This is a basic itinerary that will be further developed in the months leading up to departure. We will be spending roughly 25 days in Guatemala and Mexico from Jan 8th-Feb 3rd with a day of travel on either end.
Our plan is to fly into Guatemala City and immediately travel by bus to the hills outside of Antigua where students will acclimate to the language, customs, and food of Guatemala in a relatively low-stress environment just outside of a beautiful colonial city. We will be staying at an eco-lodge and exploring the environs with a former Exploration’s student who was so moved by his time traveling in Guatemala with the school that he now calls Guatemala home for several months of the year. From there we will travel to the surrounding area, climb active volcanoes and dip our toes into Lake Atitlan.
Next, we will travel back to Guatemala City where we will visit the laboratory of Dr. Richard Hansen, the preeminent archeologist of the Preclassic Maya. We will get a better idea of what it is like to be an archeologist and what we should notice as we head into several of the most important Mayan Ruins. This exploration will begin at Tikal, a UNESCO heritage site, and continue as we backpack into El Mirador, the largest city of the Preclassic Mayans, and one that remains primarily overgrown. The six-day journey will include several stops at ancient cities where we will sleep under the forest canopy and wake to monkeys greeting the morning sun. While we are in the area we will also do volunteer work within the Maya Biosphere Reserve, a reserve consisting of roughly 10% of Guatemala’s total land area.
From there we will travel by bus into Mexico. Our primary visits there will be the Mayan cities of Palenque and Chichen Itza. In addition, we will be working with multiple organizations based around San Cristobal de las Casas that focus on indigenous rights and poverty alleviation efforts. We will conclude our trip on the beach outside of Tulum where students will enjoy the turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean as they process the experience and prepare to return to the United States where they will present how they have changed as a result of this experience.