Giving to
Bryn Mawr

Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center

Guatemala: Land of Eternal Spring

November 12 – 22, 2013

Once a center of Maya civilization, Guatemala today is like a living museum bridging past and present; indigenous cultures and colonial traditions. On our comprehensive yet unhurried program we visit the amazing ruins at Tikal, small towns where Indian culture thrives, beautiful Lake Atitlan and magnificent colonial Antigua – revealing the many treasures of this proud nation.

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Preliminary Itinerary
(please click on location to reveal details)

FULL ITINERARY

DAY 1: November 2013 Depart U.S. for Guatemala City, Guatemala

After arriving in Guatemala and transferring to the hotel, the balance of the day is free to rest and relax. All meals are on your own today.

Accommodations: Westin Camino Real Guatemala City

DAY 2: November 2013 Guatemala City

This morning we meet our tour director for a briefing on the journey ahead. Then we begin our adventure with a tour of Guatemala’s capital, including the National Palace, once home to presidential offices and now an art museum; the Spanish colonial Catedral Metropolitano, the Civic Center Complex, and several residential areas. (Please note that while the city is both growing and modern, it is also very conservative; you will probably be more comfortable wearing long pants rather than shorts while touring). We return to the hotel in time for lunch on your own. This afternoon we gather at the National Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology for a lecture and discussion on Mayan history and culture with a local expert, followed by a welcome dinner at Portal del Angel restaurant, set high atop a hill overlooking the city and offering magnificent views of the entire valley.

Accommodations: Westin Camino Real Guatemala City
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 3: November 2013 Guatemala City/Yaxha/Topoxté

Very early this morning we transfer to the airport for the flight to Flores, capital of the Petén region, and transfer by coach deep into Guatemala’s northern rainforest. Here we visit two important but less visited Mayan sites: Yaxha (“green water”), considered the third largest of ancient Maya cities; and Topoxté, an island in the Yaxha Lagoon whose restoration reflects how the Maya lived and defended themselves. Mid-afternoon we reach our resort hotel, a lakefront rainforest inn about a half hour from Tikal and where we dine tonight.

Please note: You will need to bring with you a small overnight bag that you can pack inside your checked luggage for your two-night stay in Tikal. This is because of the use of smaller coaches in the Tikal region, as well as for smoother logistics when flying in and out of this somewhat more remote area. Your luggage will remain at the Westin Camino Real Guatemala City, where you will return on Day 5.

Accommodations: Camino Real Tikal
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: November 2013 Tikal

With 3,000 buildings excavated or detected (and countless more yet to be uncovered) there’s much to see at the celebrated archaeological site of Tikal (c. 200 BCE), once part of the vast Maya civilization that dominated the region a millennium ago then vanished without a trace. At the height of its power and glory, Tikal, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was the most important city in the Maya universe. Upon arrival this morning we explore a portion of the jungle-clad ruins of palaces, temples, ball courts, and ceremonial platforms: the “Q” Complex, the Great Plaza with the Pyramids of the Grand Jaguar and the Masks, the Palace of the Nobles, and Pyramid IV. After lunch at the El Meson Restaurant, we visit the nearby museum housing priceless pre-Columbian artifacts excavated from Tikal. Late-afternoon we return to our hotel for time at leisure; bird life abounds in the surrounding jungle and this is the perfect time to listen to the many calls and sounds they emit. Tonight we dine together at the hotel.

Accommodations: Camino Real Tikal
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: November 2013 Tikal/Guatemala City

This morning is free to enjoy the pool and other hotel amenities. After lunch on your own, we transfer early this afternoon to the airport for the return flight to Guatemala City, where we spend this evening before the next morning’s departure to Guatemala’s Highlands. Tonight we enjoy dinner together at a local restaurant.

Accommodations: Westin Camino Real Guatemala City
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 6: November 2013 Chichicastenango/Panajachel

We depart by coach this morning at 8:00 a.m. to reach the highland town of Chichicastenango by mid-morning. This is market day, so our first stop is at the colorful open-air artesania market, Guatemala’s largest. Here locals sell such wares as woven baskets, woolen blankets and other textiles, carved wooden masks, and numerous other crafts. Next we visit the Catholic church of Santo Tomás (c. 1540) to witness some of the ancient Maya ceremonies that, surprisingly, have long been practiced there. (Please note that shorts may not be worn inside the church, nor can photographs be taken there). This afternoon we continue on to the village of Panajachel, with its dramatic setting on the shores of Lake Atitlan (“Place of Great Waters”) and surrounded by three volcanoes. Some 12 Indian villages dot the region, their inhabitants – 44% of Guatemala’s population – descended from the great Quiché, Cackchiquel, and Tzutuhil nations. Fortunately, as we will see during our stay, Guatemala’s indigenous peoples have managed to maintain their rich native cultures. Late-afternoon we reach our lakeside hotel, a Spanish-style inn with beautiful grounds and lovely sunset views. Tonight we dine together at our hotel.

Accommodations: Atitlan Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 7: November 2013 Panajachel/Santiago

We cross the lake by motor launch this morning to the picturesque Indian town of Santiago Atitlan, filled with art galleries and capital of the indigenous Tzutuhil people known particularly for their colorful textile design and fierce independence. After time to explore here, we return to our hotel and enjoy an afternoon at leisure by the lake, considered by many travelers and expatriates to be the most beautiful in the world. This evening we gather together for dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodations: Atitlan Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 8: November 2013 Panajachel/Antigua

En route to Antigua, Guatemala, the country’s most important colonial city, we stop at the Mayan archaeological site of Iximche, capital of the Cakchiquel Indians who were known for their skill at building fortified cities, thanks to their strategic location on a promontory surrounded by steep cliffs. This afternoon we reach Antigua and our hotel, a restored 17th-century monastery, and take a tour of the property whose grounds cover an entire city block and which houses an open-air museum. After dinner together tonight at our hotel, we enjoy a talk on Spanish Colonial architecture by a local expert.

Accommodations: Casa Santo Domingo
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 9: November 2013 Antigua

Our morning tour of this highlands city ringed by three volcanoes and known for its 16th-century Spanish colonial architecture (it was declared a “Monument of America” in 1965) includes lively Plaza Mayor, the impressive Catedral de San José, and the Palace of the Capitanes Generales. We also see the ruins of churches and monasteries, some with hidden underground passages, destroyed by an earthquake in 1776; tour a jade factory; and visit artisans weaving textiles on primitive foot looms. This afternoon you are free to explore this UNESCO World Heritage site on your own; both lunch and dinner are on your own today.

Accommodations: Casa Santo Domingo
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 10: November 2013 Antigua

We spend the morning discovering more of this lovely city of cobblestone streets and Spanish Colonial architecture. The afternoon is at leisure; possible activities include visiting the Colonial Art Museum, with religious art dating from the 17th century; relaxing at one of several renowned rejuvenation spas; or admiring local crafts at galleries or artisans’ shops. Tonight we gather with our fellow travelers at a local restaurant for a farewell dinner.

Accommodations: Casa Santo Domingo
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 11: November 2013 Depart for U.S.

We transfer to the Guatemala City airport for our return flights to the United States.

Meals: Breakfast

COPÁN, HONDURAS
OPTIONAL POST-TOUR EXTENSION

Post Tour DAY 11: Antigua/Copán, Honduras

This morning we embark on a 4 ½-hour journey to our hotel in Honduras, Hotel Marina Copán in the picturesque small town of Copán Ruinas with its steep cobblestone streets and roofs of red tile. From here it’s less than a mile to the celebrated archaeological site. We enjoy dinner together at the hotel.

Accommodations: Hotel Marina Copán
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Post Tour DAY 12: November 2013 Copán

Today we embark on a comprehensive sightseeing tour of the Copán ruins, considered the most artistically advanced of all the Maya sites. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this is where Maya civilization developed and flourished; to this day it is a major source of information about this ancient people. Our tour includes the four components of the main site: the Ball Court, Great Plaza, Hieroglyphic Stairway, and the Acropolis, plus nearby Las Sepulturas, where the Maya elite lived; and El Bosque. We return to our hotel late this afternoon and dine there tonight.

Accommodations: Hotel Marina Copán
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Post Tour DAY 13: November 2013 Copán/Quiriguá/Guatemala City

We leave Honduras this morning, re-entering Guatemala for our visit to the Maya site of Quiriguá, where huge carved stone monoliths (stelae) stand guarding this quiet tropical park. Once a colony of Copán, long abandoned Quiriguá is now one of Guatemala’s three UNESCO World Heritage sites, along with Tikal and Antigua, Guatemala. Late this afternoon we return to Guatemala City, and the Westin Camino Real Guatemala City.

Accommodations: Westin Camino Real Guatemala City
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Post Tour DAY 14: November 2013 Depart for U.S.

This morning we transfer to the Guatemala City airport for our return flights to the United States.

Meals: Breakfast

PLEASE NOTE:

We will do our best to adhere to our printed itinerary. Occasionally, though, unexpected obstacles, and opportunities, may arise that will force us to deviate from the itinerary as written. We would ask you to be open-minded and flexible should we vary the itinerary slightly. In addition, please note that airline schedules are subject to change. We will provide you with updated flight information closer to your departure.


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Cost and Program Inclusions

TBA

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Faculty Study Leader

Maria Luisa Crawford
Maria Luisa Crawford

Our Bryn Mawr faculty host is Maria Luisa Crawford, Emerita Professor of Geology. Her research is focused on solving the history of mountain belts (such as the Coast Oregon of British Columbia and southeastern Alaska or the older Appalachians in Pennsylvania) by looking at as many different aspects as possible of the kinds of rocks, the time the rocks formed, the location in which they formed, the way the earth moved.

Her ongoing research programs have the aim to understand mountain building processes and related terrane accretion. This has focused on the nature, rates, and timing of the processes that resulted in the mountains formed along the present eastern margin of North America during the early Paleozoic (550-350 million years ago) and along the northwestern coast of British Columbia and southeastern Alaska from the Cretaceous (110 million years ago) to the present.

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Accommodations

Westin Camino Real Guatemala City

Avenida la Reforma y 14 Calle
Guatemala City, Guatemala 01010
Phone: 011-502-2333-3000
Fax: 011-502-2337-4313

www.starwoodhotels.com

The contemporary Westin Camino Real Guatemala City stands minutes from the local shopping and entertainment district. The 271-room hotel features a variety of amenities including two restaurants and a bar, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, a solarium, fitness center with jacuzzi, tennis courts, and outdoor pool. The air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, coffee-making facilities, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Camino Real Tikal

El Remate
Petén, Guatemala C.A.
Phone: 011-502-79-26-0204
Fax: 011-502-79-26-3030

www.caminorealtikal.com.gt

Set in the midst of a rainforest on the shores of Lake Peten-Itza and just a half-hour’s drive from the ruins at Tikal, this resort hotel offers two restaurants and two bars, Internet access, laundry service, fitness center, and outdoor pool with jacuzzi. The 72 rooms comprise a series of thatched-roof structures, each with air conditioning, private bath with hair dryer, safe-deposit box, mini-bar, private balcony, TV, and phone. Please note that while this is the best hotel available in this region, you will find the hotel’s quality to be lower than at other sites on your tour. Your room will be clean and comfortable but not luxurious.

Atitlan Hotel

Finca San Buenaventure
Panajachel, Guatemala
Phone: 011-502-7762-1441
Fax: 011-502-7762-0048

www.hotelatitlan.com

This 60-room lakeside hotel, situated near Guatemala’s indigenous villages, is built in the style of a Spanish Colonial hacienda with ceramic tiles and hand-carved wooden furniture. Surrounded by ornate gardens and a 250-acre rainforest, the hotel boasts more than 250 species of birds on its property. Amenities include a restaurant and bar, gift shop, laundry services, Internet access, private beach, sauna, and pool. Guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer (upon request), TV, phone, and private balcony.

Casa Santo Domingo

3a Calle Oriente No. 28 “A”
Antigua, Guatemala
Phone: 011-502-7820-1220
Fax: 011-502-7820-1221

www.casasantodomingo.com.gt

Once a colonial-era monastery, now a 129-room hotel, family owned Casa Santo Domingo boasts two popular museums, one of Spanish colonial art and the other of classic Mayan art, as well as shops featuring locally made handcrafts. It also has beautiful grounds with gardens, fountains, statuary, plazas, and patios. Other hotel amenities include a restaurant and bar, laundry service, pool, sauna, and jacuzzi. Guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Post-Tour Extension
COPAN, HONDURAS 2013
Accommodations

Hotel Marina Copán

Central Plaza, Copán Ruinas
Honduras, Central America
Phone: 011-504-2-651-4070
Fax: 011-504-2-651-4477

www.hotelmarinacopan.com

Located less than a mile from the celebrated ruins at Copán, the 50-room Hotel Marina Copán sits in the center of the colonial village of Copán Ruinas. The hotel combines classic Spanish colonial architecture with such modern conveniences as a restaurant; bar; café; gift shop; laundry and dry cleaning services; Internet access; and fitness center with sauna and jacuzzi; and outdoor pool. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, TV, and phone.

Westin Camino Real Guatemala City

Avenida la Reforma y 14 Calle
Guatemala City, Guatemala 01010
Phone: 011-502-2333-3000
Fax: 011-502-2337-4313


www.starwoodhotels.com

The contemporary Westin Camino Real Guatemala City stands minutes from the local shopping and entertainment district. The 271-room hotel features a variety of amenities including two restaurants and a bar, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, a solarium, fitness center with jacuzzi, tennis courts, and outdoor pool. The air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, coffee-making facilities, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

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