Get ready for eight days of exhilarating excursions through some of Guatemala's most stunning natural landscapes. On this fast-paced adventure, you'll set out from Antigua for hiking and kayaking along the shores of Lake Atitlán. Then it's on to Flores for a sunrise over Maya pyramids, wildlife spotting in Tikal National Park, and a thrilling inner tube ride through the Candelaria Caves. Wind down your trip in Guatemala City, learning about its colonial history and traditional cuisine with a walking tour and cooking class.


  • Kayak and hike around the majestic Lake Atitlán
  • Watch the sunrise from ancient Maya pyramids and explore Tikal National Park
  • Go river tubing through the underground Candelaria Caves
  • Discover the history, culture, and cuisine of Guatemala City

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Antigua Antigua
Day 2 Transfer to Lake Atitlán via the Iximché Ruins  Lake Atitlán
Day 3 Kayak & Hike at Lake Atitlán, Visit the Chichicastenango Market Lake Atitlán
Day 4 Fly to Flores, Afternoon Boat Trip Flores
Day 5 Watch the Sunrise in Tikal & Explore Tikal National Park Flores
Day 6 Take an Exhilarating Tubing Trip in the Candelaria Caves Flores
Day 7 Transfer to Guatemala City, Cooking Class Guatemala City
Day 8 Depart Guatemala City  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Antigua

Antigua's Main Plaza
A towering volcano overlooks Antigua's central plaza

Welcome to Guatemala! Upon arrival, a driver will transfer you from the airport to the city of Antigua. Filled with colorful architecture framed by three majestic volcanoes, Antigua has earned UNESCO World Heritage status and was formerly Guatemala's capital city. 

Once you've settled into your hotel, take the opportunity to walk along Antigua's cobbled streets and treat yourself to local street food like tostadas and empanadas (called dobladas in Guatemala). Be sure to stop by historic landmarks, such as the Santa Catalina Arch and the ruins of the 16th-century Antigua Guatemala Cathedral and 18th-century Convento Santa Clara.

Get orientated with a guided walking tour of the city. A local expert historian will lead the tour and take you to Antigua's top landmarks, such as the City Hall Palace, and the Palace of the Captain's General. You'll also learn about the Spanish conquest and the region's rich history, including the Indigenous Maya way of life.

Day 2: Transfer to Lake Atitlán via the Iximché Ruins

Visit the ancient Iximché archaeological site and its pyramid temple houses

This morning takes you to the famous Lake Atitlán, with a private driver picking you up for the 2.5-hour drive west. Along the way, you'll stop off at the Iximché archaeological site, once the 15th-century capital of the Kaqchikel Maya Kingdom. Its ruins sit in the western highlands of Guatemala and include pyramid temples, palaces, and two Mesoamerican ball courts. After a guided tour, stop for a quick lunch and then continue to Lake Atitlán. Three towering volcanoes surround this enormous crater lake, and beautiful villages dot its shores. 

If you arrive early enough in the and want to start exploring right away, take a tour of two local villages. San Juan La Laguna is a tiny village home to cooperatives that produce traditional textiles, paintings, weavings, and cotton, which uses the artisanal Maya process of yarn dyeing with natural ingredients. Santiago Atitlán is home to the Cojolya Weaving Center and Museum, founded by the Cojolya Association of Maya Women Weavers. You'll later check in to your accommodation in one of the lakeside villages, where you'll overnight. 

Day 3: Kayak & Hike at Lake Atitlán, Visit the Chichicastenango Market

Kayaking on Lake Atitlan
Paddle out on a kayak on the calm waters of Lake Atitlán
Plan your trip to Guatemala
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Wake up to views of the lake and its towering volcanoes and let their vastness soak in before heading down to breakfast. It'll then be time to meet your guide for today's expedition. You'll start in a kayak, paddling westward along the north shore of Lake Atitlán for roughly two hours. Float by villages perched on lakeside cliffs, hop in the water for a swim, or even do some cliff jumping.

Your destination is a spot near San Marcos La Laguna, where you'll leave your kayak behind and lace up your hiking boots. Follow the lake trail between the villages, taking in views of the San Pedro, Tolimán, and Atitlán volcanoes. Hike along the shoreline and through small villages for about 1.5 hours; eventually, the route will return you to your lodge. You'll then have the remainder of the afternoon free.

One option for the afternoon is to head to the traditional Maya town of Chichicastenango to visit its famous market. Chichicastenango is one of Central America's largest and most famous markets, held every Thursday and Sunday. Take a guided walk through this vibrant, historic market selling handicrafts, textiles, regional clothing, and produce. On the drive there, you'll traverse the Pan-American Highway, which stretches from Prudhoe Bay in Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina. As you get closer to Atitlán, you'll enjoy sweeping views over this expansive shimmering lake.

Day 4: Fly to Flores, Afternoon Boat Trip

Flores town
Your next destination is the charming town of Flores on San Andrés Island 

After all of yesterday's excitement, you can tuck into a hearty breakfast this morning to fuel you up for the next part of your trip. Your driver will pick you up at the Panajachel Dock and transfer you to the airport to board a domestic flight from Guatemala City Airport to the town of Flores

Located in northern Guatemala on San Andrés Island, the charming Flores is billed as the ''gateway to the Maya ruins''; however, it's got plenty to discover in its own right. This colorful colonial island town is located on Lake Petén Itzá and features narrow streets, cute cafés, and spectacular views every way you look. Explore it at your leisure for souvenir shopping, a relaxing coffee, or a sunset meal.

If you'd prefer to get out on Lake Petén Itzá's waters for a different viewpoint, board a boat in the afternoon, and a guide will give you an overview of the history of the island of Flores and point out places of interest. Stay on the lake until sunset, and watch the sky turn different colors and reflect on the water.

Day 5: Watch the Sunrise in Tikal & Explore Tikal National Park

One of the many impressive pyramids at the Tikal National Park

Set your alarm early today, as at 4 am, you'll be picked up from your hotel for an unforgettable trek through the pyramids of Tikal. You'll arrive at the park while it is still dark and walk straight to Temple IV, the park's highest point, where you can see the sunrise and take in the birdsong and peacefulness of the dawn.

Around 8 am, you will head back to your hotel to have breakfast, then set out again for a closer look at the famous Tikal National Park, known for its impressive Maya ruins and remarkable biodiversity. The UNESCO World Heritage Site features the tallest pre-Columbian structure in the Americas: Temple IV (The Great Jaguar), which stands 270 feet (70 m) tall. Spend the day with an expert guide exploring this vast complex, and see all the major sites of interest. Keep an eye out for wildlife along the way while enjoying the sights and sounds of the jungle.

Alternatively, you could explore the regional municipal park of Actun Kan Caves, located in Santa Elena de la Cruz on Lake Petén Itzá. The park comprises several hills covered with forest, which hide an extensive network of caves or caverns. Like all caves in Maya culture, this underground system was used for different ceremonies and had religious and cultural importance. Learn about the rituals, admire the gorgeous rock formations, and even spot the bats that seek refuge in the cool chambers of the cave.

Day 6: Take an Exhilarating Tubing Trip in the Candelaria Caves

Visit the huge natural underground cave system of Candelaria 

Dive into the science of speleology (the study of caves) on today's exciting full-day excursion to the Cuevas de Candelaria ("Candelaria Caves"), one of Guatemala's most famous natural wonders and a sacred site to the ancient Maya. Located 118 miles (191 km) south of Flores, this massive limestone cave system was formed by the waters of the mighty Río Candelaria, and it stretches underground for more than 18 miles (29 km).

You'll hop in a comfy inner tube and set sail down a 1-mile (2 km) stretch of the underground river, stopping for a swim in a cathedral-like cave pool with sunlight breaking through to illuminate the water. You'll then dry off and continue your journey, exploring the otherworldly karst formations and remarkable chambers within and learning about the caves' natural origins and formation, as well as the role they held in Maya mythology. 

Day 7: Fly to Guatemala City, Cooking Class

Learn to make a traditional Guatemalan dish in today's cooking class

Today you'll transfer to the airport for a quick flight to Guatemala City. After touching down in the capital, head to your hotel to check in and grab a bite to eat before meeting your guide for a half-day tour. Visit the Centro Histórico ("Historic Center") near the Plaza de la Constitución, and take a tour of the National Palace of Culture, which houses a museum showcasing Guatemala's history, art, and culture. You'll also visit some of the city's religious landmarks, like the 18th-century Iglesia San Francisco and the whitewashed Iglesia del Cerrito del Carmen.

This afternoon there'll be the opportunity to dip into Guatemala's incredible cuisine with a Maya culinary masterclass. A chef will introduce you to the culinary heritage of Maya culture as you prepare your own Maya fusion-style meal. The class will take place either in a 17th-century mansion or in an outdoor kitchen in the middle of the forest. Menus vary according to the season, but they will always include pepián (a traditional spiced stew made with meat, vegetables, and fruit), jocón de pollo (chicken cooked in a tomatillo and cilantro sauce), and a vegetarian dish. 

Day 8: Depart Guatemala City

Wave goodbye to your fun-packed week in Guatemala

Enjoy your final morning in Guatemala City however you like. When the time comes, your driver will pick you up from the hotel lobby and transfer you to Guatemala City Airport to catch your departing flight. Safe travels!

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Map of Active Highlights of Guatemala: Kayaking, Hiking & Tubing - 8 Days
Map of Active Highlights of Guatemala: Kayaking, Hiking & Tubing - 8 Days