James ArmitageWhen visiting the Maya ruins of Yaxha, with trees and roots growing out of the stone work, monkeys hanging from trees and macaws flying overhead, James felt like Indiana Jones.
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Not only is it the scenery stunning but some of the most traditional villages in Guatemala are located here. Dotted around the shoreline, these villages are home to different indigenous groups with distinct languages, cultures, costumes and textiles.
An exploration of the ancient Maya sites of Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, this route strikes the perfect balance between ancient temples, dense jungles and dazzling lakes. Unveil some of the most visually stunning landscapes in the Americas and a series of world-renowned archaeological sites, with the added bonus of having a chance to attend a private Shaman ceremony.
Unveiling some of the most visually stunning landscapes in vibrant Guatemala, this trip journeys from dazzling high altitude lakes to ancient Mayan ruins. Encompassing Shaman ceremonies, traditional textile weaving workshops and an expertly guided tour of Tikal, this customisable itinerary is designed to give a comprehensive introduction to one of the most vivid countries in Central America.
Lake Atitlan is a wonder of startlingly blue, wind-tossed waters set against a backdrop of three enormous volcanoes jabbing at the southern sky – Tomilan, Atitlán and San Pedro. Along the shores of the lake are a number of indigenous villages where life has changed little over the centuries. All the lakeside villages are accessed by small motorboats, called lanchas, but it is possible to hike around the lake which is one of the best ways to experience the rural communities. There are also a number of fantastic local markets full of colour and produce and without a tourist trinket in sight.
Kayak on the lake, enjoy the adrenaline thrill of a zip line or the unique experience of diving in the volcanic crater-lake.
Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.
Laguna Lodge is a luxury, boutique hotel on the shores of Lake Atitlan close to the village of St Cruz. The hotel is in fact located on a large private area of land called the Tzantizotz Nature Reserve and the hotel is operated with a strong focus on sustainable travel best practice. There are good hiking opportunities within the private reserve. The rooms and bathrooms are spacious and have balconies that offer wonderful views across the lake to the San Pedro and Atitlan Volcanoes. Food is gourmet vegetarian. There are just seven rooms in this beautiful boutique property that is only accessible by a 10-minute boat journey from Panajachel.
Hotel Atitlan is nestled above a magnificent maze of terraced gardens that slope gently down towards the shores of Lake Atitlan. Sweeping views of the lake and its steep verdant hills dominated by enormous volcanoes, is a sight to behold. Each of the 60 rooms are custom designed with individual furnishings carved in the hotel’s own workshop and elaborate textiles hand-woven locally by Mayan weavers. During the evening, sip a cocktail on the terrace and admire colourful sunsets across Lake Atitlan. Meandering pathways trail through glorious gardens of hibiscus and bougainvillea, leading to the hotel pool and jacuzzi.
Casa Palopo is stunning. It has to be one of our favourite properties, winning numerous awards. Dramatic hillside property with magnificent views over Lake Atitlan and the volcanoes, Tomalin, Atitlán and San Pedro, Casa Palopó is a magical hideaway. There are only seven luxurious rooms in the main body of the hotel. All carefully designed and decorated with exquisite taste and style. Local art and colourful furnishings abound. Each room is very different whether in colour, fabrics, sunken baths or private terraces. You can enjoy breakfast and drinks on the terrace while a small, intimate restaurant awaits you for dinner. The service is very personal and attentive. Facilities include a swimming pool and gym – exercise bike, running machines and weights.
A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.
So many thanks indeed for the care and time that you put into organising this trip for us. I cannot underestimate the value of the latter in terms of reading what we wanted and then advising on the best way to achieve that. As I am sure you will know only too well, other operators are over keen to sell “this is what we do”, and make the sale. So thank you for putting together what will be a really memorable experience for us.
John's advice on unique locations and experiences throughout Guatemala were invaluable.
Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you.
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