The many layered textures and colors of Guatemala are an artist’s heaven and a traveler’s dream. The people and the culture will weave their way into your heart as you visit the small villages where the indigenous population live, speak, dress and practice their religion as they did hundreds of years ago. The markets, the feel of Spanish Colonial, and the colorful countryside will all make you want to return again and again.
We stay at the most unique, luxurious hotels and haciendas and dine on the finest cuisine (including the “typical” indigenous fare); travel the country in first class motor coaches with the best drivers and guides (all connected by cell phone and radios); comfortable seats, lots of room and viewing windows are the order of the day. Visit the “must see” as well as private venues that are not seen or experienced by others.
About the Artists
Patsy and Edwin Sasek began their art and work together when they were married over 25 years ago. Both are award winning artists and published writers and they have been combining their talents to conduct retreats, workshops, organize art shows, serve on boards, create art, and build community.
Edwin worked for 27 years as a hospice chaplain. In addition, he is a spiritual director, painter, poet and photographer. With a degree in Textile Science and Fashion Design from UT-Austin, Patsy started Mustard Seed Designs over 35 years ago as a business in which she designed and manufactured purses and accessories. Today, the business includes the artwork and photography of both artists as well as a line of greeting cards, fabric design for their daughter’s fashion line Cosima, marketing and writing. Together they founded ABODE Contemplative Care for the Dying. a 501(C)(3) nonprofit, and built the ABODE Home, a place that provides a home and care for those in need at the end of life.
Their newest venture is a gallery space called Las Almas which means “The Souls.” Mustard Seed Designs has one of the two businesses in the light-filled gallery along with Kathy Cody Gallaway’s Intermezzo Gallery. They represent not only their own artwork, but also that of local and regional artists of note. The gallery also carries their line of cards, unique jewelry and gifts made in Texas as well as Fair Trade Guatemalan art, accessories and clothing. Edwin roasts his own coffee and brews it for the shop. A portion of sales from cards and coffee help support the ABODE Home.
Patsy and Edwin are thrilled to be taking a group to explore Guatemala during the most colorful and meaningful of seasons, Semana Santa. Those on the trip will witness the pageantry and festival quality of the celebration like no other. To make it a memorable occasion, Edwin will guide those, who want to photograph the events, to view the festivities through the “lens of the soul.” His experience as an award winning photographer will help you capture the sense of this amazing experience.
Patsy, with her expertise in watercolor, will do demos and provide instruction on plein air painting, for those who wish to, to capture the splash of color and action in a travel sketchbook that will be unforgettable. On return, those watercolor sketches and photographs will be the source of many future paintings or as a beautiful reminder of an amazing experience. With plenty of time to explore, shop and rest, this will be a relaxing and memorable “Trip of a Lifetime!”
Cost: $2,990 per person Single Supplement: $735
Our Travel Itinerary
April 8th - 17th
Wednesday, April 8th
Guatemala City & Antigua
Fly to Guatemala City (arriving before 2:30 PM), viewing a remarkable city built on plateaus. You will be personally greeted by Explore staff. You will then be transported back in time to the Spanish colonial city of Antigua you will be welcomed at the renowned and “jaw dropping” and beautiful Hotel Casa Santo Domingo which is built around the ruins of a XVII century monastery. The magnificently restored hotel and grounds includes an extensive collection of Guatemalan Spanish Colonial religious works of art and is considered the most complete archeological monument in the Americas.
This evening we will gather for a glass of wine and a special Semana Santa (Holy Week) slide show presentation by Elizabeth Bell, an American who has lived in Antigua since 1969 and has authored many books about the area. Her book “Lent and Holy Week in Antigua” will be available. Dinner tonight in the Monastery’s Five Star Hotel’s Dining Room of The Monks. (D)
Thursday, April 9th
We will have a leisurely morning and a fabulous breakfast in the Dining Room of The Monks. Eat hearty since we will have a late lunch today. Be prepared for an incredibly moving experience while experiencing one of the most remarkable and elaborate religious events in the Americas. We will depart on foot to the Church of San Francisco, a Monastery of the Franciscan Order and the tomb of recently canonized Saint Hermano Pedro de San José de Bethancourt, a Franciscan friar of the late 17th century, who was known for his great charity and love for the poor. The religious procession begins with 60 men (cucuruchos) who lift and maneuver an enormous 7000 pound float that carries the 17th century statue of Jesús Nazareno del Perdón out of the church. This is immediately followed by another float of the Virgen de Dolores carried by over 40 women. Once the procession has left the church We will take you through the streets of Antigua, moving ahead of the processional to view the beautifully carpeted streets.
Dinner on your own tonight from one of the many exceptional restaurants in Antigua. We will hand out a recommend list. (B/L)
Friday, April 10th
Our day begins early, (5am). We will have coffee and tea before departing by foot for La Merced Church where you will witness the largest and most solemn of the Lent and Holy Week processions. First, we will walk along the route the procession will take in order to view some of the most colorful carpets of the entire week. Then we will skirt the procession locating the best places to view and photograph this magnificent event.
Return to the hotel for breakfast and a rest. There will be time to explore the excavated ruins and museums of the Casa Santo Domingo, get some SPA time, walk the cobblestone calles to shops while peaking into the many colonial era ruins along the way. Lunch on your own.
In the late afternoon we may meet up to walk a few blocks to view the solemn procession of the Senor Sepultado and Virgen de La Soledad leaving from the Escuela de Cristo Church. The carriers for this procession dress in black robes and carry lanterns to light the way, for soon it will be dark.
There being so many fabulous restaurants in Antigua, tonight you may dine in a restaurant of your choice from our recommended list. (B)
Saturday, April 11th
This morning after breakfast we will explore the Capuchin ruins, the most intact and least understood ruins of this Colonial city. In the afternoon there will be free time again for shopping exploring and photographing on your own. This colonial jewel of a city is filled with ruins covered in colorful bougainvillea and cobblestone streets full of quaint shops. For those still wanting to see more processions there is a Women’s procession of Senor Sepultado and the Virgen de La Soledad at the Escuela de Christo Church.
Later, we’ll meet and walk together to a favorite Antigua Restaurant. (B,D)
Sunday, April 12th
Chichicastenango & Lake Atitlán
Please check out and have your bags outside your room by 6:00 AM. We’ll stop for a quick breakfast in the highlands at a mountain chalet smokehouse. This morning we will visit the renowned Maya market of Chichicastenango. Built over a Pre-Columbian Maya temple, the 400 year old Santo Tomas Church will offer insight into the convergence of the Catholic religion with ancient Maya rituals. Then, come ready to shop and bargain in this colorful 800 year old K’iche” market where Maya families buy and trade. Bargain for exquisite textiles, unique handicrafts, and brightly painted, carved masks, all replicating designs and techniques passed down through many generations.
After lunch, we travel to Lake Atitlán which is surrounded by three towering volcanoes, terraced mountainsides, and quaint Maya villages. The lake is considered by many to be “the most beautiful lake in the world.” After checking into the Spanish Colonial style Hotel Atitlán, you will have time to relax or explore the hotel and grounds.
In the early evening, we’ll gather at the pool for a group photograph followed by a relaxing social hour. Tonight we’ll enjoy a special dinner by the chefs of Hotel Atitlan. (B,L,D)
Monday, April 13th
After breakfast we will have art. There is no better place for an “ART OUT” than Hotel Atitlán, overlooking the “most beautiful lake in the world”, surrounded by volcanoes, 12 Maya villages, botanical gardens to die for, and jaw dropping scenery. We’ll have lunch on the terrace and once again in the evening enjoy social hour by the pool. A fabulous dinner awaits us in the dining room, by the fire place. (B,L,D)
Tuesday, April 14th
After a sumptuous breakfast on the terrace, we will depart for a boat trip around the lake, stopping first at the Maya village of San Juan La Laguna to visit a weaving cooperative for demonstrations of weaving, dye techniques, and a look at the finished textiles and then travel on to the private lakeside home of Candis and son, Cameron Krummel for both a cultural and an ecological experience. Their unique home, featured in Architectural Digest Aug 2002, is built in the traditional style of Maya Tz’utujil architecture. Our hosts will prepare a delicious traditional Tz’utujil gourmet festive lunch. You will never forget this memorable experience.
In the evening, we’ll meet in the Bar area for Social Hour. Dinner is on your own tonight. May we suggest only boquitas in the bar as you will have had a late and large lunch. (B,L)
Wednesday, April 15th
After a leisurely breakfast today will be an opportunity to just relax and enjoy your magnificent surroundings, or if you prefer, options abound from hiking in the Atitlan Nature Reserve where you can take a nature walk, see a butterfly area, and try the zip-line at Cables X-tremos … all a ten minute walk from the hotel. You may also choose to take a tuk-tuk (small passenger vehicle) into the nearby town of Panajachel for a little shopping and people watching, or stroll through the beautiful botanical gardens of Hotel Atitlan where you will discover over 200 varieties of roses, an orchid collection, a tropical heliconia garden, a small English style knot garden, as well as see their many exotic birds. The swimming pool is heated, the Jacuzzi is delightful, and a massage would be absolutely delicious.
Tonight, please dress in your Guatemalan purchases for a fun night. We will meet at the Ranchito for a Guatemalan Churasco (Barbecue) at the water’s edge. (B,L,D)
Thursday, April 16th
Lake Atitlán & Guatemala City
After breakfast, will be your last chance to enjoy the most beautiful Botanical Gardens in Central America, and to visit the unique gift shop for those last minute purchases.
Before lunch, be checked out and have your bags packed and outside your door.
We will depart for Guatemala City in the early afternoon. Tonight, we will go to a favorite restaurant for a “farewell dinner”. (B,L,D)
Friday, April 17th
Arranged departures to airport for flights home. All good things must come to an end. Say adios to all your new friends and make plans for your next travel adventure. (B)
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
*Before you register, please read Explore Amazing Places Terms and Conditions
Included in your Tour: ▪ 10 days, 9 nights at a unique and luxury boutique hotel ▪ meals per itinerary including tips ▪ hotel baggage handling and driver gratuities ▪ private transportation ▪ all special and private Semana Santa venues/entrance fees per itinerary
NOT Included: ▪ Airport baggage handling tips (we recommend .50 per bag) ▪ any additional security or airport tax ▪ Alcohol or personal room charges ▪ meals not included in itinerary ▪ Guide tip
Price: $2990 (Double Occupancy), $735 (Single Supplement)
Explore Amazing Places prefers payment to be made by check. You may make the $500 per person deposit*, pay your Balance Due, or pay the full amount for your tour by sending checks:
PAYABLE TO: Explore Amazing Places
MAIL TO: Explore Amazing Places
20553 W Legend Trail
Buckeye, AZ 85396
*If you are registering 120 days or less prior to the departure date of your tour, you must pay for the trip in FULL, rather than a $500 deposit.
If you prefer to pay by credit card, please use the link below and we will send you information on payment through Pay Pal. Explore Amazing Places was previously known as Explore Guatemala. All payment references are listed under the previous company’s title. Rest assured, your payment will be received by Explore Amazing Places.