Experience the Magic of the Lake Atitlan

The Lago de Atitlán (Lake Atitlán) is considered one of the most beautiful lakes globally, rivaling Italy’s Lake Como’s beauty. A volcanic lake, it is also Central America’s deepest, and the water level has been rising in recent years. Located in Guatemala’s highlands, Lago de Atitlán is only about 50 km from Antigua, making it a simple overnight trip. However, many people find one day isn’t enough to explore all the beauty the area has to offer and choose to stay several days in the idyllic towns surrounding the lake.

Lake Atitlan

Bahia de Santiago Atitlan – Guatemala ® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Lago de Atitlán boasts one of the world’s best climates, with temperatures neither too hot nor too cold, making it enjoyable to explore the region by boat or foot. Guatemala usually is called the Land of Eternal Spring for its year-round mild temperatures. The water of Lago de Atitlán’s surface shimmers aquamarine in the sunshine, and the multi-colored fishing boats add to the natural beauty of the trees and volcanoes in the distance.

Many Guatemalan vacation packages offer a visit to this beautiful region, with a view of three of Guatemala’s most stunning volcanoes, including a stay in one of the many small towns surrounding the lake. The Lago de Atitlán is surrounded by many small villages inhabited mainly by Maya, representing several different Mayan groups. It is common to see people in traditional dress, following some of the traditions passed down for hundreds of years. One of the reasons these towns retain their identities is that there is no main road connecting them around the lake. Each community must either be reached via mountain roads or by boat along the shores of the lake.

Live Culture Guatemala

Cofrade (Mayan Priest) – Lake Atitlan Guatemala ® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Choose to enjoy a Guatemalan adventure by climbing one of the volcanoes that ring the lake, going bird watching, or taking a tour of a coffee farm. A boat ride at sunrise or sunset provides visitors with a sense of the surreal, illuminating the incredible vistas of the water, forests, volcanoes, and picturesque towns that have made this destination a must-see on any Guatemala holiday.

While there are many areas to choose from when deciding where to stay for the night, each provides to visitor a different experience. Panajachel is the most popular with tourists and offers the widest selection of hotels and restaurants to choose from. For a less touristy and more picturesque experience, visit Santa Cruz la Laguna and Jaibalito, both known as quiet, idyllic towns offering spectacular views and plenty of authentic Mayan culture. Jaibalito is only accessible by boat and offers one of the least tourist-influenced views of the region’s traditional way of life.

Kayaking Lake Atitlan

Kayaking – Lake Atitlan Guatemala ® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Another option is to visit the market at Sololá, which runs every Tuesday and Friday. It’s a smaller market than the one at Chichicastenango and less touristy as well. This is a great place to experience some authentic Mayan culture and pick up some handmade souvenirs to take home. Shopping can be done by visiting the shops of Santiago Atitlán, where everything from woven goods to pottery can be found in the many small shops in town.

Solola Central Park

Solola Central Park – Guatemala ® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

From luxury travel to budget accommodations, Lago de Atitlán offers something for everyone. Enjoy the spectacular views and local culture on a relaxed tour, or engage in adventure travel by climbing a volcano or diving. Just don’t miss out on the warm hospitality offered by the locals.

Best Places to Visit in Guatemala – The Highlands

Best Places to Visit in Guatemala

The Highlands – Living Mayan Culture

The Guatemalan Altiplano includes the districts of Chimaltenango, Sololá, Quiché, Quetzaltenango, Totonicapán, Huehuetenango and San Marcos. Its natural diversity and richness in fauna and flora make it one of the country’s most popular destinations. In this idyllic landscape with its giant volcanoes and glittering lakes, the tranquility of the might nature becomes a source of inspiration. Here, the Mayan civilization’s traditions have survived through the aeons, as the people who inhabit this land have preserved their languages, their attire, and their cuisine for centuries.

Guatemala Live Culture

Guatemala Live Culture ® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Chimaltenango

The name Chimaltenango can be translated to “place of the shields.”. In the summer, between the 20th and the 30th of July, the surrounding region of the same name witnesses a series of festivities consecrated to St. Anna, Mother of the Virgin Mary, and Patron Saint of Chimaltenango. In Patzún, the Corpus Christi Celebration marks the end of the Easter period in June with colorful robes, floral decoration, incense, dance, and fireworks.

You can relax in the natural pools of Los Aposentos, Pixcayá or Ojo de Agua. Adventurers should explore the Venezia and Devil’s Caves and visit the waterfalls of the River Nicán. There are also impressive archaeological sites such as Iximché or Mixco Viejo.

Iximché

In the city of Tecpán lies Iximché, once a great city fortress of the Kakchiquel dominion, the last capital of the Mayan Kakchiquel empire. In 1524 it became the first capital of the Spanish conquistadors in Guatemala. In an area of 50 hectares, there are pyramids, temples, palaces, and other structures such as an arena for a ritual ball game.

Iximche Archaeological Site® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Iximche Archaeological Site® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Mixco Viejo

Around the area of today’s San Martin Jilotepeque, there was once the fortified Mixco Viejo town, which the people of the Pocomames inhabited. In the late classical Mayan period, it was an important spiritual center of the Kakchiquel realm. Here you will also find a well-preserved square ball-play court, pyramids, and observatories.

Mixco Viejo Archaeological Site

Mixco Viejo Archaeological Site – Guatemala® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

 

Huehuetenango

Huehuetenango means “City of the Ancients” and is surrounded by high rocky mountains. The best view is from the “Mirador Juan Diéguez Olaverri.” Bird lovers will appreciate a variety of rare species in this mountainous area. Business and leisure life unfolds in the central square, framed by the Town Hall, the Church of the Immaculate Conception, and several neoclassical buildings. On the court, there is a relief map of about 30 square meters in diameter.

The local festivals are worth a visit, notably “Nuestra Señora del Carmen” on the 16th of July or “La Concepción” on the 8th of December. In the city of Todos Santos Chuchumatán, members of the Mayan Mam people start their celebration in honor of the saints and the dead the night before with offerings and chants for the deceased loved ones.

A typical dish of the region is Jocón, which has been declared a National Cultural Heritage

Todos Santos Cuchumatan

Todos Santos Cuchumatan – Guatemala® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

 

If you want to go on a discovery tour, the Quen Santo Cave (“Holy Place”) is highly recommended. The “Hoyo Cimarron” is a cylindrical hole with a diameter of approx. 170m and a depth of 150m that hides a patch of forest at its bottom. This unique habitat offers protection to many rare birds and other animal species.

Another cultural highlight is Zaculeu, an archaeological site attributed to the Mam people and formerly fortified city in the post-classical period with squares, pyramids, temples, and other buildings for various purposes. The local museum displays a collection of jade figurines, ceramic artifacts, and human bones. Suppose you prefer the seclusion of untouched nature. In that case, you should visit the Yolnabaj lagoon of the all-turquoise “Laguna Brava,” about 4 square kilometers into the subtropical forest, or relax in one of the spas.

Zaculeu Archaeological Site

Zaculeu Archaeological Site® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Sololá

All regions have names with specific meanings – Sololá can offer even two versions: One is derived from the word “Tzolojha,” which means “waters of the elderflower” in the language of the Kakchiquel, Kiché, and Tzutuhil. The second theory interprets the word’s meaning as “return to the water” and deduces it from three syllables used in the Kakchiquel language: “tzol” (return), “ol” (continuation), and “yá” (water). The region contributes large portions of the country’s wool production, but coffee and other crops are becoming increasingly important as the local people’s economic base. The region’s culinary specialties are stews with potatoes, patín, cress with chirmol sauce, or pork loin ragout.

Lake Atitlan - Best places to visit in Guatemala

Lake Atitlan – Guatemala® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Sololá has numerous historical and archaeological sites. The famous natural park of Lake Atitlán spreads across 120 hectares in the valley of “San Buenaventura.” Here, today’s world blends with ancient Mayan traditions in Panajachel with its beaches, hotels, cafes, restaurants, and nightclubs.

Quetzaltenango

Quetzaltenango takes its name from the royal title by Don Francisco Izquín Nehaíb of 1558. The local K’iche’e people who once settled here called this region “Xelahuh” and “Xelahuh Queh” (place of ten deer). It is located in a broad valley surrounded by Santa María, Santiaguito (one of three active volcanoes of the country), Cerro Quemado, Siete Orejas, Chicabal, and Lacandón; there are countless possibilities for mountaineers and hikers. From Cerro Zunil, Zunilito, El Galápago and El Baúl, you get spectacular views of the city of Quetzaltenango and the beautiful surrounding nature. Quetzaltenango is one of the important cities in Guatemala. It is an industrial center for the production of textiles and liquors, also is a strategic trading hub and a cultural center alike.

Quetzaltenango

Quetzaltenango – Guatemala® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

The local cuisine is characterized by so-called paches (potato pockets), tamales de chambray, and rompopo. Here, too, visitors find a great tradition of various festivals and dances, one highlight being Easter; but also the country’s independence celebration, the “Feria Centroamericana” or the Patron’s festival in honor of the Virgin of the Rosary are celebrated with joy and dedication. The Ermita de la Concepción in the village of Salcaj’ is a religious monument that attracts visitors from the entire country and beyond. It is the seat of the first Central American Catholic Church.

Volcano and Lagoon of Chicabal

Lake Chicabal lies inside the volcano of the same name at an altitude of 2172m. The Maya’s National Natural Heritage of “San Martín Sacatepéquez” was considered one of the most significant sacred places. Like hundreds of years ago, ceremonies are held on four altars dedicated to the heavens for rain magic.

Chicabal Guatemala

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Quiche

The name Quiché is derived from “qui” (many) and “Che” (trees) and refers to the rich forests of the area. Santa Cruz del Quiché is the region’s administrative center and an important center for preserving the ancient Mayan rites and traditions in their original form. The extensive use of spices characterizes the local cuisine. Some of the typical dishes are pinol (roasted corn and chicken with tamales), boxboles, chicken with epazote, chojin chichasteco, and white tamales.

Nebaj Guatemala

Nebaj Guatemala® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

On August 18, the Patron’s festival in honor of Santa Elena de la Cruz is celebrated in Santa Cruz del Quiché. A few other festivals are worth attending throughout the year, particularly indigenous religious ceremonies conducted by Mayan priests who intertwine with the deceased.

The town of Playa Grande Ixcán, like many neighboring communities, offers various natural attractions such as rivers, waterfalls, hot springs, and caves. In Canillá lies the archaeological site “Los Cerritos Chijoj.” San Andrés Sajcabajá is a traditional pilgrimage place where the faithful complete their march of penance crawling on all fours. The village of Laj Chimel in Uspantán is the birthplace of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr. Rigoberta Menchú. Chicamán is a natural paradise famous for its untouched nature and of its inhabitants’ lively culture, customs, and traditions that have been handed down over generations from the Mayan Poqomchí, Achí, Queckchí, and Kiché people. Castilian influences add to the unique mix.

The town of Chichicastenango is located in the same district and is one of the most important traditional cultural and religious centers of the Mayan civilization.

Chichicastenango

Chichicastenango means “place of nettles” and was founded by members of the K’iche people who had fled from the destruction of Utatlán. Today, the city is home to the Maxeños and prides itself as one of the country’s most important tourist destinations when exploring the Maya’s cultural history. It’s where the Popol Vuh was found, the legendary religious Mayan book that tells about the origin of humankind and that was translated into Spanish by Fray Francisco Ximenez.

Chichicastenango

Chichicastenango – Guatemala® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

On Thursdays and Sundays, when the indigenous farmers come to the city from the surrounding villages to sell their products in the markets, it seems like very little has changed since the Mayan empire’s ancient times. The atmosphere is bustling and serene at the same time.

Among the numerous tourist attractions in the city, the Cerro Pascual Abaj, the Museum of Masks, the Gumarcaj Excavation Site, and the Apostle Thomas Church from 1540 truly stand out. The latter reflects the splendor of the colonial period and at the same time makes reference to the 18 months of the ancient Mayan Calendar with its 18 steps. The Gumarcaj site is also called Utatlán and was the last capital of the Mayan K’iche’ people. Its heyday was in the post-classical period and is described as a powerful city in Popol Vuh.

The celebrations in honor of the city’s Patron St. Thomas are celebrated with traditional dances from 13 to 21 December.

San Marcos

The district is home to the highest peak of Central America. The two volcanoes Tacana and Tajumulco, rise here and create a diverse biosphere bustling with countless species thanks to their different heights. This region is also home to the legendary Quetzal, Guatemala’s heraldic bird.

Resplendent Quetzal

Resplendent Quetzal – Guatemala® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Marcos is famous for its local specialties, such as the tamale marquense mole of bananas and turkey, the salpicon, cambrayes, tayuyos, and atole de maiz.

In San Marcos, you can admire the caves of “Las Castalia.” Moreover, the “Agua Tibia” thermal baths with their sulphureous steam-producing source are worth a visit. On the Naranjo River, you can go canoeing, while the port of Ocos invites you to a leisurely walk. The Mayan Palace and “Piedra Partida,” the Split Rock, are compulsory boxes to tick. On April 25, the patron saint of the district is commemorated with a spring-mass.

Eco-tourism is becoming increasingly important for the region but also the entire country. Highlights for particularly authentic natural experiences are, e.g., the National Park Cerro Tzankujil and the ascent to the volcanoes Tajumulco (the highest peak in the country) and Tacana. Peace and tranquility are found in the “Centro Pirámide,” where meditations and alternative therapies are offered.

Totonicapán

Another district whose name allows for two interpretations is Totonicapán. On the one hand, the term is composed of the syllables “Totl” and “Nicapan,” which means “mountain of birds” in the Náhuatl language. In the language of the K’iche’, the region is called “Chwi meq’ina,” meaning “Over the warm water.” As one of the highest areas of the country, it can be pretty cool here. The tamales or the local corn groats taste just as good here as the traditional bean broth. Archangel Michael is worshipped as the patron saint of the district every year between September 24 and 30. At Easter, there are processions in which the suffering and the death of Jesus Christ are portrayed.

Thursday is a market day in the town of San Cristóbal Totonicapán. Here you can buy the typical local costumes and textiles as well as hand-made pottery. On Saturdays, the market turns into a sea of color motion being the central meeting point for the entire district. In San Francisco, a weekly market is also held on Fridays; it is the region’s most significant.

San Andres Xecul

San Andres Xecul – Guatemala® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Some of the city’s attractions are the colorful Church of San Andrés Xecul, the city theater, the parish Church of the Archangel Michael, and the Center for Arts and Crafts. In San Miguel and Chuisán Antonio Mundo’s caves, there are sacred sites of the K’iche’s. Experiencing the “Aventura Maya Quiché” at the Nueve Sillas or the Maria Tecún Peak is also an option.

Visit the Famous Market of Chichicastenango

Guatemala Chichicastenango

Visit the Famous Market of Chichicastenango

K'iche' Maya Priests

K’iche’ Maya Priests – Guatemala Chichicastenango Market® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

When on holiday in Guatemala, no vacation would be complete without visiting the incredible Market in Chichicastenango. Located just a few hours northwest of Guatemala City, Chichicastenango (also known as Santo Tomás Chichicastenango) is a beautiful small town situated at the mountain’s altitude of 1965m (6447ft). A day trip from Guatemala City, a visit to this town is a beautiful way to travel in Guatemala and experience traditional culture in a gorgeous mountain setting.

Guatemala Chichicastenango

Market Day – Chichicastenango – Guatemala ® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

The town is a mixture of white stucco buildings and cobblestone streets that remain from colonial times, mingled with pre-Columbian Mayan ruins and traditions maintained by modern-day Mayans. The famous 400-year-old church of Santo Tomás built on top of a pre-Columbian temple’s ruins dating back to the Ancient Maya civilization. The steps to the temple are still revered today.

Mayan Ceremony

Mayan Ceremony- Chichicastenango – Guatemala ® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Among this unique blend of cultures and history, the inhabitants of Chichicastenango carry on some traditions that date back hundreds of years. One such tradition is the market that dates back to pre-Hispanic times, in an area that has traditionally been one of the most important commercial centers in the Mayan region. The market held every Thursday and Sunday, featuring vendors from all over the country and from each country’s linguistic groups. Widely believed to be the most colorful market in the Americas. It attracts people from all over Guatemala and tourists worldwide to experience the unique atmosphere and handmade products for sale.

Chichicastenango Market

Vegetable Market – Chichicastenango – Guatemala ® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Excellent addition to any Guatemala tour package, visitors to the market are amazed at the number and variety of beautiful items for sale. Locals visit the market to purchase fruits and vegetables whose size and quality rival the produce found in even the most high-end grocery stores. Chickens, eggs, and other meats are also sold, and once a year, there is a cattle market.

Tropical Fruits Chichicastenango

Tropical Fruits – Chichicastenango – Guatemala ® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Besides local small farmers’ food and flowers, the market is famous for the exquisite handicrafts available for purchase. Elaborate wood-carved masks that are used in traditional dances have given this area a reputation for high-quality woodworking. Carved by hand and painted in a dizzying array of colors and designs, these masks make a beautiful souvenir or gift for someone back home.

Chichicastenango Wooden Masks

Wooden Masks – Chichicastenango – Guatemala ® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Perhaps most popular are the intricately woven textiles on display at every turn. Traditional huipiles (traditional garments worn by Mayan women) are woven on handlooms into designs representing different Mayan groups and are created out of brightly colored cloth. In addition to traditional blouses, these incredible fabrics are woven into blankets, handbags, ponchos, and more, each with a design that’s unique to the group it represents.

Maya Textiles

Maya Textiles – Chichicastenango – Guatemala ® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

After a visit to the market, don’t miss the opportunity to step inside the church of Santo Tomás. Each of the 18 steps leading up to the church represents a month in the Mayan calendar year and is an excellent example of how Mayan traditions and Spanish Catholic culture have mingled over the years in the town. On a historical note, the oldest known copy of the ancient Mayan religious text, the Popol Vuh, was discovered in the convent of this church, and the church is used as much by Catholic worshippers as it is by Mayans.

Chichicastenango Cemetery

Cemetery – Chichicastenango – Guatemala ® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Guatemala Chichicastenango

Martsam Travel, a Guatemala tour operator, can arrange private tours to Guatemala Chichicastenango on market days, including travel to and from Guatemala City. Enjoy the culture and history of Chichicastenango without any of the worries of arranging the details.

 

 

Go Birdwatching in Guatemala

Go Birdwatching in Guatemala

Guatemala is home to over 750 species of birds, 24 of which are restricted to the northern Central America area. The country’s regional diversity offers several opportunities for seeing rare and beautiful birds in their natural habitat while also enjoying the country’s cultural and historical richness.

Horned Guan - Birdwatching Guatemala

Horned Guan – Birdwatching Guatemala® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Most Guatemala tours focus on four main endemic areas. The highlands of northern Central America are home to the Horned Guan, the Pink-Headed Warbler, and the Cabanis Tanager. The north Pacific slope is home to the Yellow-naped Parrot, the American Green Parakeet, and the White-throated Magpie Jay.

Pink-headed-Warbler - Birding Guatemala

Pink-headed-Warbler – Birdwatching Guatemala® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

The northwestern tropical forests of Guatemala contain more than 500 birds and are among the most famous Guatemalan holiday destinations for birdwatchers. Home to birds such as the Wedge-tailed Sabrewing, the Keel-billed Motmot, and the Gray-headed Piprites. Finally, the fourth main birdwatching area in the lowlands of the Yucatan peninsula, including the northern Petén region of Guatemala.

Orange-breasted Falcon

Orange-breasted Falcon – Birdwatching Guatemala® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

This region features species such as the Grey-throated Chat and the Rose-throated Tanager. Guatemala is home to many rare species of birds, including the Orange-breasted Falcon and the Guiana-crested Eagle.

Ocellated Turkey

Ocellated Turkey- Birdwatching Guatemala® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Guatemala is so rich in culture, geography, and history that even casual bird watchers will have much to discover and do in addition to birdwatching. In contrast, birding enthusiasts will have plenty of areas to choose from and a high probability of catching a glimpse of several rare bird species. Any Guatemala holiday can easily incorporate birdwatching with hiking, volcano climbing, or other nature activities. Some of the best birdwatching destinations are also home to some of Guatemala’s most famous Mayan landmarks.

Wedge-tailed Sabrewing

Wedge-tailed Sabrewing – Birdwatching Guatemala® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

The region of Tikal is home to over 400 species of birds but is also home to some of the most impressive Mayan temples and ruins the country has to offer. Located in an environmentally protected area, visitors can split their time between visiting the ancient Mayan ruins, birdwatching, or taking a trip out to some of the surrounding areas to see beautiful lakes, shop at a native market, or climb an active volcano.

Geoffroy's Spider Monkey

Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey – Birdwatching Guatemala® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Few other travel destinations offer such fascinating travel opportunities, from vibrant cities to Mayan culture and markets to jungle and mountain villages, all within the span of a few hour’s distances from each other at times. Since the best time for observing many bird species is in the pre-dawn hours too early morning, visitors can see rare birds up close in the morning and then still have the rest of the day free to enjoy everything else Guatemala has to offer.

Belted Fycatcher

Belted Flycatcher- Birdwatching Guatemala® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Each season offers new opportunities, including the chance to see birds in couples during the mating season or catching migrating birds during the migratory season. Whether you’re a novice birdwatcher anxious to see your first rare bird, or a seasoned birdwatcher eager to discover new species, there’s a Guatemala tour that’s right for you.

How to Plan an ideal Guatemala and Belize Family Holiday

How to Plan an ideal Guatemala and Belize Family Holiday

Going for a family vacation to Guatemala and Belize can perform memorable experiences for yourself and your family and provide you with a much-needed break from the needs on the job and the effects of covid-19; a holiday is an exceptional opportunity for the family members to connect.

Going for a family vacation can provide you with the chance to invest top-quality time with your kids while allowing them to experience cultural, natural, and adventure activities in a new place in the heart of the Mayan world.

Family Vacation

Family Vacation – Guatemala ® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Activities to experience as a family:

There are several types of activities for the family members to enjoy as a group traveling to Central America:

Heading on outdoor hikes together

Biking

Birding

Experience museums and galleries

Taste local food

Discover nature

Enjoy the sun and white sand beaches in the Caribbean.

Going swimming

Snorkeling

Maya culture, and more

Guatemala Family destinations

Here we show you the best family destinations in Guatemala to organize a unique holiday:

 

Antigua Guatemala

Located just 27 miles from La Aurora international airport, La Antigua, Guatemala’s colonial city, is one of its ideal family vacation spots.

The panorama that surrounded this colonial jewel is unique. The majestic Agua, Fuego, and Acatenango volcanoes decorate the scenery. Any moment you will enjoy the eruptions of Fuego volcano, one of the country’s three active volcanoes.

Besides the natural richness is the city’s cultural aspect, street sellers coming every day to Antigua to sell a wide variety of textiles and handicrafts; the seller mainly belongs to some of the indigenous groups and still wears their typical clothes.

If you wish to experience a cultural family destination, Antigua Guatemala is the place; the city offers galleries, museums, impressive architecture, and a select group of dining areas.

Antigua Guatemala also is the departure point to organize many daily activities such as volcano hikes, coffee tours, zip-lining, biking, birding, and a day tour to Tikal, Chichicastenango, and Lake Atitlan, among others.

Antigua Guatemala Vacation

Antigua Guatemala Vacation ® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Lake Atitlan

Atitlan is another location that will surprise you; surrounded by Atitlan, Toliman, and San Pedro volcano, lake Atitlan constitutes the core of cultural destinations around Guatemala. Two main ethnic groups predominate around the lake, Tzutujiles and Cakchiqueles.

The Maya Cosmovision and customs of this Maya people perform a colorful palette of customs and traditions that amaze locals and visitors; you and your family can discover the art of textiles, paints, ceramic, and medicinal trails.

Travel activities that will help to understand a new culture and would contribute to the personal growth of your family

Lake Atitlan also is a unique natural place to go for your loved ones. You can train your kids the way you use a kayak or canoe, hiking, horseback riding, birding, and biking, in addition to taking pleasure in the stunning landscape and cultural richness around the lake.

Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan – Family Adventure® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Tikal and The Maya Lowlands

In case your family members like to trek and discover more about nature, a vacation to the tropical rainforest can be quite a great chance to grow closer as a family.

Tikal National Park is a natural and archaeological destination considered among the top globally. It is stated like a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Tikal has a lot to offer as a family destination.

Well-designed trials will take under the exotic tropical rainforest that inhabits a wide variety of wildlife such as troops of spider and howlers monkeys, more than 400 bird species, reptiles, and insects.

Besides this unique natural world are the remains of the enigmatic Maya culture, temples, plazas, astronomical centers, Acropolis, stelae, and altars. Discover the fantastic architecture, Maya hieroglyphs writing system, and astronomic advances, including creating a Maya calendar.

Staying within the park will allow you to discover the other face of Tikal in our sunset and sunrise tour, a highly recommended experience for the whole family.

Beach destination.

The beach has some notable points of interest for family members. Playing in the sand and swimming in the turquoise water of the Caribbean will supply several hours of enjoyment for your children while it will be possible to take pleasure from relaxing under the sun.

Our island and beach family destinations offer a great activity in the Pacific Sea’s volcanic sand beaches and the pristine sand shorelines and turquoise waters of the Atlantic coast.

Guatemala Pacific coast provides the opportunity to share quality time in activities like nature; birding boat trips inside the mangroves, surfing, and the release of turtles.

The Caribbean is spectacular for family holidays. The aquatic life around the second largest reef is a colorful world where the whole family can learn and enjoy a world-class vacation, activities, lodging, and fantastic food.

The Hol Chan marine reserve in Belize offers the chance to experience an encounter with nurse sharks, rays, turtles, dolphins, and a great variety of colorful fish species.

 

Accommodation:

Martsam travel uses hand-picked family-friendly properties located in ideal surroundings to fulfill the family members’ expectations. From three stars hotels to high-end properties, according to your budget and interest.

Transportation:

For families interested in birds-eye view experiences, SUVs, minivans, and vans on land transportation and water taxis in Belize, for short domestic flights, planes with capacity from 20 to 34 passengers family interesting in birds-eye view experiences provide helicopter adventures.

Guidance:

Flexibility is the key to an ideal family adventure.

Our family tours’ most valuable benefits are the in-depth know-how, professionalism, and reliability of our staff: travel specialists, guides, and drivers. Every one of them possesses high qualifications for fieldwork and also the best training.

The country’s culture and nature are elements of their daily life, so they are the best people to help you experience the best family holiday in Guatemala and Belize.

Holy Week in Antigua Guatemala

Holy Week in Antigua Guatemala

Holy Week in Antigua Guatemala is well known for its Catholic festivity, which celebrates the passion, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the setting for a colorful expression or faith through its fascinating processions. It is the faithful congregation’s point, dressed it in the traditional robes of Cucurucho, and spectators fascinated by carpets of sawdust of different shades.

Antigua Guatemala - San Jose Cathedral during Holy Week

Antigua Guatemala – San Jose Cathedral during Holy Week® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Holy Week’s traditional carpets use colored sawdust, flowers, fruits, vegetables, and other materials, a real spectacle. There are two types of carpets, those made by its people and those made by brotherhoods in churches to celebrate holy vigils.

During the processions, you will see large floats that carry Christ figures, led by purple Cucuruchos, or the Virgin Mary, followed by a woman dressed in black. Before eastern, you can enjoy Holy Week, where you can attend vigils celebrated in the churches of la Merced, San Francisco, and the School of Christ. This is a tradition that goes back to colonial times and is maintained to this day through these religious practices, which allows its citizens and visitors to live their culture and history.

La Merced Church Antigua Guatemala

La Merced Church – Antigua Guatemala ® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Sawdust Carpets:

One of the peculiarities of this festivity is the natural carpets that color the city with tinted sawdust, Flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Neighbors and brothers participate in the artisan elaboration of these temporary works of art to passage the highly mystical processions. It is believed that this tradition is inspired by the holy scriptures describing the inhabitants of Jerusalem placing olive branches and palms at the feet of Jesus of Nazareth when he entered the city.

Sawdust Carpet - Antigua Guatemala

Sawdust Carpet – Antigua Guatemala ® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Centuries later, this gesture would be interpreted in the Christian tradition as Palm Sunday with palms or flower beds, colored sand vegetable ornaments. Holy Week is a colorful week full of folk traditions that generate a spiritual and religious atmosphere.

There are many other attractions around Antigua, Guatemala; you can visit San Juan del Obispo, San Cristobal El Alto, and San Felipe Jesus, to see arts, crafts, and visit the ruins of some of the old churches in the city.

Visit nearby towns of Jocotenango to discover coffee plantations, Ciudad Vieja to walk around the historic center and San Antonio Aguas Calientes to buy its typical textiles.

Sawdust carpet with fruits and vegetables

Sawdust Carpet with Fruits and Vegetables – Antigua Guatemala ® All Rights Reserved Martsam Travel

Day by day activity that you should not be missed:

Palm Sunday: Procession of Palms.

astern Monday: Procession of the Consecrated Image of Jesus of Nazareth in The Church of La Merced.

Holy Tuesday: Jesus of Nazareth of Atonement in the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande and Procession of Jesus of Nazareth of Hope in Santa Lucia’s Shrine.

Holy Wednesday: vigil for Jesus being buried in the Temple of School of Christ and children’s procession of Jesus of Nazareth “The Pilgrim” and our Lady of Sorrows.

Holy Thursday: the procession of Jesus of Nazareth of Humility in San Cristobal el Bajo’s village, Jesus of Nazareth of Atonement of the Church of San Francisco, and Our Lady of Sorrows.

Good Friday: neighbors work on carpets made of sawdust and flowers for the passage of the procession of Jesus of Nazareth of Penance from the temple of Mercy and our Lady of Sorrows.

Holy Saturday: the procession of our Lady of Sorrows of the Temple of San Felipe de Jesus and School of Christ and the procession of Condolence of the Consecrated image of Maria Santisima de Soledad.

Eastern Sunday: procession of Jesus the Resurrected of the Iglesia de Obras Sociales of Santo Hermano Pedro.