Road Scholar : Home
The Maya and More: History and Culture of Honduras, Guatemala and Belize

Program Number: 3217RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/23/2014 - 11/6/2014; 11/6/2014 - 11/20/2014; 12/4/2014 - 12/18/2014; 1/8/2015 - 1/22/2015; 1/22/2015 - 2/5/2015; 2/5/2015 - 2/19/2015; 2/12/2015 - 2/26/2015; 2/19/2015 - 3/5/2015; 2/26/2015 - 3/12/2015; 3/5/2015 - 3/19/2015; 4/9/2015 - 4/23/2015; 5/14/2015 - 5/28/2015; 9/17/2015 - 10/1/2015; 10/15/2015 - 10/29/2015; 10/22/2015 - 11/5/2015; 11/5/2015 - 11/19/2015; 12/3/2015 - 12/17/2015;
Duration: 14 nights
Location: Honduras/Guatemala/Belize
Price starting at: $3,485.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 41; 14 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 14 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Salt; Low Fat; Gluten Free    

Delve into the history of a people whose sophistication in art, architecture and science rivaled the ancient Egyptians and Greeks. Journeying through the lands that are now Belize, Honduras and Guatemala, gain insight into the contemporary issues of each country and witness the impact of European colonization and the lifestyles and traditions of modern-day descendants of the Mayan people.




Highlights

• Discover the extraordinary Mayan ruins at Copan, Tikal, Cahal Pech, Lamanai and Xunantunich.
• In Honduras, examine traditional chocolate production and visit a local school for insights into the educational system.
• Embrace the old world charm of Antigua, Guatemala at the famous colorful indigenous market of Chichicastenango, filled with textiles, handicrafts and food.



Activity Particulars

Climatic conditions vary from hot and tropical, cool and mountain. Elevations up to 5,125 feet.




Date Specific Information

10-23-2014, 11-6-2014, 12-4-2014, 1-8-2015, 1-22-2015, 2-5-2015, 2-12-2015, 2-19-2015, 2-26-2015, 3-5-2015, 4-9-2015, 5-14-2015, 9-17-2015, 10-15-2015, 10-22-2015, 11-5-2015, 12-3-2015

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Belize City (Belize), 1 night; coach to San Ignacio, 2 nights; coach to Flores/Tikal (Guatemala), 2 nights; fly/coach to Atitlan, 2 nights; coach to Antigua, 3 nights; coach to Copan (Honduras), 3 nights; coach to San Pedro Sula, 1 night; departure



Flight from U.S.
Arrival Belize City (Belize)
1 night
Coach to San Ignacio
2 nights

Discover the natural healing methods and herbal medicine of the Maya at a modern Mayan community. Learn about traditional farming techniques during a cultural visit to an Amish community. At Cahal Pech, Lamanai and Xunantunich, lectures reveal the uniqueness of each site and the ongoing archaeological work.



Coach to Flores/Tikal (Guatemala)
2 nights

Lectures present an archaeological perspective on Tikal’s history and ceremonial artifacts. Explore the Great Plaza, containing the Temple of the Jaguar and the Temple of the Masks as well as the ball court and infamous sacrificial stone and absorb modern Mayan culture in Flores.



Fly/coach to Atitlan
2 nights

Experience the melding of Maya and Catholic religion and agricultural practices of the modern Maya. Visit the bustling, colorful market of Chichicastenango, the church of Santo Thomas and the lakeside villages of Santa Catarina, San Antonio Palopo and Panajachel.



Coach to Antigua
3 nights

Discussions orient you to Guatemala, Antigua’s history and architecture, Mayan life, textiles, religious practices and the origin and evolution of Mayan music. Visit San Antonio, a weaving cooperative, and Casa Koijom, the museum of indigenous music. A walking excursion introduces Antigua’s old town, colonial churches and a historic home.



Coach to Copan (Honduras)
3 nights
Coach to San Pedro Sula
1 night
Departure

The “Athens” of the Mayan world, experts in Copan illuminate the classical period, through interpretation of Mayan hieroglyphics, stelae, medicine and “sacred” cacao. Explore the Museum of Mayan Culture, Las Sepulturas and the ruins of a Mayan residential area. Learn about traditional chocolate production and visit a local school for insights into the Honduran educational system.




Accommodations
Belize City: Waterfront hotel in historic area. San Ignacio: Small, family-owned hotel. Tikal: Beautiful lakefront hotel. Lake Atitlan: Lakeside hotel. Antigua: Historic hotel. Copan: Hotel on central plaza. San Pedro Sula: Comfortable hotel.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Elizabeth Bell

Elizabeth Bell has several academic degrees and has authored a number of books on Antigua including "Antigua Guatemala: The City and Its Heritage" and "Lent and Holy Week in Antigua." From 1978-1984, she managed Antigua through the National Council for the Protection of Antigua Guatemala and in 2011 the Council awarded her the city's highest honor, the Orden Diego de Porres - Gran Venera. Since 1992, she has worked in cultural tourism, introducing visitors from around the world to the rich history and culture of Antigua.
 
David Sedat

David Sedat was born in Guatemala and has been a field archaeologist in the Maya region for more than 30 years. Since 1989, David has been field director of the Early Copan Archaeological Project at the major Maya center of Copan, Honduras. He lives in Copan, where he directs an experimental botanical garden that applies the ancient perspectives of the Maya past to regenerating the bounty of the landscape beyond the dawning of the next Great Period of the Maya calendar that began in 2012.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina
  Belize City, Belize 1 night
   San Ignacio Resort Hotel
  San Ignacio, Belize 2 nights
   Hotel Peten Esplendido
  Tikal, Guatemala 2 nights
   Posada de Don Rodrigo - Atitlan
  Lake Atitlan, Guatemala 2 nights
   Posada de Don Rodrigo - Antigua
  Antigua, Guatemala 3 nights
   Marina Copan
  Copan, Honduras 3 nights
   Hotel y Suites Copantl
  San Pedro Sula, Honduras 1 night
 Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Fort George Hotel, set on the beautiful coast of Belize in Central America, is an award-winning resort hotel that is convenient to the cultural and commercial attractions of Belize City.
  Contact info: 2 Marine Parade
Belize City,   Belize
phone: +5012233333
web: www.radisson.com/belizecitybz
  Room amenities: Spacious rooms, cable TV, direct dial phone, coffee maker, ironing board and fully stocked mini bar. Portions of the hotel feature views of the Belize coast and handcrafted furniture made by Belizean craftsmen.
  Facility amenities: Complimentary Internet at business center for in-house guest, Gifts & souvenirs shop, Two swimming pools, Two restaurants, Café on property, Guest Services desk, Fitness room, Wireless internet in public areas.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Call for additional info. Please contact your program provider, Holbrook Travel, for information regarding additional nights after your program.

 San Ignacio Resort Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: Small family owned hotel located in San Ignacio town, 9 miles from the Guatemalan border and 72 miles from Belize City.
  Contact info: No Information.
San Ignacio,  00000 Belize
phone: +501-824-2034
web: www.sanignaciobelize.com
  Room amenities: Air conditioning, ceiling fans, cable TV, and telephone.
  Facility amenities: Pool, tennis court, restaurant, bar, conference facility, and gift shop.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Hotel Peten Esplendido
Type: Hotel
  Description: Attractive lakefront property located 45 minutes away from the Tikal National Park.
  Contact info: 1 calle, 5-01, Zona 1
Santa Elena Flores,  00000 Guatemala
phone: +502-9260880
web: www.petenesplendido.com
  Room amenities: Air conditioning, ceiling fan, cable TV, direct dial telephone, and hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: Laundry services, pool, conference room, and restaurant.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Posada de Don Rodrigo - Atitlan
Type: Hotel
  Description: Comfortable hotel built along the shores of Lake Atitlan.
  Contact info: Final Calle Santander
Atitlan,  00000 Guatemala
phone: +502-7622326
web: www.posadadedonrodrigo.com
  Room amenities: Tile floors and fireplace.
  Facility amenities: Pool, restaurant, and bar.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Posada de Don Rodrigo - Antigua
Type: Hotel
  Description: Historic hotel located a few blocks from the town's main square. Inner courtyards, tiled roofs, fountains and antique furnishings give guests the feeling of having stepped back in time.
  Contact info: 5ta Avenida Norte No. 17
Antigua,  000000 Guatemala
phone: +502-8320291
web: www.posadadedonrodrigo.com/
  Room amenities: Fireplaces and antique furniture.
  Facility amenities: Conference rooms, restaurant, and bar.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Marina Copan
Type: Hotel
  Contact info: Overlooking Central Plaza
Copan Ruinas,  00000 Honduras
phone: +5046514070
web: www.hotelmarinacopan.com
  Room amenities: Air conditioning, ceiling fans, cable TV, and phone.
  Facility amenities: Pool, restaurants, bar, laundry services, gift shop, and meeting rooms.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Hotel y Suites Copantl
Type: Hotel
  Description: Modern, resort-style hotel located in northern San Pedro Sula. The property can accommodate up to 300 guests.
  Contact info: North of San Pedro Sula Airport
San Pedro Sula,   Honduras
phone: +504-25618900
web: http://www.copantl.com
  Room amenities: All air conditioned rooms have private bathroom, Internet access, cable TV, telephones, safety deposit box, coffee maker, and minibar.
  Facility amenities: Convention center/banquet halls, two restaurants, a bar, fitness center, 6 tennis courts, Spa, swimming pool, laundry service, and business center. Complimentary Wi-Fi in hotel common areas.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: Subject to availability. Room type and rates are subject to hotel availability. Please contact the program provider, Holbrook Travel, at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com for assistance in booking additional nights.


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Arrivals at the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City, Belize. Hotel check-in starts at 3 p.m. You will be staying at Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina that night.
  End of Program:
Departures from the Ramón Villeda Morales International Airport in San Pedo Sula, Honduras. Hotel check-out by 11 a.m. You will be staying at Hotel y Suites Copantl the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. U.S. and Canadian citizens need valid passports (valid for at least 6 months after the date of entry into Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize. For more information, please contact the nearest consulate/s.
  Parking availability:
NA
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Belize City
  Nearest airport:  Belize City has both an international airport & a domestic airport.
  Transportation to site: Taxi services are available for hire outside the arrivals hall of the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport. If you choose to hire a taxi to the hotel, please agree on the price beforehand since the taxis do not have meters. Authorized taxis can be identified by their green license plates.
  From End of Program
  Location:  San Pedro Sula
  Nearest airport:  San Pedro Sula International Airport
  Transportation from site: Taxi services can be hired at the hotel. If you wish to use this service, please ask for assistance at the hotel's front desk.
Elevation Note: Elevations of up to 6,500 ft.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrive to Belize City.
(Thursday, December 3)
   
 Arrive To: Arrive at the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City, Belize.

Proceed through Immigrations, Baggage Claim and Customs before exiting the secured area of the airport. The Road Scholar representative will be waiting outside the exit door with a Road Scholar sign (only applies to Road Scholar group flights).

Transfer to hotel.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: Orientation to the program. Meet your group leader and fellow Road Scholar participants during a welcome and introduction session at the hotel. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.

Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
   
Accommodations: Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: San Ignacio -
Lamanai Ruins.

(Friday, December 4)

Note: This is a very full day. Activities include boat and bus transfers and considerable walking in potentially hot/humid conditions.



   
 Breakfast: Early breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: After breakfast, transfer to the New River dock and embark on a scenic boat ride (approx. 31 miles) upstream to the Mayan ruins at Lamanai. While navigating the calm waters of the New River, try to find and identify some of the many bird species found in the area, including: Black-collared Hawks, Northern Jacanas, Mangrove Swallows, Olive-throated Parakeets, American Pygmy Kingfishers, and Purple Gallinules, to name just a few. If lucky, we may even catch a glimpse of the rarely seen Jabiru Stork! Get close-up views of mangroves and virgin forests flanking the narrow waterway and try to spot the colorful orchids that grow along the river banks.

Disembark at Lamanai for a walking exploration of the more than 50 impressive structures found at the archaeological reserve.

This large Mayan ceremonial center is set in a tropical forest on the banks of the New River Lagoon in the north central region of Belize. Unlike most Mayan sites, the ruins found at Lamanai were built in layers; each generation adding on to the existing structures. Some of the site's highlights include the Jaguar Temple, the High Temple, and the Mask Temple. A beautiful panoramic view of the lagoon and surrounding jungle can be seen from the top of the High Temple. It is believed that the ancient center was occupied during more than 3,200 years, and as recently as in the 18th century.
 Lunch: At the site.
 Afternoon: Boat ride and bus transfer to San Ignacio.

Late afternoon arrival at the hotel and check-in.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: Time at leisure.
   
Accommodations: San Ignacio Resort Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: San Ignacio -
Optional Birding/Orientation to San Ignacio Town/Iguana Project/Cahal Pech Ruins and Museum.

(Saturday, December 5)
   
 Breakfast: Optional early morning birding around the hotel.

Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: After breakfast, enjoy a walking orientation of San Ignacio Town, including a visit to a local market. Learn about the fruits and vegetables grown in the region and find out what varieties were consumed by the ancient Maya.

Return to the hotel and visit the Iguana Project. During this interactive experience, learn about local efforts to save the endangered green iguana. Find out the importance of these green reptiles in the Maya culture.
 Lunch: At the hotel.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, take part in a guided visit to the Cahal Pech ruins and its museum (approximately 20 mins from the hotel). Learn about Belize's oldest Mayan site.

Cahal Pech is a Maya ceremonial center situated near the Belizean town of San Ignacio, in the Cayo District. Its location on the top of a steep hill makes for great views of the Maya Mountains and the Belize River valleys. The complex contains 34 structures including ball courts, stelae, temples, and palaces. Archaeological findings point to Cahal Pech as being one of the earliest Maya settlements in the country—thriving through the Classic Maya Period and possibly beyond. Human bones and corn, cacao, and anato seeds were found at nearby caves, strong indicators that the site may have been used for ritual sacrifices and food offerings to Maya deities.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: Time at leisure.
   
Accommodations: San Ignacio Resort Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Tikal (Flores) -
Xunantunich Archaeological Site/Orientation to Flores.

(Sunday, December 6)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to Xunantunich archaeological site, near the border with Guatemala.

Xunantunich means "stone woman" in the Maya language. This was the name given to the site in modern times since the ancient name is currently unknown. The modern name refers to local stories of a woman's ghost that is said to inhabit the ruins. According to local lore, the woman dresses all in white and has fire-red glowing eyes. She generally appears in front of El Castillo, ascends the stone stairs and disappears into a stone wall.

The core of Xunantunich occupies about one square mile (2.6 km²), consisting of a series of six plazas surrounded by more than 26 temples and palaces. One of its structures, the pyramid known as El Castillo (The Castle) is the second tallest structure of its kind in Belize (after the temple at Caracol).

Transfer to the border of Belize with Guatemala.
Stop for border crossing procedures before continuing with the transfer to Flores (Tikal).
Arrive at the hotel and check-in.
 Lunch: At the hotel.
 Afternoon: Boat ride with an orientation to the town of Flores.

Usually used as a base for trips to Tikal, this quaint town, set on an island in Lake Petén Itzá, has Mediterranean style architecture and a unique history.

Video presentation: Tikal - Where Only Legend Survives.

Time at leisure to enjoy hotel amenities and relax before meeting for dinner.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: Free time.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Peten Esplendido
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Tikal -
Tikal National Park and Museum - UNESCO World Heritage Site.

(Monday, December 7)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to Tikal National Park archaeological site. During this activity, enjoy on-site instruction on the history and architecture of this impressive Maya complex.

Tikal, with its massive temples rising high above the Petén Jungle, is the kind of exotic place one would expect to see in an Indiana Jones movie. Walking within this enormous archaeological complex can be overwhelming if not accompanied by a knowledgeable guide or a good map. During its apogee in the Classic Period, Tikal was the center of a powerful kingdom that dominated the region both economically and politically. The remains of this once vibrant city are still impressive and include more than 4,000 structures and six of the tallest temples of its kind (some are over 200 feet tall!).
 Lunch: At the archaeological site.
 Afternoon: Excursion to the Tikal Museum.

The Tikal Museum (Museo Sylvanus G. Morley) is a small museum filled with exquisite ceramics and artifacts excavated from Tikal. One of the more notable pieces include the three long-nosed, pale turquoise rain gods.

Transfer back to Flores.
Time at leisure to enjoy the hotel and surrounding area.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: Time at leisure.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Peten Esplendido
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Fly and Drive to Lake Atitlan -
Natural Beauty and Colorful Mayan Villages.

(Tuesday, December 8)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the airport for flight to Guatemala City.
Arrive to Guatemala City.
Ground transfer to Panajachel (Lake Atitlan).

Lake Atitlan is a large endorheic (internal drainage) lake recognized as the deepest lake in Central America. It is renowned as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world and its basin is an important source of water for local crops.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Mid-afternoon arrival at the hotel and check-in.

Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure to explore the hotel grounds, relax in a hammock or take a rejuvenating nap before rejoining the group.

Lecture: Lake Atitlan: One of the Most Beautiful and Mystical Lakes in the World.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: Time at leisure.
   
Accommodations: Posada de Don Rodrigo - Atitlan
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Lake Atitlan -
Culture and Customs of Surrounding Communities.

(Wednesday, December 9)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Boat transfer to the village of Santiago La Laguna for a visit with the notorious Maximón. On-site instruction: Paying Tribute to Maximon, a Mayan "Saint."

Maximón is a “saint” worshipped in various forms by the Mayan people of several towns in the highlands of western Guatemala. His origins are not well known though he is believed to be a form of the pre-Colombian Maya god Mam, blended with influences from Catholicism.

Maximón is represented by an effigy which resides in a different house each year. Devotees visit offering money, spirits and cigars or cigarettes to gain his favor in exchange for good health, good crops, and marriage counseling etc. His expensive tastes in alcohol and cigarettes indicate that he is a very human character, very different from the ascetic ideals of Christian sainthood.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Boat transfer from Santiago La Laguna to San Antonio.

Feel time slow down as you walk into the small village of San Antonio. Watch as Indians, clad in traditional dress, go about creating their handicrafts and traditional weavings as though the world outside did not exist.

Transfer from San Antonio back to Panajachel.

Time at leisure to explore Panajachel.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: Time at leisure.
   
Accommodations: Posada de Don Rodrigo - Atitlan
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Antigua -
Chichicastenango Market.

(Thursday, December 10)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Begin transfer to Antigua.
Excursion to the famous Chichicastenango Market.

"Chichi," as it is locally known, is the site of a colorful, indigenous market. Mayans from miles around come to “Chichi"on Thursdays and Sundays to bring their products and produce to the market. It is here that the locals exchange gossip and information.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Field trip to church of Santo Tomas to see how the Mayan religion has blended with Christianity.
On-site instruction: The Religious Rituals of the People of Guatemala.

Arrive to Antigua and check-in at the hotel.

In Antigua you can go back in time and also experience the newness that is part of Guatemalan culture today. By the 1980s, an array of cultural activities including art galleries, performing arts, popular arts, films, forums, and cultural life began to redirect the former focus of religious activities which previously consumed the city. This is caused in part by the numerous visitors and the more than 80 Spanish schools which provide an economic base to the city's population. Known as "La Antigua Guatemala," this colonial capital was founded with the name of Santiago de Guatemala in 1543. Today, still about the same size as in colonial times, Antigua's cobble-stone streets and colonial architecture depict more than 50 monumental buildings including convents, monasteries, churches and chapels around the main square. With the blending of the old with the new, Congress passed a Protective Law for La Antigua Guatemala for the protection of historical buildings and areas that gives much of the city its colonial character.

Return to the hotel.
Lecture: Behind the Walls of Antigua.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: Time at leisure.
   
Accommodations: Posada de Don Rodrigo - Antigua
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Exploration of Antigua -
The Colonial Architecture of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

(Friday, December 11)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Lecture: Traditional Maya Textiles.
Excursion to San Antonio Aguas Calientes Textile Cooperative to view weavers at work and learn about local textiles.

Return to the hotel.
Lecture: Overview of Guatemala.
 Lunch: At the hotel.
 Afternoon: Walking orientation to Antigua, including a visit to the Jade Museum which has been featured in National Geographic Magazine and a TV special on the Discovery Channel.

Return to hotel.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
 Evening: Free time.
   
Accommodations: Posada de Don Rodrigo - Antigua
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Antigua -
Culture, Traditions and Customs.

(Saturday, December 12)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to Casa K’ojom Music Museum. Site lecture: The Evolution of Mayan Music.

Casa K’ojom is a private, educational, non-profit research center and museum, dedicated to research, preservation, and dissemination of traditional music of the Mayan communities of Guatemala. Since 1984, founder and current Director Samuel Franco has carried out extensive field work, through several expeditions to different Maya areas during their local Patron Saint celebrations and other rituals, recording their music and photographing their contemporary ceremonies. The museum houses an important audiovisual archive including sound recordings, photographs, and video footage.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Time at leisure to explore Antigua.

Lecture: Maya Spirituality (with a reenactment of a religious ceremony).

Religious ceremonies were a large part of the Mayan culture. Their calendars provided them with many occasions to have ceremonies, feasts, and banquets. Ceremonies usually had lavish decoration, beautiful costumes, storytellers, actors, clowns, and musicians. Religious ceremonies usually started after a period of fasting. The ceremony itself usually started with purification rites followed by prayers, chanting, and ritual dancing. All ceremonies involved the burning of incense.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: Time at leisure.
   
Accommodations: Posada de Don Rodrigo - Antigua
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Copan -
UNESCO World Heritage Site.

(Sunday, December 13)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to Copan.
 Lunch: En route at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Arrive to Copan and check-in at hotel.

Copan is a small town with a population under 5000. Set in a fertile valley, it has remained virtually unchanged since the days when explorer John Lloyd Stephens first arrived in 1839. The quaint cobblestone streets and tile roofs are characteristic of colonial times. The town is quiet and a perfect place to relax.

Time at leisure to explore the town.
Lecture by an expert archaeologist David Sedat: Discovering Copan.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: Time at leisure.
   
Accommodations: Marina Copan
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Copan -
Copan Ruins and Sculpture Museum.

(Monday, December 14)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to Copan archaeological site. On-site instruction: Life in Ancient Copan.

The splendors of Copan are represented by its beautiful carvings, inscriptions, and paintings. The Great Plaza, the ball court, several lesser courts, and amphitheater that lie near the base of the Hieroglyphic Stairway are symbolic of the boundaries between the actual and supernatural worlds as games were metaphors for the struggle between good and evil. The Stairway, which has 63 steps is inscribed with a partial history of Copan and is the longest extant Mayan inscription. It features lifelike displays of Mayan temples and sculptures, Mayan stelae, and hieroglyphics.
 Lunch: Lunch at the site.
 Afternoon: Excursion to the Copan Sculpture Museum.

This beautiful museum is located next to the visitors’ center at the Copán archaeological park. Guests enter the museum by a carved door which resembles the mouth of a dragon, and step into a cool and dimly lit tunnel that wends its way down to the main floor of the museum. As the tunnel comes to an end, it opens out into a bright courtyard dominated by a large and colorful replica of the Rosa Lila temple. Although most of us have become used to seeing Maya architecture and sculpture without any color, archaeological findings actually show that Maya cities were once adorned with stucco and bright paint. In addition to the Rosa Lila temple, the museum showcases both copies and originals of stelae, facades, altars, and other sculptures found in Copán.

Return to the hotel.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
 Evening: Time at leisure.
   
Accommodations: Marina Copan
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Copan -
Chocolate: The Sacred Mayan Beverage/Local School Visit.

(Tuesday, December 15)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to a local school (if in session).
Lecture: The Educational System of Honduras.
Visit the home of a local archaeologist for a demonstration on transforming cacao into chocolate.

Lecture: History of Cacao – The Sacred Mayan Beverage.

Before chocolate was a sweet candy, it was a spicy beverage. Some of the earliest known chocolate drinkers were the ancient Maya of Central America. The Maya mixed chocolate with cornmeal, chile peppers, honey, and water. They poured this concoction from cup to bowl and back again until a nice, thick layer of foam formed on top. Maya priests presented a chocolate drink at sacred altars during special religious ceremonies. They also made offerings of cacao seeds to the gods.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Excursion to the town museum.

Time at leisure to explore the town of Copan.

Lecture: Modern Medicine in the Land of the Maya.
 Dinner: Enjoy a festive evening with a poolside BBQ dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: Free time at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Marina Copan
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: San Pedro Sula -
Sepulturas Archaeological Site/Museum Visit/Guamilito Market.

(Wednesday, December 16)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to the Las Sepulturas site.
Las Sepulturas is a small archaelogical site, less than 2 km from the main Copán complex. This is where the Copán aristocracy lived.

Site lecture: Sepulturas - The Story in the Stellae.
Transfer to San Pedro Sula.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Excursion to the San Pedro Sula Museum which features an outstanding display of the early history of Honduras and the city.

Visit to Guamilito Market featuring Honduran artisans, crafts and produce from around the country.

Guamilito Market is the best place in Honduras to purchase everything from rum, coffee and vanilla, to handicrafts. The first rule at Guamilito is to barter any price that is given to you. Handicrafts include handmade wood carvings, as well as the woven baskets and panama hats from Santa Barbara. These items have colorful patterns and are a real bargain.

Site lecture: San Pedro Sula.
Time at leisure.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: Time at leisure to finish packing, enjoy one last chat with your Road Scholar friends, or to get an early night's rest in preparation for the international flights next day.
   
Accommodations: Hotel y Suites Copantl
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Depart from San Pedro Sula.
Arrive to the USA.

(Thursday, December 17)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel (depending on flight time).
 Morning: Transfer to the Ramón Villeda Morales International Airport in San Pedo Sula for your flight home.

Note: Participants with independent travel arrangements and/or scheduled on later flights can keep their hotel rooms until check-out time on this day. Except for breakfast, all other meals are on your own on this day.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Time Among the Maya, Travels in Belize, Guatemala, & Mexico


Author: Ronald Wright


Secrets in Stone: All About Maya Hieroglyphs


Author: Laurie Coulter


Popol Vuh: A Sacred Book of the Maya


Author: Victor Montejo


Moon Handbooks - Belize


Author: Joshua Berman


Breaking Out of Beginner's Spanish


Author: Joseph Keenan


Description: Idioms, common mistakes in word usage, and other helpful advice on tackling spoken Spanish. You'll need some foundation to take full advantage of this book – but even a complete novice will appreciate the author's playful sense of humor.



Central America Map


Author: ITMB


Description: A detailed map of the Central American isthmus at a scale of 1:1,100,000.



Forgotten Continent, The Battle for Latin America's Soul


Author: Michael Reid


Description: Economist editor Reid draws on his years in the cities, presidential palaces and shantytowns of Central and South America in this portrait of a region rich in oil, farmland and culture and its prospects in the face of globalization.



Guatemala and Belize: The Rough Guide


Author: Rough Guides


Description: This comprehensive guide to Guatemala and Belize, includes in-depth accounts of towns and villages, with background on history, culture, and archaeology.



Lost Cities of the Maya


Author: Claude Baudez, Sydney Picasso


Description: This lavish little pocket encyclopedia of archaeological discovery features hundreds of color photographs and illustrations, including Catherwood's original engravings.



Maya Art and Architecture


Author: Mary Ellen Miller


Description: An illustrated overview of the art and architecture of the Maya, making use of the latest discoveries at Tikal, Copan and Palenque to demonstrate the range of Maya artistic influence. With 200 illustrations, 50 in color, including site plans, maps, strikingly rendered reconstructions and color photographs of key temples and buildings.



Moon Handbook Honduras


Author: Moon Handbooks


Description: A comprehensive guide to Honduras, its history, culture and attractions.



Scribes, Warriors and Kings: The City of Copán and the Ancient Maya.


Author: William L. Fash


Description: Recent breakthroughs by Fash and other experts show how decipherment of the Maya inscriptions has unlocked the secrets of Copán’s history. Fash describes the city’s rise to statehood, its triumphs and its demise in the ninth century.



Tropical Nature


Author: Adrian Forsyth, Ken Miyata


Description: A lively, lucid portrait of the tropics as seen by two uncommonly observant and thoughtful field biologists. Its 17 marvelous essays introduce the habitats, ecology, plants and animals of the Central and South American rainforest





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