Experience Semana Santa (Holy Week), one of the most vibrant celebrations in Central America, on this remarkable 10-day adventure based in Antigua, Guatemala. Line the parade route along cobblestoned streets decorated in flower petals, explore the famous Chichicastenango Market, and venture with a local guide to meet local Mayan villagers amidst the volcanic scenery of Lake Atitlán. Be part of an exceptional time in an exceptional place.
- Travel Style : National Geographic Journeys
- Service Level : Upgraded
- Physical Grading : 2 - Light
- Merchandising : Limited Edition
- Merchandising : Planeterra Project
- Trip Type : Small Group
- What's Included:Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Chichicastenango - Beyond the Market, Chichicastenango
Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Antigua Cultural Walking Tour, Antigua Guatemala
Your G for Good Moment: Lake Atitlán Boat Ride and Community Visit, Lago de Atitlán
Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group. Arrival transfer. Observing Good Friday processions. Boat ride around Lake Atitlán. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
- Highlights:Explore the famous Chichicastenango Market, Visit the G Adventures-suppoted San Juan la Laguna village, Experience colourful parades and ceremonies
- Dossier Disclaimer:The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
- Itinerary Disclaimer:While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
- Important Notes:AIRPORT
Antigua's nearest airport is approximately one hour away in Guatemala City.
- Group Leader Description:All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders, a G Adventures representative, or an expedition team. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it's the best of both worlds.
- Group Size Notes:Max 15, Avg 10.
- Meals Included:9 breakfasts, 1 lunch
- Meals:Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
- Transport:Private van, boat, walking.
- Solo Travellers:We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
- Accommodation:Hotels (9 nts).
- My Own Room:Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops
- Joining Hotel:For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
- Joining Instructions:An arrival transfer is included when you arrive on Day 1, or if you arrive up to three days prior provided that you have booked your pre-accommodation through National Geographic Journeys in our joining hotel. Due to customer experience and quality considerations, all services related to the tour must be continuous.
Our driver will be waiting for you with a National Geographic Journeys sign with your name on it, and they will be waiting for you outside the luggage hall. There most likely will be many signs, so please check carefully for your name.
Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned, so you may arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day in which no activities are planned.
Your CEO will contact you at the hotel on Day 1 and make sure you are settled comfortably. If you arrive late, they will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning. Your CEO will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip.
**Please note that Antigua's nearest airport is Guatemala City, Guatemala. Don't get caught flying into the Caribbean island nation of Antigua; it's nowhere near the start of this tour!
- Arrival Complications:We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
- Emergency Contact:Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Operator (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office San Jose, Costa Rica
During Office hours (Weekdays 9am-5pm Local Time): +506 4001 8474
After hours emergency number: +506 8322 9140
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
- What to Take:We recommend using a backpack for your convenience, or a medium-sized suitcase if you prefer. A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person. You will be responsible for carrying your own luggage.
- Packing List:Documents:
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Small travel towel
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket
• Smart outfit (For evenings out)
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sun hat/bandana
- Laundry:Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
- Visas and Entry Requirements:All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent.
- Spending Money:Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
- Money Exchange:Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Latin America. Check with your bank. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies. Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US dollars cash and cards with travellers cheques as backup is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don't want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 100USD (or equivalent).
GUATEMALA ATMs: Please note that daily withdrawal limits in this country are extremely low, currently set at 1000 quetzales - less than 140 USD. It is advisable to arrive with enough cash, if your daily needs exceed this amount.
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
- Emergency Fund:Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
- Departure Tax:Guatemala airport exit tax: 20Q ($3USD)
- Tipping:It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected - though not compulsory - component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your CEO will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $5-10 USD per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.
Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $10-15 USD per person, per week can be used.
- Optional Activities:Lago de Atitlán
- Coffee Tour Antigua
- Pacaya Volcano Hike (Half-Day) (15-70USD per person)
- Massage (30-60USD per person)
- Salsa Lesson (5-12USD per person)
- Health:Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
- Safety and Security:Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:
- A Couple of Rules:Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
- Travel Insurance:Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
- Trip Specific Responsible Travel:On this tour you may have the opportunity to visit the following G Adventures for Good projects:
OPEN WINDOWS FOUNDATION
Open Windows is a non-profit organization that provides educational opportunities for children in the community of San Miguel Dueñas. Programs offered by Open Windows are free and have supported over1,500 children in the areas of literacy, computer skills, tutoring and art with priority given to those who have greater financial need. A scholarship program is offered to children who show great interest in learning and strong dedication to studying and for those in need of medical support, a health clinic is open free to the community twice each month.
Although the town of San Miguel Duenas is situated just twenty minutes from the wealthy tourist center of Antigua, it does not benefit from its proximity. It has a substantially lower standard of living (the average monthly income is less than $80, and many homes do not have running water or electricity) and level of education. The need to improve education is huge. In Guatemala the literacy level is only 71%, the average child completes only five and a half years of school, more than half fail 1st grade, and only 1% of the population reads for pleasure.
San Miguel Duenas is an agricultural town of 12,000 people, of which 4,000 are school-aged children and yet only 2,000 attend school. The rest do not go for various financial and cultural reasons. Instead of attending school many children must help provide for their families by picking coffee. This has resulted in an exceptionally low literacy rate in this community.
There are NO other libraries or computer centers in San Miguel Dueñas (not even the four local schools have either of these facilities). Open Windows, therefore, aims to improve the living conditions of the economically deprived children from in and around the town, by providing access to important educational resources through its services which the community has come to depend on.
How You Can Help
Each year we work with the staff of Open Windows to identify the needs of the project. G Adventures pays all administration costs so that 100% of each donation goes to the projects we support. It costs $500 USD to send one child to school for one year. This provides enough funds to cover the cost of the child’s uniform, school fees, books and school supplies. Highschool is six years in duration which means that by raising just $3,000 USD we can help one child further their education giving them the confidence and ability to access better jobs and create a brighter future.
While our goal is to raise funds to support the Open Windows Scholarship program, travellers can also help make a difference by visiting the Open Windows project while on your G Adventures tour and donating the following items:
• School supplies (i.e. pens, pencils, notebooks)
• Art supplies (i.e. yarn, crochete hooks, paint)
• Children’s clothes (i.e. T-shirts)
• Running shoes (new and used)
• Mouse pads and earphones to be used with the computers
• Toys to be used for the reading points program
• Over the counter medicine to be used in the health clinic (i.e. Tylenol, cough medicine etc.)
It is possible to visit this project on most tours that pass through Antigua, Guatemala. To arrange a visit please speak to your G Adventures CEO who can arrange this for you.
The Cornerstone Foundation is a registered non-profit humanitarian service organization that offers a variety of valuable programs to people in need in the small town of San Ignacio, Belize.
The programs offered through the Cornerstone Foundation have constantly been evolving and are based on specific needs within the community.
Relief & Aid
Through this program seniors, the ill and disabled are supported by a weekly food program whereby food such as rice, beans and meat when available are delivered to their homes. Children whose families cannot afford to provide them with food at lunch are able to participate in Cornerstones’ basic but nutritious lunch feeding program.
HIV infection in Belize is the highest in Central America. This program collaborates closely with other local efforts to raise community awareness of high-risk behaviors, provides support for those who are living with AIDS, and conducts activities to change attitudes and reduce stigmatization.
Supporting the move of local women towards greater independence and self-sufficiency is the focus of this program. Self-esteem building, ending domestic violence, training peer counselors, and teaching job skills are part of this program.
This program serves individuals, families, caregivers, teachers and others, helping to meet the physical, social, emotional, and material needs of the disabled. Belize has minimal information about special needs, limited physical therapy, nearly no equipment, and few professionals trained to work with learning and other disabilities.
Although English is the country's official language, most Belizeans grow up speaking local indigenous languages instead. Cornerstone's Literacy and English Second Language (ESL) classes are offered to children, adults, developmentally disabled students which improves their ability to participate more fully in Belizean society and the economy.
How You Can Help
Each year we work with the staff of Cornerstone to identify the needs of their programs. In the past we have supported Cornerstone’s Literacy and Disabilities programs and with your support we can help with continued annual donations through the Planeterra Foundation. G Adventures pays all administration costs so that 100% of each donation goes to the projects we support.
It is possible to visit the Cornerstone project office on some tours that pass through San Ignacio, Belize. To arrange a visit please speak to your G Adventures CEO.
For more information about these projects and/or to make a donation please visit our website at www.planeterra.org or contact us at email@example.com
- Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation:The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.
- Local Dress:In the heavily indigenous populated areas it is recommended to wear conservative clothing and avoid wearing shorts.
- Feedback:After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send it on to you.
- Newsletter:Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/
Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation – Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra's monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.
- Minimum Age:You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.
- International Flights:Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
- Max Pax:15
- Group Leader:Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.
Itinerary (10 days)
Guatemala City/Antigua Guatemala
Arrive at the Guatemala City airport. Transfer to Antigua is included.
Travel to Lake Atitlán and catch a boat to the small town of Jaibalito, the base for the next three nights. From here, explore indigenous villages on the lake as they prepare for the Holy Week processions.
Explore indigenous villages on the lake as they prepare for the Holy Week processions. Also visit San Juan la Laguna, a G Adventures-supported village. Take an orientation walk, visit various co-ops, enjoy a local Mayan lunch and a Mayan tree-planting ceremony. Take some free time to enjoy the lake.
In the morning visit the famed market of Chichicastenango. With a local expert, explore beyond the market and gain a deeper understanding of the culture and faith of the locals. Included are visits to Santo Tomas Church, the cemetery, and Cerro Turcaj pilgrimage and offering site.
Travel back across the lake and transfer to Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over the next five days here, enjoy the many parades and ceremonies, not just as a spectator, but as a participant in the celebrations.
Today, get your bearings and explore Antigua on a guided cultural walking tour with a local expert, including the museums at Paseo de los Museos. Along the way, continue to watch as the city prepares for Easter celebrations.
Continue to enjoy Holy week celebrations with free time for self-guided discovery.
Continue to enjoy Holy week celebrations with free time for self-guided discovery.
Continue to enjoy Holy week celebrations with free time for self-guided discovery.
Depart at any time.