the lava flows that flow and illuminate the side of the volcano. Fumaroles are escaping from the crater. The show is unique, striking.

Descent of the giant and return to Antigua around 10pm.

NB: Good physical condition recommended. Possibility of horseback riding on site. A pic nic and a hot drink will be served at the top. Option included : Entrance fees to volcan Pacaya. Option included : english speaking local guide in XXX (meeting at xxx at xxx) Option included : english speaking local guide in XXX (meeting at xxx at xxx) Overnight stay at the hotel Casa del Parque.

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Day 9 : Antigua

Today, meet your driver and transfer to Guatemala City Airport. National flight Guatemala – Flores (included). Sunset in Yaxha

Arrival at 12:30 at Flores airport and departure for Yaxha, green water in Mayan language. Lunch (not included) near the site. The city is located on the shores of Lake Yaxha, which served to supply fresh water to the Mayan population. Walk on the marked trails of this large and rarely visited site. Do not miss the sunset with a view of the lake from the Temple de las Manos Rojas .

Road to Tikal National Park . Transfer to your hotel for one night in the heart of the Peten jungle. Overnight stay at the hotel Jungle Lodge Tikal.

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Day 10 : Tikal

Tikal: Jewel of the Mayan World

Today is dedicated to the exploration of the impressive city of Tikal, built in the 4th century BC. The city reached its peak between the 3rd and 9th century AD.

Some 3,000 structures emerge from the rainforest in a mystical atmosphere. The Temple of the Great Jaguar faces that of the masks on the main square, in the center of the city. At a height of 65 meters, the Serpent Temple was the tallest building in the New World until the 19th century.

Nature very much still present at Tikal, engulfing every traveler who enters the reserve. Spider monkeys, pheasants, coatis, toucans and other multicolored parrots are on display. The screams of the howler monkeys can be heard for miles around. Odors of lianas and roots surprise you as you explore the site.

In 2017, new research techniques have uncovered temples still buried in the jungle. Tikal has not finished revealing all its mysteries…

After the visit, transfer to the Flores peninsula. Option included : english speaking local guide in XXX (meeting at xxx at xxx) Option included : Entrance fees to Tikal. Overnight stay at the hotel Isla de Flores. Premium Room.

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Day 11 : Livingston

Today, travel approximately 4 hours to the Rio Dulce . Here you can feel the atmosphere of the Caribbean! Visit Fort San Felipe which was built in the 17th centre to stop the continuous pirate attacks and view the many sailboats that anchor here today.

Sweet Rio Dulce

Take a private boat trip out onto the Rio Dulce. Travel past a canyon and take a dip in some hot springs. Arrive at the village of Livingston where part of the population are the ethnic group Garifuna , who are descendants of black slaves. You will notice how different the culture is here to the rest of Guatemala! Overnight stay at the hotel Villa Caribe.

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Day 12 : Livingston

Boarding for Puerto Barrios (40mn of navigation) and road to Quirigua (1h30).

Visit of the archaeological site in the Motagua Valley. Quirigua was an important and respected city during the Mayan classical period (200 – 900 AD). The site is particularly renowned for the beauty of its stelae, the highest reaching 10. 70 metres high and weighing 65 tonnes. Continuation to Guatemala (5h).

Option included: private boat from Livingston to Puerto Barrios. Overnight stay at the hotel Stofella.

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Day 13 : Guatemala City

Private transfer from your hotel to Guatemala City airport.

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