February 26 – March 8, 2021
11-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 its extraordinary landscapes and a civilization-spanning culture that reaches back centuries. On this outing, we will explore the best that Guatemala has to offer adventurous travelers, 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 good 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 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. Next, our time here 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 will include a visit to the Paseo de los Museos (museum) at Hotel Casa Santo Domingo, and we’ll also walk to Central Park, the City Hall Palace, Royal Palace, San Jose Cathedral, and tour the Capuchinas church and convent. The city boasts a rich collection of Spanish Colonial Baroque architecture and charming vernacular neighborhoods, and the city as a whole is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
On our second day in Antigua, we will explore it’s unique environs, including a visit to town of Santa Ines, where we will admire the elaborate carpets made of flowers and sawdust, watch the street procession with the sculpture of Jesus Nazareno and the Virgen de Dolores, and have a private tour of the Popenoe House. The third and final day in and around Antigua will bring us to the La Recoleccion church and monastery for a guided tour, then to Colibri to witness a weaving project, as well as experience a traditional candy store, and the Casa para las Artes (art gallery), and lastly, visit the nearby Maya Jades Museum to learn about Maya archaeology. You will have the rest of the afternoon on our own to explore Antigua.
IXIMCHE, PANAJACHEL, LAKE ATITLAN
Travelling by private shuttle, we will make our way to the Maya 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 were 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 first visit San Juan la Laguna, to a textile cooperative and local painters’ workshop, and then continue by boat 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 to experience a complex of Maya ruins deep that includes more than 3,000 structures. Tikal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 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. In the morning we will travel by bus to Uaxactun, a settlement was among the first Maya archaeological sites excavated in the Maya Lowlands. Rediscovered in 1916 by famed archaeologist Sylvanus Morley (1883–1948), formal research and excavation began in 1924. In these pioneering digs, archaeologists developed methodologies for Mesoamerican studies that are still used today, including the denomination of E-Groups—a building cluster typology found in many sites and commonly assumed to have served as astronomical observatories. 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 Maya settlements. In the afternoon 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 February 28, 2020.
Please include a paragraph or two explaining why you are interested in this unique trip and about any previous international travel experience. If you have previously traveled with AARCH to Cuba or Armenia, there’s no need to include your past travel history. If there is a high volume of requests, we will choose tour participants via a lottery process and will inform participants by March 13, 2020.
Pricing: The total cost for this eleven-day adventure is $3,850 per person (based on double occupancy; please add an additional $999.00 for single occupancy). Airfare is NOT included; each traveler is responsible for his or her individual travel to and from Guatemala City. A one-time, tax-deductible $500 per person deposit is required by April 17, 2020.
- All hotel accommodations (4- and 5-star lodging)
- 10 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, and 6 Dinners
- English Speaking Guide
- Entrance Fees for All Sites
- Bus and Shuttle Transportation
- 1-Year AARCH Membership
- Airfare to and from Guatemala City
- Single Supplement
- 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 25 years. In 2016, we made the leap into international travel by organizing an exciting and enlightening trip to Cuba. We took a group of intrepid members and friends to this country, little-known to Americans for decades, and were surprised and energized by what we learned and saw there (READ this blog from 2017 about our trip). Rolling on the success and excitement of this first trip, we organized a second adventure to Cuba in 2017, and then in 2018, we changed gears and brought a group of our members and friends to Armenia. This past year in 2019, we traveled to the off-the-beaten track country of Slovakia with an intrepid and enthusiastic group of close friends and members.
These trips are not only great opportunities to explore the rich diversity in architecture, culture, and landscapes that are found around the globe, they are also wonderful opportunities 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 directly support AARCH’s important and growing work here at home across the Adirondack region.