cancuen / CANDELARIA DISCOVERY
4 days / 3 nights.
Grade: Easy day hikes, varied elevation (2300-250
Mts.. ASL.), temperature between 18º and 35º C. Hotel
Day 1. antigua (or Guatemala City) - MARIO DARY CLOUD FOREST
RESERVE - COBÁN
At 6:00 am, we'll pick participants at their hotel. During the drive
of two and a half hours, you will observe different ecosystems on
which you guide will provide interesting information. The adventure
begins when we visit the Mario Dary Reserve, a protected biotope,
home of the resplendent quetzal, Guatemala's national bird. The
ecosystem here is lush. A subtropical cool cloud forest with an
abundance of coniferous and broad leaf trees houses great variety
of orchids, mosses, bromeliads and ferns. Among the wide variety
of plants, the biotope is home for some species of wildlife such
as the howler monkey, coatimundi, brocket deer, tree frogs, reptiles
and many species of birds including emerald toucanet, hummingbirds,
blue-crowned motmot and woodpeckers. By hiking through the forest
across well established trails, you will get the chance to experience
the enormous bio-diversity of this natural sanctuary. After lunch,
the group will visit Viveros Verapaz, the largest orchid nursery
and rescue station in Central America (275 species and more than
50,000 plants) A tour led by a station's staff member will introduce
participants to the fascinating world of orchids. Arrival to Cobán
at the end of the afternoon. Overnight at the Hotel La Posada.
Day 2 COBÁN-CANDELARIA
Discovered in 1974 by a French expedition, Candelaria is considered
the largest cavern system with an underground river in Latin America.
This majestic cavern run more than 30 km. Horizontally across northern
Alta Verapaz. Candelaria houses a subtropical humid rain forest
filled with fantastic flora and fauna. Chances to observe howler
and spider monkeys, peccary, deer and coatimundi among others. Upon
arrival to the campsite and right before lunch, participants can
go to swim in the river that comes out from one of the grottos.
After lunch and a deserved rest, we will explore the cavern of El
Mico (the monkey), which is probably one of the most fascinating
cave of all. We'll be walking along the Candelaria River that flows
inside. The caverns are naturally lighted by a series of natural
openings called "windows", that lend a fairy like atmosphere
to the underground galleries and light up the beautifully colored
rock formations . The tour lasts about 3 hours after which one may
swim if desired. Dinner and overnight at Candelaria Eco-lodge.
Day 3 CANDELARIA - CANCUN
Early in the morning we depart aboard our 4X4's until we get to
the margins of the Pasión river. From here, the group and
guides will navigate in native "Cayuco" (motorized wooden
boats) to the ancient Maya City of Cancuén. A fantastic journey
through time, history and nature awaits us. Amazing birdlike will
be observed along the trip as well as occasional turtles sunbathing
on the river shores. With a little luck you may even see a crocodile!
In Cancuén the archaeologist from Vanderbilt and Del Valle
universities will be touring us along their digs, taking us to explore
the ancient buildings and showing us their new discoveries. Definitely
a once in a lifetime chance! Lunch will be served at the archaeologists
campsite and a brief lectures about the sites history will be given.
Afterwards we'll return to Candelaria for dinner and overnight.
Day 4 CANDELARIA- COBÁN - GUATEMALA CITY (or Antigua)
In the lush environment of Candelaria, we wake up to the song of
numerous birds. After breakfast, we will explore the Campo Base
(Base Camp) cavern. It was from here that the initial explorations
of Candelaria took place in t he middle 70's. A short hike into
the jungle leads to the enormous mouth of the cavern. Remains of
ancient Maya buildings can be observed as well as some objects left
there by the Maya 1,500 years ago. For the ancient Maya, caverns
were sacred places in where they performed ceremonies and sacrifices
related with the deities of the underworld. After exploration, we
will depart back to Cobán getting there at midday, ready
for lunch. Afterwards, we will depart back to Guatemala City after
an unforgettable adventure.
$600.00 per person (minimum group 8 - max 14 persons)
Part of your fee in this expedition will go directly to a fund
that will help an ongoing development program for education and
conservation in the area of Cancuen.
All ground transportation aboard tourism buses with a/c and experienced
drivers, fully equipped 4X4 Vehicles for the unpaved portion of
the tour and boats to navigate along the Pasion river. US Specially
trained whitewater rafting guides and equipment for rafting. Well
trained, knowledgeable, professional bilingual tour guides and local
staff and boat men from the Keq'chi Indian communities of Candelaria,
La Isla and El Zapote. Entrance fees to protected areas, archaeological
parks and private reserves, All nights lodging as described in the
itinerary, all meals from Lunch on day 1 to lunch on the last day,
first aid kit, trip booklet and reference material along the trip.
Does not include:
Alcohol and soda beverages
Tips to guides, drivers, restaurant and hotel personnel.
What to bring and wear:
Cobán is normally chilly, especially by night, so bring along
a good sweater or warm jacket for the night we spend in town. The
Cahabon river is a class III-IV rafting where you will get wet.
Cap,shorts and t-shirt and either tennis shoes (to get wet) or buckled
sandals for the river. The Machaquila cave is a wet cave so please
bring shoes which have traction and can get wet. A good flashlight
is a must with extra batteries. The Candelaria and Cancuén
regions are hot and humid year round, so plan you baggage accordingly.
We recommend to bring a good pair of hiking boots, light cotton
shirts (one long sleeve), a pair of shorts, Khakis, sandals, swimsuit,
personal items, and sunscreen. A rain jacket, flashlight, binoculars,
water bottle, sunglasses and a hat are a good idea and don't forget
your camera. And please, bring a big smile for every day!
About the Hotel and Campsite:
Hotel La Posada:
Beautiful colonial house located in the center of Cobán,
decorated with antiques and handicrafts, cozy atmosphere, beautiful
gardens, restaurant and bar service. 20 rooms, hot/cold water, parking
lot , good service.
A fantastic lodge built in the middle of the jungle. Comfortable
shared cabins, great food and bar service, surrounded by lush tropical
vegetation and a river. Hundreds of birds and wildlife. The lodge
and the protected area of Candelaria are totally managed by the
Indian community of Mucbilhá. All the funds collected from
the visits of the explorers remain within the community allowing
them to independently sustain themselves and preserve their surroundings.
Hotel Villa de Los Castellanos:
Located on the banks of the Machaquila River it's design incorporates
the native plant species and invites the birds and wildlife to take
refuge among it't gardens. Medicinal plants have been identified
along the walkways and one can take a tub ride in the crystal waters
of the river. Jungle atmosphere, lush gardens, restaurant, and bar
service, hot/cold Water, parking lot, good service.
Guaranteed Group Departures
March 08,09,10,11 2001
March 15,16,17,18 2001
March 22,23,24,25 2001
April 19,20,21,22 2001
April 26,27,28,29 2001
May 03,04,05,06 2001