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In this post we’ll take a look at our Guatemala Mayan ruins tours including the Tikal ruins and the ancient Mayan archaeological site of Quiriguá.

As far as we can tell from what has been recovered (and from ancient folklore) Mayan culture is really a diffusion of cultures that evolved through trade exchange. The Mayan culture of Guatemala is also famous for its sophisticated written language, art, architecture, and astronomy.

Caravan also includes additional stopovers at a number of less visited authentic Mayan villages where Caravan travelers can experience today’s Mayan culture firsthand.

Our itinerary for Caravan Guatemala Mayan ruins tours include the following Mayan locations:

National Museum of Archaeology

Guatemala’s National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology is full of ancient Mayan artifacts and is located in Guatemala City. Caravan vacationers will enjoy an immersive tour through ancient Mayan history and how Guatemala’s civilizations existed prior to Columbian cultures entering the country. At the museum, Caravan guests can view an extensive collection of Mayan pottery and jewelry, which is sure to tweak the interest of the artist and historian in all of us.

Mayan Villages along Lake Atitlán

While many visit Lake Atitlán in Guatemala simply because of its reputation as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, most Guatemala visitors also get to experience Mayan culture as it exists today. Many Indian villages surround Lake Atitlán and Mayan residents still wear traditional Mayan clothing. Our Guatemala Mayan ruins tours offer a glimpse into pure Guatemala Mayan culture; one can even visit a colorful artisan market!

Tikal Ruins of Guatemala

The Tikal ruins are a major part of our Caravan Guatemala Mayan ruins tours. Tikal was once the most powerful kingdom in the entire ancient Mayan empire.

One of the best places to stay when up north in Tikal National Park is the Villa Maya, a near 70-acre nature preserve. From here, Guatemala vacationers can set out to explore the ancient Mayan civilizations among the ruins of Tikal.

Dating back to 700 B.C., Tikal is one of the most magnificent Mayan cities of all time. Set in a backdrop of tropical rainforests, complete with spider monkeys and tropical birds, Tikal allows Guatemala vacationers the chance to explore all the famous points in Tikal’s great plaza, including Mayan temples, ball courts, pyramids, and more.

Quiriguá Mayan Site

Perhaps a little less visited but just as intriguing is Quiriguá, an ancient Mayan archaeological site. The Archaeological Park and Ruins of Quirigua have undergone amazing preservation and is now a Unesco World Heritage Site. Here visitors can see some of the world’s largest stone monoliths complete with carvings from ancient Mayan citizens. The carved Staelae and the ruins of Quiriguá act as a historical record of Guatemala’s ancient past dating back to the 8th century.

Book Your All Inclusive Mayan Tour Today

Caravan Tours is an all inclusive Guatemala Tour Operator that offers fully escorted travel through Central America’s Mayan ruins. This means that virtually every cost incurred during your Guatemala vacation – including hotels, transportation, activities, and meals – is included in the one all-inclusive price.

Because of this, Caravan’s Guatemala Tours are ideal for senior vacation travel or as all inclusive family vacations.

Call 1-800-CARAVAN (227-2826) for information about Guatemala group vacations as well as special travel requirements, or to reserve your spot today.

Read what others are saying about Caravan’s All Inclusive Guatemala Tours on our tour reviews page.

Caravan Tour’s all-inclusive Guatemala Vacation includes some of the best Guatemala hotels and resorts as well as your meals, ground transportation, and tour activities.

When you do the math, it often works out that the price you pay for the entire tour is less than what you would otherwise pay to stay in the selected Guatemala hotels for the length of your visit.

Caravan Tours prides itself on selecting the very best Guatemala hotels and resorts at each destination point along its Guatemala Tour. We want to provide ultimate comfort and security for all our guests. Below is an outline of the current hotels included in our All Inclusive Guatemala vacation packages.

Barcelo Guatemala City Hotel

Caravan tour guests spend two nights at the start of their vacation and one night at the end of their vacation at Barcelo Hotel in Guatemala City, which is near the airport. The close proximity to Guatemala’s airport makes for easy hotel transfers.

Guatemala’s Barcelo Hotel has spacious modern rooms, which are a welcomed transition into Guatemalan culture. From here, our Guatemala tour guests leave the city to explore Antigua, Tikal, Quiriguá, and Lake Atitlán in Guatemala.

Barcelo Hotel Guatemala features:

  • Outdoor swimming pool
  • High speed Internet access
  • Local shops and restaurants within walking distance

Lake Atitlan Guatemala Hotel

Guatemala hotels and resorts located in Panajachel include Lake Atitlan Guatemala Hotel. This hotel was built on the shores of one of the world’s most beautiful lakes, Lake Atitlán, which is also the deepest lake in Central America.

At nearly 1560 meters above sea level and covering 50 square miles of land, Lake Atitlán is one of Guatemala’s most prized natural treasures. As an ongoing recipient of Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence, Atitlan Guatemala hotel is a hidden hotel that offers a unique Guatemalan vacation experience with its:

  • Spanish colonial-hacienda decor
  • Rainforest surroundings
  • Endless bird watching opportunities
  • Close proximity to the Atitlán Natura Reserve featuring butterfly gardens, herb gardens and suspension bridges

Porta Hotel Antigua Guatemala Hotel

Located in the “Land of Eternal Spring”, Porta Hotel is one of the more renowned  Guatemala hotels and resorts. Porta hotel welcomes guests with its personalized service and modern amenities.

Guests find the central location of Porta Hotel Antigua (only two blocks from Antigua’s Main Plaza) great for exploration and experiencing the culture of Guatemala’s old capital city. Porta Hotel Antigua has also been awarded Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence. It was chosen by Condé Nast Traveler magazine as a Top 5 hotel in Central America. At Porta Hotel, Caravan tour guests can enjoy:

  • Two solar heated pools
  • Natural trees, plants, flowers and tropical birds including macaws and parrots
  • Warm reading room
  • Ceiba Porta Spa offering relaxation, exfoliation and hot stone massages

Villa Maya Tikal Guatemala Hotel (Petenchel)

Located at the heart of a true Guatemalan nature reserve and surrounded by lavish tropical landscape Villa Maya Hotel is a grand Tikal Guatemala hotel. This is one of the most popular Guatemala hotels and resorts booked by tourists visiting Tikal.

Situated between two lagoons feeding into nearby Lake Peten, this Tikal Guatemala hotel offers a true Guatemalan wildlife experience with toucans, macaws and monkeys visible from your hotel room balcony.

Guests of Villa Maya can enjoy:

  • Swimming in the pool that features a magnificent waterfall
  • Dining in the open air restaurant
  • Breathtaking views of the Tikal, Guatemala region

Caravan Vacations Include Guatemala Hotels and Resorts

This Caravan all inclusive tour includes some of the best Guatemala attractions like Tikal and other Mayan ruins. Caravan guests have the opportunity throughout the 10-day tour to relax and enjoy at minimum 2-night consecutive stay at each of these Guatemala locations.

Visit Caravan’s Guatemala FAQ page for more details about this Guatemala Central American tour or visit our Guatemala Tour description page for an up to date detailed list of Guatemala hotels and resorts featured on this exciting Caravan tour.

To book your Guatemala Tour call toll-free at 1-800-227-2826

In this post, Caravan Tours offers some helpful Guatemala facts and information about our all inclusive tours.

Guatemala, the land of eternal spring and heart of the ancient Mayan world, is a Central American country rich in heritage. You can spend days exploring everything from ancient Mayan ruins and archaeological sites like Tikal (which doubled as the rebel base in the 1977 Star Wars movie), to Colonial towns like Antigua, or volcanic lakes like Lake Atitlan.

Explore Guatemala facts and information abou tthe Mayan culture, which is over 4,000 years old. Guatemala’s Colonial heritage dates back to as early as the 16th century. Guatemala’s Colonial and cultural heritage evolved from a combination of Spanish and native Mayan peoples, ensuring that you will be captivated by the locals you meet during your Guatemalan tour.

In recent years, many eco adventure tour companies like Caravan Tours have begun offering guided vacation package tours through Guatemala. Guided by experienced tour guides familiar with Guatemala and its people, guests of Caravan Tours enjoy Guatemala facts and information firsthand.

These are very safe, all-inclusive Guatemala vacations, which are a great alternative to visiting Guatemala on your own.

Guatemala & Tourism

Even though Guatemala is smaller than the US State of Louisiana (108,890 sq km), this tiny country attracts hundreds of thousands of American tourists each year. Tourism is important to Guatemala and each day of Caravan’s Guatemala tour brings you to brand new surroundings with delightful surprises.

Guatemala is known as the “Land of the Eternal Spring” with coastal lowlands that are tropical and more temperate highlands where most Guatemalans live.

Bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador and the Caribbean Sea, Guatemala is a preferred destination for many cruise lines. From beautiful sandy beaches one can enjoy an amazing country that boasts heavily forested lowlands and the volcanic Sierra Madre Mountains.

Guatemala is also classified as a biodiversity hotspot thanks to diverse and unique ecosystems and rainforests, much of which engulfed the ancient Mayan ruins over the centuries. In fact, most of Guatemala’s Mayan ruins have yet to be excavated.

With economic growth and recent democratic elections, Guatemala is a maturing and growing tourism destination in Central America.

In fact, Guatemala boasts over 700 bird species and some of the world’s best sailfish fishing areas, attracting tourists from around the globe to this little Central American country.

Caravan Guatemala Tour Highlights

Guatemala City, the capital of Guatemala, is considered the hub of the country and where Caravan Guatemala tours begin and end.

Upon landing at the International airport, Caravan Tour guests spend two nights in Guatemala City while becoming acquainted with the new culture. Here guests have the opportunity to visit the National Museum of Archaeology and take a sightseeing drive of the historic center.

From Guatemala City, travellers get to explore the best of this tiny country, visiting the Mayan city of Quirigua, then Rio Dulce, Tikal National Park, and the colonial city of Antiqua. Other Caravan tour highlights include a visit to a Guatemalan coffee plantation and a boat cruise on Lake Atitlan, a spectacular volcanic lake, before returning to Guatemala City.

Caravan’s fully escorted Guatemala tour is virtually a treasure trove of Guatemala facts and information about this beautiful country and its people!

Visit Caravan’s Guatemala Tour Reviews page to hear what others are saying about this popular Central American tour.

Call Carava Tours at 1-800-227-2826 to book your spot today or check on availability!

In addition to the natural beauty and landscape of the country, the historical Mayan ruins of Guatemala are the focus of the all-inclusive Guatemala travel packages by Caravan Tours.

Guatemala is a magical place that attracts adventure, nature, and history enthusiasts alike. With outdoor adventure activities, World Heritage sites and top attractions like Mayan ruins and natural nature reserves, there is something for everyone in Caravan’s Guatemala travel packages.

Here are some of what we consider to be the top destinations and highlights on Caravan’s fully escorted Guatemala tours.

Guatemala City

Travel to Guatemala City, home to over 2.3 million people of diverse ethnic origins such as Spanish and Mestizo (mixed race). During a two-night stay in Guatemala City at the Barcelo Guatemala City Hotel, Caravan travelers experience what Guatemala was like prior to Columbian cultures with a visit to the National Museum of Archaeology. A sightseeing tour of the historical downtown center passes the Metropolitan Cathedral and National Palace.

Lake Atitlán Guatemala

The fact that Lake Atitlán is surrounded by three dormant volcanoes makes it a must see while traveling in Guatemala. The lake is the deepest lake in all of Central America, having been formed over 84,000 years ago. Mayan villages and extensive coffee plantations surround the shores of Lake Atitlán. After your two-day stay at Hotel Atitlán you will understand why this body of water, surrounded by dormant volcanoes, is known worldwide as one of Central America’s most beautiful lakes.

Antigua Guatemala

A two-night stay in Antigua at the Porta Hotel Antigua gives travelers the opportunity to stay just two blocks from Antigua’s main plaza. Travelers have ample time to explore the cobblestone streets of Antigua and capture photographs of colonial buildings or purchase exotic native art souvenirs. An official walking tour of Antigua’s Main Plaza, as guided by a knowledgeable tour guide, provides a live Guatemalan history lesson.

Tikal Guatemala Tours

Virtually every traveler who makes a visit to the Tikal ruins in Guatemala says it is an unforgettable experience. Once the greatest of all Mayan Cities, Tikal is now protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site, giving vacationers the opportunity to explore ancient Mayan history. The highlights of the Tikal tour include the Temple of the Grand Jaguar, Temple II, and the Plaza of the Seven Temples.

Other Mayan Ruins Tours

In addition to Tikal ruins, other Mayan historical sites are visited, such as Quiriguá. Quiriguá Guatemala has preserved some of the largest stone monoliths in the world known as Stele (or Stelae). Mayan history is inscribed in many of these Stele telling the stories of Guatemala’s past.

Guatemala Travel Packages Suitable for All Ages!

Caravan’s Guatemala vacation packages are designed for travelers of all ages. Even the most discerning traveler will be satisfied with the added touches Caravan provides in its Guatemala travel packages. These tours include free bottled water, air conditioned luxury coach buses, and all itinerary activities for one low tour price.

The 10 day vacation tour of Guatemala is set at a comfortable pace allowing for plenty of stops throughout Guatemala and the opportunity to relax and rest along the way.

Caravan chooses only the best resorts and hotels in Guatemala such as the 67-acre Villa Maya resort near Antigua. Guatemala vacation guests are invited relax and enjoy each hotel with a minimum two-night stay in each location – there is no need to pack up your belongings each morning!

These Guatemala travel packages are especially suitable for seniors and families with children over the age of 6. For more information or to book a Guatemala travel package for yourself, your family or a large group please call 1-800-CARAVAN (227-2826).

Budget Friendly Guatemala Travel Packages

Caravan Tours’ tour operators offer very affordable all inclusive Guatemala travel packages that highlight the very best of Guatemala. In general, Guatemala is known to be a “cheap” country to travel in but as a Caravan Tour guest you can always feel assured of safe, comfortable travel during your entire 10-day stay in Guatemala.

Caravan’s all inclusive and fully escorted Guatemala tours include all itinerary meals, accommodations, activities and ground transportation while on the tour. Even guide and restaurant gratuities are covered in the low all-inclusive cost. These Guatemala vacations fall well within the budget of even the most cost-conscious traveler.

Visit the official Guatemala tour reviews page to read what others are saying about Caravan’s all-inclusive Guatemala travel packages.

(Editor’s Note – This original post from March 2012 has been updated to reflect current Guatemala vacation details.)

Quiriguá Mayan ruins should be among your top three ancient ruins sites to visit while in Guatemala; Antigua ruins and Tikal Ruins being the other two.

Situated about 120 miles north east of Guatemala City in Guatemala’s Caribbean region, the Quiriguá Mayan ruins site contains remarkable Mayan monuments dating back to the 8th century and features some of the largest monolithic stone monuments (stele or stelae) from the ancient Mayan world.

Quiriguá ruins Guatemala is an official UNESCO World Heritage site located in the south eastern part of this Central American country and covers approximately 1.2 square miles along the lower Motagua River. With its unique set of preserved stele and sculpted Mayan monuments showcasing the Mayan calendar, the Quiriguá Mayan ruins help archaeologists and tourists alike to appreciate historical Mayan society, politics, and economics.

Quiriguá Archaeological Park

It is believed that Quiriguá Guatemala was inhabited by early Mayan civilizations as early as the 2nd century AD.

Because the Motagua River flowed near the Quiriguá’s Great Plaza during this time, this Mayan site’s elaborate monuments and stele stone carvings stood proud, and served the purpose of announcing Quiriguá’s power to all travelers passing by along the water.

Today, the Motagua River has shifted and now flows just over half a mile south of these Guatemala Mayan ruins.

When visiting the UNESCO heritage site of Quiriguá you will learn how its history is closely intertwined with Copán (an ancient Mayan city located in modern day Honduras).

Quiriguá’s civilization was much more rural with its population spread throughout the area. This is evident in the fact that archaeologists have found an average of 338 stone monuments per mile in Quiriguá compared to Copán, which has nearly ten times as many structures.

Interestingly, in 738 AD, Quiriguá held a successful uprising against Copán and the King of Copán was sacrificed in Quiriguá’s Central Plaza.

Unfortunately, the ancient Guatemala ruins at Quiriguá are now threatened by their geographical positioning; Quiriguá is situated in both a high seismic risk location and in a flood plain. Together with the tropical climate, Quiriguá Mayan ruins are exposed to natural deterioration despite the best intentions for preservation.

Quiriguá Mayan Monuments

Today Quiriguá is a UNESCO heritage site, which hopes to preserve the Mayan ruins for all visitors to enjoy. The three main points of interest at the Quiriguá Mayan ruins in Guatemala include the:

  1. Stele
  2. Zoomorphs
  3. Ancient Altars

1. Stele – Monolithic Stone Monuments

Quiriguá ruins are most commonly known for the stele monolithic stone monuments that appear to document the lost Mayan civilization’s history.

The steles in Quiriguá are tall pieces of sandstone decorated with elaborate carvings. It is thought that Mayans gathered the sandstone at quarries more than 3 miles away and brought them back to Quiriguá’s Great Plaza.

The carvings on these sandstone steles at Quiriguá are truly unique as they feature three dimensional sculptures compared to the two-dimensional carvings found in other regions of Guatemala. The long panels feature some of the most complex and beautiful glyphic text from any ancient Mayan ruins.

The primary purpose of Quiriguá stele was to record historical events and track the passage of time using the advanced Mayan calendar system. In Quiriguá, a new stele was raised at the end of each five-year period – making it one of only two ancient Mayan cities to do this.

2. Quiriguá Zoomorphs – Stone Sculptures

Over time Quiriguá’s carving styles took on their own advanced unique style, very different from other Mayan sculptures. Known for some of the most attractive and amazing pre-Columbian works, Quiriguá began carving boulders and large rocks into elaborate mythological creatures such as jaguars, crocodiles and toads. These stone sculptures are known as Zoomorphs.

3. Quiriguá Altars

Quiriguá also features grand altars at the front of its buildings. When visiting Quiriguá ruins in Guatemala, it is obvious that these ancient Mayan altars were designed to decorate as well as give a sense of a formal entrance to monuments.

When compared to the graceful art at other Mayan ruins sites such as Tikal or Antigua, the Mayan altars at Quiriguá appear very rigid and stiff. Along with their stiff appearance, the altars were also painted red using red pigment.

Today, archaeologists can find traces of red pigment on many of the monuments at Quiriguá, which symbolized birth, sacrifice, and renewal in ancient culture.

All of the ancient Mayan carvings and monuments at Quiriguá are amazing, especially when you consider that they were all hand made using stone chisels and wooden or stone mallets.

Caravan’s Guatemala Mayan Ruins Tour

A morning visit to Quiriguá ruins in Guatemala is included as part of Caravan Tour’s all inclusive Guatemala Tours.

This fully escorted tour package is affordably priced and includes all meals, tour activities and accommodations, plus top Guatemala hotels like the Barcelo, Villa Maya, Porta Hotel Antigua, and Hotel Atitlan.

Visit Caravan’s Guatemala tour reviews page to read what other travelers have said about this all inclusive tour of Guatemala.

Call 1-800-CARAVAN (227-2826) today to book this unique Central America vacation.