See Guatemala's main highlights in 10 days, beginning in the historic city of Antigua, where you'll enjoy a walking tour and cooking class. Next, visit the Iximché Maya ruins and Chichicastenango Market, followed by a day of relaxation by Lake Atitlán, where you can go kayaking and hiking. Go on a nature hike at the Biotopo del Quetzal, see beautiful Semuc Champey, and explore the Candelaria Caves, ending your trip with Tikal National Park and the Yaxhá Maya ruins.


  • Enjoy a traditional Guatemalan cooking class in Antigua
  • Paddle Lake Atitlán in a kayak, taking in a new perspective
  • Thrill to an underground tubing adventure in the Candelaria Caves
  • See how the Maya lived at the historic site of Yaxhá

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Antigua, Walking Tour & Traditional Guatemalan Cooking Class Antigua
Day 2 Visit the Iximché Maya Ruins & Chichicastenango Market Antigua
Day 3 Transfer to Lake Atitlán & Enjoy a Free Day Lake Atitlán
Day 4 Kayaking & Hiking at Lake Atitlán, Transfer to Antigua Antigua
Day 5 Transfer to Lanquín, Explore the Biotopo del Quetzal Lanquín
Day 6 Day Trip to Semuc Champey, Transfer to Cobán Cobán
Day 7 Transfer to Flores, Tubing & Candelaria Caves Visit Flores
Day 8 Transfer to Tikal & Explore the National Park Tikal National Park
Day 9 Transfer to Flores, Tour Yaxhá Maya Ruins Flores
Day 10 Depart Guatemala  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Antigua, Walking Tour & Traditional Guatemalan Cooking Class

Old Town in Antigua, Guatemala
Join a walking tour with a local historian of Antigua's historic Old Town

Welcome to Guatemala! Get oriented today with a guided walking tour of the colonial city of Antigua. You'll be led by an expert local historian, who'll take you to Antigua's top landmarks, such as the City Hall Palace, the Captain General Palace, and the Antigua Guatemala Cathedral. Along the way, learn about the Spanish conquest and the region's rich history, including the Indigenous Maya way of life.

Later, participate in a local cooking class where you'll learn to prepare traditional Guatemalan cuisine. This country's food is a mixture of conventional colonial Spanish and Maya cooking that is delicious and fun to make. The four-hour workshop is taught by native chefs from the Sacatepéquez Indigenous community. Besides the main dishes, you'll also prepare handmade tortillas and a dessert. At the end of the class, sit down with your fellow chefs and enjoy your delicious creations.

Day 2: Visit the Iximché Maya Ruins & Chichicastenango Market

Iximche Ruins
Discover the archaeological site of Iximché and its pyramid temples

Start your day with a trip to the Iximché Maya ruins. Declared a Guatemalan National Monument in the 1960s, this archaeological site includes various pyramid temples, palaces, and two Mesoamerican ballcourts. On your private guided tour, you'll learn the history, symbols, and legends preserved here. Afterward, head to the traditional Maya town of Chichicastenango for a guided walk through its famous (and massive) market.

Chichicastenango, located in the western highlands of Guatemala, is home to one of Central America's largest and most well-known markets. This market is held every Thursday and Sunday and draws locals from surrounding villages who come to sell 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 Lake Atitlán, you'll enjoy sweeping views over this vast body of water.

Day 3: Transfer to Lake Atitlán, Enjoy a Free Day

Santa Cruz la Laguna, Lake Atitlán
Santa Cruz la Laguna, Lake Atitlán
Catch a private transfer to Lake Atitlán, a drive of approximately 2.5 hours. The day is yours to enjoy the beauty of this lake at your leisure. Start with a relaxed breakfast at your hotel, then head out to explore the area, including some of the picturesque villages specializing in traditional Maya crafts and regional cuisine. You can join private tours, take a public boat taxi, or hike to nearby towns.

Day 4: Kayak & Hike at Lake Atitlán, Transfer to Antigua

Kayaking on Lake Atitlan
Paddle west in your kayak on Lake Atitlán's north shore

Wake up to views of the lake and its towering volcanoes before meeting 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. Pass by villages perched on lakeside cliffs, hop in the water for a swim, or even go cliff jumping. Your destination is a spot between the villages of Tzununá and 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 (or enjoy a shorter hike that can accommodate all fitness levels and age ranges.) Eventually, the route will return you to your lodge. You'll then have the remainder of the afternoon free. Later in the day, a driver will take you back to Antigua from Panajachel at Lake Atitlán.

Day 5: Transfer to Lanquín, Explore the Biotopo del Quetzal

A quetzal, Guatemala's national bird
Seek Guatemala's national bird, the colorful resplendent quetzal, on your hike in the Biotopo del Quetzal

This morning, transfer from Antigua to Lanquín, located in Guatemala's central highlands. Once you arrive, settle into your accommodation. Then head out to visit the Biotopo del Quetzal, a 2,580-acre (1,044 ha) nature reserve. Once here, you'll embark on a one-hour nature hike to a 45-foot (13 m) waterfall plunging into a lagoon.

Besides the scenery, this cloud forest reserve is most famous for being home to the resplendent quetzal. This bird is Guatemala's national symbol and has been revered since the time of the ancient Maya. During the hike, keep an eye out for this rare specimen, which is most commonly spotted from January to June.

Day 6: Day Trip to Semuc Champey, Transfer to Cobán

Semuc Champey from above
Hike to El Mirador for overhead views of Semuc Champey terraced pools

Hop in a 4WD vehicle and head to Semuc Champey. This otherworldly natural landmark is located about 30 minutes south of Lanquín and is famous for its terraced turquoise pools. Just before entering the area, you'll stop to tour the Kam'ba Caves. Your guide will lead you by candlelight into underground caverns filled with rivers, waterfalls, and unique rock formations. Afterward, you can take an innertube ride down the Río Cahabón before entering Semuc Champey.

Once here, embark on a 45-minute uphill hike to El Mirador. This stunning viewpoint overlooks the terraced pools 2,300 feet (700 m) below. Then you can spend some time swimming at the falls. The best place to snap photos near the terraces is atop a natural limestone bridge that rises 100 feet (30 m) above the water. At about 4 pm, transfer to your hotel in Cobán.

Day 7: Transfer to Flores, Tubing & Candelaria Caves Visit

Enjoy a few hours river tubing in Guatemala

Today's journey will take you from Cobán to the colorful town of Flores, located on an island on Lake Petén Itzá. On the way, stop to visit Candelaria Caves National Park. This park has more than eight caves, each with uniquely different characteristics. You'll have the opportunity to see incredible cave formations and learn about their origins and how they've formed through time.

Another main attraction is the 1-mile (2 km) stretch of the Candelaria River that flows underground here; you'll go tubing down it for an unforgettable experience. As you travel along this route, the absolute darkness of the cave will be broken up by two naturally-illuminated swimming pools, where you can stop to swim or relax in the water. Once you've made your way through the caves, dry off and continue your journey.

Day 8: Transfer to Tikal, Explore the National Park

The Great Jaguar Temple in Tikal
See the Temple of the Great Jaguar in famous Tikal National Park

Spend today visiting the famous Tikal National Park, known worldwide for its impressive Maya pyramids and sprawling ruins. The UNESCO World Heritage Site hosts the former capital of one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya civilization. It features the tallest pre-Columbian structure in the Americas: Temple IV (The Great Jaguar), which stands 270 feet (70 m) tall.

With an expert guide, explore the vast complex of temples and pyramids. You'll see all the major sites of interest, including Temples I, II, III, IV, and V, the Lost World, Complex Q, The Great Plaza, and The Window Palace. Keep an eye out for wildlife along the way while enjoying the sights and sounds of the jungle.

Day 9: Transfer to Flores, Tour Yaxhá Maya Ruins

Yaxhá National Park
Discover the Maya ruins at Yaxhá National Park on a guided tour

Drive 47 miles (75 km) to return to Flores. Settle into your accommodation, meet your guide in your hotel lobby, and head out on a four-hour tour of Yaxhá National Park. This archaeological site comprises the ruins of an ancient Maya city and ceremonial center that reached its height of power during the Classic Period (200-900 CE), the third-largest city in the region.

There are over 500 structures here, and your guide will lead you to various pyramids, altars, plazas, ball courts, and a network of sacbeob (ancient roads). One major highlight is a hike up Temple 216, the site's tallest temple at 98 feet (30 m).

Plan your trip to Guatemala
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 10: Depart Guatemala

Guatemala City
Guatemala City skyline
It's your last day in Guatemala! Take a domestic flight from Flores to Guatemala City's airport, where you'll catch your onward flight. Have a safe journey home or to your next destination!

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Map of Best of Guatemala: Antigua to Flores - 10 Days
Map of Best of Guatemala: Antigua to Flores - 10 Days