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GUATEMALA

Antigua, Panajachel, Atitlán, Chichicastenango, Calle Santander

Mayan Markets, Myths and Mystery in Guatemala.

Join us on our 8-day Guatemala Photo Tour and Cultural Adventure to delve deep into Central America’s most diverse and mysterious country. We will start our photo journey in Antigua, the former capital and a city that holds an impressive array of colonial relics in a magnificent setting. Wandering through colonial Antigua, there will be ample opportunity for streetscapes of pastel facades that unfold beneath volcano backdrops. Thanks to the dozens of Spanish-language schools that operate here, Antigua is fast becoming a global hotspot with many old ecclesiastical and civic structures, now beautifully renovated. However, Antigua still has its Guatemalan tumbledown charm, with ancient ruins and building fragments strewn about parklike grounds. 

Our adventure will continue beyond the city center, where we will visit indigenous communities, coffee plantations, and towns perched on the slopes of volcanoes. A famous viewpoint that must not be missed is Cerro de la Cruz. Here, the vista unfolds before our lens, with its large white cross that dominates the foreground, the sprawling city of Antigua in the valley below, framed by the silhouettes of mighty volcanoes in the distance. 

The next destination on our Guatemala photo tour will be Chichicastenango, a town effervescing with color and Mayan culture. We will spend much of our time weaving in and out of its vast open-air markets. The vegetable market, in particular, is a feast for the eyes and the lens, as stalls overflow with bountiful piles of vibrant produce ripe for photographic exploration. We will also come across stands selling ceremonial masks as part of Masqueria, a blended celebration of Mayan customs and European colonial influence where each mask tells a specific religious story of ancient Mayan mythology and/or biblical narratives. 

Equally colorful will be our visit to the Chichicastenango Cemetery, the most vibrant burial place you will have ever seen. A hodgepodge of tombstones in an array of colors, each shade symbolizing the family status of the departed, and are adorned with flowers, textiles, and decorations as a celebration of life even after death. To connect us further to the town’s sacred spirit, we will observe a religious ceremony where a Xamán (Mayan priest) performs a ritual to honor the forces of nature, observing how the Mayan worldview and Catholic beliefs converge.

No trip to the Guatemalan highlands would be complete without a boat ride around Lake Atitlán, where we will snap breathtaking landscapes of the glassy lake cradled by three majestic volcanoes. We will stop off at its lakeside villages, each with its own charming characteristics. San Juan La Laguna is like one big open-air gallery, where every wall is a canvas for brightly painted Mayan-style murals. We will flit around art studios, craft workshops, and micro textile factories, capturing artisans practicing their chosen crafts. For a slice of spirituality, we will head to Santiago Atitlán, a site perfect for environmental portraits that convey the traditional beliefs and practices of the area. For instance, we will encounter a Maximón, a mysterious and mischievous Mayan deity in the form of an effigy, clothed in a suit jacket with colorful rags, a hat, and puffing on a cigar. Whether it’s a shaman carrying out a ritual, a devotee at the local church, or an artisan creating spiritual artifacts, our photography will offer an intimate view into the connection between daily life and spiritual beliefs. 

This 8-day Guatemala photography tour is more than just a quest to capture exceptional images; it is an invitation to elevate your craft and see the world through a new lens. Our expert photographer guides will not only lead you to the most photogenic locations under the best light but also help you master the art of visual storytelling. Along the way, you will refine your camera techniques and discover how to navigate the challenges of photographing in a foreign land. You will also learn to anticipate a scene before capturing the decisive moment, elevating ordinary photos into extraordinary works of art. 

Join us for spirited discussions, enriching camaraderie, and moments of unforgettable inspiration. The landscapes, local legends, and authentic experiences in Guatemala have captivated travelers for centuries and will leave you equally enchanted. Your visual odyssey starts here! 

Our adventure will continue beyond the city center, where we will visit indigenous communities, coffee plantations, and towns perched on the slopes of volcanoes. A famous viewpoint that must not be missed is Cerro de la Cruz. Here, the vista unfolds before our lens, with its large white cross that dominates the foreground, the sprawling city of Antigua in the valley below, framed by the silhouettes of mighty volcanoes in the distance. 

The next destination on our Guatemala photo tour will be Chichicastenango, a town effervescing with color and Mayan culture. We will spend much of our time weaving in and out of its vast open-air markets. The vegetable market, in particular, is a feast for the eyes and the lens, as stalls overflow with bountiful piles of vibrant produce ripe for photographic exploration. We will also come across stands selling ceremonial masks as part of Masqueria, a blended celebration of Mayan customs and European colonial influence where each mask tells a specific religious story of ancient Mayan mythology and/or biblical narratives. 

Equally colorful will be our visit to the Chichicastenango Cemetery, the most vibrant burial place you will have ever seen. A hodgepodge of tombstones in an array of colors, each shade symbolizing the family status of the departed, and are adorned with flowers, textiles, and decorations as a celebration of life even after death. To connect us further to the town’s sacred spirit, we will observe a religious ceremony where a Xamán (Mayan priest) performs a ritual to honor the forces of nature, observing how the Mayan worldview and Catholic beliefs converge.

No trip to the Guatemalan highlands would be complete without a boat ride around Lake Atitlán, where we will snap breathtaking landscapes of the glassy lake cradled by three majestic volcanoes. We will stop off at its lakeside villages, each with its own charming characteristics. San Juan La Laguna is like one big open-air gallery, where every wall is a canvas for brightly painted Mayan-style murals. We will flit around art studios, craft workshops, and micro textile factories, capturing artisans practicing their chosen crafts. For a slice of spirituality, we will head to Santiago Atitlán, a site perfect for environmental portraits that convey the traditional beliefs and practices of the area. For instance, we will encounter a Maximón, a mysterious and mischievous Mayan deity in the form of an effigy, clothed in a suit jacket with colorful rags, a hat, and puffing on a cigar. Whether it’s a shaman carrying out a ritual, a devotee at the local church, or an artisan creating spiritual artifacts, our photography will offer an intimate view into the connection between daily life and spiritual beliefs. 

This 8-day Guatemala photography tour is more than just a quest to capture exceptional images; it is an invitation to elevate your craft and see the world through a new lens. Our expert photographer guides will not only lead you to the most photogenic locations under the best light but also help you master the art of visual storytelling. Along the way, you will refine your camera techniques and discover how to navigate the challenges of photographing in a foreign land. You will also learn to anticipate a scene before capturing the decisive moment, elevating ordinary photos into extraordinary works of art. 

Join us for spirited discussions, enriching camaraderie, and moments of unforgettable inspiration. The landscapes, local legends, and authentic experiences in Guatemala have captivated travelers for centuries and will leave you equally enchanted. Your visual odyssey starts here! 

Group Size

4-8 Guests

Experience | Difficulty

  • Beginner, amateur, enthusiast and semi-pro photographers
  • All cameras and camera phones are welcome
  • Moderate schedule
  • Travel by transit, boat, and walking
  • Minimal elevation changes and lots of walking
  • (non-photographers also welcome)

Weather | Sun

November – Temps 74/59 F  23/15 C  Sunrise 6:05 | Sunset 5:29 (17:29) | Low Rainfall

Includes

  • 8 Days
  • Travel, architecture, cityscape, urban, and people photography
  • Professional photographer | guide
  • Photo walks & discussions
  • Small group size (4-8 guests)
  • Premium Hotels
  • Breakfasts
  • 2 Dinners
  • Local transportation

Travel Information

Arrival & Departure Airport: La Aurora International Airport, Guatemala City (GUA) – Transfer time to hotel 1+hr
Our adventure begins at 10:30 AM on the first day and ends after breakfast on the last day.

Travel Visa: A visa may be required depending on your nationality. Go to iVisa to find out.

Accommodations

Antigua – Porta Hotel Antigua, Casa Santo Domingo Hotel, Hotel camino real Antigua or similar
Panajachel – Hotel Atitlán, Casa Palopó or similar

Helpful Links

> Casa Palopó, Guatemala – by Ian Robert Knight
> 10 Trees Worth Traveling For – by Erika Suban

Guatemala Prices & Dates


Photographer Leader

Photographer Leader

Edgar Monzon

November 10-17, 2024
November 9-16, 2025

*All prices are per person and based on double occupancy. Please select single occupancy for a private room. For your convenience, we offer optional early arrival and late departure accommodations so you can extend your stay before or after the trip. We typically stay in upscale boutique hotels in the 4 and 5-star category. Not all destinations offer these types of properties. We look for unique hotels that offer cultural, historic, and/or authentic features. Depending on the size of the group, smaller boutique hotels may have limited room inventory. In some countries or in remote locations, we may be limited to lodges or branded chain hotels. In Cuba, we stay in upscale family-owned Casas (bread & breakfasts). On all of our tours, breakfast is almost always included, but not guaranteed. Meal categories listed include (B) for breakfast, (L) for lunch, and (D) for dinner.

UPCOMING WORKSHOPS

GUATEMALA 8 DAYS

Day 1 | Antigua - Santa María de Jesús

We’ll meet at 10:30 AM in the lobby of our hotel where we will take you on a visual tour of Guatemala and discuss the details the tour.

Next we’ll have lunch at a restaurant in the heart of Antigua. This small and beautiful restaurant is part of the quaint eighteen century building that once hosted the Archbishop’s palace.

Later, we’ll visit Santa María de Jesús, a village just outside Antigua on the slopes of “Volcán de Agua”, a volcano that stands at 12,335’ (3760 m). We’ll learn about the cultural life of local Mayan people in this wonderful small city. Our visit will take us to three different families.

In the evening, we’ll celebrate our Welcome Dinner at Edgar and Adriana’s beautiful home in Antigua. You are in for a real treat! (D)

Day 2 | Cerro de la Cruz - Colonial Antigua

Today, we start early for a sunrise landscape shoot, which we call “Cerro de la Cruz” consisting of one of the most beautiful views of Antigua. We will see the city in front of us and the background three volcanoes that surround the city.

Later, we’ll have breakfast at Casa Santo Domingo, a hotel and resort set in an old convent. It is a spectacular place, not just for the food, but for the ambient light and the architecture. You will feel like you are in the Spanish colonial era.

We will then explore Colonial Antigua. With the help of a specialized guide, we will visit the ruins of Antigua. We will visit Capuchinas, San Francisco, Catedral, La Merced and Santo Domingo.

In the afternoon, we will visit a market with Guatemalan handicrafts, full of color and local things. We’ll have the opportunity to shop and take pictures at the place of “Doña Gladys”. (B)

Day 3 | Antigua - Finca Filadelfia

We begin our day with an early morning walk through the streets of Antigua. Our focus will be on local architecture, doors, and balconies. Later, we’ll drive to a beautiful restaurant for breakfast, located on a hill overlooking Antigua. This awesome site combines delicious food with outdoor art and spectacular views.

Next we’ll visit Finca Filadelfia, an amazing local coffee plantation where you will learn about the cultivation and processing of coffee on the farm, a tradition that dates back 150 years to 1870. We will see the coffee process from planting to tasting, in one of the most prestigious coffee farms in Guatemala. It’s a very specialized place of authentic pieces of Mayan culture.

We will enjoy lunch at Epicure Restaurant. A true farm to table restaurant. Breads, pastries and pasta made fresh daily and produce grown on their own farm. They have beautiful garden seating amongst colonial ruins. The owner is the founder of “Fundación Educa Pueblo Viejo”, whose purpose is to provide job opportunities, education and healthcare to the Mayan community.”

In the afternoon we will walk the streets of Antigua, only this time with a focus on local life and people. (B)

Day 4 | Lake Atitlan - Santa Catarina Palopó

Today, we will depart early for a three hour drive to Lake Atitlan. We’ll have breakfast on the road.

We’ll enjoy lunch at Casa Palopó. Not just a beautiful hotel, but also a delicious restaurant. A place with a lot of style in its decoration and very nice views. After lunch, we’ll visit a small local ceramic factory that helps provide work for the Mayan community. We’ll also visit a nearby textile manufacturer to learn how they manufacture textiles using handmade methods.

In the late afternoon will walk through the streets of Santa Catarina Palopó and capture street photography and local life. (B)

Day 5 | Chichicastenango - Mayan Cemetery

After breakfast, we travel to Chichicastenango. Here we will visit the colorful markets, including a vegetable market and the “Masquería”, a place where ceremonial masks and traditional clothes are made. It’s known for its open-air craft market and indigenous Mayan culture. The 16th-century Santo Tomás Apóstol Church has long been used for both Catholic worship and Mayan rituals.

We will then visit Cementerio De Chichicastenango, a Mayan Cemetery known for its vibrantly colored tombs. Each color resembles the family status of the departed, and it shows how they are celebrated even after death. Filled with color and stories, this place is something unique and cannot be missed while capturing the Mayan culture.

After lunch, we will be treated to a private Mayan religious ceremony. A Mayan priest, “Xamán” will perform a ritual in gratitude for the Earth and Mother Nature. In the afternoon we will return to Lake Atitlán. (B)

Day 6 | Santiago Atitlán - San Juan La Laguna

After an early breakfast, we’ll walk the grounds of the Hotel Atitlán and take advantage of the beautiful gardens and landscapes of the lake.

Next we’re off to for an all day private boat trip to Santiago Atitlán. Here, we will experience the local life, the church, Maximón (a figure in the Mayan religion) and how the women use the “tocoyal”. Next, we’ll take the boat to the Bambú Restaurant.

After lunch we’ll continue on to San Juan La Laguna where we can find many Mayan painters. We will also visit another micro factory of textiles, managed by women. All of these towns will present many opportunities for portraits, environmental portraits, street photography, landscapes and more.

In the late afternoon we’ll return to our hotel by boat. (B)

Day 7 | Lake Atitlán - Antigua

After breakfast at our hotel, we’ll do a walking tour of Santander street to witness the local life.

We’ll then begin our three-hour journey back to Antigua. We’ll stop along the way for lunch. Upon arrival, we’ll checkin for our last night in Guatemala. Our Farewell Dinner will be a fun time at the Antigua Brewing Company. (B) (D)

Day 8 | Antigua - Guatemala City

On our last morning, we will enjoy our breakfast and review our past week’s photos. After we trade contact information and sadly bid you farewell. We will move ahead to Guatemala City for departure. 

We encourage you to extend your stay in Guatemala or Central America and make good use of everything you will learn on our photo adventure. (B)

(B) Breakfast, (L) Lunch, (D) Dinner, (E) Excursion

 

May all who come as guests... leave as friends®

 

OPTIONS AND BENEFITS

Pricing

All prices are per person and based on double occupancy. Please select single occupancy for a private room. For your convenience, we offer optional early arrival and late departure accommodations so you can extend your stay before or after the trip. We typically stay in boutique hotels in the 4-star category. Not all destinations offer these types of properties. We look for unique hotels which offer cultural, historic and/or authentic features. Depending on the size of the group, smaller boutique hotels may have limited room inventory. In some countries or in remote locations, we may be limited to lodges or branded chain hotels. Breakfast is included only if included in our room rates.

Private Guided Adventures

We offer amazing private guided photo adventures, cultural tours and vacations for individuals, couples, families and groups. We can customize any of our published adventures, as well as others, to meet your individual needs, schedule, budget and interests. This may include the finest 5-star accommodations, business-class travel, and private guides and fixers who are able to make the impossible possible. If you are not interested in a photo-centric vacation, but you love our approach to private travel, we will be happy to design and deliver an amazing adventure focused on travel, culture and cuisine. Click here to request a quote. Feel free to call us at 1-888-834-0288 or contact us for more information.

Travel Insurance

We offer travel insurance through the internationally recognized Travelex Travel Insurance Company, as well as evacuation and medical transportation insurance through MedJet, one of the best in the industry.

The cost for travel insurance can be as low as 4% of the total trip cost, depending upon age and other factors. Knowing you have trip cancellation coverage can make a big difference should you have to cancel for some unforeseen reason. Travelex Insurance Services is a BBB Accredited business with an A+ rating. Click here to learn more about why you should consider travel insurance.

Rewards Program

Start earning points today and SAVE $200 - $900 off future trips!
Simply register for one of our amazing photo adventures and begin earning points today!

How The Program Works
For every adventure reservation you make with Photo Workshop Adventures, you earn valuable points which you can redeem on your next trip. This is a great way to save up to 8% off future trips. Our Rewards Program is designed with three tiers: Orange, Gold and VIP Members. Points may be applied towards balance payments on your next trip, or you may choose to accumulate points for a free trip in the future.

ORANGE REWARDS
All guests begin with our Orange Rewards Program (Level 1), which earns 4 points for every dollar you spend. You begin earning points immediately after your first trip. A $5,900 spend earns 23,600 points with a value of $236 USD.

GOLD REWARDS
With our Gold Rewards Program (Level 2), you earn 6 points for every dollar you spend. Orange Members who reach 120,000 accumulated lifetime* points (approx. 4-6 trips), automatically move up to Gold Rewards. A $5,900 spend earns 35,400 points with a value of $354 USD.

Additional Gold Benefits:

  • Earn up to double points during promotional events
  • Advance notifications for upcoming adventures and special offers

VIP REWARDS
With our VIP Rewards Program (Level 3), you earn 8 points for every dollar you spend. Gold Members who reach 350,000 accumulated lifetime* points (approx. 8-12 trips) move up to VIP Rewards. A $5,900 spend earns 47,200 points with a value of $472 USD, (8+/-% discount).

Additional VIP Benefits:

  • Earn up to double points during promotional events
  • Advance notifications for upcoming adventures and special offers
  • Ability to Gift or Transfer points to others
  • Receive complimentary airport transfers at the destination location*

Redeeming Your Points
Redeeming your points couldn’t be easier. You can always log in to your account to check your points balance. When you are ready to book your next trip, register and pay your deposit. When you go to pay your balance you will be given the option to apply your points and receive a discount.

THINK ORANGE Magazine

Subscribe to our Think Orange Magazine and eNews. THINK ORANGE is a wonderful mix of stories and tips related to travel, photography, adventure, culture, art, technology, cuisine, lifestyle, people and more. Our objective is to immerse you in a world you may only fantasize about. Raise your awareness and inspire your creativity. Perhaps even help make you a better photographer. We deliver similar experiential experiences that our guests enjoy on our photo adventures. Like all of our adventures, our blog is “photo-centric”, while also allowing you to experience all the nuances and cultural aspects of travel and adventure. Welcome to our world. We hope you enjoy. Our eNews is a great way to receive information about upcoming photo adventures, exciting new destinations, photography tips, special offers and more. Subscribe today!

Gift Cards

Give someone you know a Gift Card, good toward any of our Photo  Adventures, Photo Tours, Private Guided Tours, Online Courses, Prints or Merchandize. Our beautifully personalized eGift Cards and Certificates are delivered to you electronically. They are fully transferable and have a 2 year expiration date. They are available in any amount from $100 to $5000. It makes a great gift for anyone who loves photography, travel or adventure. Order now, or email for more information.

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