Guatemala holiday, Tikal and beyond
Description of Guatemala holiday, Tikal and beyond
Explore extraordinary Mayan ruins, dramatic landscapes and native traditions on this Guatemala holiday, Tikal and beyond. An absolute treat of a country, Guatemala is also one of Central America’s less explored places. It’s wonderfully diverse, with a long history expressed in Mayan ruins and colonial towns, lush scenery and dramatic landscapes shaped by volcanoes. Its wealth of history and natural beauty is woven through with a culture still informed by ancient traditions and Mayan lore.
Travel into the central highlands to enjoy Antigua, a peaceful colonial town with brightly painted buildings bathed in fresh highland air. Admire the spectacular volcanic landscapes around Lake Atitlan and head to the Ixil Triangle where to visit several Mayan villages. Join local farmers to pick coffee and take a boat to Aguateca, a remote Mayan site only accessible from the water. We will also meet the Garifuna community who live on the Caribbean coast.
Visiting Tikal is a highlight of this 16 day small group tour. Sitting deep within the jungle, the vast pyramids and buildings of this site were built by the once mighty Mayans, one of central America’s most advanced civilisations.
This 16 day small group tour is a chance to experience how the ancient and modern worlds meet and mingle in Guatemala, with the Mayan spirit surviving beyond Tikal, as you explore the towns and small villages that pepper the fertile plains and lush peaks.
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PlanetWe have a strict environmental policy to make sure that the environments we visit are not damaged or spoilt in any way. Our “Leave No Trace” ethic is applied to this trip and as tour operators, it is something we are careful to promote. Your guide on this trip will have been trained to uphold this policy and all clients are fully briefed on appropriate/responsible behaviour whilst in wilderness areas.
We are very aware of the economic, ecological and ethical impact tourism can have on ancient cultures and fragile environments. We realise that taking clients through this region can have a negative impact on the environment if not handled responsibly and as such, on all of our trips we go to great lengths to minimise the negative and accentuate the positive - after all, there are also many good things that the traveller can bring. By keeping the group size to a maximum of 12, we can also minimise the human impact on the fragile sites we visit – particularly important as this trip visits some delicate ecosystems.
Guatemalan coffee is considered to be amongst the finest in the world, and on day 3 of the tour we will visit one of the region’s small, independent coffee producers. Supported by a number of organisations that promote environmentally responsible agriculture, the tour affords a chance to see up close how the small coffee farmers go about their daily business.
PeopleIn Guatemala we use local ground handlers - this means that all the operational costs go directly into the local economy and helps to improve employment opportunities in remote regions. By incorporating homestays, locally owned hotels, family run restaurants and the services of guides and drivers into our itineraries, we ensure that money you spend on your trip goes directly into the local economy and local communities benefit from tourism.
We recognise the importance of supporting and engaging with the smaller local communities. For example on day 7 of the tour we visit the Ixil people in Nejab, whose language and culture are very much untainted by the influences of the outside world. This tranquil setting, the friendly nature of the people and the intriguing history of the region make this a memorable and insightful experience.
In order to facilitate an enduring support structure for the communities we visit, and to show a commitment to these values, in January 2009 we set up a charitable foundation through which we can directly channel funds to both existing NGOs and our own development projects. In addition to organising ethically sensitive tours, having our own charitable foundation allows us to raise money – through the cost of our tours, charity trips and fund raising events – which can then be used to fund various projects in education, sanitation, reforestations and a number of other important issues facing developing communities.