Stride climate

Trip Type : Group Tour
Guatemala Highlands Explorer tour

Guatemala Highlands Explorer

AdventureSmith
4.9 . Excellent
100%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
10 days
From: $ 1,495 $ 150 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Explore central Guatemala
  • Explore ancient ruins and modern sacred sites
  • Explore the caves and crystal-clear pools at Semuc Champey

Short Description

Explore central Guatemala's culturally diverse and naturally abundant highlands on this in-depth 10-day adventure. Actively explore ancient ruins and modern sacred sites with an expert local guide. At colonial Antigua step back into the past and experience Guatemala's natural beauty at Lake Atitlan. Visit the famed Chichicastenango market and explore the caves and crystal-clear pools at Semuc Champey. Each day enjoy hikes with your guide who weaves a tapestry of history covering over 1000 years and illustrate the region's natural diversity. Explore beyond the main streets and trails to witness modern ritual and cultural tradition.

Many guests complement the Guatemala Highlands Explorer with a visit to the ancient Kingdom of Tikal National Park or Copan. Contact the experts at Adventure Smith to learn more about this trip and other Guatemala adventure travel.

Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Trip Type Group Tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport Internal airfare and ground transport
Start City Guatemala
End City Guatemala

Trip Includes

  • Each itinerary includes all lodging as listed on the itinerary or similar
  • Meals as indicated
  • All airport/hotel transfers when arriving and departing the stated arrival and departure dates of the trip
  • All land, air and water transportation within destination
  • Entrance fees to national parks and reserves as specified
  • And guide services as specified

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Guatemala City

Accommodation: Panamerican Hotel

Upon arrival at the international airport in Guatemala City you are met by our local representative and transferred to a charming hotel from the 1920s in downtown Guatemala City.

Day 2: Guatemala City & Coban

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Casa Duranta Hotel

In the morning, visit Guatemala City’s outstanding National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology to gain a better understanding of what is coming during your trip. In the afternoon take a scenic drive to Coban. The road goes through contrasting landscapes, from the Motagua River Valley's cacti to lush tropical cloud forest in Coban, a city where there are still some buildings from Spanish Colonial days. Your hotel will be one such building, located right in downtown.

Day 3: Semuch Champey

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Casa Duranta Hotel

This is the region of the Maya-Kekchi People, and Coban is its larger city. At 4,000 feet above sea level, weather is a little bit warmer than in the “higher” Highlands. Today’s highlight is Semuch Champey Natural Monument. Getting there is half the fun. The road there travels through coffee and cardamom plantations in “karstic” landscapes. Semuc Champey is where the Cahabon River sinks into a cave of about 1 mile long, leaving on top a series of crystal clear pools to swim in - deep enough to even dive! All if this is surrounded by a tropical lush forest. Those with energy may climb up to a lookout for a breathtaking view. The day ends back to Coban.

Day 4: Coban to Nebaj

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hacienda San Antonio

Today is a day of landscapes in scenic routes. Still in the outskirts of Coban, visit a traditional coffee plantation and mill as well as an orchid nursery. The road then runs through mountains and valleys, and Maya villages like Uspantan and Cunen. At the Chixoy River Valley, before its name changes to Usumacinta and becomes the border between Guatemala and Mexico, a portion of the road is not paved and the ride gets a bit bumpier. Arrive at the end of the day to the area of another Maya people, the Ixil. Overnight in Nebaj's village of Acul at a dairy farm.

Day 5: Nebaj

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hacienda San Antonio

Wake up in rural Acul, listening to the roosters and the village's church bell. After breakfast, take a scenic 2-hour mountain hike to Nebaj where the town’s “Culture House” organizes a full day of sharing their way of life. The Maya Ixil People lives in Nebaj, Chajul and Cotzal. These 3 towns were called the “Ixil Triangle” during Guatemala’s Civil War (1961-1996) and they were deeply hurt. Isolated by history and nature, they heartedly welcome visitors. Lunch will be in a local home. If in the afternoon you're up for another hike to a waterfall, it will be included.

Day 6: Chichicastenango

Meals: Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Uxlabil Hotel

Located 2 hours from Nebaj and enroute to Lake Atitlan, a visit Chichicastenango for one of its market days (Thursdays and Sundays) is a must. It is the largest and most colorful handicrafts market in the Americas, and even though it is an area inhabited by the Maya Kiche, here you will see people and products from all over the country. The Saint Tomas Roman-Catholic Church is a very good example of Guatemala's religious syncretism. It was built on top of a pre-Columbian temple and it is still considered sacred for the Maya that come to the stairway in front to burn incense and pray to their ancient Gods. In the afternoon transfer to Lake Atitlan, arriving by boat to today's final destination: San Juan La Laguna town.

Day 7: Lake Atitlan & San Juan La Laguna

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Uxlabil Hotel

Today is a day dedicated to Lake Atitlan, which is a caldera lake formed by an explosion of a volcano that geologists estimate happened 80,000 years ago. It is almost circular, with a 10-mile diameter, 1,000 feet deep and surrounded by 3 imposing volcanoes. A scenic boat ride to San Juan (its full name is San Juan La Laguna, or San Juan-by-the-lake) will bring you to visit the Maya Tzutuhil People. Your day here actively involves the local “Community Tourism Committee,” whose organization we respect and support. Spend a very active day visiting a natural dyes workshop and learning about the town's organic coffee and handwoven textiles; the Tzutuhil women embroider their tops with colorful birds and flowers. Hike to a nearby lookout with stunning views of the lake.

Day 8: Iximche & Xetonox

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Posada Don Rodrigo Hotel

Today's drive from Lake Atitlan to Antigua goes through the beautiful landscapes of Maya villages and their plantations of vegetables. Leaving Atitlan behind, the first Maya People is the Cackchiquel. More than half a million Guatemalans are Maya-Cackchiquel, and the first stop is to visit Iximche Archaeological Site, which was the capital of the Cackchiquel Kingdom, built in 1470 and destroyed by the Spanish conquistadores in 1524. It was never lost or forgotten like happened with many sites in the rainforest, and it is still a sacred place for the Cackchiquels. The second stop is at Xetonox, a small village where a local family gladly shows you their way of life, their crops and their weavings. Lunch is served at their home. Visiting the village’s Grade School is a good way to learn more about the local life.

Day 9: Antigua

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Posada Don Rodrigo Hotel

Antigua is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered one of the best examples of how was life during the Spanish Colonial days. Built in 1542 and destroyed by an earthquake in 1773, Antigua's name was once Guatemala City and was for over two centuries the capital of Central America, including what is today the State of Chiapas in Mexico and the countries of Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. During that time, it was the third largest city in the Americas, after Lima, Peru, and Mexico City. A guided tour takes you through the city's best palaces, churches, convents, monasteries and plazas, in a picturesque walk down cobbled stones and with sights of the nearby volcanoes. Antigua's perfect spring-like weather all year round, has made this an attractive city of residence for artists and writers, among them Antoine Saint-Exupery, who wrote “The Little Prince,” and Gore Vidal. The afternoon is free to enjoy the city at your own pace, and your guide will advise on how to make good use of it.

Day 10: Depart Guatemala City

This morning a transfer to the Guatemala City International Airport is included. Depart for home or continue your explorations with AdventureSmith.

Availability

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Price From $ 1,495
Price Per Day: $ 150 per day
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  • Single Supplement (Single Occupancy): $ 400

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Stride Featured in

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15 AdventureSmith Travel Reviews & Ratings

100%
4.9 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 14
Great 0
Average 1
Disappointing 0
Terrible 0
Value
4.8
Guide
4.9
Activities
5.0
Lodging
4.9
Transportation
4.9
Meals
4.9

Guatemala Highlands Explorer

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Company Reviews

Adventure Smith was exceptional. Antarctica 21 corporate office was deplorable.

3.0
Details
Value3.0
Guide3.0
Activities5.0
Lodging3.0
Transportation4.0
Meals3.0
Adventure Smith was so helpful throughout-- from initial info to booking the trip to answering questions to helping us once Antarctica 21 cancelled our Mom's trip. But Antarctica 21 corporate office was deplorable. This review is in two parts: a) Antarctica 21 corporate office and b) Antarctica 21 on ship team. The overall headline: Think carefully before you share medical information with Antarctica 21--- as they can and will cancel your trip with no warning, no refund, and no recourse.

My mom, brother, and I booked with Antarctica 21 (A21) in February 2018 with an initial deposit and paid for the remaining balance in Sept 2018 for a late Jan-early Feb 2019 Antarctic cruise. We booked through Adventure Smith Explorations (ASE)—who were amazingly helpful throughout. Mom completed the A21 travel and health information when we each paid the trip deposit in Feb 2018, and she disclosed that she was in her early 80s and on anti-coagulant medication. Mom’s doctor also certified in writing to A21 that she was fit and able to take this trip. Then, 20 days before the start of the cruise in late Jan 2019, A21 sent an email to cancel Mom’s trip and refused to refund her $11,995 cruise price—citing medical concerns. We were stunned. When we asked the A21 representative to clarify which medical concerns led them to cancel Mom’s trip, she cited Mom’s age and use of anti-coag--- but all of this had been disclosed a year prior when the trip deposit was first paid in Feb 2018. Our representatives from ASE tried to appeal with A21, but to no avail. A21 flatly refused our offer for both of Mom’s doctors, whom she had visited within 40 days prior to the cruise, to provide additional fitness certification. A21 stated that no further information would be accepted and that their decision to remove Mom from the cruise was final.

My brother and I left for the trip without Mom, although this was supposed to be a memorable family trip together. On board, as we shared our experience with other passengers, people readily described their own medical conditions and were appalled that our Mom was not allowed on the cruise. Many of the 50-80 year old passengers said they were also on anti-coag and had various medical issues. At least six people told us they had significant health issues-- one had extensive knee surgery 3 weeks prior to the cruise, another had a stint placed in her heart a week before the cruise, two people had fused spines and very limited mobility, two others walked with canes and needed assistance. Three of the A21 team on board the ship told us directly that Mom had been too honest in noting that she took anti-coag. Many other passengers, including the six with major health issues and those on anti-coag, said they had not shared any of their conditions with A21. The last day of the cruise, we spoke with the cruise manager, and at first she would not give us any information about the decision or contact information at their corporate office. Several hours later, she reconsidered and shared one contact information at their Santiago corporate office, but she discouraged us from meeting with their team in Punta Arenas in person.
Also: Be careful with travel insurance. Mom paid over $1,800 for travel insurance for the trip. However, the insurance company denied her claim for reimbursement when A21 canceled her trip. A21 refused to put any reason in writing for us to use with the travel insurance claim. Most thankfully, Adventure Smith Expeditions reimbursed Mom the price of the cruise of $11,995, although Mom still lost the airfare to and from USA to Punta Arenas, Chile. Adventure Smith Expeditions deserves my most stellar recommendations for their help and information throughout our initial booking, during the trip, and once we returned.
Part 2 of the review: Onboard with A21: If you are able to take the trip, the on-board experience with A21 is good quality. My brother and I enjoyed the trip, although it was deeply bittersweet without Mom. The landscape, wildlife, and pristine Antarctic views were truly amazing. Many other reviews describe the actual cruise experience well, so I will be brief on this. A21 used the Ocean Nova ship for our cruise. The ship is well laid out, the ship staff (including captain, dining, and cleaning teams) were very helpful, rooms are tiny and spartan but as advertised, all public areas were very clean, and food quality is reasonable. The A21 tour manager (admin and logistics), expedition manager (excursion leader) and guides on board are enthusiastic, and many of the guides have extensive experience in the Antarctic and are happy to talk with passengers. With ship activities, including two landings on average each day, we stayed busy with information briefings and excursions plus three meals. A21 has other ships, including a new one they will launch in 2020, so look at the options carefully. This cruise option on the Ocean Nova worked well for us, with just 70 passengers for a smaller group although more modest accommodations.
As noted above, definitely buy travel insurance, as our flight from the Chilean military base back to Punta Arenas was delayed two days given bad weather, and we stayed on the boat during this time. A21 has some of the same investors as DAP, the airline for these flights, so our ship had priority with DAP once flights resumed, while other ships (major tour companies, researchers, etc) had to wait further. Travel insurance covered my revised ticket home, hotel in Punta Arenas, and other minor expenses, which were all more than the cost of travel insurance.
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a wonderful trip

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Andrew put together a wonderful trip to Greenland for us. The communication was excellent and the advice provided was very helpful. The ship was very comfortable and the ports, expeditions, food, and staff were better than expected
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Excellent

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
The best in the business!

from start to finish their trips are amazing!

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
We have taken two trips with this company and I wouldn’t use any other. Their customer service is great, guides and vendors are awesome and from start to finish their trips are amazing! They take all the hassle out of traveling and make each trip a memory to last a life time!!
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an incredibly positive experience

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I have had an incredibly positive experience booking travel through AdventureSmith over the past few years. Their level of professionalism, depth of knowledge of small ship cruising, and insight into destinations around the world is impressive. My first trip was a private charter in the Mediterranean and after that was a small ship in Patagonia. Now I am looking forward to Alaska this July! I feel fortunate to have found Adventuresmith, their unique trips, and their friendly staff.
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trips were beyond our expectations

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
We have booked two trips with Adventuresmith and they trips were beyond our expectations. Plan on booking another trip in the future would use no one else.
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Details

Optional Activities

During your stay in Guatemala Highlands Explorer, Tours offers you a variety of optional tours some of tours that you would like to extend are available while in-

  • Guatemala Adventure From: $1650; 9 days
  • Belize Island Adventure From: $1540; 5 days
  • Cuba People to People Cruise From: $4899; 8 days

Flights & Transport

Internal airfare and ground transport

Group Size:

Standard Group - 25 + people

Accomodations

Posada Don Rodrigo, Antigua

41 Rooms Private bathrooms Cable TV Wireless internet Telephone access Room service

Relax in the colonial setting of Antigua, one of the most beautiful cities in the Americas. Hotel Posada De Don Rodrigo is an authentic 315 year old property, renovated to offer you all the facilities expected of a first class hostelry, providing excellent quality, food and services for the discerning traveler. Posada De Don Rodrigo is not only colonial style inn but also has the most typical atmosphere in Antigua. Unique and distinct rooms, nothing which exists in one, will you find in another only the same air and the same peace. Awakening in this hotel in la Antigua has it's magic, very early the burnished bell of it's manifold churches begin to ring and the flow of the crystalline waters in it's fountains, will wet your appetite for a succulent breakfast. Authentic printings baroque carvings furniture’s carved by genuine craftsmen of Antigua, ashes fireplaces, silent ceilings, are some of the surprises which await you in the rooms.

Crowne Plaza Hotel

Guatemala City Hotel's "The Place to Meet" Wake up to brilliant, golden sunrises peeking over volcanic hills each morning you stay at our hotel's property in Guatemala City. The Crowne Plaza Guatemala hotel, located in beautiful Zona 13 and just two miles from La Aurora International Airport (GUA), offers both comfort and convenience.While in Guatemala City, guests find plenty of exciting attractions nearby, including the Central Market, Civic Center and Oakland Mall. Find out more about our culture by visiting the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, or take a day-trip to the charming city of Antigua. We're just minutes from "Zona Viva," too, where all the excitement happens!When you choose to stay with us in Guatemala City, our hotel provides perks like free high-speed, wireless Internet access, so you can keep in touch with the office. To help you relax, we also offer a wonderful spa with services like steambaths, saunas and massages, as well as the Crowne Plaza Sleep Advantage® Program amenity kit. Make your reservations today!  Come and enjoy the comfort of our rooms and feel at home

Cancellation Policy:

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $500 is required at the time of booking. A Reservation Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Cancellations are subject to the following fees, based on number of days prior to departure:

Up to 91 days - 50% of deposit

90 to 31 days - 50% of total trip cost

30 to 0 days - 100% of total trip cost

Age Notes

Families & Children

Child rate posted is for children 11 years old and under sharing a room with two parents.

Min. Age: 11

Additional Information:

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. You must purchase your travel insurance policy within 21 days of booking your trip for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions.

Reservations

All persons wishing to make a reservation, and all persons who will be traveling, must complete and sign the Traveller Information Form. All reservations are made with Adventure Smith Travel Services Inc., d/b/a Adventure Smith Explorations. No person has any authority on Adventure Smith Explorations’ behalf to vary these terms and conditions.

Unused services & personal expenses

Regardless of any other term in this agreement, partial refunds are not available for unused services including but not limited to hotel rooms, meals, air or land transportation, activity days or other sightseeing excursions. You will not be reimbursed for any personal expenses such as airfare, hotel or other travel expenses due to changes in itineraries or cancellations. If a portion of the services of your tour are cancelled by us or our third party supplier because of an event within our control or the control of our third party supplier, and you are not offered a replacement or alternative, we will refund the cost of that portion of the services.

Travel Documents

The client must obtain and have possession of a valid passport, all visas, permits and certificates, and vaccination certificates, required for the entire tour. The client accepts responsibility for obtaining these documents and any other necessary documents. It is the client’s responsibility to assure that the name on your airline ticket, cruise tickets, or any other travel documents matches your name as printed in your passport (or domestic identification, where applicable) by providing the exact name as it appears on your passport (or domestic identification, where applicable) to AdventureSmith Explorations before tickets are issued.

Trip ID#:

GuaHigAdv

Trip Excludes

  • International airfare to/from the destination
  • Excess baggage fees; the cost of obtaining passports
  • Visas or tourist cards
  • Airport arrival and departure taxes
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Personal expenses such as room service
  • Beverages and laundry
  • Personal communication charges
  • And gratuities to tour escort, guides or drivers

Meals Included:

8 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches and  4 Dinners

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