Discover the most interesting country in Latin America at its most colorful and ceremonial time of year . . . Holy Week!

From the lovely colonial city of Antigua, set at the base of the classically-shaped volcano Agua, to hauntingly-beautiful Lake Atitlan, surrounded by towering volcanos and small indigenous villages, Guatemala is an inspiring destination for travelers. To visit during Holy Week will enable travelers to learn about this fascinating country at its spectacular best.

We’ll begin our travel program with three nights in Antigua, and we’ll spend one day of orientation in Guatemala City, visiting the Ixchel Museum of textiles where we’ll enjoy an orientation to the dress, the weavings, and the general life in the highlands by having a private tour of the museum. We’ll be in Antigua the next day for the famous Palm Sunday processions, as hundreds of devout residents carry enormous images of saints through the city, walking through colorful sawdust and flower carpets, most of them completed just minutes prior to the arrival of the procession. We’ll also see the most impressive buildings in the city, on this very special day in one of the most beautiful cities in the New World.

After Palm Sunday in Antigua, we’ll move to the highlands of Guatemala, home to a large contemporary Mayan population, where the culture of many centuries earlier is alive and observable in dress, in language, in living style, and in religious practices. There are an estimated seven million native Mayans living in Guatemala and speaking one of 21 different Mayan languages. Some of these languages are spoken by thousands of people as their first language; other Mayan languages spoken by only a handful of local residents.

We’ll drive to Chichicastenango for their Holy Week processions, featuring several religious brotherhoods and the saints they honor, and we’ll shop at the most famous and colorful regional market in Central America. We’ll also visit Solola for the Tuesday market day to see all the Holy Week preparations. We’ll skim across Lake Atitlan several times to visit the smaller villages of San Pedro, San Juan, and Santa Cruz, each of which will hold the their own distinctive Holy Week observances. The Good Friday processions in San Pedro and Santiago Atitlan are spectacular examples of religious devotion and community participation.

Through all our travels, the village-identity aspect of the dress of the highland residents will be a distinctive characteristic of Guatemalan society. Because of this incredible diversity in color and pattern, the skill and imagination of Guatemala women, the textiles of Guatemala are famous the world over. One of the unique features of this trip is the opportunities to be with Guatemalan families who can best express their culture and their art. Each village and each family we visit will provide an exceptional wealth of Indian culture. Lectures and presentations by textile researchers of the Ixchel Museum and talking with the Guatemalan people themselves will help us understand the culture and history of this magnificent country.

By Easter Sunday, much of the pomp of the Holy Week observances will be over, and we’ll return home with suitcases full of wonderful textiles and cameras full of impressive photographs. On this educational travel seminar you will have an unparalleled opportunity to learn about the people of Guatemala, and we’ll make a special study of the fascinating culture of the Mayan people of Guatemala in the company of the very men and women who live this culture on a daily basis.

Itinerary (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)

Day 1 | Friday, March 18 (D)

Day 2 | Saturday, March 19 (B, L, D)

Day 3 | Sunday, March 20 (B, L) Palm Sunday

Day 4 | Monday, March 21 (B, L, D)

Day 5 | Tuesday, March 22 (B, L, D)

Day 6 | Wednesday, March 23 (B, L)

Day 7 | Thursday, March 24 (B, L, D)

Day 8 | Friday, March 25 (B, L, D)

Day 9 | Saturday, March 26 (B, L, D)

Day 10 | Sunday, March 27 Easter Sunday (B?)

• Note: This itinerary has been prepared months ahead of the actual trip. There may some very slight changes to take advantage of new opportunities.

Travel Seminar LeaderVivian Harvey and her friends

Vivian Harvey
Vivian has been living and working in Mexico for almost 30 years and has traveled extensively throughout Mexico, Costa Rica, Belize, and Guatemala with university students and faculty members. She now spends the winter in Panajachel, Guatemala. Prior to moving to Mexico, she was the Assistant Dean in the College of Human Ecology at The Ohio State University for ten years. She is the Educational Programs Coordinator at the Cemanahuac Educational Community, where she works with college faculty members across the United States and Canada to establish cooperative academic programs with Cemanahuac for graduate and undergraduate credit. Her educational background includes a degree in education from the University of Michigan, and two graduate degrees from The Ohio State University, one in early childhood education and the other in family studies. A highlight of her time in Guatemala was a two-week period when she served as a “bodyguard” for Rigoberta Menchu, the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize recipient.


TRAVEL FEE: $1629 (twin) U.S. Funds Only
• Note: Add $270 for single supplement
• Note:
Credit cards cannot be accepted for the land fee, but the cost of the air travel can be paid with a credit card.

The travel fee for this 10 day (9 night) travel program is based on a minimum of ten travelers, and includes the following:
• Hotels, double rooms, 9 nights
• Transportation, including airport pickup and return (regardless of whether participants come as a group or on individual flights), also boat for Lake Atitlan trip, vans to markets)
• Entrance fees for museums
• Meals as follows, with hot coffee or tea: all breakfast and lunches (does not include breakfast on Sunday morning, March 27) and 7 dinners
• All tips, including baggage in airports and hotels, maids tips, and tips for bus drivers. No other tips for guides are expected or accepted.
• Speakers fees and donations (Several of these are to 501C3 organizations)
Information about Guatemala and the places to be visited, sent by email to participants prior to the trip
• Return shuttle to airport on departure day
• Bibliography
• Airport transfers, by bus or airport vans, for those on group flights

This travel fee does NOT include:
Not included in the land fee are flights to Guatemala City, extra nights in hotels, airport transfer to Antigua on arrival day, drinks other than coffee or hot tea with meals, meals not specified in the itinerary, and personal expenses (laundry, etc.).

Printed information on the groups we will visit is will be sent, along with the web page addresses.

Each participant will be given a series of readings, including a bibliography of suggested readings about Guatemala, all sent by email.

Some travelers may want to add several nights for a trip to the magnificent archeological site of Tikal, and information on this will be available for those requesting it. This will be arranged by a reputable Guatemalan travel agency and will include roundtrip flights to Flores (Tikal airport). It will not be an escorted trip.


In order to reserve places at the hotels, we will visit, it’s necessary to have a firm idea of participants by December, 2015. Deposits ($500) and registration forms should be sent to Vivian Harvey by December 1, 2015, with the remainder of the fee ($1120.00) due by January 1, 2016. If the trip is canceled due to low enrollment, the entire deposit will be refunded.

It is possible to accept reservations after this time, on a space-available basis, but it may be more difficult to obtain flight reservations and hotel space. Please reserve your space on this trip as early as possible, so we have as much opportunity to confirm flights and hotels for the participants.

Registrations should be sent to:

Flight plans and arrangements

Participants should arrange to fly into Guatemala City on Friday, March 18, 2016, and out of Guatemala City on Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016. The first planned event of the program will be dinner on Friday night, March 18. Any flight arriving after about 4 pm probably will not permit the traveler to be in Antigua in time for dinner.

Participants will make their own flight arrangements. Please do not confirm and pay for flight arrangements before the trip is confirmed, which will be on December 1 at the latest.

Transfers from the Guatemala City airport to Antigua are very easy and range in price from $12 to $30. Ample information will be sent. Some participants may want stay in Guatemala for a longer period of time (or arrive earlier), and this can easily be arranged. Please contact Vivian Harvey for information on these arrangements.

Travel insurance is recommended but not required.

No special visas are required, but a valid passport is necessary. Please take the time to check to be sure your passport is not near the expiration date when you make your reservation.

For information and a registration form, please email or phone (email is best):

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Patterns & Processions - a tapestry of Holy Week in Guatemala tour