8 Days Voyage to Central America
1. Home City ~ Panama City
Hotel : The Grace Hotel or similar
Upon arrival in Panama City, transfer to your hotel for leisure or rest.
2. Panama City (B/L)
Hotel :The Grace Hotel or similar
Today we have planned a city tour followed by an excursion to see the Panama Canal. You will start your day with a visit to the ruins of Panama’s first capital, known as Old Panama or Panama La Vieja. This city was founded in 1519 as the first Spanish settlement on the Pacific Ocean. Spanish expeditions to conquer other South American colonies left from here and returned with vast quantities of gold, attracting the attention of pirates like Henry Morgan. When this notorious pirate looted the city in 1671, the whole city was destroyed by fire, but the ruins of several impressive structures remain to this day. You will see the ruins of the Spanish Fortress, the Cathedral and the Bishop’s House. Next, you will travel to Casco Antiguo, the colonial city center, which is the historic core of the
modern capital. In the afternoon, you will head through the former “Canal Zone” to see the Miraflores Locks Visitor Center. This visit includes the entrance to the Museum, a movie on the new canal and access to the viewing locations. From the observation deck, you can watch as ships cross the Panama Canal.
3. Panama City ~ Guatemala City (B/L)
Hotel : Mercure Casa Veranda Guatemala or similar
Check out of the hotel this morning and transfer to the Gamboa Rainforest Resort Area to take the Gatun Expedition Boat Tour. The boat tour takes you through the Panama Canal into secret waterways to find hidden islands that are home to various species such as the Capuchin Monkeys, crocodiles, iguanas, turtles, sloth and a large variety of birds. The adventure begins at the private dock of the Gamboa Rainforest Resort from where you will navigate via the Chagres River and the Panama Canal to Gatun Lake, one of the biggest artificial lakes in the world. This tour is ideal for nature lovers who will be charmed with the aquatic life, while at the same time enjoying the wonderful rainforest. Then, we transfer to the airport for your evening flight to Guatemala City. Upon arrival in Guatemala City, transfer to the hotel for check-in.
4. Guatemala City - Antigua (B/L)
Hotel : Mesón de María or similar
Begin the day with a tour of Guatemala City, capital of Guatemala. First we will visit Las Americas Avenue, which is named after the reform drawn in the late nineteenth century, due to the formation of the Organization of American States on April 30th, 1948. We continue on to the Civic Center of the City, a set of government buildings constructed between the 1950’s and 60’s. You will see the Bank of Guatemala decorated with high relief murals by Dagoberto Vasquez describing the history of the country and a mosaic done by artist Carlos Merida. Next, we continue to the Major Plaza of the Constitution. This square is the heart of the Historic Center of the city. It is surrounded by important monuments such as the National Palace. Later, we will stop at the Central Market, which is located behind the Metropolitan Cathedral, in the basement of the Tabernacle Plaza. There, you can buy a variety of art and handicrafts from all over the country: ceramics, textiles, leather, wood, and silver. Following our sightseeing in the city, we make the 1-hour trip to the charming Spanish colonial city of Antigua for overnight.
5. San Antonio Aguas Calientes / Ciudad Vieja - Antigua (B/L)
Hotel : Mesón de María or similar
Today in Antigua take a half day walking tour of the charming colonial city. Antigua means “old” in Spanish as this city was once the old colonial capital. Antigua is renowned for its Spanish colonial buildings, many of them restored following a 1773 earthquake that ended Antigua’s 200-year reign as Guatemala’s colonial capital. The tour visits the Main Square, Palace, Cathedral, and La Merced Church / San Francisco Churches. After lunch, head out to visit the quaint small towns of San Antonio Aguas Calientes, known for its traditional weavers, and Ciudad Vieja, Jocotenango.
6. Antigua - Atitlán (B/L/D)
Hotel : Posada de Don Rodrigo or similar
We check out of the hotel and transfer this morning to the Lake Atitlan region in the Guatemalan Highlands of the Sierra Madre mountain range. Here you will take a scenic 30-minute boat ride across the lake to the village of San Juan La Laguna. In the village, you will visit the women’s textile cooperative to observe women at work hand-weaving and performing a natural dye process. Also, here in town, you will have the chance to visit
the studios and homes of the celebrated “naïf” painters. Later on, we will go see an effigy of the Mayan god “Maximon” for an opportunity to learn about the spirituality and beliefs of the T’zutujil Mayan people. Finally, we travel to Panajachel and check in at our lakeside lodgings.
7. Atitlán - Xela / Zunil - Guatemala City (B/D)
Hotel :Adriatika Hotel Boutique Guatemala or similar
Today we visit Quetzaltenango, also commonly known as Xela. This city and the surrounding region is well-known for its Mayan villages, its beautiful landscapes, hot springs, valleys and strong cultural traditions. We will make a panoramic city tour of Xela for you to get a feel for Guatemala’s second largest city and then we shall explore the Indigenous village of Zunil. In Zunil, you will see the native people wearing attractive colorful clothing made by traditional backstrap looms with techniques passed down from generation to generation. After a great day of touring, we Proceed to the airport for the flight back to Quito. En route we shall make a photo stop at the volcanic Twin Pit Craters. Visit the city’s beautiful colonial center upon arrival of Quito, as well as some photo stops for the surrounding mountains. Enjoy dinner afterwards and return to the hotel.
8. Guatemala City - Home City (B)
At the indicated time, head to the airport for departure.
Rates and Costs
Please download the itinerary above.