Thousand-year-old Maya pyramid-temples of Tikal soar above the dense
LAND of the MAYA 2002!
Guatemala is surely one of the most remarkable places on earth. Slightly
smaller than the state of Tennessee, its mountainous topography ranges from
sea level to soaring volcanic peaks over 13,000 feet high; its climate zones
include steamy tropical jungles, rain-shadow desert valleys, cool cloud
forests, and chilly alpine plateaux; and it is home to an amazing diversity of
Maya, Mestizo, European and Caribbean traditions. The Highland Maya,
comprising roughly half Guatemala's population and speaking some 20 or so
different languages, have maintained a rich and colorful culture that gives
Guatemala its basic character. So much to see, so much to leave you
marvelling, so much to make you want to return to Guatemala again and again.
We have been exploring Guatemala since 1969-- and each year we learn new
Every year since 1987 we have led a very special trip to Guatemala, and 2002 is
no exception! Rutahsa's Guatemala-2002 Adventure will take place July 20 -
Aug. 9 (Aug. 11, including Copán extension). The trip will be timed to
enable us to witness the wonderful Rabín Ajau ceremony in Cobán,
which is the climax of a week-long Folkloric Festival held in Cobán the
last week of July.
Here's our itinerary:
Sat., July 20: Fly from the U.S. to Guatemala City; settle in at the
Hotel Pan American, then take a walking tour of the Plaza Mayor area: the
Palacio Nacional, Catedral Nacional, and the
central market-- great places to begin to learn some Guatemalan history and to
get acquainted with all the colorful textiles and other crafts of Guatemala.
Sun., July 21: This morning our private bus, piloted by Erick Villalta,
a great driver and fine fellow, arrives at the Pan Am to pick us up. We then
leave the capital city, stopping at Parque Minerva on the way out of town to
see the remarkable giant relief map of
Guatemala. We travel eastward down into the Motagua Valley, passing through
an area of rain-shadow desert, stopping at archeological and geological sites
of interest along the way, including the small, but very important Maya ruins
of Quiriguá. Here, the tall stone monuments known as stelae are
the tallest in the Maya realm, and some of the
most exquisitely carved, and exceptionally well-preserved. Quiriguá is also famous for its bizarre
zoomorphic boulders not found at other Maya
Next, on to Puerto Barrios on the Gulf of Honduras, formerly Guatemala's main
port city, now a sleepy backwater. Here we'll take a boat to the coastal town
of Livingston. At this quaint old port town we will get a glimpse of an
entirely different culture, the Black Carib culture of the Caribbean coast.
Lodging at the waterside Hotel Tucán Dugú.
Mon., July 22: We have all day today in Livingston, with choices enough
to suit a variety of whims: You can sleep late and then go for a morning swim
in the Tucán Dugú's pool. You can spend the day looking about
Livingston-- it's not big enough to get lost in-- getting a glimpse of the
more-African-than-Latin local culture. And some of us may want to go with a
local guide to visit Siete Altares, a series of pools and cascades located
about six kilometers out of town. For supper we might go down to the African
Place, a rather bizarre construction that looks like a downsized Moorish
palace that was somehow displaced into the tropics. The owner is a Spaniard
and just how he wound up in Livingston is no doubt a tale in itself. One thing
to bear in mind: don't expect fast food!
Tues., July 23: Today we go by motor launch up the famous limestone
gorge of the Río Dulce. We will stop in at Ak'Tenamit, an aid project
for Q'eqchi' Maya. Here we can learn about the Ak'Tenamit project, visit
their school and health station, see their gardens, and purchase crafts
(including handmade paper) in the Ak'Tenamit Q'eqchi' Women's Cooperative.
Continuing up-river, we enter El Golfete, a wide, lake-like part of the river.
On the north shore is the Chocón Machacas Manatee Reserve, which we will
visit in hopes of seeing some of these shy creatures, now protected by law in
Eventually we reach the town of Río Dulce where Erick will be awaiting
us with our bus. Leaving the boat behind, we bus northward on a good paved
road out into the Petén lowlands until we reach the town of
Poptún and our lodging at Finca Ixobel.
Finca Ixobel is quite an operation. Run by Carole DeVine, a gutsy American
woman, the finca is a farm, an animal rehabilitation center, a bakery, and the
most unusual hostelry in the whole country. Accommodations range from camping,
to tree houses, to comfy cabañas (we'll reserve the latter, but if you
want to sleep in a tree house just let us know in advance). Food at Finca
Ixobel is all home-cooked and wonderful!
Weds., July 24: The cool early morning is free time-- take advantage of
it to visit the baby howler monkeys, go swimming in the laguna, or take a short
hike. But by 10 AM we need to load up and continue north towards Tikal. We'll
stop at the town of Flores for lunch, then continue on to Tikal National Park,
arriving about 3 PM.
Flores is situated on an island in Lake Petén Itzá and was the
capital of the fierce Itzá Mayas. The Spaniards did not manage to
conquer this group by force of arms, and only in 1697, almost two centuries
after the Conquest began, did the Itzás submit peacefully to
Upon arrival in Tikal we will put our luggage in our cabins at the
Jungle Lodge, then go on an orientation walk
into the huge archeological complex, passing through the great plaza, flanked by the soaring pyramids of
Temple I and Temple II to reach the
"Lost World" where the giant pyramid makes a great place to watch the jungle
birds come in to roost for the evening and to await the sunset. (The ruins are
officially closed at 6 PM, so a park guard may shoo us on back towards the
Jungle Lodge before dark. But just in case he can be talked into letting us
stay late, as sometimes happens, be sure to bring a flashlight for the walk
back in the dark.)
Thurs., July 25: All day long at Tikal! Get up early-- You can watch
sunrise from high atop Temple IV. And by getting into the ruins early you both
improve your chances of seeing wildlife as well as beat the heat.
If you are an early riser, then you may want to come back to the Jungle Lodge
for breakfast before hitting the ruins again to prowl and marvel amid
crumbling, jungle-encrusted temples, palaces,
causeways, pyramids, and numerous ruined edifices of unknown purpose.
In addition to the amazing ruins of a once populous Classic Maya city, Tikal is
also a wonderful site for its lowland tropical jungle, its
brilliant birds and other wildlife. You'll
see parrots, toucans, toucanettes, hummingbirds, oropendola, the beautiful
ocellated turkey, and many other avian
inhabitants of the jungle. And you'll almost certainly see foxes, guatuzas
(agoutis), pisotes (coatimundi), and
spider monkeys. You might see howler monkeys,
deer, peccary, small alligators in the water hole near the hotel, or other
jungle beasts. On our June 2001 trip one lucky Rutahsa Adventurer had a
wonderful close-up view of a jaguar napping on a trail in mid-day!
Tikal is really a wonderful site, but it is hot! Fortunately, the
Jungle Lodge has a pool!
Fri. July 26: This morning we leave for the town of Sayaxché on
the Río de la Pasión, sometimes known as the "River of Ruins"
for the great number of ancient Mayan cities along its banks. From
Sayaxché we'll reach one of these seldom visited sites by boating
along the river. Though not as exciting by any means as Tikal, this visit will
give us a better understanding of what it takes to rescue one of these
archeological sites from the jungle.
After a late lunch at Sayaxché, we will continue on south to another
very unusual guest lodge at the spectacular caverns of Candelaria. The lodge is
the creation of a somewhat eccentric Frenchman who fell in love with the great
caverns here, and determined to preserve the cave and its environs by promoting
ecotourism in this most remote and unlikely spot. We will have to walk about a
half mile to reach our rustic lodging, so
you'll want to pack lightly for tonight-- just your daypack will do.
Sat., July 27: After breakfast we go on a walking tour of a portion of
the giant river cave, a place that was sacred to the ancient Maya, and which
remains a spiritual place to their modern descendants. Be sure to bring your
flashlights and wear your hiking boots-- our guide will have a Coleman lantern,
but there are no electric lights in the cave and the pathways are primitive.
The cave is huge, the walls are clean limestone, solutionally scalloped by
waters of the centuries. Various skylights, resulting from roof collapse over
the many thousands of years, produce multiple dramatic jungly entrances, all
After lunch back at the lodge we drive on, ascending into dramatic karstic mountains as we head for the major
coffee-producing town of Cobán and to our delightfully
19th-century-style lodgings at La Posada.
Don't worry, it's totally charming, and not so last-century as to not have hot
water and other amenities. And La Posada's kitchen crew turn out quality food
that is truly scrumptious! There's a big city market in Cobán that
is worth visiting in the remains of the afternoon (depending, of course, on
just when we arrive).
According to information confirmed in Cobán in early January, this week
is the annual folkloric festival in Cobán, and tonight is the grand
climax: celebration of Rabin Ajau. In this pageant young Maya women
representing different villages from all over Guatemala show off their best
traje, that is, their traditional native costumes. Although by the
time we reach Cobán we will already have seen a variety of Mayan
costumes in several places (and we will see much more when we get deeper into
the central highlands), it is only at the Rabin Ajau that you have a chance to
see a selection of fine traditional dress from all over the entire country at
one place. It is a wonderful sight to see, and we have scheduled this trip
for this particular weekend in Cobán in order to attend this impressive
and colorful event.
Sun., July 28: Those who want to see the fabled quetzal bird will
have to get up very very early today-- we'll leave well before daybreak to
drive about an hour to a quetzal preserve. We want to be in position in a spot
where the birds feed in the early hours of the day. The Resplendent Quetzal,
perhaps the most beautiful bird on earth, is simply indescribable, but here's
an attempt: the male has a head and shoulders of shimmering metallic emerald
feathers, a scarlet red breast, and black wings and tail. Add to this, emerald
plumes that droop down over the shoulders like some pompous 19th-century
general's epaulettes, plus four long tail plumes that flow like a horse's tail
when he flies, and you have a truly extravagant bird. In Classic Maya times
only the nobility were allowed to wear quetzal plumes in their dress. The
female of the species is more sedately colored, but also very beautiful. Today
this gorgeous bird, which is the national symbol of Guatemala, suffers from
habitat loss as cloud forest is cut for timber and cleared for agriculture. We
will go to a biosphere reserve to see the birds-- and we have been successful
in sighting them three out of the last four visits here. After a snack we'll
go for a hike in the cloud forest to see lush
tropical plants in abundance that form the quetzals' habitat.
Those who don't fancy getting up so early will have all day in Cobán, a
pleasant town to while away a day in. Time to visit the market today if you
didn't see it yesterday. A very worthy activity would be a visit to the Museo
El Principe Maya, a well-done private museum of Maya artifacts.
After lunch, when the quetzal-seekers have returned, we'll take a short trip
just outside of town to visit an orchid "farm". Vivero Cobán is
actually a major orchid species rescue operation. Tens of thousands of orchids
have been saved from trees felled by the Maya clearing land for agriculture.
Hundreds of species, many new to science, have been collected. This valuable
salvage and botany program has become the life's work of a remarkable
German-Guatemalan family. And the farm is a delight to visit. Overnight again
at the lovely La Posada.
Mon., July 29: Today we head into the heart of the Highland Maya area of
Guatemala. Our route will be mostly by a gravel-- but good, all-weather
gravel-- road that climbs and twists over several major mountain ridges and
through intervening gorges following a major fault zone (part of the plate
tectonic boundary separating the North American plate from the Caribbean
plate). We'll lunch en route, but there's not much in the way of eateries on
this stretch, so we'll plan to bring along some snacks from Cobán.
Eventually we'll reach the Ixil Maya town of Nebaj, at about 6300 ft and
surrounded by higher ridges.
Nebaj and the two towns of Cotzal and Chajul form the "Ixil Triangle", an
area of Ixil-speaking Maya, and an area that was very hard-hit by both the
Guatemalan army and the guerilleros during La Violencia (early
1980s). We will learn some of this sad history while we are here, and we will
see that, happily, the bad times are past and life here is improving.
All three of the Ixil Triangle towns have distinctive traje, and
that of Nebaj is particularly spectacular. A bright red corte (skirt),
an elaborately embroidered huipil (traditional blouse), an all-purpose
shawl over the shoulder, and a marvelous turban-like head wrap comprise the
dress of the Nebaj woman.
In Nebaj we will stay at the simple, but quite adequate and clean, Hotel Ixil
Tues., July 30: Today is a day for hikers, or, for the more laid-back,
a day to absorb the atmosphere of a small, very traditional Indian city as yet
largely unchanged by tourism.
Our hike will be led by Mike Shawcross, a British ex-pat who has lived in
Guatemala about a quarter century, worked extensively with the Ixil people, and
who knows and loves this area well. We'll probably hike about four hours along
mountain trails with gorgeous views to a pick-up point where hikers can choose
to return to the bus, or continue hiking another two hours to the town of
Chajul to meet the bus. Second night at the Hotel Ixil Anexo.
Weds., July 31: From Nebaj we recross a major mountain massif, descend
again into the valley of the Río Chixoy, where we cross the river at
Sacapulas. A short time out for a walk about this ancient town will include a
visit to the colorful local cemetery.
Continuing on we then climb up on the central volcanic plateau as we head for
the city of Santa Cruz del Quiché, which we should reach around mid-day.
After lunch, we'll take a side trip to visit the ruins of Utatlán, site
of the former capital of the K'iche' Maya who formed the strongest indigenous
nation at the time of the Spanish Conquest, and who today remain the largest
Maya language group in Guatemala. At Utatlán we may be able to visit a
tunnel where costumbre (traditional Maya rites) are held (whether or not
we can enter the tunnel will depend on whether or not ceremonies are in
progress when we arrive).
We will finish today's journey by continuing on to Chichicastenango, less than
an hour from Utatlán-- less than an hour, that is, if we don't get too
lost in Santa Cruz's maze of unmarked streets! In "Chichi" we will lodge in
the Mayan Inn, a famous hostelry for over
half a century. Each room is unique, and all are furnished with antiques,
including some colonial pieces of museum quality. The food is excellent, and
service is provided by turbaned Maxeños, i.e., K'iche' Maya men
of Chichicastenango, in full traje. To learn more about the Mayan Inn,
visit their website:
Mayan Inn, but don't forget to return to this trip description by
clicking your "back" button. A night in the Mayan Inn is a memorable
experience. Of course we've come to Chichi for its world-famous native
market, and you can start your shopping tonight as vendors begin setting up
for tomorrow's big day.
Thurs., Aug. 1: You may be startled awake by explosions around 6 AM,
thinking a revolution is in progress, but it is only a typical market day in
Chichi, and the people do love their bombas along with all the other
noises, smells and color. This is without question the most colorful native
market in all the Americas, with native vendors coming from long distances to
sell their wares. See Rutahsa's website on Chichi's market by clicking here:
Market day at Chichi.
After taking pictures and haggling for blankets, wall hangings, native blouses,
men's shirts, ceramics, carved wooden masks, and all kinds of other crafts,
antiques, and souvenirs, you'll be ready for lunch and then to just sit
a while and watch the scenery roll by, as we head up and across the continental
divide (over 10,000 ft) to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala's second most important
city. Here we'll stay in the elegant Pensión Bonifaz, just off the main
plaza. The Bonifaz has an excellent restaurant, and even an indoor swimming
pool; check out the Bonifaz by clicking here:
Pensión Bonifaz (and, as before, use your "back" button to
continue with Rutahsa's trip description). In addition to the Bonifaz, there
are quite a few good eateries within walking distance, and this is an
interesting, European-flavored city.
Fri., Aug. 2: Another up-and-at-'em-early day for those who want to
see the spectacular Santiaguito volcanic dome, which requires an hour's ride up
a road that's a bit rough and very steep, followed by short hike down through
amazing tropical vegetation to an overlook.
Your reward for this effort is a breathtaking
view across the great 1902 explosion crater on the Pacific side of
Volcán Santa María. Starting in 1922 and continuing today, a
steaming grey mass of dacitic lava has pushed up into the crater. This active
volcanic dome steams, will likely roar and
rumble some while we watch it, and occasionally spews ash up into the air.
Back to the Bonifaz for breakfast, then some free time in town. In the
afternoon we'll drive through the agricultural area around Zunil, where
truck farming has transformed the mountainsides as well as the valley bottoms
into a beautiful agricultural patchwork quilt. On past Zunil we'll arrive at
the hot springs spa Fuentes Georginas to
swim and relax and enjoy refreshments. Along the way, clouds permitting, are
wonderful views of Volcán Santa María and, occasionally, glimpses
of Maya people performing costumbre, i.e. their traditional religious
rites, in a cave across the valley from the road we travel. We'll spend a
second night at the Pensión Bonifaz.
Sat., Aug. 3: After breakfast we will leave Quetzaltenango en route for
Lago Atitlán, via the coastal route. Below Zunil we pass by steam vents
and a geothermally powered electric generation station, where we can see the
scars of a tragic landslide that occurred here a few years back, burying a
number of people while they slept. We descend to the upper part of the coastal
plain, passing through coffee and sugar cane plantations as we skirt the bases
of the giant cones of the Pacific volcanic chain. Then we climb back up to the
highlands to arrive at shimmering Lago Atitlán, which Aldous Huxley described as the most
beautiful lake in the world. For all we know Huxley might have had his
perceptions peyote- or mushroom-enhanced, but it isn't needed: this dramatic
lake, sunk down in a great volcanic caldera, and flanked by three huge soaring
cones is incredibly gorgeous!
We'll turn off the pavement at San Lucas Tolimán and drive to the
Tz'utujiil Maya town of Santiago Atitlán. Here we'll overnight in the
Posada Santiago, a great place built and run by a gringo ex-pat: swimming in
the lake, good food, and a very interesting town to explore.
Sun., Aug. 4: We'll have all day in Santiago and its environs. You can
visit the ancient church of Santiago, the town market, possibly the shrine of
Maximón, and also learn about Santiago's tragic recent history
during "La Violencia" (1980s)-- from which the town has recovered remarkably.
We will probably try to arrange an optional boating/hiking excursion across an
arm of the lake to a Tz'utujiil archeological site (which we have never
visited) for those who are interested.
Santiago women still weave on the backstrap
loom, and wear their distinctive traje which features a halo-like headwrap.
Mon., Aug. 5: Hikers will take a chartered boat across the lake to start
a 4 - 5 hour hike around the edge of the lake, passing through several villages
and full of spectacular views across the beautiful lake. After we reach the
town of Santa Cruz our boat will pick us up and transfer us over to
Panajachel, the main lake town. Travelers not wishing to hike so much can come
across Atitlán on one of the regular midday ferries to meet us in Pana;
or, for a series of different lake vistas, can ride in the bus with Erick
around the great volcanic basin to meet the rest of the group at Pana.
Panajachel is sometimes called "Gringotenango" due to the large number of
foreigners who have settled here. For those who prefer truly native towns, it
is an example of the worst influences of tourism. For those who like to shop
till they drop, it is a great center of opportunity. Whatever, it certainly is
no longer like any other town in Guatemala-- being given over entirely to
hotels, restaurants, shops, all-week-markets-in-the-streets. We'll need to
leave here for Antigua Guatemala by 3 PM, so if you want to do the hike, don't
plan on much time here; if shopping is what you like, plan to skip the hike.
From Pana to Antigua we'll take the back road via Patzicia and Patzún.
In Antigua our hotel will be the Posada de Don
Rodrigo, consisting of several colonial homes joined together, and
featuring several lovely patios, gardens, and a daily marimba concert.
Tues., Aug. 6: All day getting to know the charming city of Antigua
and its massive earthquake-shattered colonial
churches, convents, monasteries, and public buildings. We'll start off
with a walking tour conducted by Elizabeth Bell, author of one of the best
In its heyday, Antigua was the capital of the Kingdom of Goathemala, and the
third largest city in the New World (surpassed only by Mexico City and Lima).
Then it was destroyed in a series of earthquakes in 1773. Today it is a great
tourist attraction for its colonial architecture and ambience. For more
details on Antigua's history and architecture, see our Antigua website. A visit to the "Casa Popenoe", a lovingly restored
colonial home will be on our agenda for this
afternoon around 2 PM. Anyone seriously interested in the architecture of
Antigua should ask Mike Shawcross for a copy of Verle Annis' scholarly tome "The
Architecture of Antigua Guatemala, 1543-1773". This long-out-of-print work has
just been reprinted and Mike, who is a bibliophile, has copies for sale.
Second night in the Posada de Don Rodrigo.
Weds., Aug. 7: A hard choice today: There is so much to see and do in
Antigua, that it's hard to leave it; some will choose to spend another full
day here, and who can blame them? But for the hearty, today is the day we climb
active Volcán Pacaya. This is a completely non-technical climb, but it
is a real huffer-puffer. We hike for about 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours to reach the
peak at about 8550 ft (it changes from year to year because of the constant
activity which alternately builds it up and blows it away!). A stupendous
view along the Pacific volcanic chain is
just one of the rewards for those who make the climb.
Over the years, we have seen Pacaya in quiet steam eruptions, explosively
blasting bombs and ash skyward, and with glowing red streams of lava oozing
down its flanks. We may get to peer into the fuming crater, or, if the volcano is in a strombolian phase, we will
time our trip to see the fireworks at night.
To see Pacaya in many different states of activity, visit our
Pacaya webpage. Whatever it is doing, Pacaya
is always exciting, and getting there is certainly breathtaking (both
figuratively and literally!). This is an all-day trip, and a hot shower at
the end of the day to remove the ash that's worked its way into your clothing
and your pores will sure feel fine. Third night at the Posada de Don Rodrigo.
Thurs., Aug. 8: An easy day in and about Antigua. A mid-morning trip
will be scheduled to nearby La Azotea Cultural Center where you can tour a
working coffee processing plant, experience Casa K'ojom museum of native music,
and enjoy other cultural exhibits. Or you can head out on your own to explore
more ruins or visit any of several museums. Visit the jade shops, or an
indigenous women's co-op selling fine weavings, or shop in the city marketplace
(a wondrously bewildering complex) or the new artesans' market. Try to
figure out where and what kind of food to eat: plato típico,
Italian, Chinese, vegetarian, or other... Or just relax in the central park
and get your shoes shined. Lots to do here. Fourth night at the Posada de
Participants in either of the two trip extensions will say goodbye to the rest
of the group today and head east to the Chuacús Mtns. or to Honduras.
See description of these trip extensions following the main trip itinerary.
Fri., Aug. 9: Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.
Those who end their Guatemala excursion today will fly out to the U.S.,
carrying tons of photos, souvenirs and memories of a remarkable country and
even more remarkable people, indigenous and Europeanized. Along with these
memories of a great trip...a determination to return, for Guatemala is just too
fantastic to only visit once!
Three little girls from Santiago Atitlán, with a friend from
THE COPÁN EXTENSION, Aug. 8 - 11:
Those who choose the 3-day Copán extension will leave Antigua on
Thurday the 8th by private bus to head east back down the Motagua Vally, then
turn south to cross the border into neighboring Honduras, ending the day
cooling off in the pool at the Hotel Marina in Copán Ruinas, Honduras.
To see more of the Hotel Marina Copán, click here:
Copán; then hit your "back" button to return to this trip
Fri., Aug. 9: All day at Copán Ruins National Park, starting
with a guided tour of the 1000-year-old Classic Maya site. Copán is
famed for its marvelous carvings, which are better preserved here than in most
Maya sites due to the use of volcanic rock that resists weathering. In
addition to the numerous stelae depicting Copán's kings, there are pyramids and temples, and a fine
ceremonial ballcourt, where the ritual game
was played for keeps. In 1999, a series of archeological exploration tunnels
underneath the ancient pyramids was opened to the public, revealing the
completely intact buried temple known as Rosalila. In addition to the pyramids
and temples, there is the new Museum of Sculpture and also the old
Copán Museum which houses a cache of amazing flint eccentrics discovered
recently in a buried temple, plus many other wonderful objects. Finally, the
town of Copán itself is such a pleasant, friendly country town, a really
nice place to spend a day. Second night at the Hotel Marina
Sat., Aug. 10: Today you return to Antigua arriving in time to enjoy
a part of the afternoon in the colonial city. Your final night will be a quiet
evening in Antigua at the Quinta de las Flores, a bit more removed from the
center of town than the Posada de Don Rodrigo. You can still easily walk to
your favorite ruin or shop or restaurant (not that you need to go out to eat--
the Quinta has a wonderful restaurant exclusively for its guests), but the
peace of this location will help you gather your thoughts about packing to
leave on the morrow, and what you want to visit when next you return to
Guatemala. This much is for sure: you'll want to come back!
Sun., Aug. 11: Shuttle in to the airport and fly away home.
A SPECIAL EXPERIENCE: A CLOUD FOREST Q'EQCHI' VILLAGE EXTENSION!
For those willing to rough it for a truly unusual experience, Rutahsa
Adventures will offer for the first time "a day in the life of a Q'eqchi' Maya
family", arranged through the environmental group "Proyecto Ecológico
Quetzal", an NGO helping Q'eqchi' Maya develop a sustainable lifestyle that
aids in the preservation of the cloud forest habitat of the quetzal.
Here is the itinerary being discussed with PEQ for this extension:
Thurs., Aug. 8: Travel from Guatemala City to Cobán where we
will overnight. Proyecto Ecológico Quetzal staff members will meet with
us and introduce PEQ's project with a slide show and handouts.
Fri., Aug. 9: Travel by 4WD minibus 1 1/2 hours from Cobán to
starting point for the three-hour hike up into the Sierra Caquipec cloud forest
to reach the Q'eqchi' village of Chicacnab. At this village of 78 families
PEQ has established a scientific station, where we will have lunch.
After lunch PEQ guides will introduce us to the cloud forest, insects, birds
and geology of the area. Supper will be at the research station., where we
may also overnight.
Sat., Aug. 10: After breakfast at the PEQ research station, Q'eqchi'
guides will pick us up for a four-hour hike into the cloud forest to observe
quetzals, howler monkeys and other wildlife. We will visit a holy cave and a
lookout point where, on a clear day, you can see all the way to the volcanoes
towering above Antigua. Lunch will be a picnic during the hike.
In the afternoon our group will split into pairs to visit Q'eqchi' families and
overnight with them. You can learn to make tortillas, learn about weaving, and
observe and participate in many aspects of the daily life of a Maya family.
Sun., Aug. 11: After breakfast with our host families, we meet back at
the scientific station, say goodbye to Chicacnab and begin the hike back down
the mountain. Upon arriving back in Cobán we'll take our transportation
back to Guatemala City for a final overnight in the Hotel Pan American.
The cost and other details of this extension are yet to be worked out, but if
you are interested in participating in this very special experience, please let
us know ASAP, as the number of people who want to do this can affect the cost
per person. Your participation in this extension will promote intercultural
understanding and support a very worthy environmental cause.
Mon., Aug. 12: Fly away home loaded with new experiences, souvenirs,
photos, and memories for a lifetime!
ESTIMATED COST OF THE EXCURSION:
NOTE: Trip prices DO NOT include US-Guatemala-US air fare. Travelers are
responsible for arranging their own air travel to and from Guatemala. For
excellent prices on air fares to Guatemala, Rutahsa Adventures gladly
recommends Solar Tours at 1-800-388-7652; ask for Patricia at extension 558,
and tell her you are going on Rutahsa Adventures July trip to her homeland.
Also, MENA Travel at 1-800-536-6362; ask for Juan and tell him Rutahsa
Adventures sent you.
A minimum of 8 travelers is necessary to make this trip go; a maximum of 16
will be allowed. The 1999, 2000, and 2001 trips all sold out and interested
parties are advised to contact us early.
To make an enquiry about Rutahsa's Guatemala-2002 Excursion, e-mail Dr. Ric
Finch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TRIP APPLICATION BLANKS WILL BE AVAILABLE AFTER JAN. 31, 2002. To make a
reservation, request a trip application blank, fill it out and send it, along
with a deposit check for $350 made out to Rutahsa Adventures, Inc., to 299
Allen Hollow Rd., Cookeville, TN 38501. Once your trip application blank has
been received and your deposit accepted by Rutahsa Adventures, Inc., you will
be guaranteed a space on this excursion. Your deposit will be fully refunded
if for any reason the trip is cancelled. If you decide to cancel your
reservation, your deposit will be fully refunded provided cancellation is made
before May 18, 2002. After May 18 there will be a cancellation penalty of
$175 if cancellation is made before June 18. In the event of cancellation
after June 18, 2002, the full deposit is subject to retention.
Every year since 1998 Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel has highly recommended
Rutahsa Adventures' Guatemala excursions. Take a look at what Frommer's had to
say about our most recent Guatemala trips:
- Basic 21-day trip without US-GUA-US airfare: Believe it or not, we can
deliver this fabulous trip for just $1720 p/p, in double room accommodations.
(Single room accommodations available at extra cost.)
- 3-day Copán Extension: The cost of this extension depends on the
number of participants: 3 participants: $302 p/p; 4-7 participants: $242
p/p; 8-10 participants: $217 p/p; 11-16 participants: $207 p/p.
- 4-day Proyecto Ecológico Quetzal/Q'eqchi' village extension:
- Singles supplement for the main Guatemala excursion: single-room
accommodations on the main Guatemala trip are available for an additional fee;
enquire. For single room accommodations we add only the additional direct cost
- Singles supplement for the Copán extension: Enquire.
- Can't afford three weeks' time for this trip? Ask us about arranging a
special short version of the trip! It can be done.
To see the varied services Rutahsa Adventures offers, click here: Rutahsa Adventures homepage.
Thanks for visiting!
- Frommer's praises Rutahsa Adventures' 2001 summer trip to Guatemala:
Frommer's April 9, 2001. Use your back button to return to the
- Frommer's reviews Rutahsa's New Years 2001 trip:
Frommer's Sept. 7, 2001.
- And to see what Frommer's has to say about our up-coming Land of the Maya
trip in July:
Frommer's latest review. Don't forget to use your "back" button
to return to Rutahsa's trip page!
Images on this website by Janie and Ric Finch, @copyrighted.