GUATEMALA | The Mystical Maya
2019 dates TBA
A journey to the heart of the Mayan people. In partnership with the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS)
Your journey begins with a traditional Mayan fire ceremony and sweat lodge on your first full day in Antigua, Guatemala's picturesque colonial capital. Here you will meet your fellow travelers, your IONS and CCJ journey leaders, and set your intentions for the journey ahead. Then we move on to stunning Lake Atitlán, considered the center of the universe in Mayan cosmology. The heart of your journey will be 6 nights at shores of their "mother lake," hosted by our partners at Centro Taa’ Pi't, a Mayan-founded intercultural learning center and after-school program teaching local youth both 21st century technology skills and environmental education rooted in their traditions and culture. Daily excursions to villages around the lake will give you a glimpse of its rich cultural tapestry, and an understanding of the environmental, social, and economic challenges the Mayans face. The trip will conclude with a full day journey to Tikal, the Ancient Mayan capital of the North. This remarkable journey will have a particular focus on the resurgence of Mayan culture and its presence in today’s Guatemala.
Day 1 | Antigua Arrive in Guatemala City and transfer to your hotel in Antigua. Meet other members of group. Short orientation. Welcome dinner in a local restaurant. Antigua Hotel (D)
ANTIGUA is the old capital of Guatemala. It is a cultural center of linguistics, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and offers speckled ruins of colonial architecture. Antigua’s surrounding mountains include three spectacular volcanoes.
Day 2 | Antigua Breakfast at hotel. We are invited to a welcoming fire ceremony at dawn on Day 2 (November 8) led by our good friend Tz'ules, one of the few women in Guatemala who leads such rituals. Later that day she will guide us in a Mayan temazcal, or sweat lodge, another beautiful ritual that helps us connect to our true selves, open our hearts, and clear our minds to prepare for the journey ahead. Traditional Mayan dinner will be included after the temazcal. Antigua Hotel (B/D)
LAKE ATITLÁN Located in the Western highlands of Guatemala, the volcanic Lake Atitlán is considered by many to be the most beautiful lake in the world. This mile-high deep blue lake is overseen by three massive volcanoes; San Pedro, Atitlan, and Toliman. Thirteen indigenous villages along the shores are easily accessible by lanchas (boats). The land is rich in ash and minerals supporting extensive coffee production and of course maize (corn), central to the very life of the Mayans “the people of the maize”.
Day 3 | Lake Atitlán Transfer in private coach to the Western highlands and Lake Atitlán. Lunch en route to Late Atitlan. Dinner at Hummingbird Heaven with leaders of Centro Taa’ Pi’t. Lake Atitlán Accommodation (B/L/D)
Founded and led by Mayans, CENTRO TAA’ PI’T is a non-profit, intercultural learning center supporting local Tzutujil children in computer technology and ecological education.
This unique program began in an effort to bring the benefits of technology with computer education while reclaiming and strengthening the Tzutujil Mayan culture. Respected and honored in their village for nearly 12 years, their work has expanded at the community level to contribute to the protection and survival of their sacred “Mother Lake” whose material and spiritual resources are invaluable to the indigenous people in the area. Against all odds they rise again. What can we learn from the leaders, children and families of Taa' Pi't for our own lives?
Day 4 | Lake Atitlán Workshop learning about the Maya calendar. Opportunity for your own astrology reading based on the Mayan Calendar known in their cosmology as your nawal. Lunch at Cafe La Puerta. Afternoon choices Choice 1: afternoon on own; or Choice 2: Group trip to San Juan tour of women’s weaving cooperative and visit to San Marcos and Escuela Caracol, Guatemala’s only Waldorf School. Dinner on own. Lake Atitlán Accommodation (B/L)
Day 5 | Lake Atitlán Escort to a ceremonial site to experience a traditional Mayan Fire Ceremony, led by a Mayan shaman, also known as an ajq’ij. After the ceremony, return to our hotel for lunch on your own. Afternoon choices Choice 1: Day on own or Choice 2: Boat to Santa Cruz for short hike along waterfront to Laguna Lodge for lunch and swimming. Dinner with group at local eatery in San Marcos La Laguna. Lake Atitlán Accommodation (B/D)
Day 6 | Lake Atitlán/Santiago Transfer in Lancha to Santiago Atitlán. We have the chance to take a tour with Dolores Ratzan Pablo to learn about Mayan historical, cultural and political history. Lunch at La Fonda de Mercedes with Candis Krummel, an American designer who lives in Santiago. We will explore the making of colorful textiles and visit Maya artisans to observe the tactile skill of reed mat making, spinning of colorful cotton, canoe carving (cayuco), rich coffee roasting, and chocolate processing. Return to hotel. Dinner on your own. Optional evening sauna (Temascal), a traditional Mayan curative ceremony that relaxes the body and purifies the spirit. Lake Atitlán Accommodation (B/L)
Day 7 | San Pedro A day with the Centro de Taa’Pi’t, Experience re-introduction of Mayan agricultural practices and meet some of the local leaders. Picnic lunch when we are out. Return to the hotel for dinner on your own. Lake Atitlán Accommodation (B/L)
Day 8 | San Pedro Morning intercultural activities with children and staff of Taa Pit. Lunch at local eatery. Catered farewell dinner at Hummingbird Heaven. Closing circle reflecting on our entire experience at the lake. Lake Atitlán Accommodation (B/L/D)
Day 9 | Guatemala City Transfer to Guatemala City. Lunch on the way. Check in to hotel. Dinner at hotel. Guatemala City Hotel (B/L/D)
TIKAL In the Mayan language, the name Tikal means “the place of spirit voices”. Nestled in the jungle of the southern lowlands near Petén, Guatemala, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Tikal offers travelers a glimpse of the pre-Columbian art and mathematical genius of the Maya civilization. Inhabited from the 6th century B.C to the 10th century A.D., this vast ceremonial city hosts a multitude of towering pyramidal temples, hieroglyphic inscriptions, and ancient tombs and palaces, all bordered by a lush landscape rich in flora and fauna.
Day 10 | Flores/Tikal Depart Guatemala City on an early morning flight to Flores, a colonial village located on an island on Lago Petén Itzá, one hour from the Tikal ruins. Lunch with the group. Depart by bus for Tikal. Dinner on your own at the hotel. Tikal Accommodation (B/L)
Day 11 | Tikal Full day of exploring the ruins and temples of the Mayan city of Tikal where the diverse landscape is sprinkled with ruins dating back as far as the 6th century B.C. Return to lodge. Dinner at hotel. Tikal Accommodation (B/D)
Day 12 | Tikal Day to relax by the pool at Lodge, pack and prepare for our journey home. Farewell dinner at Lodge. Tikal Accommodation (B/D)
Day 13 | Guatemala City/Home Transfer to the airport. Domestic flight back to Guatemala City. Transfer to your flight back home. (B)
This itinerary is an overview of our Guatemala journey. Each day can of course include much more. We will take advantage of the serendipity of the moment, like visiting a new site or restaurant and meeting someone new. Each day will also provide an opportunity for a morning exercise (i.e. yoga, walking, jogging), and evening circle (i.e. meditation and dialogue).
NOTE: Travelers should be aware that most streets in the city of Antigua are cobblestones, and there are many uneven surfaces and sidewalks. The Guatemalan countryside around Lake Atitlán, in Flores and Tikal is underdeveloped and has in some areas a bit of a rugged terrain. On the lake, we will be traveling in local motorboats, so called lanchas, that requires the traveler to be able to climb in and out of boats and up on to docks. This journey requires participants to be able to walk a couple hours each day. There are many times to rest but ability to keep up the group’s pace is essential. Most people find no issues with the activity level but those with any conditions should call our office to discuss their limitations.
INCLUDED: All in country transportation per itinerary including round trip airfare to Tikal; hotels in Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala City, Flores/Tikal; breakfast daily, 7 lunches and 8 dinners (B/L/D per itinerary); guest speakers; all entrance fees on itinerary; CCJ Journey Leader Cilla Utne; IONS Journey Leader Katia Petersen; preparation materials; tips for bellman and bottled water on the bus.
NOT INCLUDED: International air travel to Guatemala; alcoholic drinks; meals not on itinerary, 4 lunches, 4 dinners, (B/L/D per itinerary); excursions not on the itinerary; tips for local guide and driver (optional, yet customary); travel cancellation and evacuation insurance (strongly recommended, info will be sent upon registration).
TRAVEL PROTECTION: For more information on the available plans or to enroll, click here or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 47-0272. Please advise Travelex that Cross Cultural Journeys is the travel company for this trip.
Cilla joined Cross Cultural Journeys as CEO in January of 2015. For the past 20 years, she has worked in the field of intercultural consciousness and facilitated cross-cultural training programs for executives living and working across cultures. A native of Sweden and a world traveler, she has lived for extended periods in Spain, the UK, Chile. She lived three times in Guatemala in the past decade, and spent about half the time in Antigua, and half the time on Lake Atitlán. Cilla holds an MBA in Sustainable Business from Pinchot University at Presidio, and is often a speaker on the links between sustainability and cultural values. Cilla is also a budding author, working on a novel about her mother’s childhood, contemplating how unresolved trauma can impact future generations. Based in the US since 1998, she lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington, where she is co-parenting her 10 year old son, adopted from Guatemala in 2007.
New 2019 dates TBA
$TBD (double occupancy)
ADD: $500 (single supplement)
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call (800) 353 2276