… enter a world of color, culture and customs where two thousand years of history can be glimpsed from a series of exotic locales; you’ll witness a rich panorama of geographical and cultural beauty. The Highlands of Guatemala have some of this hemisphere’s most beautiful landscapes and environments, including cloud forests, lakes, scenic and mountain vistas. Few spots on earth so beautifully combine such rich diversity and abundance of flora and fauna as Guatemala.
Early Colonial churches, convents and monasteries are dramatically preserved in the splendid Spanish capital of Antigua. Architecture from the sixteenth century, world renowned artisans and a mixture of Spanish and Mayan culture are all present in this historic town.
Optional Add-on Trips
Copán…located in the Rio CopánValley of western Honduras, the ancient city of Copán was part of the once great civilization of the Maya. Known for its advancements in arts and astronomy, Copán flourished during the 7th century and is representative in the Americas of what Athens was to the old world, the cradle of its civilization. The beautiful ruins are dominated by impressive pre-Columbian art and are prized for the carved stelae of ancient rulers. Remarkable in detail and in size, these unique sculptural monuments and the well-preserved hieroglyphics make Copán shine among the ruin sites of the Maya and are invaluable to the understanding of this lost civilization.
In Tikal Mammoth pyramids with temples on top attest to the skill, intelligence, and high civilization of the ancient; Maya ruins that rival any Egyptian site. Copán, in Honduras is one of the greatest treasures of art and architecture in the Americas, and is known for its beautiful temples, altars and stelae of this lost civilization.
… one of the best-kept travel secrets; you can still see Ecuador as it really is, where its natural wonders are widespread, as are its traditions. The incredible scenery with ice capped volcanoes and pastoral scenes of colorfully dressed indigenous herders watching sheep and llamas graze windswept fields of grass will create memories to last a lifetime.
Quito, boasts colonial churches, plazas, museums, and historic buildings; we’ll visit the Middle of the World at latitude 0’0’0″ and stand in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres at the same time. The indigenous market of Otavalo offers crafts for tourists from the many nearby small villages that specialize in a particular craft. We stay at a restored 17th century Andean estate and travel the Avenue of the Volcanoes in the Central Sierras to Cotopaxi National Park with 82,533 acres, where wild horses roam, and home to the highest active volcano in the world, Cotopaxi. Stay at a Hacienda built on the site of an Inca Palace, as well as a “working” hacienda where you will be introduced to the Chagra (Andean cowboy) life.
Optional Add-on Trip
The Galapagos Islands is 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, in the Pacific Ocean, protecting a bubble of life like nowhere else in the world, you’ll see doe-eyed sea lions, birds with blue feet, and tortoises as big as armchairs roaming free and fearless; swim with puppy-sized penguins and walk past nesting seabirds close enough to touch; and all are completely nonplussed by human presence.