February 23 - March 2, 2024
“Explore, Experience, Empower” Tour
(For Women only)
*Full - Wait list Available*

ALDEA offers a unique, eye-opening, 8-day/8-night tour of the western highlands of Guatemala, the “Land of Eternal Spring.”

The mission of ALDEA and its partner organization, ABPD, is to promote integrated development services that improve the wellbeing of families with limited resources, especially in rural Mayan areas. For over 50 years, we have been working to change the trajectory of peoples’ lives and empower them to create lasting solutions to the persistent problems of poverty and inequality that are inherent in Guatemala’s large indigenous population.

This 8-day/8-night tour provides the rare opportunity to be welcomed into Mayan villages to experience ALDEA’s life-changing work and understand how you can be a part of making a meaningful difference. In addition, you will be amazed by the country’s incredible beauty, its vibrant culture, and breathtaking landscape around Antigua and Lake Atitlán.

Is this tour for you? It is, if you want to:

  • Experience the unique honor and privilege of being welcomed into the homes of the communities ALDEA serves and witness firsthand the impact of our work.
  • Discover daily activities of rural Mayans in their homes, learn their stories, and meet community leaders.
  • Learn about Guatemala’s thriving Mayan heritage and amazing legacy.
  • Explore Antigua, a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site,  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.
  • Revel in the magical atmosphere of the lake and its traditions of painters, potters, weavers, and fishermen.
  • Walk the Mayan ruins of Iximché and witness a Mayan ritual.
  • Learn your Mayan energy “nawal.”
  • Have the chance to view the colorful quetzal, Guatemala’s rarely seen national bird.
  • Enjoy delicious Guatemalan food and some of the best coffee in the world.
  • Take advantage of fair-trade shopping opportunities in Antigua and San Juan La Laguna.
  • Get to know and spend time with women who care about the larger world and want to support women and families.
  • Make memories for a lifetime!

Price per Person: $1,900 double occupancy; $2,200 single occupancy

Deposit/Payments/Cancellations: $500 deposit is due at the time of registration and the remaining balance ($1,400 per person for double occupancy and $1,700 for single occupancy) is due on November 30, 2023. If a participant cancels by November 30, 2023, they will receive a full refund of the amount paid. No refunds will be made for cancellations after November 30, 2023, unless the vacancy can be filled with a participant of equivalent occupancy.

Participation Details: The activity level for this trip is moderately difficult due to walking on cobblestones, uneven surfaces, and up and down slopes; standing for periods of time; getting in and out of boats; and riding on bumpy roads. Tour is limited to 15 participants; all must be a minimum of 18 years of age. Any tour participants 18-20 years of age must be accompanied by a parent and must agree to not consume alcohol while on the tour. Participants are required to sign a liability waiver, to provide proof of COVID vaccination, and to have travel medical insurance coverage.

Travel Documents: A current U.S. passport is required. No visa is required for Guatemala visits of fewer than 90 days.

Climate: February – March weather in the Guatemalan Highlands is sunny with occasional rain and daytime temperatures in 70s F, nights in the 50s.

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.
  • Five nights at Hotel Aurora in Antigua, one night in Tecpán, and two nights at Hotel Bambú at Lake Atitlán.
  • Daily breakfasts plus six lunches and seven dinners (including a special farewell dinner).
  • Air-conditioned, chauffeured coaster bus for in-country trips; water and some snacks included.
  • Bilingual guides/available translators, all excursions and entrance fees during group activities.
  • Gratuities for meals, chauffeurs, local on-site guides, and hotel service.

what’s not included

  • Roundtrip air transportation.
  • Items of a personal nature, e.g. souvenirs, laundry, extra snacks and drinks.
  • Meals on Friday, February 23 and lunch on Friday, March 1.
  • Cost of optional activities during free time.
  • Travel medical insurance.
  • Tip for main travel guide.
  • All the things you are going to buy when you see the colorful and gorgeous textiles, pottery and handicrafts created by Maya women.

*Please note that this tour is for women only*

Brief Day-by-Day Itinerary
(Subject to Change)

Friday, February 23

Arrive at Guatemala City airport (GUA). Shuttle to Antigua, check in at Hotel Aurora.

Saturday, February 24

Antigua orientation walk followed by tour orientation. After lunch, explore Antigua on your own. Pre-dinner discussion of Guatemala’s social/political/economic situation with former U.S. Consul General/ALDEA board member.

Sunday, February 25

Experience Guatemalan Lenten procession, typical lunch/cooking and weaving demo/product display at local family home in San Antonio Aguas Calientes. Over dinner, discuss ALDEA’s history and current program with former ALDEA board president.

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 in Tecpán.

Tuesday, February 27

Guided visit of the pre-Columbian ruins of Iximché en-route to Lake Atitlán, check in at Hotel Bambú. Free after lunch to explore the lakeside village of Santiago Atitlán, or relax at Hotel Bambú's pool.

Wednesday, February 28

Early AM optional bird-watching tour, followed by day in artist colony of San Juan La Laguna, visits to a women's weaving cooperative, a coffee farm, and a local artist's gallery for a painting demonstration.

Thursday, February 29

AM boat ride to Panajachel to meet our bus which will take us to visit another rural ALDEA village and participate with villagers in typical daily activities. Return to Antigua in time to make a traditional meal in a group cooking class.

Friday, March 1

Day to relax, shop, and stroll in fascinating colonial Antigua. Optional activities abound - Visit a jade museum, a handicrafts market, a museum, climb Pacaya volcano, hike to the top of el Cerro de la Cruz for a bird-eye view of Antigua, take a chocolate-making class, or enjoy a massage in your hotel room. Late afternoon presentation on the history of Hotel Aurora, followed by a guided tour of the historic Casa Santo Domingo and a special send-off dinner at the hotel's exquisite restaurant.

Saturday, March 2

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

"Magical, extraordinary, life changing - the tour is this and so much more! From the moment we landed in Guatemala City, our experience was first class. We learned so much in our short time there! Most importantly, we were able to see firsthand the amazing work that ALDEA and partner organization ABPD are doing in the Mayan villages of Guatemala. They are changing lives one family at a time. We interacted with the families and learned from the promoters (women who are teaching life skills to other women) how their lives have changed because of ALDEA. Now, they are forming friendships and feeling empowered as women! We became immersed in the culture, ate delicious traditional Guatemalan meals, learned about textiles and backstrap weaving, shopped, and experienced life in the colorful city of Antigua. We saw a Lenten processional that was truly a magnificent sight to see. This tour is more than words can express. We hope you will experience it for yourself!"

SHARON Casey AND ELLEN SPEERS, 2023 Tour Participants