Central American Trip Detailed Itinerary
With Scot & Maurine Proctor and Todd Allen
May 6-20, 2004
For further information on this tour, and/or to book your place on this never-to-be-forgotten experience, call our agents toll free 1-888-537-8687.
Thursday – May 6 (Day 1)
Flights to Guatemala
Our hearts take flight (as well as our luggage!) with anticipation and excitement as we fly from our various home airports in to the city of eternal spring-Guatemala City. This capital city boasts an official population of nearly 1.5 million (but most say that with the suburbs and surrounding area it could exceed 5 million).
It is the home of the only Temple in Guatemala and one of the Church’s seventeen Missionary Training Centers. Guatemala is one of the strongholds of the Church in Central America with over 190,000 members in more that 40 stakes. Upon arrival we will transfer and check into our deluxe hotel.
Friday – May 7 (Day 2)
Today we will visit the National Museum of Archaeology of Guatemala which is home to thousands of ancient artifacts dating from c. 2500 B.C. – 1500 A.D. The many wonderful exhibits at this museum include an intriguing carving known as Altar 10.
This stone may depict the change of kingship from King Noah to his son, King Limhi, circa 145 B.C. We will also see a giant relief map of Guatemala which covers 1800 square meters and gives the visitor an overview of Guatemala’s terrain in dramatic fashion. Today we visit the national park and ancient archaeological zone of Kaminaljuyu, a site which has been suggested by some as the city of Nephi where great prophets such as Nephi, Jacob, Abinidai and others preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Saturday – May 8 (Day 3)
Our air flight will take us to the awe-inspiring, Maya archaeological zone of Tikal, occupied from 600 BC to AD 750.
Visiting this amazing archaeological zone here is unlike any other experience. Massive stone temples poke their heads above the jungle’s canopy as though they were touching the heavens. Located in the Peten rainforest of northern Guatemala, Tikal may have been in the area referred to as the East Wilderness in the Book of Mormon. In the afternoon we will take a return flight to Guatemala City where, upon arrival, we will travel to the charming and enticing city of Antigua, former Spanish capital of Guatemala.
For further information on this tour, and/or to book your place on this never-to-be-forgotten experience, call our agents toll free 1-888-537-8687. But keep reading!
Sunday – May 9 (Day 4)
Today we will explore the colonial city of Antigua located about 45 minutes outside Guatemala City. Antigua was once the capital of the nation, but frequent floods and earthquakes caused the inhabitants to abandon this beautiful city in 1776.
Today it has become one of the most popular destinations in Guatemala as some of the world’s most beautiful colonial architecture can be seen. Later today we take our journey through the scenic Guatemala highlands to the village of Patzicia. This village is located in an area that some scholars have suggested may be the land of Ishmael where Ammon, a son of King Mosiah, taught the gospel to the Lamanite king Lamoni. Today Patzicia is one of the fastest growing areas of the Church, with the majority of the members being Cakchiquel Mayans. We continue on to breathtaking Lake Atitlan where we will spend the night.
Monday – May 10 (Day 5)
Flanked by three ominous volcanoes, Lake Atitlan has been a scenic retreat for over 2000 years. It has been proposed bysome LDS scholars as a possible site for the Waters of Mormon. We will take a boat cruise on the lake and pass by a destroyed city that is now underwater, and which dates to the time of Christ. This city may have been the ancient Jerusalem mentioned in Alma 21:1. The scenery and setting of this lake will leave lasting impressions of peace upon your minds.
Tuesday – May 11 (Day 6)
This morning we will travel to the village of Almolonga, renowned for its pure water, a place that may well have been occupied by Alma and his followers from about 148 to 121 BC.
The word “Almolonga” literally means “pure water”, this is fitting as the area that may have been the land of Helam which was described in the Book of Mormon as “a beautiful pleasant land, a land of pure water.” It is referred to as the horticultural capital of Mesoamerica as it is among only a few places in this part of the world that is hospitable to growing crops during the dry season. After visiting Almolonga, we will stop for lunch in the Quetzaltenango Valley, which could be the Valley of Alma in the Book of Mormon. Quetzaltenango or “Xela” as it is referred to by the local inhabitants, is the second largest city in Guatemala.
Today the valley and its surrounding mountains are home to the Quiche Maya. Our journey today concludes as we arrive in Huehuetenango which sits at the base of the impressive Cuchumatane mountain range.
For further information on this tour, and/or to book your place on this never-to-be-forgotten experience, call our agents toll free 1-888-537-8687. But don’t stop reading now!
Wednesday – May 12 (Day 7)
This morning we explore the post classic ruins of Zaculeu. The site of Zaculeu dates from about 400 A.D. and is in the area of the Mam Indians whose language is over 2000 years old. We will travel through “the narrow strip of wilderness” which separated the land of Nephi from the land of Zarahemla.
The Cuchumatanes is the only range of mountains that stretch from the Pacific Ocean on the west to the Atlantic Ocean on the east, a requirement of the Narrow Strip of Wilderness spoken of in the Book of Mormon. We will cross the border into Mexico and then drive through the great Chiapas depression. This valley could be the greater Land of Zarahemla where much of the history of the Book of Mormon took place. We will pass areas proposed as possible candidates for the cities of Sidom, Zarahemla, Minon and Manti. Our final destination is Tuxtla Gutierrez, capital of the state of Chiapas and home to one of Mexico`s twelve L.D.S. temples.
Thursday – May 13 (Day 8)
We will take a boat ride through the majestic Sumidero Canyon on the Grijalva River, with walls towering 3000 feet above our heads. The Grijalva River begins in the Cuchumatane mountain range, twists through the Chiapas valley and finally empties into the Gulf of Mexico in Villahermosa. This is one of two candidates that fits the description of the river referred to in the Book of Mormon as the River Sidon. We will also visit the site of Chiapa de Corzo where the oldest long-count date found of December 9, 36 BC is located. This site has name correlations with the city of Sidom. The archaeological site of Chiapa de Corzo, which dates to the Preclassic Book of Mormon Time Period, was excavated by the New World Archaeological Foundation in the 1960s.
Friday – May 14 (Day 9)
Today we will visit the wondrous and mysterious ruins of Palenque. Palenque features the impressive pyramid tomb of Pacal. The Temple of Inscriptions here is so named because of the vast carved hieroglyphs that cover the temple walls. The inscriptions contain several instances of a glyph which has been interpreted as meaning, “And then it came to pass.” The phrase “and it came to pass” appears in the Book of Mormon over 1300 times. When you view this magnificent post-Book of Mormon site, you will see why Joseph Smith said “It would not be a bad plan to compare (these) ruined cities with those of the Book of Mormon.” After visiting the ruins, we will return to Villahermosa for the evening.
Saturday – May 15 (Day 10)
This morning we will visit the La Venta Park and outdoor Museum which contains several stone monuments and altars recovered from the archaeological site of La Venta. The La Venta Park and Museum contains several monuments, most of which date from 1200 to 600 BC, such as the colossal Olmec heads carved from basalt stone. We will then visit the actual ruins of La Venta which presents evidence of a civilization that flourished from 2500 BC until about 250 BC when it came to a violent end as a result of internal warfare. The Olmecs are considered to be the mother culture of Mexico. Most scholars see a strong correlation between the Olmecs and the Jaredites. A drive along the gulf coast takes us to our hotel on the shores of Lake Catemaco. Lake Catemaco is situated between the hills Cintepec and Vigia which have been proposed as candidates for the Hill Shim and Hill Ramah/Cumorah respectively.
For further information on this tour, and/or to book your place on this never-to-be-forgotten experience, call our agents toll free 1-888-537-8687. But please finish reading the itinerary!
Sunday – May 16 (Day 11)
After attending church services we will visit the Hill Vigia which many scholars have proposed as the Hill Ramah/Cumorah of the Book of Mormon. We will travel along the coast and cross the massive Papaloapan water basin. The old name of the water basin is Hueyapan, which means “exceeding large waters,” the same meaning as Ripliancum in the Book of Ether. We will travel through Mexico`s “golden lane” and arrive at Veracruz where we will spend the night.
Monday – May 17 (Day 12)
Today we will travel to the city of Puebla, where on the 5th of May 1862, General Zaragoza led a vastly outnumbered army to victory over invading troops, thus the “Cinco de Mayo” celebration was born. Along the way we will stop to do some site seeing including a stop in Cholula where we will see the worlds largest based pyramid. The main pyramid spans over 25 acres. Nearly 5 miles of tunnels were dug through the great pyramid by exploring archaeologists. One of those tunnels is open to the public and a tour through the middle of the massive pyramid provides incredible insight to the ancient method of building one pyramid on top of another.
Tuesday – May 18 (Day 13)
This morning we will bus to the massive pyramids of Teotihuacan. It has been suggested that Nephite migrations from the south entered into the Mexico Valley during the First Century BC. By 600 AD, Teotihuacan was the ranked as the largest city in the world. This area has been proposed as one of the areas of the Gadianton Robbers. Teotihuacan, which means “the city of the gods” or “the place where men became gods,” is about 45 minutes of driving time northeast from Mexico City. After our visit here, we will transfer to our deluxe hotel in downtown Mexico City, the largest city in the world today.
Wednesday – May 19 (Day 14)
This morning we will visit the Mexico’s renowned National Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology which contains the most complete collection of Mesoamerican artifacts in the world. The four major cultures that existed during the time of the Book of Mormon, namely the Olmecs, Maya, Zapotec and Teotihuacan, are all thoroughly covered here. With all that we have seen in the past two weeks you will be ready to become a docent for the museum! We will also visit the Mexico City LDS Temple with its modern adaptation of Mayan architecture.
Thursday – May 20 (Day 15)
Today, with great emotions of parting one another, we will transfer to the airport for our flights home, taking with us memories to last for a lifetime. The Book of Mormon will never be the same to us again.
Feel like you’ve got a better feel for the trip now? Please feel free to call our agents, toll free, at 1-888-537-8687 for further information and to book passage on this tour.
2004 Meridian Magazine. All Rights Reserved.