Guatemala: Semana Santa and So Much More
Apr 3 - Apr 10, 2023
My husband and I booked our trip to Guatemala for Holy Week. We specifically chose this week to view the processions and street carpets that are present during Holy Week. Our itinerary began with a trip to Tikal National Park. We visited the Mayan Temples and learned a great deal about the ancient Mayan civilization. We climbed a few of the temples , walked the complex , and connected with many facets of nature. Our guide, Oliverio was knowledgeable and very personable. He explained ancient customs, sacred rites, and ceremonies. From there we traveled to Lake Atitlan to get a better view of the volcanoes. We participated in the village tours, shopped at the local markets, and witnessed the religious preparations being made for Easter Sunday. The remainder of our trip was spent in Antigua. We watched many of the processions on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of Holy Week. We walked through many of the streets and watched as many of the local Guatemalans prepared the colorful street carpets. One of the highlights of our stay in Antigua was the Antigua Walking Tour. Our guide, Maribel was delightful. She was informative, humorous, and very pleasant. We explored the historic landmarks and churches. Maribel explained many of the Mayan customs and traditions. We also visited a jade factory where we learned about the mining and colors of jade. Later that evening, we participated in a Guatemalan Cooking Class. There were 12 adults in the group and each of us were assigned a different task in preparing the meal. This group effort allowed us to engage in conversation and fellowship throughout the cooking process. At the end of the class, we sat down on the roof top to enjoy the meal. The sunset and the volcanoes provided the perfect backdrop for this meal. On our last full day in Antigua, we made the most of the day by participating in a bike tour around Almolonga Valley. We rode through suburban villages and stopped to visit churches, colonial ruins, a chocolate factory and a wine factory. Willy was our guide and he was most patient when we needed to take a break. There are a few hills on this scenic ride and at the midway point of this ride, we needed to walk our bike and take a few minutes to recoup. Willy provided clear safety protocols for the operation of the bike and remaining safe on the road. Willy answered all of our questions and shared many interesting details. It was fun to spend three hours with Willy on this tour. The Casa Antigua Hotel was centrally located and the courtyard was quaint. The staff was friendly and helpful. However, the rooms were very outdated. The décor was old and the rooms needed painting. There were no screens on the windows, and the towels were dingy and frayed. If I had seen the inside of the rooms prior to the trip, I would have opted for another hotel. We enjoyed our stay at Jungle Lodge Tikal and San Buenaventura Hotel. My husband and I enjoyed this trip and am glad that we decided to visit Guatemala. Eduardo did a great job with the logistics and we were moved from point to point without any difficulty. The final itinerary met our expectations and the activities did not disappoint. Eduardo provided great suggestions for activities and we were able to travel around different parts of Guatemala in our week long stay.