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Annual Tour

Glimpse of Guatemala

The next unique, eye-opening week-long “Glimpse of Guatemala” tour is scheduled for February 24 – March 3, 2018.  The tour highlights visiting rural Mayan village partners coupled with the vibrant culture of colonial Antigua and Lake Atitlán. If you are interested in registering or joining our waiting list, please contact Jessica LaBumbard at aldea@aldeaguatemala.org.

ALDEA offers a unique, eye-opening, 8-day/7-night tour of the western highlands of Guatemala, the “Land of Eternal Spring.” Participants visit rural Mayan partner communities and experience Guatemala’s incredible beauty, vibrant culture, colonial splendor, and breathtaking landscape around Antigua and Lake Atitlán.

Glimpse of Guatemala

The tour is full of opportunities to meet local Mayans in their villages and learn of their struggles, sacrifices, and dreams of a better life for themselves and their children. See first-hand the positive changes in these indigenous communities where ALDEA has partnered to create lasting solutions to the persistent problems of poverty and inequality in rural Guatemala. Delve into the history of a people with extraordinary artistic and architectural creativity and sophistication. Witness the impact of colonization and religion on Guatemalan culture.

Participants from various areas and professions travel with ALDEA, forming strong bonds and a shared commitment to reducing chronic malnutrition among rural Mayans.

Tour Highlights:

  • Learn about ALDEA’s community development projects with Mayan partner villages.
  • Discover daily activities of rural Mayans in their homes, learn their stories first-hand, and meet community leaders.
  • Experience Guatemala’s thriving Mayan heritage and amazing legacy.
  • Explore colonial Antigua and learn of its rich history.
  • Experience one of Antigua’s famous Lenten processions.
  • Relax surrounded by the mesmerizing beauty of volcano-ringed Lake Atitlán.
  • See the Lake’s rich and fertile hills, fishermen, artists, colorful outfits, and daily activities, and learn about its formation.
  • Walk the Mayan ruins of Iximché and witness a Mayan ritual.
  • Enjoy delicious Guatemalan food and some of the best coffee in the world.
  • Take advantage of shopping opportunities in Antigua, Santiago Atitlán, and San Juan La Laguna.
  • Participate in optional activities, which include climbing an active volcano, touring a coffee plantation, or making chocolate truffles.
Glimpse of Guatemala

What’s Included:

  • Extensive pre-tour information, trip coordination assistance, welcome packet, souvenir gift.
  •  Pick-up and shuttle to/from La Aurora Airport (GUA) in Guatemala City.
  • Four nights at the Hotel Aurora in Antigua, one night at San Ricardo Farm & Lodge in Tecpán, and two nights at the Posada de Santiago at Lake Atitlán.
  • Daily breakfasts plus five lunches and seven dinners (including a special farewell dinner) and a pre-dinner social.
  •  Air-conditioned, chauffeured coaster bus for in-country trips; water and some snacks included.
  •  Bilingual guides/available translators, all excursions and entrance fees except March 2 options (many are free).
  • All gratuities for meals, chauffeurs, guides, and hotel service.

Price per Person (Land only): $1,380 double occupancy; $1,600 single occupancy

What’s Not Included:

  • Roundtrip air transportation.  [Please plan to arrive at La Aurora Int’l Airport (GUA) no later than 2:00 pm on Sat, Feb. 24.]
  • Items of a personal nature, e.g. souvenirs, laundry, extra snacks and drinks.
  • Two lunches not mentioned above.
  • Entrance or workshop fees for optional Friday, March 2 activities.
  • Travel insurance.

Deposit/Final Payment/Cancellations:

  • One-half the tour price is due at the time of registration: $690 for double occupancy and $800 for single occupancy. $150 is non-refundable. Space is limited with sign-up on a first-come, first-served basis. The remaining balance is due by Jan. 2, 2018. .
  • A refund of tour payments made less the non-refundable $150 will be issued for a cancellation made by February 1, 2018, if the vacancy is filled by another participant with equivalent occupancy. No refunds will be made for cancellations after February 1, 2018 or if the vacancy caused by the cancellation cannot be filled.

Participation Details: Tour is limited to 15 participants; minimum age of 21; moderate difficulty-includes walking on cobblestones, unpaved paths, up/down slopes, uneven surfaces. Participants will be asked to sign a liability waiver and should consider purchasing trip insurance.

Identification/Vaccinations: A current U.S. passport is required. No vaccinations are necessary (good to have up-to-date tetanus shot).

Climate: February/March weather in the Guatemalan Highlands is sunny, no rain, daytime temperatures in 70s F, nights in the 50s.

Glimpse of Guatemala

Brief Day-by-Day Itinerary:

Saturday, February 24: Arrive at Guatemala City airport (GUA) no later than 2:00 pm.  Shuttle to colonial Antigua, check in at Hotel Aurora, tour orientation, and welcome dinner with “Behind the Walls” slide show and discussion.

Sunday, February 25: Antigua walking tour, experience Guatemalan Lenten procession, typical lunch/cooking & weaving demo/product display at local family home in San Antonio Aguas Calientes, discuss Guatemala’s social/political/economic situation over dinner with former U.S. Consul General/ALDEA board member.

Monday, February 26: ALDEA update in Chimaltenango by onsite Executive Director, travel to two rural Mayan villages–one village with ALDEA-sponsored environmental and empowerment projects completed and one without projects.  Overnight stay at San Ricardo Farm & Lodge in Tecpán – best available local accommodations.

Tuesday, February 27:  Guided visit of the pre-Columbian ruins of Iximché en-route to Lake Atitlán, check in at Posada de Santiago.  After lunch, join local guide Don Diego Chavez for tour of Santiago Atitlán’s Peace Park, church, and rectory where an American priest was murdered in 1981. Shopping opportunities. Possible “Maximón” encounter.

Wednesday, February 28:  AM boat rides—visit a San Pedro La Laguna museum on the Lake’s geology and history, witness the natural dye process at local weavers cooperative in San Juan La Laguna. Free time in afternoon to relax at the Posada (pool, spa, canoe, or massage), shop in Santiago Atitlán, or visit neighboring communities by boat.

Thursday, March 1: AM boat ride to San Antonio Palopó, walk to ceramic studio, optional continuation walk up the hill thru the colorful lakeside village, short boat ride to Panajachel for bus pick-up & return to Antigua.  Visit another rural ALDEA village en-route—participate with villagers in typical daily activities. Dinner in Antigua.

Friday, March 2: AM to mid-afternoon time to relax, shop, stroll in fascinating, colonial Antigua. Among many activity options:  Coffee plantation or jade factory visit, chocolate truffles workshop, museum(s) visits, Pacaya Volcano hike, handicrafts market, spa visit, massage in your hotel room, more shopping, or just relax in a patio restaurant. Late afternoon guided tour of the historic Casa Santo Domingo monastery, followed by special dinner finale at the hotel’s exquisite restaurant.

Saturday, March 3:  Shuttle to Guatemala City airport for flight departures OR plan additional post-tour activity, e.g. famous Chichicastenango market, overnight to Tikal or Copan, Spanish language school, cooking class, or visit more of Antigua.

Our Guatemala trip was fantastic! We watched bright sawdust carpets being made for a Lenten procession, followed by the faithful carrying church statues throughout Antigua. We ate delightful home cooked meals and delicious food in restaurants, none of which we would have found on our own. Our local guide, Fabi, shared her love of Guatemala as we drove through the countryside. We interacted with people in villages where ALDEA works, saw a Mayan celebration, and crossed Lake Atitlán by boat. The perspective the tour gave of Guatemalan culture while showing the plight of Mayan communities could never have been obtained through a conventional tour.  I can only say thanks for the opportunity.

– Cary Hill, 2017 Tour Participant


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