Mindfully Engaging Guatemala

Practicing the art of mindful travel in Antigua and Lake Atitlan
Overview

overview

We know that magical, time-stopping moments in travel occur when we are fully present and fully attentive. We also know that even the most experienced travelers can find the goal of staying in the present moment to be elusive. Our minds are wild companions. They have a way of getting busy with worry or planning or comparison-making so that, for brief interludes, we forget where we are. On this trip, our deep engagement with the people, art and environments of Guatemala is enhanced by mindfulness practice. Each day we practice various techniques for staying in the present moment, including mindful movement, sitting meditation and informal practice.  In so doing we set the intention to quiet our minds and create the space for full, multi-sensory, joyful engagement.

Our recent mindfulness groups have been comprised of women who enjoy coming together for new experiences and daily mindfulness practice while visiting two spectacularly beautiful, accessible, and welcoming locales in Guatemala -- the charming colonial town of Antigua, and the stunning lakeside at Atitlan. Stay in two unique small hotels set in exquisite gardens. Enjoy hosted visits in traditional Mayan villages, hands-on activities with local artisans, guided explorations of ancient Mayan sites, and walks in stunning natural areas.

Lynn Sipher and JOURNEYS DIrector Joan Weber inaugurated this travel concept in Guatemala in 2013 and added Costa Rica in winter 2014. In 2015, they expand their offerings with Mindfully Engaging Japan.

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Antigua / Mindfulness orientation
    Antigua's emblematic yellow arch and cobblestone streets

    You'll be greeted on arrival in Guatemala and transferred about an hour to the colonial town of Antigua. Nestled in a mountain valley and surrounded by evergreen forests, Antigua is one of the most charming cities in the Americas.  The colonial architecture has been lovingly restored, parks and plazas are plentiful, and the horizon is defined by three spectacular volcanoes. With Lynn and Joan, and the other members of your small group, settle in for a 3-night stay at Meson Panza Verde, a charming small hotel. The central garden and fountain are surrounded by an ornate veranda and florally-bedecked terraces. Here in this idyllic setting, you'll receive an orientation to Antigua and to the mindfulness practice that will be central to the week's experience.

    Meals
    Dinner
    Lodging
    Meson Panza Verde
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  • Day 2: Antigua
    From the rooftop of our hotel, Meson Panza Verde

    Panza Verde actually has many different rooftop patios at different levels. Before breakfast, find your own favorite perch to watch the changing morning light and then join the group for meditation led by Lynn. After breakfast, we set forth with our Antigua guide to orient ourselves to the city -- to its stunning architecture and multi-layered history, as well as to the rhythms of its daily life. Breathe deep, and absorb the colors, textures, sounds and story of this place. At day's end, Lynn will introduce additional mindfulness practices and we will enjoy a delicious meal.

    We've now established a rhythm that we will carry forward through our time in Guatemala. At the start and end of each day, Lynn will guide us through at least 45 minutes to an hour of structured mindfulness practice.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Panza Verde (or similar)
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  • Day 3: Antigua hands-on options
    We'll visit with the weavers at INDIGO in Antigua

    We embark on another full day in Antigua which we can greet from our rooftop in the early morning, another day which will begin and end with structured mindfulness practice. This is a day which can unfold in a number of different ways, depending on the leanings of our group members. Those who are interested can participate in a hands-on textile workshop, and/or make a half-day visit to a coffee farm. There will be opportunities to browse the mercado (market) and galleries, to explore solo, to do art or writing or photography.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Panza Verde (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: Lake Atitlan
    Indigenous Mayan cemetery in the highlands where graves are above ground and brightly painted.

    We greet the day from our Antigua rooftop, and we end the day on the shores of Lake Atitlan. Once again, we begin and end with structured mindfulness practice, while filling the intervening hours with new territory and new experiences.  Our three and a half hour drive takes us into the "highlands" where the traditions of the indigenous Maya have remained strong. We will notice this in the clothing, the language, the foods, the ceremonial sites and the villages.  In the afternoon, we arrive at Lake Atitlan, a gorgeous natural landmark, perhaps the most beautiful lake in the Americas, surrounded by a volcanic mountainscape, and dotted with small villages. Our hotel grounds contain their own meticulously maintained botanical garden, and the hotel lawns reach right up to the shoreline.  We settle in for a 3-night stay.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Hotel Atitlan (or similar)
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  • Day 5: San Juan and Santiago on the Lake
    Lake Atitlan offers a stunning interplay of peaks, clouds, blue water, and blue sky.

    We continue our structured mindfulness practice, and we continue to open ourselves to new experiences. Here at the lake, we have the opportunity to watch the light on the water and on the mountains, and to observe the interplay of clouds and peaks. After breakfast, our local guide who intimately knows the Maya of the lake, leads us on a full day boat tour with stops in two very different villages. We visit a women’s weaving cooperative, as well as the studios of famous local naïf painters.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Hotel Atitlan (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: Silence by the lake and in the nature reserve
    Find scarlet macaws in the nature reserve at Atitlan.

    Today, Lynn guides us through a morning of structured silence. The afternoon is flexible. Just down the road from our hotel, you can visit a forested nature reserve with well-marked trails. You can also take a tuk-tuk in the lively large town of Panajachal. You can wander solo. You can do your own art.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Hotel Atitlan (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: Guatemala City / Onward
    Note abundant displays of native-grown calla lilies.

    Today we return to Guatemala City for afternoon flights homeward, or to connect to explorations in other parts of Guatemala.

     

     

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    Meals
    Breakfast
    Show on a map
Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Dec 5-11, 2015
Land Cost:
$2,450
The cost quoted is the Land Cost and is subject to change. This covers accommodations, transfers, activities, touring, guide services and meals as described in JOURNEYS' Trip Notes. The quoted Land Cost will apply when group size falls in the specified range and when travel is on the indicated dates.
Single Supplement:
$630
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

Duration:
7 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost.
Comfort Level:
3
unique delightful hotels
Group Size:
8-10
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
1
easy walking & optional hiking

Terms & Conditions: 

Standard

Included in costs: Meals as noted, each night in double occupancy accommodations, land transfers between components, English speaking guides, park or site entry fees, surface transport, equipment other than personal gear, government tax, airport transfer assistance, in-country ticket reconfirmation and check-in assistance (where permitted), complete pre-departure packet, toll-free pre-departure phone assistance.

Not included in costs: Meals not noted as included, gratuities, beverages (except tea or coffee at meals), international or domestic airfare unless specified, airport departure taxes not included with air tickets, visas, itinerary changes after confirmation, any services not included in itinerary, any costs incurred due to canceled or delayed flights, acts of nature or other happenings beyond our control, or other costs as are more fully described in JOURNEYS Terms & Conditions.

Deposit and payment schedule: $500 per person per trip or the applicable amount based on the trip and the proximity of the departure date. A second deposit of $800 per person is due four months prior to departure, and final payment for land arrangements is due 60 days prior to departure.  Any applicable permit fees required in advance are non-refundable as well.  Airlines require full payment when tickets are issued. The deposit may be made by Visa, Master Card, American Express, or check, and the Reservation Form may be submitted by fax, mail, or via our website. Full payment schedule and cancellation penalties are described in our Terms and Conditions as noted in our Global Expedition Catalog, on our website, and elsewhere. Please request these if you do not have them before advancing a deposit.

Air fares: JOURNEYS can make complete air arrangements applicable to your trip as noted in this itinerary. If you wish to redeem frequent flyer mileage or arrange flights directly with the airline, you may do so on your own at no penalty. If you do, please consult with us on exact arrival and departure dates and times before having your tickets issued to avoid errors.

Insurance: When you make your application, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Itinerary Change Fee: There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

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