(Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Flores, Guatemala City)
This value tour of Guatemala features the Colonial gem, Antigua. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979, and is the focus of much curiosity, in its mysterious allure. Discover lakes and volcanoes in Atitlan while learning about ancient rituals and mysticism. Take a domestic flight to Flores and enjoy a tour of the Tikal ruins, set in the heart of the Guatemalan Jungle! Listen to the Howler Monkeys roar across the distance as you climb to the top of these ancient ruins. Tikal was an important Mayan settlement for over 1500 years, starting about 700 BC. During the Classic Period 300 - 900 AD, the city prospered through trade and military conquest when the population peaked at 100,000. Return to Guatemala City by domestic flight.
Upon your arrival you will be met by a local representative who will help you locate your vehicle.
You will be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport in Guatemala city for your international or domestic flight.
You will be met at your hotel by your private driver & guide. First you transfer to the village of Jocotenango - just on the outskirts of Antigua where you can visit the local workshops of the traditional woodcarvers of the area to see them work. You can also see the interesting pink & white façade of the Jocotenango church before you transfer across to the wonderful Azotea Coffee farm and museums. Here you can have a private guided tour of the Coffee Farm & the museums covering Mayan traditional music and costume. Learn about the importance of coffee in Guatemala's history and its impact today as well as hearing about the Maya way of life. Lunch is included for you and your guide. When you are ready you will continue on driving to some of the villages surrounding Antigua to see local life, textiles and architecture. Typically we visit San Juan del Obispo, pass Ciudad Vieja and then to San Antonio Aguas Calientes but guests can feel free to discuss with their guide and plan as they go.
Meet at your hotel by your private guide & driver for you 1hr transfer to the town of Comalapa. On arrival to the town you can see the famous painted mural that the school children of the town painted depicting major events in Guatemala’s history up to the signing of the peace accords in 1996. From here, you will visit some local painters who continue the tradition of naïve paintings that the town is so famous for, and visit a local bakery to see how they make the small, rock hard biscuits known as “Roscas” that sell by the thousands each day in Guatemala. Finally, you can visit the wonderful authentic market of Comalapa to see the local people go about their daily life buying produce and goods still dressed in the traditional textiles of the area. You can also visit the small museum dedicated to the composer who wrote Guatemala’s national anthem, who came from Comalapa. Lunch included for you & your guide.
You will be picked up from the hotel & transfer to San Juan La Laguna Village where you visit a local textile cooperative to see the back strap loom in use and to see how they still dye with natural dyes. You will also visit the home and workshop of local naïf painters before boarding the boat onto Santiago Village for lunch. After lunch walk with your guide to find the house where the Maya God Maximon is living. Each year a different "brotherhood" has the privilege of taking care of their God so his location changes. Once with Maximon you may see local shaman performing rituals for local people and if you wish you can ask your guide to help you hire the services of a shaman for you to have a personal ceremony performed. After visiting Maximon guests can visit the local church and learn about the history of this very traditional town and also see the market and learn about the distinctive textiles and primitive art that is famous from this area. When guests are ready they will be transferred back to their hotel.
Transfer to the highland town of Chichicastenango (1 hr) with your driver. Observe local Maya people in their traditional dress going about their daily lives. Upon arrival at Chichicastenango, your guide will take you to the famous market where you can purchase local ceramics and crafts. This tour departs on Thursdays and Sundays only. Return to Guatemala City Airport (3hrs drive) after the end of the tour.
Enjoy a short flight from Guatemala City to Flores.
Airport transfer with private vehicle, and driver.
Pick up from your hotel and transfer with your driver and guide to Yaxha National Park.The tour begins with with a short boat ride on Lake Yaxha to the small island site at Topoxte. Next, explore the Mayan ceremonial site of Yaxha. Set atop a hill overlooking two scenic lakes, this is a picturesque site. Enjoy the sites and sounds of the howler and spider monkeys as well as many colorful tropical birds and other mammals in this wildlife area. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the beautiful shores of Lake Yaxha. Afterwards, you will head back to your hotel.
Pick up from your lodge and begin your privately guided tour of Tikal National Park. Tikal was one of the major cultural and population centers of the Maya civilization. Though monumental architecture at the site dates to the 4th century BC, Tikal reached its apogee during the Classic Period, ca. 200 AD to 900 AD. Some of these pyramids are over 60 meters high (200 feet). Enjoy some free time at the site and return to your hotel after lunch at a local restaurant.
Take a domestic flight from Flores to Guatemala City. Approximate duration is 30 minutes.
Like many of the hotels in Antigua, the Spanish influence is still obvious in the Villa Colonial. An old, quaint ambiance surrounds this 50 room hotel, where traditional decor and modern necessities ensure a comfortable and pleasant stay. Enjoy an array of fresh fruits and juices at breakfast, along with other staples for a satisfying start to the day. Be sure to try the nearby restaurants to have a taste of the region's specialties firsthand. Lounge in the courtyard, mingle with other guests, or simply take in these beautiful surroundings. The center of town is a bit of a walk, and a short taxi ride away, but it is important to discover the history of these old walls and buildings when free time arises.
Situated outside of Guatemala City, at the edge of Lake Atitlan in a hilly countryside getaway circling Catarina Palopo village, Casa Palopo is surrounded by a wealth of forest and volcanoes. The 8 rooms are adorned with the finest of linen and toiletries, and further equipped with to-die-for views. Sleeping in these impressive rooms is an experience like no other. Look forward to the height of hospitality, as the staff provides sincere and consistent service. Cuisine is enjoyable, though many opt for trying the restaurants in the nearby towns. Relax in the heated pool, and absorb the surrounding views. Or, plan a boating trip and get to know the lake which some consider the most beautiful in the world.
Set in the rainforest high above the shores of Lago Petén Itzá is La Lancha, a quaint, 10-room lodge decorated with artwork and furniture from Bali, as well as fabrics and carvings from Guatemala personally selected by the Coppola family. Beyond the clear water of the lake is Tikal, the epicenter of Mayan spirituality. Buried deep within the rainforest, the ruins include more than 3,000 structures where moss clings to the steps of ancient temples and plazas. With its beautiful lakeshore setting, relaxed ambiance and close proximity to the lost world of Maya, La Lancha is an ideal destination to both enjoy a languid pace and explore the many adventures of the Petén region.
Not far from the most exciting sights and attractions of Guatemala City, the Westin Camino Real stands tall and grand. The hotel consists of 271 rooms, each cozy and equipped with all the necessities of home. European contemporary themes are utilized in the decor. Enjoy delicious cuisine offered at the restaurants, and cocktails that hit the spot on a warm evening in the city. Served in buffet style or a la carte, chefs work with influences from across the world. Take advantage of the range of facilities available at the hotel, which include a tennis court and spa, as well as a swimming pool and lounging space for interacting with other guests.
Bob More ,
April 21, 2014
"Every detail was taken care of, and all connections were on time. We were extremely pleased, couldn't stop telling everyone about our great trip. Each room / hotel was better than the last. Wow great holiday!"
Steve Walling ,
January 20, 2014
"We are home safe and sound from the best vacation I can remember. It seemed seamless to us but I know that you worked very hard to make our experience so good.
The guides and drivers were always punctual and reliable. They were very knowledgeable, personable, and funny. They provided us with very helpful information and helped us work on expanding our Spanish. The hotel staff was friendly and helpful and the rooms were very nice.
I especially appreciate our ability to update our plans while we were in Costa Rica. The zip lines were the highlight of our trip. I hate to think we almost missed out by not including it in our original plan.
You have made a friend and supporter for life. I will certainly recommend you to anyone I know going to Costa Rica.
Merrel Bowles ,
November 07, 2013
"I would highly recommend this company for overseas travel. We had personal drivers that spoke perfect English and were also very knowledgeable in conversation pertaining to their country. Drivers were always early and eager to please. Your wish was their command!!!Every tour included educated guides who knew how to make our experience fun and exciting! I loved having personal drivers and guides, as well as many inclusive meals. We will definitely use this company for future travels."
April 09, 2013
"Our Costa Rica trip was amazing. The whole family thinks its the best we've ever taken! Kensington did an excellent job of organizing everything. The two hotels they picked were amazing.
Arenal -- The Springs Resort & Spa was almost too good since as soon as the family saw it they wanted to cancel activities so they could take full advantage of all it offered. We ultimately did cancel the safari to give us a free day to spend a day at the spa, pools and Club Rio (riding the river in innertubes!). The activities Kensington setup were excellent and very adventurous. Our favorite was canyoneering (repelling), We were all terrified at the first drop-off! It's more thrilling the zip lining (also lots of fun) and river rafting (a blast as well).
Manuel Antonio -- The Preserve at Los Altos was very nice. It was like staying in a 3 bedroom apartment at a boutique hotel (same feel as Athenum in London but nicer). The drive to get there was a bit long but worth it when our driver made a surprise stop at the the "crodillio bridge". The tour through Manuel Antonio National Park is a must do for nature lovers (3 types of monkeys, sloths, etc). Our guide was excellent. If you go MA NP, try Kapi Kapi for dinner.
I'd highly recommend using Kensington (Brandi was our rep) for a Costa Rica trip. Thanks for hooking us up with them.
L Huber ,
April 03, 2013
We returned yesterday from our wonderful Costa Rican vacation and I wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed it. We loved staying at the El Silencio (the kids would have liked to stay even longer so we could have taken some of the nature hikes). Being surrounded by the cloud forest was an amazing sensation that really helped us to feel that we were in a completely different world and was a perfect way to begin the trip. Maria Lucia was a very kind tour guide and showed us the all sites in a huge day (the waterfalls, Poas volcano, the coffee plantation & Sarchi). The staff at El Silencio was wonderful and Jeff and I very much enjoyed the food and the very elaborate wine tasting there.
In La Fortuna the activities ruled. We loved everything, the exhilarating waterfall rappelling, the zip lining (& tiger swing - the kids LOVED IT) the volcano hike and we had a FANTASTIC time on the river safari with Gerald and his friend Tom. Gerald was a great guide and was able to share many stories while letting us see the wildlife. We saw a spectacular Toucan flock and of course the monkeys were a huge hit. Ending up at the farm was a fun end note to the trip. Of course we enjoyed the hot springs at the Tabacon - they are pretty amazing. Jeff and I had a chance to have a massage at the Tabacon spa and it was spectacular. The service at the hotel was lovely and our room did have a beautiful view of the volcano. I think the hot springs & spa are far superior at the Tabacon.
Alex drove us from both El Silencio to La Fortuna and then from La Fortuna to Punta Islita (that is a lot of driving and he did a great job - he was so friendly and made the travelling very enjoyable). On the way to La Fortuna he made a point of showing us the Iguana restaurant and it was a great wayside stop for everyone.
Punta Islita was stunning. Our villa Ilan Ilan was ideal, the view and the setting were spectacular. The kids loved the pool (when they weren't swimming & playing in the ocean), Jeff loved being able to finally drive around a bit like a native (the villa came with a small 4 wheel car), and I enjoyed waking up every morning to see the sunrise over the cliffs at the ocean's edge, and hear the incredible variety of birds (and on the last day even the howler monkeys). We enjoyed so many of the activities the hotel had to offer. Andrey & Hector and the whole staff were so warm and hospitable. They really worked hard and made every effort to make our stay so much fun. Hector helped us plan some more zip lining, surf lessons, a dolphin sighting/fishing boat trip and a sunset horseback ride which was the perfect way to wrap up the trip.
Ronald picked us up and got us to the airport in plenty of time. Ronald was very interested in showing us the wildlife as we drove through the different areas and we really enjoyed that.
Everywhere we went the people were absolutely wonderful, kind, and proud to show us their country and it made our trip spectacular.
Erika, thank you for all you did to help make the trip such a huge success.
Brian Blades ,
April 24, 2013
"Very prompt at getting information back to us and very helpful with any changes we wanted.
This trip was as good as the last trip we did with Kensington, could'nt have been any better. Our guides were excellent, especially Gerald.
Stephen Strom ,
April 22, 2013
"The transfers went flawlessly; the guides were all superb (knowledgable; thoughtful; sensitive; responsive to our needs). The recommended hotels were, with one exception (see below), also first rate and well matched to our needs and temperaments.
Our thanks for providing 3 wonderful guides: Gary Ortiz (Antigua); Carlos Antonio Lopez (Tikal and Yaxha); and Israel Canto (Belize). All of them understood that we have ‘peculiar’ tastes (for example: photographing lichen covered tree trunks while the magnificent structures at Tikal were but meters away!). It is really critical that guides not try to make sure that we see every ‘important’ thing, but recognize instead that ‘importance’ is very much a personal thing.
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