THE ADVENTURE

Central America’s most diverse country offers history, vistas, and travel experiences that have been captivating and challenging visitors for centuries. One thing that’s not diverse, not varied, but nearly ubiquitous: the Guatemalan smile. It starts in the eyes and then with a flicker, lights up the whole face — and suddenly, you’ve got one on too. These smiles, you see them everywhere; from Antigua’s crumbling ruins to the stately cathedral in Guatemala City’s central plaza, from stunning trekking routes through the Petén region’s jungles to the ridge-line of the volcano-ringed Lago de Atitlán. The Guatemalan smile is everywhere and unchanging.
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Maybe that’s why Conrad has us adventuring into this land of the living Maya culture. He’s got a journey brewed for us that has us traveling to Antugua to Panajachel to San Pedro and back around to Guatemala City.  We’ll tour coffee farms and chocolate museums. We’ll explore in kayaks and relax in hot springs. Want to climb a volcano? You’re in luck. How about sip on the best coffee of your life while contemplating the nuances of Spanish Colonial Architecture. You got it. Wait. There it is. There’s that smile again.

Activities

Experience Antigua:

Lakeside in Panajachel:

Tz’utujil time in San Pedro La Laguna:

Volcano Hiking:

Accommodations

Two nights in Antigua Rental House (shared room)

One nights in Panajachel Rental House (shared room)

Two nights in San Pedro La Laguna Rental House (shared room)

Itinerary

Day 1 and Day 2: From Guatemala City to Antigua

  • We’ll gather and organize at La Aurora International Airport in Gautemala City upon arrival for our shared shuttle to the beautiful town of Antigua. Our home for the next two days is set in a city well known for its well-preserved Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture, as well as a number of ruins of colonial churches. Antigua served as the capital of the Kingdom of Guatemala. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you’re a frequent GlobeKicker … check another UNESCO off of the list!
  • As we settle into our first full day in the city, we’ll brush up on our espanol through guided group instruction. Antigua is known as a destination for people who want to learn Spanish through immersion. There are many Spanish language schools and it is one of the most popular and best recognized centers for Spanish language study by students from Europe, Asia, and North America.
  • Following some verb conjugation and the requisite rolling of the rrrrrr’s, it’ll be high time for a treat! A visit to the Chocolate Museum will do quite nicely!
  • As we traverse cobblestones en route to group dinner on our last night, the chat is of how tomorrow will take us to a different part of this mysterious country … out into the heart of the matter. And with not even 2% of its landmass urbanized, we cannot wait to see it’s superb natural scenery unfold.

Day 3 - Day 4: Life along Lake Atitlán

  • Before any more traveling gets done, however, coffee. And we’re in the exact right spot for the perfect cup. We’ll tour an authentic Guatemalan farm and get to share smiles, stories, and caffeine (of course) with the local farmers and their families.
  • The afternoon gives us first views of the stunning Lake Atitlán from our new hillside locale in Panajachel. Over the next day here, we’ll have plenty of free time to explore the local markets, kayaking opportunities, and wonderful indigenous cuisine.
  • Our time in Panajachel will close looking back across the lake, as we make our way by boat transport across the deep blue water to the town of San Pedro La Laguna.

Day 5: GlobeKick vs. The Volcano

  • There it is. Finally. Looming there set against the setting sun. It’s image will continue to tease your brain until you have finally conquered this fire-breathing mountain. This is Volcán San Pedro. Also, just kidding. The Guatemalan Government has declared this behemoth an ecological park well safe for trekking — millions of years dormant and not likely to return to burn.
  • We’ll take tuk-tuks to the trailhead of the volcano at 7am on the morning of our Day 5 in Guatemala. The hike itself is about 5 miles round-trip, and the elevation change is 4,000 feet.
  • The trail is a dirt foot path that is more gradual at the bottom and gets steeper towards the top. About halfway up, stone steps begin appearing on the trail. The last hour or so of the hike is up a stone staircase. Be sure to pace yourself at the beginning, because it definitely gets harder.
  • The ascent takes the average hiker between 3-5 hours, and the descent isn’t much faster because of the stairs. There are several look-out points along the trail, some with benches that overlook the lake. The top of the volcano looks out across the lake as well. Because the volcano is taller than many of the mountains surrounding the lake, you can see past the lake and feel like you are standing above the clouds.
  • We return to San Pedro tired, smiling, but accomplished to enjoy a group celebration dinner

Day 6: Smiling back to Guatemala City

  • This land is diverse and different than you had imagine. It doesn’t feel like the rest of Central America. It’s cooler … literally. It’s older … geologically and culturally. But it’s also filled with smiles and excitement than go way beyond the natural highs and beauty of the mysterious land.
  • Transfer to Guatemala City from San Pedro La Laguna provided.

Provisions

What's Included

Five Nights of Accommodation in Guatemala

Transportation from Guatemala City airport to Antigua

Breakfast each morning

Group dinner on second night in Antigua

Chocolate Museum Tour, Spanish Class, Coffee Tour in Antigua

Transfer to Panajachel

Group dinner on first night in Panajachel

Cooking class in Panajachel

Volcan San Pedro hike

Group lunch on first day in San Pedro La Laguna

Group dinner on last night in San Pedro La Laguna

Transportation to Gautemala City

What's Not Included

Transportation to/from your hometown to Guatemala City International Airport

Insurance of any kind

Lunches, Dinners, Snacks (not otherwise specified)

Optional suggested excursions beyond what’s provided (kayaking & hot springs visits)

Transfers beyond those included

Alcoholic beverages and/or Soft Drinks

Items of a Personal Nature

Dates

November 2019

Group Size

15-20 GlobeKickers

Suggested Airport

La Aurora International Airport (GUA) in Guatemala City, Guatemala

Weather

Weather in Guatemala varies significantly by altitude and climate zone. For a small country, it has many climate zones, and well as two “seasons,” the dry season (November – May) and the rainy season. Unquestionably, the best time to visit Guatemala is from November until late February. Expect dry weather and warmer climates in Guatemala City & Antigua and cooler weather along Lake Atitlán.

Gear List

Recommended

  • Passport
  • Major Credit Cards
  • Sunglasses
  • A couple of “nicer” shirts
  • Some athletic tops and bottoms
  • A thin, long-sleeved shirt
  • Jeans
  • Hiking Pants
  • Shorts
  • Underwear
  • Casual sneaker-like shoes
  • Hiking Boots
  • Sandals / flip-flops
  • Socks
  • A Brimmed Hat
  • Guatemala guide book
  • Sunscreen
  • Earplugs
  • Headphones
  • Phone and Camera
  • Toiletries
  • Ibuprofen
  • Prescription medicine (make a note of active ingredients in addition to brand in case of loss)
  • Motion sickness remedy
  • Pain relievers
  • Calamine lotion
  • Diarrhea remedy
  • Hydration tablets
  • Allergy medicine (& EpipPen if serious)
  • Standard first-aid-kit with bandages
  • Sleeping aid for travel

Optional

  • Compass
  • GoPro (great for filming elephants!)
  • Maps
  • Small Multitool
  • Laptop
  • E Reader

Travel Documents

  • Airline Tickets (Confirmation and Itinerary)
  • Visa
  • Photo Identification
  • Color Copy of Passport Identification Page

The GlobeKicker Gauges

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1 = lowest and 10 = highest