- Visit the Maya town of Chichicastenango and explore the colorful local market
- Trek up the active volcano of Pacaya and celebrate with a picnic at the summit
- Explore local villages by "chicken bus" and join a Guatemalan cooking class
- Discover Lake Atitlán by boat and soak in the hot springs of Santa Teresita
|Day 1||Arrive in Guatemala, Transfer to Antigua||Antigua|
|Day 2||Day Trip to Chichicastenango, Explore Lake Atitlán's Maya Villages||Antigua|
|Day 3||Hike Up Pacaya Volcano & Enjoy a Picnic at the Summit||Antigua|
|Day 4||Chicken Bus Village Tour & Workshop, Guatemalan Cooking Class||Antigua|
|Day 5||Transfer to Guatemala City, Visit the Local Market & Museums||Guatemala City|
|Day 6||Transfer to Guatemala City Airport & Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Guatemala, Transfer to Antigua
Welcome to Guatemala, "The Land of Eternal Spring," where the climate stays pleasant year-round and flowers never stop blooming. After landing, you'll be picked up by private transfer and transported to Antigua, a city steeped in history, home to striking Baroque Antigueño architecture and incredible monuments.
The nearly 500-year-old city is bordered by three towering volcanoes peppered with colorful facades of 16th-century mansions. Visit ancient monasteries and churches on a private tour and soak up the heritage of a city that seamlessly combines the past with the present. Stroll down cobblestone streets, stopping for local drinks and ancestral Maya chocolate, before visiting historic landmarks, including San Francisco Church, Santo Domingo, La Merced Church, Arco de Santa Catalina (the street with the famous arch), and many colonial-style buildings around the Main Square.
Day 2: Day Trip to Chichicastenango, Explore Lake Atitlán's Maya Villages
Rise early for the drive to Chichicastenango, a town cradled by soaring mountains and steeped in Maya history, culture, and traditions. Here you'll explore its famous market, which draws locals from far and wide who come to sell traditional Maya textiles, handicrafts, and produce. Along the way, you'll traverse the Pan-American Highway, which stretches from Prudhoe Bay in Alaska to Ushuaia in Argentina. As you get closer to Atitlán, a lake in the Guatemalan highlands of the Sierra Madre mountain range, take a moment to soak up the sweeping views.
If there's time, you can also take a private boat tour to visit Lake Atitlán's Maya villages. Meet the locals and learn about the way of life beside the lake, including touring a women's weaving co-op and a shrine to Maximon, an important Maya folk saint in Guatemala.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 3: Hike Up Pacaya Volcano & Enjoy a Picnic at the Summit
Continue your adventures through Guatemala's varied landscapes by hiking up the active Volcán Pacaya. Guatemala is home to more than 37 volcanoes, three currently active, including Pacaya, which last erupted around 23,000 years ago. The ascent is perfect for amateur hikers, or it can be done on horseback for a less strenuous experience. Once you reach the top, you'll be rewarded with epic views of other surrounding volcanoes and the Guatemalan highlands.
Before heading back down, you'll enjoy local beer, traditional quetzalteca (a common rum drink), natural juices, and chicken and vegetable sticks with guacamole, chips, and elope loco—delicious corn enjoyed with mayonnaise, mustard, and cheese or with lime and salt. The hot pockets of lava also provide the ideal conditions to toast marshmallows for those with a sweet tooth.
Day 4: Chicken Bus Village Tour & Workshop, Guatemalan Cooking Class
Today you'll experience Guatemala like a local as you visit several traditional and picturesque villages around Antigua. You'll be traveling on the locals' transport of choice: the chicken bus. Within Guatemala, these brightly painted buses are the most cost-effective mode of public transportation. They earned their nickname from the fact that locals would often ride them with pets and livestock (like chickens) in tow, though it's not so common these days.
In the morning, you'll board one of these buses and embark on a half-day tour. During the outing, you'll visit historic villages as well as markets where you can purchase textiles and other Guatemalan crafts. There will also be plenty of delicious street food to sample. Highlights of the trip include visiting the Spanish-colonial town of San Pedro Las Huerta, touring a macadamia nut farm, and stopping at Ciudad Vieja, the original capital of Guatemala until 1541. You'll also participate in a family-run artisanal chocolate workshop to learn the production process and sample creamy hot chocolate.
Back in Antigua, you'll continue your exploration of Guatemalan culture with a traditional local cooking class. Guatemalan cuisine combines Spanish and Indigenous Maya gastronomy and is some of the most flavorsome and complex in Central America. Local Guatemalan chefs from the Sacatepequez community will guide you through the process of cooking a delicious regional meal using locally-sourced produce, like homemade tortillas and a mouthwatering dessert, before sitting down to enjoy your meal alongside your host.
Day 5: Transfer to Guatemala City, Visit the Local Market & Museums
Leave Antigua behind with a transfer to Guatemala's capital and the largest city in Central America, Guatemala City. It's set within the Valle de La Ermita ("Hermitage Valley") mountain valley and is chock full of eye-opening museums, an archaeological site, and a large market where local merchants sell their food, traditional textiles, and crafts—the perfect place to stock up on souvenirs before heading back home.
You might also want to visit the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology, where you'll find the most important collection of archaeological artifacts of the Maya culture. There's also the Ixchel Museum & Archaeology Museum, a small museum that houses incredible displays of Indigenous Guatemalan clothing and textiles.
To treat yourself at the end of your trip, spend the afternoon in the spas of Santa Teresita, natural hot springs located 1.5 hours south of the city. Here, you can indulge in a thermal circuit, where you'll immerse your body in natural pools of varying temperatures for short periods of time, moving from hot to cold. Finish with a relaxing combined steam and hydrotherapy bath, filling your own tub with thermal water at your desired temperature before enjoying a soothing 25-minute massage.
Day 6: Transfer to Guatemala City Airport & Depart
Once you're stocked up with souvenirs, you'll be transported to Guatemala City Airport, ready for your flight back home. ¡Buen viaje!
More Great Guatemalan Itineraries
Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Guatemala? Check out these other Guatemalan itineraries, explore different ways to spend six days in Guatemala, or learn about the best time to visit Guatemala.