Tag Archives: guatemala

Our Top 4 Reasons why you should head to Guatemala this Winter

It’s that time of the year to start thinking about winter vacation — and where else to go for a fun blend of culture and sun but Central America? Peak season is December to May, before the rain starts and school’s out, especially during the holidays—Christmas, New Year and Easter. Why not try Guatemala for a change?

Guatemala, home to fertile lowlands and dynamic volcanoes, has been occupied for millennia. It was the birthplace of the magnificent Mayan empire, culminating in splendid cities, healthy population and countless temples and palaces when Europe was still in its Dark Ages. Its rich Mayan and successive Columbian heritage have made for a unique blend of architecture, markets, food and language. Here are our top five places to visit in Guatemala:

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CC (c) Dennis Jarvis

1. Tikal. Tikal is a large archaeological site in Petén, and once one of the largest Mayan cities. Designated a UNESCO site in 1979, the area has been painstakingly restored. The stone temples and pyramids, lying deep in remote jungles, are marvelous testaments of architectural majesty. Tikal has been ranked in Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelers’ Bucket List.

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CC (c) John Fitzpatrick

2. Antigua. Artsy Antigua is a charming city and great place to practice your Spanish. The coffee industry fuels a sophisticated cultural scene. Visitors are sure to spend a few afternoons here exploring sweet shops, admiring the city’s parks or delving into the ruins of an old convent.

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CC (c) Adam Baker

3. Lake Atitlan. Atitlan means “where the rainbow gets its color” in Mayan. This stunning lake covers 50 square miles and is renowned for its beauty—surrounded by volcanoes and many thriving villages. Here you can ease into adventure slowly by hiking one for the many lakeshore trails, or dive right in by paragliding, zip lining, or scuba diving.

4. Chichicastenango. At this famous market you can find an array of colorful wares: everything from handicrafts and textiles to food, pottery, candles, herb, limestones, machetes and incense. Operating on Thursdays and Sundays, the market is also where you’ll stumble on traditional masks used in traditional events like the Dance of the Conquest. Next to the market visitors can wander into the 400-year old Church of Santo Tomas.

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CC (c) Adam Baker

Our longterm partners at Avanti Destinations organize custom packages in Central and Latin America—give Willamette Intl Travel a ring to learn more about options to Guatemala.

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Vendor of the Month: Avanti Destinations

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Willamette Intl Travel uses Avanti Destinations as one of our main tour operators in Central America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. Avanti is world-renowned, a member of the United States Tour Operators Association, and have been in the business for over thirty years. Best of all, they are based in Portland, Ore., right around the corner from Willamette Intl Travel!

Avanti offers fully customizable tours in a range of destinations—from jungles and mountains to deserts and islands. Their established, creative itineraries are designed to make the most of your cultural jaunt abroad—and can even be tailored to the minute details to your interests and needs. They even offer theme journeys, focusing on ecology, adventure, food and wine, romance, etc.

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Avanti’s services extend to transfers, tours, lodgings, day trips and more. They keep a range of hand-picked accommodation on list—from lodges, villas, and condos—and every property has been inspected by an employee. These visits ensure the lodgings are of the highest quality, while maintaining a range sensitive of varying budgets. Avanti can arrange shared and private transfers to and from the airport/each destination. In some major ports, they can even arrange pre- or post-cruise itineraries for comprehensive land tour. Day tours are booked with local tour operators, keeping you always on schedule, and with local guides who have grown up in and around the region.

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On a recent itinerary to Costa Rica, we booked some of our clients on an adventurous tour through cloud forests and volcanoes. They spent a week traversing treetop walkways, river-boating, swimming in hot springs, and horse-riding on the beaches of Guanacaste. To quote one client, “This was the best vacation of my life!”

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Travelers on an Avanti booking have:

  • – Taken a bus through the Andes to Puerto Natales
  • – Cruised the channels of Tierra del Fuego from Ushuaia
  • – Caught glimpses of the leopard and cranes in the forests, lowlands and wetlands of the Pantanal
  • – Spent a night overlooking the Iguassu Falls
  • – Wandered the cobblestoned streets of the colonial city of Paraty
  • – Explored the boutiques and glitzy restaurants of Buzios on the charming Costa Verde
  • – Savored wine in the Loire valleys
  • – Hiked Chile’s spectacular Torres del Paine National Park and the Atacama Desert with its salt flats and dramatic volcanoes
  • – Zip-lined in the butterfly-rampant Cloud Forest of Monteverde
  • – Visited the Uros-Iruitos floating reed islands and the quaint village of Copacabana
  • – Traced the cultural journeys of the pre-Inca Chimu and Moche civilizations, climbed the pyramids of Tucume, and visited the tomb of the Lord of Sipan in Huaca Rajada

Ask us more about Avanti or call us to find more about destinations. We can be reached at 800.821.0401 or info@wittravel.com.

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Filed under Central America, South America, Vendors, VOTM