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Guatemala and Belize Special

Welcome to Guetamala & Belize, Central America!

ROUTE: Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Iximche, San Juan La Laguna, Flores, Tikal, Belize City, San Pedro Ambergris Caye, Belize City

DURATION: 14 Days

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Visit to historical sites/monuments
  • START: Sun or Wed (To Catch Chichi Market)
  • Day at leisure to explore Antigua
  • Stop at famous Maya archaeology site of Iximche
  • Scenic boat ride across Lake Atitlan to the village of San Juan La Laguna
  • Visit the women’s textile cooperative, studios / homes of the celebrated naif painters
  • Tour the village of Santiago visiting the Maya God Maximon
  • Stop at famous market in Chichi
  • Visit to Tikal National park, explore the Mayan temples an museum
  • Yaxha Site guided tour
  • Pooks Hill – Xunantunich & Cahal Pech – Visit the Xunantunich and Cahal Pech Maya sites
  • Cohune Palms – choice of activity ie: The Medicine Trail & Tubing the Mopan, Biking, Mountain Pine Ridge Forest
  • Reserve (check itinerary for more)
  • Free days to relax at the beach, Ambergris Caye
AIRFARE: International Airfare Upon Request
ACCOMMODATIONS:  Hotels used (or similar)
FIRST:
  • Antigua: Hotel Aurora
  • Lake Atitlan: Dos Mundos
  • Tikal Area: Casa Amelia
  • Cayo Area: Cohune Palms
  • San Pedro: Mata Rocks
DELUXE:
  • Antigua: Meson de Maria
  • Lake Atitlan: Hotel Atitlan
  • Tikal Area: Camino Real Tikal
  • Cayo Area: Pooks Hill
  • San Pedro: Portofino Beach Resort
LUXURY:
  • Please inquire

Included:,

Accommodations Per Person Sharing, including hotel taxes

Arrival & departure transfers where applicable

Local guides where applicable

Meals per itinerary

Park entrance fees and sightseeing fees where applicable

Applicable transportation

Not Included:

Airfare and air taxes

Cancellation, baggage, travel and medical insurance

Items of a personal nature such as baggage porterage, gratuities/tips, laundry, telephone calls, bottled water, etc.

Visa and visa fees

Optional sightseeing and activities

Meals, beverages and services not mentioned in itinerary

For additional information or reservations please complete QUOTE REQUEST form in side bar of this page or contact us directly to speak to one of our Destination Experts.


We can personalize this tour just for you! Call: 416-690-6996 or complete form in: CUSTOM-CRAFTED tab on this page.


Thank you for choosing White Horse Travels! Providing Vacations of a Lifetime.

Terms & Conditions

Additional information

LocationGuetamala and Belize, Central America
Duration14 Days
1

Day 1 Arrive Antigua

Upon arrival at airport in Guetamala, you will be warmly met by a representative, who will provide assistance and transfer to your accommodation to check-in.

Activities:

  • START: Sun or Wed (To Catch Chichi Market) Guests are met & transferred to Antigua in a minibus. La Antigua (the old one), former colonial capital of the Kingdom of Guatemala, combines 17th and 18th century buildings and ruins with all the modern conveniences discerning travelers desire. The city was established as Santiago (St James) in 1543 after a mudslide destroyed the former capital. Santiago’s history was punctuated by massive earthquakes, followed by rebuilding and reparation, until the earthquake of Santa Marta in 1773 prompted a move to the present capital in Guatemala City. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, Antigua exudes a unique atmosphere of history, intrigue and surprise. Resting in a fertile valley at 1530 m and surrounded by hills and volcanoes, Antigua’s climate is likened to ‘eternal spring’.

Overnight: Antigua

2

Day 2 Antigua

Activities:

  • Guests may enjoy this day exploring Antigua on their own, or may choose one of the below activities:
  • Options for Free Day in Antigua (at an additional cost): -Antigua Walking Tour: Half Day -Fair Trade Coffee Tour: Half Day -Canopy & Mountain Tour: Half Day

Overnight: Antigua – (B)

3

Day 3 Antigua - Lake Atitlan Via Iximche

Activities:

  • Guests transfer 1hr from Antigua to the famous Maya archaeology site of Iximche for a stop at this fascinating site. Guests will have the opportunity to explore the site unguided before continuing to their hotel in Lake Atitlan. Iximche was the capital of the Cakchiquel Maya. The archaeological site sits atop a fortified hilltop site surrounded by a moat about nine feet deep, with a ball court & other structures. The patio for ball games is completely enclosed, which is common in many places on the altiplano. The ball courts were built near an area containing four plazas. The Cakchiquel Maya were powerful warriors & skillful builders. The stucco faces of many stone structures are still intact. It is thought that Iximche was founded in the year 1470 A.D. & throughout the life of the city were the bitter enemies of the Quiche Maya. The first spanish settlement on Guatemala soil was in Iximche. Iximche is located very close to the ruins of Pocoman, also called Mixco Viejo. In the central highlands, 120 km from Antigua, Lake Atitlan was cited by author Aldous Huxley as being the most beautiful lake in the world. It was formed over 80,000 years ago by a violent volcanic eruption; the caldera now contains 130 km2 of sparkling water, encompassed by hills and three towering volcanoes of subsequent birth: Atitlan (3,537 m), Toliman (3,158 m), and San Pedro (3,020 m).
  • In the afternoons a wind called Xocomil (the wind that carries away sin) can cause the lake’s surface to become turbulent. Being such a beautiful place, the lake has been home to many different cultures, dating back to 1000 bc or more. By 1250 the Tz’utujil Maya were established around the lake and by the 1520s they ruled over the whole of the lake area, except for a strip from Panajachel to San Antonio Palopo, which was ruled by the Kaqchikel Maya. In 1524 the Tz’utujiles surrendered to the Spanish conquistadors, their Mexican allies and the Kaqchikeles, and began paying tribute to the Spanish crown. When the Kaqchikeles refused to provide ever increasing tributes in gold, the Spanish used their old enemies the Tz’utujiles to conquer them. Around the lake are 17 towns and villages, each with their individual characteristics, the cultures and languages still divided between Tz’utujiles and Kaqchikeles. Many of the inhabitants still wear their traditional clothing and continue the old way of life that revolved around the lake itself.
  • Panajachel (place of the Matasanos [a native fruit tree]); Located on the NE shore, after the conquest the Kaqchikel settlement was used as a missionary base by the Franciscan Order, who named the town San Francisco de Panajachel. One of the larger towns, and the most developed on the lake, it offers the most comprehensive facilities, and often serves as a springboard for visiting the other villages. Its 11,000 population is a mix of indigenous, ladino and expatriates.
  • Launches depart from two docks for the other lakeside communities. NOTE: Does not include Guide.

Overnight: Lake Atitlan – (B)

4

Day 4 San Juan, Santiago

Activities:

  • This morning guests will take a scenic boat ride across Lake Atitlan (30min) to the village of San Juan La Laguna where they can visit the women’s textile cooperative to see hand weaving and natural dye process. Also here visit the studios / homes of the celebrated naif painters. From here guests continue to the village of Santiago where they have lunch in a local hotel and tour the village visiting the Maya God Maximon and learn about the textiles, spiritualism and beliefs of the T’zutujil Maya.
  • Santiago was founded in 1547 at the foot of the Toliman volcano, this is the largest town with a population over 32,000, about 95% indigenous of Tz’utujil descent. Livelihoods include fishing, farming and making Cayucos (local canoes). Artisans specialize in painting, woodwork and weaving textiles. The stunning men’s pants and women’s huipiles are woven and then beautifully embroidered with birds. Some of the older women still wear the traditional tocoyal, an 8 meter length of red fabric wound round their head like a halo. Santiago is home to one of the three ?original? Maximon characters, a pagan deity or god who receives offerings of alcohol and cigars. The market is held in the streets on Fridays and Sundays. The people of Santiago suffered terribly during the country’s 36-year civil war, while hurricane Stan in October 2005 brought a mudslide which destroyed the nearby village of Panabaj.
  • San Juan La Laguna. Boasting one of the best sandy beaches on Atitlan’s shoreline, on the western side, this small village of 8,000 inhabitants is almost exclusively Tz’utujil. Traditions of farming and fishing stand alongside the weaving of reed mats or petates, and textiles. Many of the women have organized themselves into weaving cooperatives, exporting much of their high quality handiwork, and one group makes their dyes from local plants. Artists paint in the Arte Naif or primitivist style, some tinting their works exclusively in local natural dyes.

Overnight: Santiago – (B, L)

5

Day 5 Chichi Market

Activities:

  • Today guests transfer approx. 1hr to the famous market at Chichi. Time for shopping in this fabulous craft market and an opportunity to see Maya rituals being performed in the Catholic Church before transferring on to on to Guatemala City Airport (3 hrs) in time to catch the early evening flight to Flores. (45 min) In Flores you will be met & transferred to your hotel in the rainforest. (Trf. time depends on hotel). Chichicastenango is home to what is surely the most colorful native market in North & Central America, perhaps in all the Americas. Vendors from all over Guatemala, representing many of Guatemala’s linguistic groups such as Mam, Ixil, Kaqchikel & others, each hawking their products in a riotous cacophony of color, dialects & costumes, smoke, & smells. In the middle of all of this mayhem you will suddenly come upon the Catholic Church of Santo Tomas. The Cathedral Sto. Tomas, was erected in 1540 by Dominican priests, and permits extraordinary demonstrations of faith that mix the native Maya & Catholic beliefs. In these religious rituals, the faithful burn resin or incense and they pray from the church steps & entryway of the temple before entering. Once inside you will find a flat of stone covered with pine needles & candles. Fr. Francisco Ximenes found the manuscript of the Popol Vuh inside the temple of Sto. Tomas in the early 18th century. The Popol Vuh, which is on display in a museum in Guatemala City, is considered by some as “The Bible of the Quiches”.
  • The Department of Peten covers almost one-third of Guatemala and is the least populated. Situated in the north, with an average altitude of just 130 m, this area known as the lowlands is home to rainforests and ancient Mayan cities. The most well-known and impressive site is Tikal, at its height during the Classic period, with soaring temples concealed within the 576 km2 Tikal National Park, where birds and wildlife abound. But there are many other, lesser-known sites to explore, away from the crowds. Within Lake Peten Itza’s 99 km2 lies the island city of Flores. Incredibly, the Itza Maya who occupied this area held out against the Spanish conquistadors until 1697. A short causeway links Flores with the mainland and the Mundo Maya International Airport.
  • It is important to keep hydrated, health sources recommend two to three liters of water daily, and insect repellent is recommended.
  • The small town of Flores is situated on the isle of Peten Itza. The wide cobblestone streets of Flores have much to offer in the way of shopping, hotels and international cuisine. From the 15th to the 17th Century, this was the site of the Maya City Tayasal. It was the last Maya stronghold to fall under the dominance of the Spanish in 1697. This date marks the end of the Maya civilization. The Spanish soldiers destroyed all the pagan temples and pyramids and today there is not even a trace of them.

Overnight: Flores – (B)

6

Day 6 Collective Tikal Tour

Activities:

  • Today guests transfer to Tikal National park (approx 1 hr) to explore the amazing UNESCO protected Mayan Temple site of Tikal where huge Mayan temples rise above the jungle canopy and monkeys and tropical birds are abundant in the surrounding rainforest.
  • After lunch guests will have time to explore the museum before transferring back to their hotel.
  • Guests will be picked up around 08:00-08:15. The tour will take approximately 5 hours. Guests will leave the park around 14:00. Tikal, a city that boasted a population of perhaps 100,000, was highly structured & immersed itself in spiritual practice. The city flourished during the classic & late classic periods, (AD 300-900). Many of the massive buildings that are visible today were constructed during this time. The monuments paid tribute to the rulers of the past & were meant to please the deities. In addition to their obvious achievements in construction the Maya also excelled in the arts, astronomy & glyphic writing. At its peak some 1,500 years ago, Tikal was home to an estimated 100,000 Maya & it was one of the more important urban centers of its time. This is evident in the more than 3,000 structures extending over six square miles. Around the Great Plaza is the Temple of the Giant Jaguar which reaches a height of over 170 feet. This Temple is the tomb of a high priest, buried with hundreds of offerings like vases & jade. The sanctuary for worship at the top of the structure sits on a nine-tiered pyramid. Nearby is The Temple of Masks, which has a flat form and reaches 139 feet. Between these two temples is a courtyard which covers two-and-a-half acres, and its original floor goes back to 150 years before Christ. Two palace complexes can also be found there.
  • Tikal is also the refuge for most of the animals in Guatemala & is a place where they can be easily seen. Spider & howler monkeys are visible, as well as red coatis, raccoons, white-tailed deer, toucans, parrots, macaws, humming birds & rare falcons such as the orange breast falcon. Reptiles, in particular snakes, are also abundant.

Overnight: Tikal – (B, L)

7

Day 7 Yaxha Tour, Cayo District

Activities:

  • Guests are picked up from their hotel and transferred by land into Belize. The guide and driver will stop at Yaxha Site in Guatemala before arriving at the border to give guests a guided tour of the site. When guests are ready the transfer will continue on to their final hotel in the Cayo area of Belize.
  • Yaxha means “Green Water” in Mayan & is located 50 miles from Flores in the jungle beside the island of Topoxte. Topoxte &Yaxha are separated by a lake. The waterways near the site were considered to be spiritual to the Maya possibly because they are the color of Jade. The city is comprised of two sectors of rectangular structures, a double acropolis, laid out in such a manner that they form streets & plazas. This ‘city plan’ is very unlike other cities built in the Classic period & combined with the fact that the influence of Teoatihuacan is present in the stelae & the architecture, it is thought that the street design was adopted from that place. The hieroglyphic inscriptions indicate that it was inhabited sometime between the Pre-classic & Post-classic.
  • The Cayo District is the largest district in Belize and could also be called the Highlands of Belize. It is probably the most visited of the inland areas of Belize and encompasses farmlands, rainforest and pineforest. The district encompasses the national capital of Belmopan, the tourist town of San Ignacio, Mennonite communities such as Spanish Lookout, key archaeology sites such as Xunantunich, Cahal Pech, and Caracol, major rivers such as the Macal and Mopan River, famous caves like Barton Creek, Chechem Ha and Aktun Tunichil Muknal and protected areas such as the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve and Chiquibal National Park. There is really a huge amount to do and see within this central area of Belize.

Overnight: Cayo District – (B)

8

Day 8 Full Day Activity, Cayo District

Activities:

  • Pooks Hill – Xunantunich & Cahal Pech – Visit the Xunantunich and Cahal Pech Maya sites. Overlooking the town of San Ignacio is Cahal Pech, the royal acropolis-palace of an elite Maya family during the classic period. It offers a panoramic outlook of the town and the Belize River Valley below.
  • Go out to lunch at a local restaurant in between site visits and sample some Belizean food.
  • Cohune Palms – choice of activity: -Art Workshop -The Medicine Trail & Tubing the Mopan -Biking -El Pilar Archaeological Reserve -Xunantunich -Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve and Surrounding Area -Tikal -Actun Tunichil Muknal.

Overnight: Cayo District – (B, L)

9

Day 9 Full Day Activity, Cayo District

Activities:

  • Pooks Hill – Caracol – Caracol is the largest Maya site in Belize and covers some 35 sq miles, with 36,000 structures marked so far. Restortion at this massive Maya City is ongoing. A day trip to the site takes you up through the rugged back-roads of the Mountain Pine Ridge and deep into the folds of the Maya Mountains.
  • Time permitting, your guide will take you to some of the sites in the Mountain Pine Ridge on the journey home.
  • Cohune Palms – choice of activity: -Art Workshop -The Medicine Trail & Tubing the Mopan -Biking -El Pilar Archaeological Reserve -Xunantunich -Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve and Surrounding Area -Tikal -Actun Tunichil Muknal.

Overnight: Cayo District – (B, L)

10

Day 10 Transfer To Ambergris Caye (Unguided)

Activities:

  • Guests transfer to Belize City (transfer time depends on hotel) for a domestic flight to San Pedro (Ambergris Caye) (20 min).
  • Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
  • Ambergris Caye has been the hub of Belizean area maritime trade for centuries. Fishing, coconuts, and gum were historic means of islanders support, but the last thirty years have led to a large growth in both the Belize dive and scuba trade, and ecotourism. San Pedro Town blends Caribbean with a touch of Mexico and a dash of Old Key West.

Overnight: Ambergris Caye – (B)

11

Day 11 - 13 Ambergris Caye (Unguided)

Activities:

  • Free days to relax at the beach or to book tours locally.

Overnight: Ambergris Caye – (B)

12

Day 14 Transfer Out (Unguided)

Departure: Fly back to Belize International Airport for their international flight out.


Meals as per itinerary: (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
We can personalize this tour just for you! Call: 416-690-6996 or complete form in: CUSTOM-CRAFTED tab on this page.

Location Name: Belize, Central America
Area (SQ KM): 22,966
Population: 347,369
Capital: Belmopan
Language(s): English (official), Spanish, Mayan, Garifuna (Carib), Creole
Religion: Roman Catholic, Protestant (Pentecostal, Anglican, Seventh-Day Adventist, Mennonite, Methodist, Jehovah’s Witnesses ) other
Currency: Belize dollar – BZD
Time Zone: UTC -6
Electricity: 110 V / 220 V
Phone Country Code to Call (Belize, Central America): 501


Before You Go:

Please refer to our “Before You Go Post” for important, useful information and website links: http://www.whitehorsetravels.com/before-you-go/


Note: The information contained is for general information purposes only. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability of this content.

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