Guatemala: Multi Regional Coffee Tour February 2020
On this tour we will visit coffee cooperatives and small producers who will share with us in detail the processes that take the different stages of the coffee. Our two main destination is the colonial town of La Antigua Guatemala, a picturesque little town complete with cobblestone roads and nestled in a valley surrounded by volcanoes; and Lake Atitlán, a beautiful volcanic lake in the Western highlands, ringed by small villages in which Maya culture is still prevalent.
The fun doesn’t stop there, during our adventure in Lake Atitlán we will also hike the beautiful San Pedro volcano and have a picnic on the top while enjoying the expansive views of the lake and the mountains surrounding it!
Finally, our trip will conclude with a traditional Guatemalan meal and learn how to make tortillas, at our friend Joaquín’s cooking school, Cuscun, just outside of Antigua.
Itinerary subject to small changes at the discretion of The Heart of Travel guides in order to provide you with the safest, and most comfortable and enjoyable travel experience possible.
Saturday, February 22nd – Friday, February 28th 2020
DAY ONE: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22nd: D included
Upon arriving at the airport one of the Program Directors, Chelsea or Ana, will be waiting to escort you to the beautiful colonial town of La Antigua via private shuttle (45-minute drive, without traffic). Once in La Antigua, you will be checked into your hotel and be given a brief orientation of the city. If you need any assistance going to the bank, store, pharmacy, etc. Chelsea or Ana will be more than happy to accompany you. In the event you arrive early in the morning and would like to coordinate any specific activities during the day just let us know so we can accommodate your requests.
7:00 pm: Welcome dinner at Chermol Restaurant (included).
DAY TWO: SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23rd: B & L included
9:00 am - 2:00 pm: Tour with De La Gente and lunch
One quick chicken bus hop away in San Miguel Escobar is a coffee cooperative called De La Gente who works to create economic sustainability and opportunity for coffee farmers and their families. We will be meeting with one of DLG’s farmers who will show us their farm and welcome us back to their home to see most, if not all, of what the farmer does in regards to being a part of a coffee cooperative. They will be available for any questions you may have!
2:30 pm - 5 pm: Roasting experience with Pedro.
Pedro is an award-winning barista in Guatemala and owns Cafe Sol in Antigua. He and/or Jordan (an award-winning roaster and barista) will meet us in San Miguel Escobar and take us to roast some coffee on their homemade roaster. There we will be introduced to how they source and roast and will be able to roast our own greens to take home.
DAY THREE: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 24th: B & L included
Coffee Farm Tour with Don José (lunch included)
9:00 am - 2:00 pm: Take your private shuttle to Don José’s Coffee Farm. We first met Don José’s through his daughter, Gloria, who participates in a program at our sister non-profit, Fundación Fénix. Her husband, Jose Antonio was a volunteer firefighter who passed away during the rescue efforts during the June 3rd, 2018, the eruption of the Fuego Volcano. It’s been an honor to get to know Gloria and her family and we are excited to work with them as a part of our sustainable tourism program.
Time to get even further off the beaten path as we climb into the back of Don Jose’s pick up truck and ride through the farmland of Alotenango to visit his and his friends’ small coffee plots. Here, he will teach us about all the steps involved in making your morning cup of joe including cultivation, harvest, processing, and roasting. You will also enjoy spectacular views of the countryside and not only will you see coffee but many other plants such as corn, avocado, beans, jocotes and various trees and medicinal plants. After our time at the farm, we will return to Don Jose’s home to have a home-cooked meal. Taste a cup of his delicious coffee before saying goodbye to our friends.
Cupping with Frosty
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm: Meet with the local coffee connoisseur, Cristian (known as Frosty), to cup three different Guatemalan coffees from different regions and roasters.
DAY FOUR: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 25th: B & L included
9:00 am: Take a private shuttle to your accommodation in Lake Atitlán
12:00 pm: Check into AirBnB/Hostel and go via boat or tuc-tuc (depending on where we stay) to San Juan La Laguna.
Visit Casa Flor Ixcaco (lunch included)
12:30 pm: Here in San Juan you’ll visit our friends at Casa Flor Ixcaco, a women’s lead textile cooperative that is truly inspiring and an incredible example of empowered female indigenous entrepreneurs who are using their talents and traditions, on their terms, to bolster their economy and share their heritage proudly. During your time with Casa Flor, you’ll watch and participate in a weaving demonstration to learn all about the process from start to finish.
1:30 pm: Afterwards you’ll enjoy a delicious typical lunch prepared by some of the cooperative members before visiting the nearby artisan chocolate workshop and the medicinal plant garden. This medicinal plant garden is run by the local midwives and it’s fascinating to learn about the work they do!
Visit to La Voz Coffee Cooperative San Juan La Laguna
3:00 pm - 5:30 pm: La Voz is a cooperatively managed farmer group with roughly 161 members, of which 61 are women who sort coffee cherries when coffee is delivered. The Guatemalan highlands produce some of the best and most distinctively flavored coffees in the world. La Voz's Arabica trees are cultivated under a rich shade tree canopy that includes many trees native to the region. The associate farmers produce coffee on small plots of land (1-2 hectares each) that are individually owned and maintained. Ripened coffee is harvested by family members and other coop associates. Sacks of coffee cherries are manually carried to the communal wet processing mill where La Voz's management oversees the depulping, fermentation and patio drying. A coffee beverage is included after this 2-hour tour!
After our coffee farm visit, we will go back to our AirBnB/Hostel and we’ll have the evening off to either rest or explore the town!
DAY FIVE: WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 26th: B & L included
9:30 am: Take a tuc-tuc or private shuttle from your Airbnb/Hostel to the base of the San Pedro Volcano to meet your local guide. The hike itself is about 5 miles round-trip, and the elevation change is 4,000 feet. The ascent takes the average hiker between 2-3 hours, there are several look-out points along the trail, some with benches and a swing that overlooks the lake. The top of the volcano looks out across the lake as well, enjoy lunch while you’re here. Because the volcano is taller than many of the mountains surrounding the lake, you can see past the lake and feel like you are standing above the clouds. An amazing sensation. Enjoy lunch at the top with these expansive views!
2:00 pm: Hike back down and go back to your Airbnb/Hostel to chill the rest of the day or explore the town!
DAY SIX: THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27th: B & D included
Free morning to rest and enjoy Lake Atitlan on your own.
2:00 pm: Take your private shuttle back to your hotel in Antigua.
7:00 pm: Cooking class and farewell dinner with Cuscun (included).
Enjoy a traditional Guatemala meal and learn how to make tortillas, during this interactive dining experience at our friend Joaquín’s cooking school just outside of La Antigua. We will dine on the terrace.
DAY SEVEN: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28th: B included
Private shuttle from your hotel in Antigua back to the Guatemala City International Airport.
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