WINTER ESCAPE

GUATEMALA

Connect mind, body and soul on this awakening vacation
 
Leave your fireplace, snow boots and parka at home and pack your bathing suit, yoga mat and appetite for a Winter Escape in Guatemala, where February brings warm, sunny days and breezy, comfortable nights.

A tiny country with a huge heart, Guatemala is a source of incredible natural beauty (volcanoes, lakes and beaches!), native superfoods (cacao, avocado, flax, amaranth!) and communities of resilient people who produce a bounty of products from their land. From a volcano-rimmed lake to the cobble-stoned streets of Antigua, we'll explore various food systems around Guatemala, eat incredibly fresh local meals and meet the powerful food producers who are responsible for them.
 
Enjoy some of the best coffee in the world with the people who have made their livelihood perfecting it. Learn first hand from a coffee farmer how coffee is grown, processed, roasted and tasted. Cook a traditional meal with a local family, try your hand at backstrap weaving and dip your toes into what's been described by naturalist Alexander von Humboldt as "the most beautiful lake in the world." Practice yoga lake-side, ocean-side and in 200-year old colonial buildings. Surf the Pacific's rolling waves and meet farmers who advocate for food justice for their communities.
 
We will share our culinary expertise as we take you to the country's greatest hole-in-the-wall restaurants, prepare fresh meals using local produce and taste the best treats from our favorite, bars and cafes. We include three meals a day plus snacks and highlight as many local flavors as possible throughout the journey.
 
Unroll your yoga mat on a roof top overlooking the pillars and churches of colonial Antigua, test your balance among the bees and tropical fruit trees as we practice at Caoba Organic Farms, find new breath at Isla Verde’s eco-hostel overlooking Lake Atitlan, and ground yourself on the volcanic black sands of Guatemala’s Pacific Coast where sunrise yoga is accompanied by the calming sound of crashing waves.

Allow yourself to be pampered, fed, educated, revitalized and awakened by the experiences that await you in Guatemala's eternal spring.

Guatemala: Winter Escape Itinerary

Days 1-3: Guatemala 101 in Antigua
Accomodation - Casa Antigueño Hotel

From Guatemala City airport we'll head straight to the colonial capital, Antigua, a cobblestoned town full of enchanting Spanish ruins surrounded by three epic volcanoes and some of the world's best coffee fincas. Our first stop on the coffee trail is with De la Gente, a grassroots NGO that works with coffee farming communities to create economic opportunities, improving the quality of life for their families and communities. Local farmers will guide us through their coffee fields, teach us about the entire seed-to-cup process, starting with harvesting the coffee cherries in real time. We will also make pepian, a traditional Guatemalan meal with the farmer’s family, and practice slapping out fresh tortillas by hand. We'll tour Caoba Organic Farms, a five-acre bio-diverse, low-impact farm where we’ll enjoy a fresh, organic farm-to-table lunch. We'll tour specialty coffee cafes, eat at Antigua's best restaurants and practice yoga among 200-year-old Spanish ruins.

Days 4-5:  Coffee, Chocolate and Textiles in Lake Atitlan
Accommodation: Hotel Pa Muelle

We’ll delve right into Guatemala culture and food in quaint San Juan de la Laguna, an indigenous community that has retained its traditions and is known for its natural dye textiles. San Juan is on the shores of Lake Atitlan, an ancient volcanic crater surrounded by three mystical volcanoes. We'll wake up before dawn and head to the top of the “Nariz” cliff face, where we’ll catch sunrise over the lake! We'll enjoy breakfast with views unlike anything you've ever seen. On the descent, we'll stop at a local coffee cooperative's production facilities to taste their uber fresh coffee. We'll take a chocolate making workshop that starts with fresh cacao beans and learn all about this luscious food of the gods, from bean to bar. We'll partake in a textile workshop with a cooperative of local women weavers and learn how the dyes are made from branches, leaves and even insects!

Days 6-7: Yoga and Slow Food Oasis on the Lake
Accommodation: Isla Verde Bungalows

We'll jump on a boat and cross the lake to relax in the gorgeous lakeside bungalows of Isla Verde, a yogi's paradise with a Slow Food inspired restaurant and a breathtaking view of the volcanos. We can hang out in their yoga space, lounge in hammocks, swim or kayak in the Lake or take an optional trip into Panajachel for one of the best markets around. This is the time to decompress, unwind and truly enjoy the beauty of Lake Atitlan!

Days 8-9: Surf's Up, Dudes! in El Paredon
Accommodation: Surf House Cabañas

We'll head to the west coast's black sand beaches and learn how to hang ten in the Pacific. An abundance of fresh seafood, tropical fruit, crashing waves and loungey hammocks makes El Paredon one of Guatemala's Best Kept Secrets! In addition to surfing, we'll practice yoga on the beach, kayak through mangroves and relax during our final days of the trip.

"I have learned more than I could ever learn in a lecture hall."

- Katie F., Oregon