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Guatemala, The Living Maya

November , 2014 with Jim Cline


Cost: $TBD includes airport transfers, all ground transport, all 10 nights hotel accommodations, breakfasts and dinners, entrance-fees at tourist sites, boat trips on Lake Atitlan, local guides.  
The price is based on double occupancy.  A single supplement of $
TBD applies. 
The trip will be limited to 9 participants.

Guatemala is a true paradise for photographers. Set in a backdrop of indescribable grandeur - volcanoes looming above with beautiful lakes, lush jungles, and pine forests. And everywhere are the local people - many of whom are descendents of the great Maya civilization that once flourished in the area, still living much the same way as they did before the Europeans first arrived. And the Spaniards did their part too, constructing the colonial gem of a city in Antigua, as well as many picturesque churches throughout the country.

Long before the Europeans showed up in America the Maya had established a complex civilization in Guatemala and the surrounding areas. They built enormous pyramids and temples, and made advancements in science, math, astronomy, and the arts. Many reminders of this world still remain - in the ancient ruins at such sites as Tikal and Copan and in the local people and their traditions. We will stay as near as possible to these archeological sites in order to photograph them in the best light in the morning and late afternoon. And we'll visit the various towns on their special market days, providing many photo opportunities of the modern day Maya and their traditions.

Antigua is one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in the Americas. Situated beneath three volcanoes, its cobblestone streets, crumbling ruins, and colonial architecture make it an ideal photo subject. Indigenous vendors sell their colorful fabrics in the main plaza and the streets. Our hotel is just one block from the central plaza and the cathedral.

Lake Atitlan was described by author Aldous Huxley as the most beautiful lake in

the world. When you first see its deep blue water ringed by dramatic volcanoes

it's hard to argue with his assessment. We'll be able to view the lake from a variety

of locations, and visit some of the towns located on its shores. Our hotel is

conveniently situated very near the shore in the town of Panajachel.

The market in Chichicastenango is world-famous. People come from all the

surrounding villages to buy and sell, as they have since pre-hispanic times. It's truly

an explosion of color. We'll be sure to arrive early in the morning, before the

majority of tourists arrive. We'll also visit some lesser-known towns on market days

in the area around Quetzaltenango.


To view Jim's 2008 tour images click here

More Guatemala images

To view Jim’s 2007 tour images click heret
view Jim’s Aug 07 images click here
2006 images click here
2004 tour images click here

Day one ():  Arrive from your flight to Guatemala City. You will be transported from the airport to our hotel in
We will have an orientation meeting this evening and dinner together as a group.
We'll spend the night in Antigua.


Day Two:  We'll spend the entire day in and around the beautiful colonial city of Antigua, the former capital of

Central America. In the morning a local guide will show us around the main plaza, and some of the finest colonial

churches and monasteries in the beautiful colonial town. In the afternoon we'll we can photograph the city with its

cobblestone streets and colonial architecture, while smoking volcanoes rise above. We'll spend the night in Antigua.


Day Three: We'll have some free time in the morning for more photography or relaxing and shopping. In the

afternoon We'll drive from Antigua to Lake Atitlan. On the way to the lake we'll stop to photograph the many vistas of

the magnificent lake and the surrounding volcanoes. Upon arrival we'll check into our lake-view hotel in the

town of Panajachel . We'll spend the night in Panajachel.


Day Four: After a delicious breakfast in the lakeview restaurant, we'll travel by boat to the traditional village

of San Antonio Palopo and Santa Catarina Palopo, where we'll visit local homes and photograph families in

their colorful traditional dress, or traje, as they weave clothing and carry on their daily lives.

We'll spend the night in Panajachel.


Day Five:  We'll spend the whole day around Lake Atitlan with our local indigenous guide. We'll travel by boat

to visit the colorful local village of Santiago Atitlan. In Santiago we'll pay a visit to the local Mayan saint of vices,
Maximon. Local people come from far and wide to give him offerings of rum and cigarettes to grant their
At the
end of the day, we'll end up back in Panajachel to photograph the sunset over the lake. We'll spend the night
in Panajachel.


Day Six: We'll wake up early to photograph the first light on the lake and the surrounding volcanoes. Late in
the morning we'll drive to the famous market town of Chichicastenango, arriving in time for lunch. In the
afternoon we'll have free time to photograph many of the people getting ready for the next day's market
. We'll spend

the night in Chichicastenango.


Day Seven: We'll wake up early to experience the famous market at Chichicastenango. We'll photograph the

colorful flower vendors on the steps of the chruch , the bustling vegetable market, and the many indigenous people

who come to barter for goods from the numerous surrounding villages. There a local English-speaking guide will take

us to observe Mayan rituals at an ancient Mayan worshipping site on a nearby hill. In the afternoon we'll drive to

Quetzaltenango (also known by the Mayan name of Xela), stopping to photograph the fields of maize with the ever-

presernt volcanoes in the background. We'll spend the night in Xela.


Day Eight: We'll drive early in the morning to the fascinating animal market in the village of San Francisco el Alto.

This is also the largest textile market in Gautemala. From the roof of the church we'll be able to photograph the valley below with volcanoes looming in the distance. Later in the day we'll visit the traditional village of San Andres Xecul,
which is
home to one of the most colorful churches in Guatemala. We'll spend the night in Xela.


Day Nine: In the morning we'll visit Zunil, an agricultural village where the women weave and dress in especially
beautiful clothing. We'll visit our friend Maximon once again as well.
We'll drive on to Antigua, making photo stops
the way. We'll spend the night in Antigua.

Day Ten: We'll have a free day in Antigua for photographing this colonial gem and its colorful inhabitants, and some
last-minute shopping.
We'll have an image sharing party that evening after our celebration dinner. We'll spend the
night in Antigua

Day Eleven (
): Depart for your flights home . .

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