Retracing the Maya Culture

Retracing the Maya Culture

Purpose: Culture, Archeology, History
No. of days: 9 days - 8 nights
First & Last Cities: Guatemala City, San Pedro Sula
Other cities: Lake Atitlan, Tikal, Rio Dulce, Quirigua, Livingston, Copan
Starting cost: $4,475
Day 1: Guatemala City, Lake Atitlan
Welcome to Guatemala City!  Upon arrival your English-speaking guide will meet you at the airport. Together you will depart for a 3-hour ride to your hotel on the shore of Lake Atitlan. Remainder of the day at leisure to explore the grounds of your hotel. Overnight in Lake Atitlan.
Note: Clients must arrive in Guatemala City before 2:00 pm, otherwise they will need to overnight in Guatemala City or Antigua and go to Lake Atitlan the following day.
Day 2: Lake Atitlan
Morning visit to the San Juan La Laguna Village; stop at the local textile cooperative and observe how they still color with natural dyes. Chat with the local artists before boarding the boat to Santiago Village for lunch. After lunch, walk with your guide to find the house where the Maya God Maximon is living. Each year a different “brotherhood” has the privilege of taking care of their God, Once with Maximon, you may see the local Shamans performing their rituals. Before departing, stop at the local church where you will learn the history of this very traditional town. Overnight in Lake Atitlan. [B/L]
Day 3: Lake Atitlan, Flores, Tikal
After breakfast, leave your hotel and ride through the central highland region. See the local Mayan people in their traditional dress, working in the fields, collecting firewood, traveling between markets, selling their wares and in a bit more than one hour you arrive at the bustling market in the highland town of Chichicastenango.  Upon arrival, explore this famous market with its local fruits, vegetables and superb crafts with endless varieties of beautiful textile, wood and ceramics. Time to visit the famous St. Tomas Church where local Maya people come to perform their rituals within the Catholic Church − demonstrating the syncretism of the two faiths. After lunch, drive to the airport in Guatemala City for the evening flight to Flores, gateway to Tikal, transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Tikal [B/L]
Note: Market days in Chichicastenango are on Thursday and Sunday. In order to take advantage of the Market we suggest you start this tour on a Tuesday or Friday.
Day 4: Tikal, Yaxha, Tikal
Yaxhá is the third largest Mesoamerican archaeological site in Guatemala. This guided tour will provide you with insights into the people and customs of this site, which, in its peak, served as the ceremonial center of the pre-Colombian Maya era. Yaxhá, derived from its Mayan meaning for 'blue-green water', is estimated to have extended over 90 sq. miles, with a population of more than 40,000 people. The site contains many intriguing temples, but Temple 216, located in the East Acropolis, towers above the site with magnificent panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. You also find here two scenic lakes. At sunset, you'll relax with delicious wine and snacks at the edge of Lake Yaxhá and cruise the blue-green lagoon in a small boat before returning to your hotel. Overnight in Tikal [B]
Day 5: Tikal
The city of Tikal, was the capital of a conquest state which became one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya. The city reached its peak between 200 and 900 AC. Once with a population of 100,000, it was highly structured and immersed in spiritual practice; with many of the massive buildings visible today being raised during this time. The monuments paid tribute to the rulers of the past and were meant to please the deities. In addition to achievements in construction the Maya also excelled in the arts and astronomy. Drive to Tikal National Park, refuge for most of the animals in Guatemala and a place where they can be easily seen. Here, enjoy a tour of this fabulous site with huge temples rising up through the jungle canopy and a variety of tropical animals and birds. After lunch, return to your hotel.  Overnight in Tikal [B/L]
Day 6: Tikal, Rio Dulce, Livingston
This morning you will transfer down toward Rio Dulce where you will board a private cruise along the Dulce River through the central canyon and down to the Garifuna town of Livingston, on the coast.  A Caribbean fishing enclave that sits at the mouth of the Río Dulce, Lívingston feels like a tropical island. The Garífuna people who live here (descendants of shipwrecked African slaves who mixed with the indigenous Caribs in the seventeenth century) have their own language, culture, and cuisine, all of which is preserved, in part, by the town's inaccessibility: Lívingston (called La Buga in Garífuna) is reached only by water or air. Once a booming seaport, the now-mellow town comprises a narrow beach, a handful of clapboard-house-lined streets, and a few good lunch spots where punta rock (the local, percussion-based music) is always playing. Overnight in Livingston. [B/L].
Day 7: Livingston, Quiriguá, Copan
This morning you will leave Guatemala and cross the border of Honduras to the colonial town of Copán.  Whilst transferring to Copan you will stop at Quiriguá. This site appears to have been constructed within a period of 65 years (745-810 AD), and was once the capital of a thriving state. Its ruins include 12 tall monuments carved from single blocks of stone called stelae, enormous carved stones of mythological animal shapes called zoo morphs, carved calendars, temples, a palace, a ball court and a plaza. The hieroglyphics sculpted upon the stelae recount the history between this city and the ancient city of Copan in Honduras. In 1,979, Quiriguá was declared "monument of the World's Heritage" by UNESCO. Lunch will be provided at a local restaurant just off the road. One of the most important sites of the Mayan civilization, Copan was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. Copan was the capital of the most important Maya period which lasted almost 5 centuries from the 5th through the 10th. Century AD. The site is the best researched Mayan city, offering a representation of how the Mayans used to live. Seventeen rulers governed this Classic period during its 400-year existence. Copan features two state of the art archaeological museums, and the Copan Valley is famous for a great variety of birds, colorful toucans and parrots, and native macaws. Overnight in Copán. [B/L]
Day 8: Copan
Today explore the archeological site at Copán, famous for its intricate carvings and remarkable hieroglyphic staircase; visit the Copán museum located on the main square of Copán ruins, home to a selection of artifacts found at the site. The onsite Museum of the Mayan Sculpture displays a full-size replica of the Rosalila Temple, the main religious sanctuary on the site.  After the tour, return to Copán. Afternoon at leisure to explore the city on own. Overnight in Copán. [B/L]
Day 9: Copan, San Pedro Sula
At agreed time, transfer to the airport to board your flight home, or to your next destination [B]
Note: Clients must depart from San Pedro Sula after 1:00 pm otherwise they will need to spend the previous night in San Pedro Sula.
[B]= Breakfast | [B/L] = Breakfast and Lunch






Tour includes
  • Private transfers between airports and hotels
  • 8 nights accommodation at hotel of preference:
    • Lake Atitlan - 2 nights
    • Tikal - 3 nights
    • Livingston - 1 night
    • Copan - 2 nights
  • Meals:
    • Daily breakfast
    • 6 lunches
  • Private tours as per itinerary
  • Assistance by local English-speaking guides
  • Entrance fees to attractions mentioned
  • All hotel taxes
Not included in tour
  • International or domestic air tickets
  • Early check-in or late checkout at hotels
  • Services and food not listed in the itinerary
  • Beverages during the meals
  • Hotel extras, and personal expenses
  • Tips for guides, drivers, and in restaurants

Hotels in your Tour

Country City Hotel Name Room Type Tripadvisor
Tourist Class
Mexico Merida Gran Real Yucatan Standard 3.5
Cancun Beachscape Cancun Standard 4
Guatemala Lago Atitlan Porta del Lago Standard 4
Tikal Casona del Lago Standard 4
Livingston Villa Caribe Standard 4
Honduras Copan Clarion Copan Standard 4.5
First Class
Mexico Merida Holiday Inn Standard 4
Cancun Elpresidente Standard 4.5
Guatemala Lago Atitlan Hotel Atitlan Standard 4.5
Tikal Camino Real Tikal Standard 4
Livingston Villa Caribe Standard 4
Honduras Copan Marina Copan Standard 4.5

All hotels are subject to confirmation at the time of booking

Tour Pricing

Category From
Tourist Class $4,475
First Class $4,869
Rates are per person, may change without notice and are valid through 22 December 2019 except for major holidays such as Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas & New Year.
Other blackout dates may apply.
This tour requires a minimum of 2 passengers to operate
Tour Code: GU02GUA19GM