AUSTIN, Texas |   A Texas university has gone into the travel business.  The Professional Development Center (PDC) at the University of Texas at Austin is organizing a travel and educational expedition to Guatemala as part of its continuing education program.

Field trip to the historic Iglesia de San Francisco cathedral in Guatemala | Photos by Harlin Hanson
Field trip to the historic Iglesia de San Francisco cathedral in Guatemala | Photos by Harlin Hanson

On October 3-7, PDC hosts “Tour of Guatemala,” a cultural journey from Austin to Antigua. It will involve a series of lectures and tours covering the culture, history and architecture of the region.

“I’m so proud to offer this unique opportunity for both students and travelers to join us on this one-of-a-kind educational tour to historic Antigua, Guatemala and the surrounding area,” says Liliya Spinazzola, director of PDC in a press release. “This offering allows participants to truly experience the rich culture and history of this Latin American region. It’s one thing to be a tourist, it’s quite another to visit a foreign country side-by-side with world-class educators and experts to add depth to the experience.”

The group will use Casa Herrera, a 17th-century Spanish Colonial property located in the heart of Antigua, as a home base while exploring local, historical points of interest and taking part in lectures and tours taught by professors from the university and Mesoamerican scholars. The Casa is operated by the Mesoamerica Center, a program of the university’s Department of Art and Art History in the College of Fine Arts.

The tour’s agenda includes

  • Walking Tour of Antigua with author Elizabeth Bell. Visit the City Hall Palace, Palace of the Captain’s General, and the majestic ruins found in the Paseo de los Museos.
  • Coffee plantation tour and tasting at Finca Filadelfia, one of the oldest and most established coffee estates in Guatemala.
  • History of Religion/Current Religious Practices lecture and tour of the historic Iglesia de San Francisco cathedral.
  • Archeology and Glyphs lecture and field trip to Iximche Archaeological Park.
  • Expedition to the Chichicastenango Market to explore textiles and handicrafts unique to Guatemalan artisans.
  • Volcano Climb at Pacaya Volcano National Park.

Registration for Tour of Guatemala, including hotel accommodations and most meals, costs $875 and is open at http://www.utexas.edu/ce/pdc//antigua-guatemala-tour/ or by calling 512-232-2234. Airfare is not included.

Cultural walking tour of Casa Herrera in Guatemala | Photos by Harlin Hanson
Cultural walking tour of Casa Herrera in Guatemala | Photos by Harlin Hanson

Visit the university’s website to view a video and photo gallery from the first Tour of Guatemala with interviews from participants and coordinators: http://www.utexas.edu/ce/stories/detail/cie-hosts-tour-guatemala.

This first cultural exchange excursions to Antigua, Guatemala, led by Dr. Linda Glessner, Executive Director of CIE, brought a group of 16 travelers from Austin to Antigua. It took place in February 2011.

For more information, contact Maureen Schwartz at (512) 232-2234 or maureen.schwartz@austin.utexas.edu.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iE9Fq8SquTo]

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