7-Day Journey into the Heart of the Maya

San Pedro La Laguna, Lake Atitlán Guatemala

  • Facebook verified
May 14 - 20, 2020
Group size: 6 - 8
7-Day Journey into the Heart of the Maya
San Pedro La Laguna, Lake Atitlán Guatemala

  • Facebook verified

May 14 - 20, 2020
Group size: 6 - 8

About this trip

A Land-based Culturally Immersive Journey into the Heart of the Maya

A transformational personal journey, a cross-cultural immersion, and a group adventure rich with connection to nature and steeped with learning the Indigenous ways of the Maya, this 7-day journey to Lake Atitlán, Guatemala is a rare and amazing opportunity to open our minds and hearts to a more ancient wisdom, while living deeply into our own questions of belonging and what it means to be responsible to what we love. All of this in one of the most incredible places on earth, and guided by a special collaboration between Colorado born wilderness guides and Indigenous Maya teachers and healers! 

"Atitlán" in Nahuatl means "the place where the rainbow gets its colors." This mystical lake is often called the most beautiful in Central America and has inspired people for thousands for years. Surrounded by a vortex of volcanoes, Lake Atitlán is known for its healing and mystical properties that seekers and believers feel upon arrival. The lake lies in the heart of an ancient volcano's caldera, which filled with water after its final eruption 85,000 years ago. The lake and it's three surrounding volcanoes still hold active tectonic power and people travel from around the world to feel the energy vortex created here at the intersection of Fuego de la Tierra and Paz del Lago.

Unique to Central America, the majority of Guatemala’s population is indigenous. This place in particular offers an especially rich context to explore the crossroads of traditional wisdom surviving within the effects of modernization. Against a backdrop of rolling green mountains and an azure lake, we explore the ways in which Mayan communities maintain traditional ways of life while adapting to an increasingly globalized world.

This trip is about connecting with the Mayan community, teachers and healers, and learning the ways of traditional artisans, connecting with the land, and allowing ourselves to be moved and opened by our experiences, returning us home richer in many ways than when we left.  

Seed of the Future Project 

Semilla del Futuro / IJA'TZ

15% of all proceeds from this journey go directly towards our ongoing project to preserve the Indigenous Tz'utujil language/culture and to protect the sacred waters of Lago de Atitlán, Guatemala. In addition to an amazing personal adventure and exploration, this trip is seen as an offering in reciprocity to help protect ancient the Maya and their environment. The Lake is being polluted and the ancient culture is in real danger due to marginalization, globalization and the pervasive influence of modern ways. The young are at risk of not learning their native tongue. The lake is at risk of being lost. We are stepping in. 


Laying foundations of comprehensive Maps of Consciousness, Myth, Sacred Medicine walks and paddles, as well as Story Circles to deepen, broaden and enrich your journey. Each day of the trip we will journey into connection with the land, building our relationship with the sacred waters without as well as within. Most days will begin with a sunrise paddle into the waters of Lake Atitlán where we will journey into our intentions and sacred questions. We will utilize the tools of Depth Mindfulness, Somatic Experiencing in nature, Biodynamic healing and ancient wisdom techniques of tracking to guide you through powerful explorations of both your inner and outer landscapes. 


While we have every intention to offer the following experiences, we also acknowledge that due to the nature of village life some details may change and we hold some space for flexibility with this itinerary.

  • Traditional Boat Building & Fishing. The Mayan culture once boasted a rich and sophisticated maritime culture. Get a peek into the ancient skills of dugout boat building and traditional fishing practices.
  • Paddle to San Juan la Laguna to Visit Weaving Collective. Take in the fine art of the naturally-dyed and exquisitely handcrafted goods created by the Maya. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the weaving and art cooperatives that Guatemala is famous for. An opportunity to support a traditional community with our visit, as well as a chance to learn about the artisan crafts of this unique village.
  • Tz'utujil Maya Language & Art. Learn some of the endangered Tz'utujil language with the local community teachers. Explore traditional Mayan art and history gaining perspective on why it’s so important to maintain these ways. 
  • Mayan Healing Ceremony. Learn about the life and ways of a renowned Mayan Curandera in her home. Experience individual blessings and personalized healing ceremony with a renowned Mayan Curandera.
  • Traditional Mayan Fire & Cacao Ceremony. The trip culminates with a deep dive into Mayan culture with one of the most important and fundamental of Mayan rituals, guided by an indigenous Shaman from Lake Atitlan. The Mayan Fire Ceremony is a way used by trained Mayan Aj Q’ij (daykeepers/ spiritual leaders) of creating a vortex of energy that can be used as a portal into the Spirit world, where we can receive healings and offer prayers. Joined with a traditional cacao ceremony connecting us with our hearts and the heart of this place, we’ll get to meet Xicoy, the Caco Spirit, one of the most playful spiritual guides in ancient Mayan cosmology. 

Additional Optional Activities for an Extended Stay Include:

  • Visit the Local Thermal Pools. Relax in soothing volcano-fed pools in San Pedro la Laguna.  
  • Explore Lake Atitlan. Rent a kayak or canoe and paddle into the blue expanse, or join the San Pedro la Laguna locals and jump off the dock for a swim.
  • Hike the San Pedro Volcano. The journey up the 3,020-meter Volcán San Pedro is about four hours. You can also choose to ride horses part of the way. 
  • Visit Other Villages. Numerous other Mayan villages ring Lake Atitlan, some well-traveled (Panajachel and Santiago Atitlan), and some less so (Santa Catarina and San Pablo).


We will be staying lakeside at the beautiful and quaint Via Del Lago. Rooms in this family owned hostel overlook Lake Atitlan and are at the end of the road next to a Maya Ancestral Protected Area. Its the best spot in San Pedro for a true retreat. 

A traditional Mayan meal will be provided,  prepared and served at the Via Del Lago communal kitchen every afternoon for lunch. We will eat together once a day, savoring our mornings and nourishing our bodies with simple healthy foods from local Maya. There are ample restaurants and markets nearby for participants to explore for breakfast and dinner options. You can expect to spend less than $10 USD per day for both meals.  


Our arrival airport is Guatemala City. We will arrange for transportation from the airport to our common meeting ground, Lake Atitlan Spanish School and Via del Lago hostal. Additional arrival information & details will be provided upon booking confirmation. 

We realize the journey is just as much a part of the experience as the destination! We’re here to support you fully on arriving safely for this journey. Our pre-trip group meetings will go over many of the logistical details and provide space for questions and connections as the date nears.


Each day of this 7-day journey consists of a portion of the day for land-based journeys and deep personal reflection, and another portion devoted to learning about the crafts, ceremonies and ways of the Indigenous Maya. A typical day might be waking early to do a sunrise paddle onto Lake Atitlan, doing a group activity that allows for personal growth and exploration, returning for a long lunch and rest, an afternoon workshop or ceremony with Maya guides, and an open evening for food, reflection, rest, or explorations in the town. 

While this is a jam packed and juicy trip, we also aim to provide plenty of time for rest, rejuvenation and reflection. Here’s an abbreviated itinerary of what you can expect. 

Pre Trip: Two 1-hour long group meetings via Zoom to meet and greet, learn the lay of the land and set intentions         

Day 1: Arrival to Guatemala & Landing

Day 2: Morning Sunrise Paddle & Maps of Consciousness Awareness

Afternoon Traditional Mayan Boat Building & Fishing

Day 3: Day Trip Group Paddle to San Juan la Laguna to Visit Weaving Collective

Day 4: Morning Sunrise Paddle & Foundations of Myth 

Afternoon Tz'utujil Maya Language & Art

Day 5: Morning Sunrise Paddle & Story Circle Council Work

Workshop Mayan Healing Ceremony

Day 6: Morning Sunrise Sacred Medicine Solo Paddle

Afternoon Traditional Mayan Fire & Cacao Ceremony

Evening Option to Visit Local Thermal Pools 

Day 7: Morning Group Council & Closing Ceremony

Afternoon Return Home or Optional Extended Stay with Local Support!

Following week: One last group Zoom meeting for council & integration


Jonah is the Founder of Earthwaysjourneys. His background in trauma work, energy medicine and ancient healing is the well that he draws from to help others. Having graduated from The Colorado School of Energy Studies, The Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute, and The Southwest Institute of the Healing Arts, as well as direct learning from elders, healers and teachers across the globe, Jonah offers his skill, passion and presence from his connection with the spirit of the natural world. Jonah offers the following: Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, SEP, Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist, BCST, Polarity Practioner, RPP, Wilderness Therapy Guide, Ceremonialist, Poet, and Activist. You can find out more at www.earthwaysjourneys.com

Mandy Bishop is a professional nature-based coach, guide, writer, farmer and artist. In all of her musings she is following a golden thread of relationship to self, land and spirit; apprenticing to the mystery and the old ways. She holds advanced trainings from Earth-Based Institute in working with trauma, grief and loss, partswork facilitation, and brain and change. She incorporates her therapeutic training with her years of experience with ceremony, rites of passage, ancestral skills, and creative expression to meet clients where they are and guide them towards the remembrance of their unique truth. She has a private practice in Boulder, Colorado and can often be found playing in the garden or gathering medicine from the fields in her spare time. You can learn more about her work at www.mandybishop.earth. 

What’s included

  • Transportation
    To and from Guatemala City airport to Lake Atitlan Spanish School
  • Accommodation
    7-days and 6 nights accommodation at the family owned lakeside hostel Via del Lago
  • Food
    One home cooked traditional Mayan meal each day for lunch
  • Land-Based Guiding
    Daily guided sunrise paddles onto Lake Atitlan incorporating 5 group sessions intended to guide you into your personal intention and connection with the land
  • Workshops & Ceremonies
    4 workshops and 2 healing ceremonies throughout the week with renowned Mayan artisans/elders/healers
  • Paddle Boards
    Paddle boards and life jackets for our group sunrise journeys onto Lake Atitlan for each participant
  • Flights
  • Travel Insurance
    Highly recommended. We like www.worldnomads.com
  • Additional Meals
    We include 1 traditional home cooked meal per day (at lunch); breakfast and dinner will be up to participants to provide
  • Extra Activities in Town
    San Pedro has a lot to offer; shopping, grabbing a meal, nightlife are available during our ample free time

Your Organizer

Earthwaysjourneys is dedicated to the protection of Nature and Culture. Through Nature-based cultural immersive journeys into the Heart of the Maya; Earthwaysjourneys donates 15% of all trip proceeds towards the "IJAATZ" Semilla del Futuro Project to protect the Native Tz'utujil Maya Language, Culture and the Sacred Waters of Lake Atitlan. Founder and guide Jonah Jensen and Nature-based coach Mandy Bishop of Boulder, CO act as the bridges between worlds, guiding trips living into the question of belonging.