New Guatemala Tours for 2013


January 2013-It”s the start of a new year and, according to the Maya calendar, the beginning of a new era. What better way to celebrate than to set out for brand new places and bid adios to the well-trod tourist trail. To that end, our partners in Guatemala have created four new tours that are designed to give visitors an inside look at local life and the chance to dig deeper into Guatemalan culture. Explore a “chicken bus” workshop, taste homemade Guatemalan food, visit a sacred Maya cave, or learn how to make chocolate from scratch. These tours ensure an exciting start to both the new year and the new era.

Guatemalan chicken bus Visit a Local School & “Chicken Bus” Workshop

(Tour location: Antigua)

Niños de Guatemala (NDG) is a Guatemalan/Dutch non-profit that was founded in 2006 to defeat poverty and support sustainable development. Its primary project is Nuestro Futuro (Our Future), a school that educates and teaches vocational skills to at-risk children. On this tour, guests will head to San Miguel Escobar (a small town outside of the colonial city of Antigua) to visit the school, learn more about education in Guatemala, and stop by some of the local businesses that work with NDG, including a carpentry shop where coffins are made (it”s a common business in town) and a “chicken bus” workshop where North American school buses are transformed into colorful powerhouses able to fly up mountains as they transport locals from one town to the next.

Try Street Eats in Antigua

(Tour location: Antigua)

Forget restaurants. Much of Guatemala”s finest food comes from the wicker baskets of señoras on the street and the smoky stalls of comedores (small eateries) in local markets. On this tour, guests get an introduction to Antigua”s street food hot spots. These are the places where long lines of locals are a fixture-and for good reason: The food served is delicious and well-prepared. Expect chuchitos (the Guatemalan take on a tamale), pupusas (cheese-filled corn tortillas), rellenitas (plantain dough that”s filled with beans, and then fried), atoles (hot drinks made from corn, rice, oatmeal, or other ingredients), and even pigs” feet. Guests will learn the cultural and historic significance of the eats on offer, and on Saturdays, will visit Antigua”s bustling market to explore the colorful array of ingredients used in Guatemalan cuisine. (Please note that this tour is for more adventurous eaters.)

Making chocolateLearn How to Make Chocolate from Scratch

(Tour location: Antigua)

Cacao has been used by the Mayas throughout Central America for ages, and during this Antigua-based workshop, guests will learn about its history, how it”s grown, and what has led to its mass production today. They”ll also get an overview of the chocolate-making process and have a chance to turn cacao beans into everything from cacao tea to Maya hot chocolate to traditional chocolate bars (the latter of which can

be customized with delicious add-ins like almonds, coffee beans, ginger, and sea salt). Everything made is tasted along the way, and guests will leave with chocolate in hand.

Explore a Traditional Maya Community at Lake Atitlán

(Tour location: Lake Atitlán)
Located in the hills above Lake Atitlán, San Jorge La Laguna is a small Kaqchiquel town that”s a 10-minute drive from Panajachel, the lake”s main hub. In addition to spectacular views of the area and three volcanoes nearby, San Jorge has a rich indigenous culture, and guests will get an insider”s look at the community with the help of a local guide. Over the course of a half-day,

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