Guatemala craft tourVisit the Mayan villages surrounding Lake Atitlan, meet the weavers, needle-workers, and bead artisans who create the exceptional textiles and beadwork.

The natural splendor of Lake Atitlan, considered one of the most scenic lakes in the world, combined with the majestic volcanoes of the highlands, will create memories for a lifetime. The beauty of the countryside is equaled by the rich culture and heritage of the Mayan people of these highlands who comprise over 50% of the population, and their influence is seen everywhere in the dress, religion, arts, markets, and music in the Guatemalan highlands. Guatemala has long been recognized as producing some of the most beautiful crafts in the world.

This travel field seminar, organized and led by Penny Diamanti and Vivian Harvey, will focus on the artisans who produce the exquisitely complex and colorful textiles and beaded art seen in the many vibrant markets of the country and in some of the best museums in the United States.  

Our primary focus will be the many small Tz’utujil and Kaqchiquel-speaking villages around magnificent Lake Atitlan. Each is known for distinctive village-identity dress and weaving, and as we travel to each village, we’ll observe and discuss many aspects of Guatemalan history, culture, textiles, and art. 

A highlight of the trip will be a day at the most famous market of Latin America in Chichicastenango, where we’ll mingle with local Mayan families from all over the highlands who have come to sell their crafts and textiles.

This will be a memorable and activity-filled program, with a strong focus on the arts, culture, and social reality of the Mayan people of Guatemala. 

bead art in GuatemalaWe’ll spend three nights in the colonial city of Antigua to acquaint ourselves with the fascinating and tumultuous history of the early days of Guatemala, and we’ll spend one day in the capital, Guatemala City, to learn about the rich array and history of the textiles in the villages we’ll visit later in our travels. 
We’ll then move to Panajachel, on the eastern shore Lake Atitlan, where we’ll spend five nights and days visiting (mostly by boat) many of the small colorful villages which dot the lake’s shore. We’ll learn more about contemporary Mayan culture and art as we visit and talk with painters, textile artists, seed beaders,and  other artists in the villages.
A final night in Guatemala City will enable us to be close to the airport for a Sunday morning departure for home. 

hand woven textilesItinerary (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)

Day 1 | Friday, January 25 (D, time permitting)

Day 2 | Saturday, January 26 (B, L, D)

Day 3 | Sunday, January 27 (B, L)

women weaving in GuatemalaDay 4 | Monday, January 28 (B, L, D)

Day 5 | Tuesday, January 29 (B, L, D)

Day 6 | Wednesday, January 30 (B, L, D)Santiago Atitlan for a visit to the venerated figure of Maximon

Day 7 | Thursday, January 31 (B, L)

Day 8 | Friday, February 1 (B, L, D)bead craft guatemala

Day 9 | Saturday, February 2 (B, L, D)

Day 10 | Sunday, February 3 (B, time permitting)

• 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 friendss

Vivian Harvey
Vivian lived and worked 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.

Penny Diamanti guatemala craft tourPenny Diamanti
Penny grew up living in Europe and Africa where her father was posted as a diplomat. After earning her BA from UC Berkeley and MA in Journalism from University of Colorado, she continued to travel, collecting and researching beads in India, Thailand, Indonesia, Peru, Bolivia, and Guatemala. She worked as a researcher and writer at National Geographic Society before starting her own bead, jewelry, and importing handcrafts from Peru business. This eventually led to three Beadazzled stores in the Washington/Baltimore area. Semi-retired since 2012, she imports beadwork and textile arts from Guatemala, selling them to museum stores. This blends her love for travel to warm places and her desire to support the artistic and entrepreneurial spirit of Guatemalan women, while bringing the products of the vibrant Mayan culture to a wider audience. When in Takoma Park, she continues to teach her unique Color and Design classes for beaders and weavers and her Business Workshop series for creative entrepreneurs.

FeesLake Atitlan Guatemala

TRAVEL FEE: $1850 (twin) U.S. funds only - if you register and make $500 deposit by October 1, 2018, for a double room. To hold the rooms we’ve reserved at the hotels, we need a firm count of participants by October 1, 2018.

After October 1, 2018, the tour prices is
$1975 (twin) U.S. funds only
• Note: Add $240 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 adventure-filled 10 day (9 night) travel program is based on a minimum of ten travelers, and includes the following:
• Hotels, double occupancy, 9 nights (single supplements available for $240)
• Airport transfer on arrival day for those arriving on Friday, January 25, 2019
• Transportation within Guatemala, including boats for Lake Atitlan excursions and vans/busses to markets and villages
• Entrance fees for museums
• Meals, with hot coffee or tea, as follows:
all breakfasts and lunches (may not include breakfast on Sunday morning, February 3, if your flight is very early), 7 dinners
• All tips, including baggage in airports and hotels, maids’ tips, and tips for bus drivers. No other tips for guides are expected
• S
peakers’ fees and/or donations (Several of these are 501C3 organizations)
• Information about Guatemala and the places to be visited, sent by email to participants prior to the trip
• Bibliography of suggested readings about Guatemala sent to participants before the trip
• Return to airport by hotel shuttle on departure day, February 3, 2019

This travel fee does NOT include:
• Your flights to Guatemala City: extra nights in hotels, airport transportation on days not on the official schedule, 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 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.


• October 1, 2018: Total price $1850, if you register and make $500 deposit by October 1, 2018, for a double room. To hold the rooms we’ve reserved at the hotels, we need a firm count of participants by October 1, 2018.  

• Registration after October 1, 2018: We can receive registrations after October 1, based on room availability. The cost for the trip after October 1 will be $1975. Rooms may not be available.

• December 1, 2018: Balance of payments due
The remainder of the fee ($1350 for registrations received by October 1 or $1475 for registrations received after October 1) plus single supplement of $240, if applicable, is due by December 1, 2018. 

Late additions:
We may be able to accept reservations after December 1, on a space-available basis, but it may be more difficult and/or expensive to obtain flights and rooms.

Please reserve your space on this trip as early as possible, so participants have as much opportunity as possible to confirm flights, and we have time to confirm rooms for you.

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

Please mail registrations & deposits to:

Flight plans and arrangements

Participants should arrange to fly into Guatemala City on Friday, January 25, 2019, and out of Guatemala City on Sunday, February 3, 2019. The first planned event of the program will be dinner on Friday night, January 25.  Any flight arriving after about 4 pm probably will not permit the traveler to be in Antigua in time for dinner.

For those arriving on January 25, we will assist with the transfers, and details will be emailed when we know all participants’ flight schedules.

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.

Participants will make their own flight arrangements. Please do not confirm and pay for flight arrangements before the trip is confirmed, which we will do as soon as we receive a minimum of 10 registrations, and by October 1, 2018, at the latest.

If you want to visit Tikal:
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 round-trip flights to Flores (Tikal airport). It will not be an escorted trip. 

Would you like to come early? Stay longer? Learn more?
Guatemala is a wonderful country to visit in the winter months, with far more to see and learn than we can present in 9 days, and if you would like to extend your stay by coming early and/or departing later than the tour dates, we will be happy to help arrange hotels reservations and other details.  

Most of our visit will be spent in towns over 5,000 feet of altitude, and some of our travels will take us to villages up to 8,000 feet. We have not had any problem at this altitude, but travelers should be aware of this.

Need more information?

• Contact Vivian for more information about fees, reservations, or transportation.

• Contact Penny for information about specific types of crafts.

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This will be a memorable and activity-filled program, with a strong focus on the arts, culture, and social reality of the Mayan people of Guatemala.