MAYAN CALENDAR 2012 - End of the world ?
What to expect
December 21st 2012 sees the ancient Maya calender complete its 5,125 year cycle, marking the calendars finality and the beginning of a new era. This date at this moment in time, is shrouded in mystery; the meaning and significance that 21st December held for the creators of the Maya calendar continues to cause debate among scholars.
Whether the famous Mayan Long count defines the end of the world or not, the astronomical calculations that led to it are fascinating and indicate an astounding and accurate observation of the universe.
On this date – join us and be present at the oldest complete Maya Astronomic Complex and watch the sun align with ancient temples. Explore and learn about the rich Maya heritage in Guatamala on a date that historians, anthropologists, spiritual leaders, sceptics and curious travellers have been speculating over for centuries.
Wednesday Dec 12:
Welcome to Guatemala!
Arrival to Guatemala City you will be met by STP GUATEMALA staff for the transfer to the colonial city of Antigua to the Hotel Villa Colonial for 02nights with breakfast Hotel Villa Colonial (4*)
Located 5 minutes from Antigua’s beautiful main plaza, the Villa Colonial offers 50 rooms. All have private bathroom, hot water and telephone and cable TV. Guests can enjoy the international and local cuisine served in the Bougainvillea Restaurant and make use of the swimming pool, gardens and patios. www.villasdeguatemala.com
Thursday Dec 13:
Antigua Guatemala + Surrounding Villages (B,L) .
Antigua, colonial city declared by UNESCO “Cultural Heritage of Humankind”. In the morning we will visit the main historic monuments of the city, starting from the Main Plaza. Afterwards we head to the village of San Antonio Aguas Calientes, famous for its textiles and handicrafts. Then we continue to the Indigenous village of Santiago Zamora. Here you will learn about the Maya-Kaqchiquel culture and have the opportunity to interact with a group of women artisans called Ixoki’ aj Quiema’, who elaborate artisan products, mainly textiles using ancestral techniques. A typical lunch will be prepared by these women. Return to Antigua Guatemala.
Friday Dec 14:
Iximché (The Ancient Capital of the Maya-Kaqchikel/ Sololá Market/ Lake Atitlán (B)
In the morning we head to the highlands. On the way to Lake Atitlán we will visit Iximché, an archaeological site located in the town of Tecpán. Iximché was the former capital of the Maya-Kaqchikel, place where in 1524 was founded Guatemala´s first capital by the Spanish conqueror Pedro de Alvarado.
After the visit we continue to visit Sololá on Market Day. Continue to Lake Atitlán. Time at leisure to enjoy the town of Panajachel, before we continue to the town of Santa Catarina Palopó. Hotel Villa Santa Catarina for 02 overnights with breakfast Villa Santa Catarina (4*) Located on the shores of Lake Atitlan, 2½ hours from Guatemala City. Villa Santa Catarina offers 36 rooms, each with private balcony and a magnificent view of the surrounding lake, volcanoes and mountains. Room amenites also include private bathroom, cable TV and hot water whilst hotel facilities include restaurant, bar abd pool. www.villasdeguatemala.com
Saturday Dec 15:
Lake Atitlán (San Juan La Laguna- Tree Planting Ceremony at “Cerro de la Cruz” & Santiago Atitlán) (B)
Today we will visit two villages. We take a boat ride to San Juan La Laguna where you will have the opportunity to enjoy first hand interaction with the locals, and learn about their daily life, customs and traditions. During the visit of the village, led by a local community guide, each of you will have the chance to seed a tree, give new life during a small ceremony with mother earth. A walk through the friendly village brings you closer the Maya-Tzutujil and their handicrafts.
Afterwards we continue by boat to the town of Santiago Atitlán famous for Maximón, a character that is widely worshiped by the inhabitants of Santiago. Santiago also offers a variety of handicrafts, colourful textiles, woodcarvings and naïf paintings.
Sunday Dec 16:
Chichicastenango Indigenous Market + Pascual Abaj Sacred Mayan Altar (Mayan Ceremony) / PM GUA City (B,L)
Departure to Chichicastenango, where you will see the most colourful and picturesque outdoor market in Guatemala, where locals from the region, gather to buy and sell fruits, vegetables, flowers, grains, animals, textiles and handicrafts. Relevant is the visit to the Santo Tomás Church, where the Maya-Quiché pray mixing ancient Maya traditions along with Catholic Religion. We will visit the Sacred Maya Altar of “Pascual Abaj” and enjoy a typical lunch at the nearby home of a local family.
In the afternoon we continue to Guatemala City to the Hotel Barcelo Premium for 01 overnight with breakfast Barceló Guatemala City (5*) This city hotel is set in the heart of the business district and offers 386 rooms. Room amenities include voice mail and telephone, mini-bar, high speed internet access, air conditioning, trouser press and hair dryer. Guests can take advantage of the hotel’s three bars and two restaurants as well as other facilities including swimming pool, business centre and gym. www.barcelo.com
Monday Dec 17:
Archaeology and Ethnology Museum. PM Copán visit (B)
Morning departure to the border with Honduras, crossing the Motagua Valley, which was the region source of Jade for the Maya. After short border formalities, we will arrive to the town of Copán Ruinas. Visit to one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the Maya World: Copán, declared by UNESCO a “World Heritage Site”. Copán presents a sophisticated architectural style and a unique art for stone carving. Visit the main plazas, complexes and monuments, as well as the Sculpture Museum with a replica of the Rosalila Temple.
Arrive at the Hotel Marina Copán for 01 overnight with breakfast Hotel Marina Copán Overlooking the Central Plaza in the charming town of Copán Ruinas, Honduras, the hotel offers 50 spacious rooms and suites designed in a classic colonial style. All rooms are fully furnished with air conditioning, ceiling fans, cable TV and phone. www.hotelmarinacopan.com
Tuesday Dec 18:
Quiriguá- The City of the Mayan Creation / Puerto Barrios / Livingston (B)
After leaving the Copán Valley we will get back to Guatemala, and then continue to the Site of Quiriguá. Declared by UNESCO “Cultural Heritage of Humankind”, in Quiriguá we will se the Stelae “E”, the highest carved by the Mayans, carved in 771 AD, also we will se the Stelae of the Creation, Stelae C carved In 776 AD.
After the visit, continue to Puerto Barrios, where you will take a boat ride to the Garífuna town of Livingston, located where Río Dulce meets the Caribbean Sea. Livingston is the only town in Guatemala where the African Caribbean Culture has survived with all its traditions since the first settlers came at the end of the 15th Century, and today it is a peaceful, colourful and relaxed town. 01 overnight with breakfast at Hotel Villa Caribe Hotel Villa Caribe Located in Livingston and surrounded by lush tropical forest, the hotel offers 42 rooms with private balconies offering panoramic views of the river and the sea. www.villasdeguatemala.com
Wednesday Dec 19:
Livingston/Río Dulce/ Flores (Yaxha visit) (B,L)
Early start with a river trip through Rio Dulce. Admire the lush tropical forest, hundreds of birds and the impressive Río Dulce Canyon. Continue by road to Flores. One hour from Flores lays the lagoon and archaeological site Yaxhá, one of the most important cities in the greater Petén area. A number of acropolis complexes are connected by ancient walkways, and in between are 31 steles and a ball game court. Yaxhá is one of the few sites outside Tikal with a twin pyramid complex, used to celebrate important solstices and equinoxes. The jade green lagoon makes the symbiosis complete of ancient cultures and divers tropical nature.
Back to Flores to Hotel Villa Maya for 01 overnight with breakfast Villa Maya (4*) Set in extensive natural reserves with a great variety of plant species, flowers and trees unique to his region, an oasis in the Herat of the Peten jungle. The hotel offers 40 rooms with views of Lake Petenchel and the exotic gardens. The hotel restaurant offers international cuisine and local Guatemalan dishes. www.villasdeguatemala.com
Thursday Dec 20:
Uaxactún- The First Astronomical Complex (B, Box Lunch) Meaning “Born in Heaven”, Uaxactún is home to the First Astronomical Observatory in the Mayan Classic Period. Nowadays in this astronomical complex, the solstice and equinox are still observed. Among other, these events where very important in the Agricultural Calendar.
Continue to spend 01 overnight with breakfast in Tikal National Park at selected Jungle Lodge
Friday Dec 21:
Tikal- The Ancient Capital of the Maya. (B,L)
The majestic city of Tikal, considered the largest and most monumental of all sites discovered in the Mayan World, was declared by UNESCO as a “World Heritage Site”. Enjoy a guided walking tour to visit the most important plazas, complexes, temples, ball courts, palaces and stelae. Also enjoy the tropical forest, nesting place of hundreds of exotic birds and the habitat of a wide variety of wildlife. On this special day for the Maya, we will enjoy sunrise on top of one of the main temples.
Afterwards we will visit the archaeological site. Afternoon, drive to Flores to the Hotel Villa Maya for 01 overnights with breakfast
Saturday Dec 22:
AM flight to GUA. Panoramic visit. Transfer to Airport. (B) Transfer to Mundo Maya Airport for the flight to Guatemala City. Panoramic visit of the capital and afternoon transfer to GUA International Airport.
Accommodation as specified.
Included in fee :
Daily American breakfast (10),
Lunch in Antigua (13 Dec), Chichicastenango (16 Dec), Yaxha (19 Dec), Tikal (21 Dec) and Box lunch in Uaxactun (20 Dec)
Private ground transportation with English-speaking guide
Private boat services in Lake Atitlan, Puerto Barrios/Livingston/Rio Dulce
Entrance fees: Antiagu, Iximche, Copan, Quirigua, Yaxha, Uaxactun & Tikal Local guide fee in Copan Flight FRS/GUA
Tips for bell boys
Non-specified services and meals
International Air Fares
Airport Security Tax, currently US$3 per pax, subject to change
Border Fee : Honduras, currently US$5 per pax, subject to change
Tips to drivers, guides, maids
Please contact THE INDEPENDENT TRAVELLER to get a quotation that is right for your needs.