- Sample Guatemalan food through cooking classes and a street food tour
- Indulge in a chocolaty workshop at Antigua's ChocoMuseo
- Tour villages and craft cooperatives on Lake Atitlán by boat
- Spark your kids' love of history at the Iximché ruins
|Day 1||Arrive in Guatemala City, Transfer to Antigua, Guatemalan Cooking Class||Antigua|
|Day 2||Tour Almolonga Valley, Antigua Street Food Tour||Antigua|
|Day 3||ChocoMuseo Experience, Santo Domingo del Cerro Sculpture Gardens||Antigua|
|Day 4||Transfer to Lake Atitlán||Lake Atitlán|
|Day 5||Boat Tour of Lake Atitlán||Lake Atitlán|
|Day 6||Iximché Ruins, Transfer to Antigua||Antigua|
|Day 7||Transfer to Guatemala City, Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Guatemala City, Transfer to Antigua, Guatemalan Cooking Class
Welcome to Guatemala! After arriving in Guatemala City, your driver will transfer you to your hotel in the colonial-era heart of Antigua, about 1.5 hours away. Depending on your arrival time and your kids' energy levels after the flight, there may be time to explore the city and dive right in with a fun evening activity.
Take a stroll through Antigua, once the country's capital and known for its Spanish colonial Old Town, around its main plaza, Central Park. Three volcanoes border the city, and the contrast between these imposing mountains and the city's colorful architecture is part of why Antigua has UNESCO World Heritage status. Walk along Antigua's cobbled streets, stopping at historical landmarks such as the Santa Catalina Arch and the ruins of the 16th-century Antigua Guatemala Cathedral and 18th-century Convento Santa Clara.
In the evening, participate in a family-friendly cooking class. It offers you and your kids a great introduction to Guatemalan cuisine, a mixture of traditional colonial Spanish and Indigenous Maya cooking, and it's both delicious and fun to make. This workshop is taught by chefs of the Sacatepéquez Indigenous community. As well as hearty mains, you'll also prepare handmade tortillas and a dessert. At the end of the class, you'll sit down with your fellow chefs and enjoy your delicious creations. Kids will end their first day in Guatemala with full, happy tummies and some new skills.
Day 2: Tour Almolonga Valley, Antigua Street Food Tour
After breakfast, venture outside Antigua for a guided driving tour of the countryside. On this half-day excursion, head just west of the city to the Almolonga Valley and Ciudad Vieja. This historic city was founded as the second capital of Guatemala but was abandoned after a devastating earthquake in 1541. Today it's a quiet place with a nice plaza, a restored colonial church, and a plaque commemorating the site of the first Catholic mass in the country. It's a great place to enjoy a peaceful family stroll.
Outside Ciudad Vieja, head south and explore the various towns and villages dotted through the valley. Your guide will make plenty of stops so you can walk amid colonial ruins and snap photos of historic churches. Other unique highlights include a sustainable macadamia nut farm and visiting textile and weaving co-ops in local villages.
Return to Antigua around midday, just in time to join a street food tour that will double as lunch! As you and your kids walk through Antigua's cobbled streets, taste local food with influences dating back thousands of years. You'll stop at eight traditional restaurants and vendors, each serving up a variety of savory and sweet local treats. Besides the delicious food, you'll also learn about Antigua's history, visit 16th-century ruins, and enjoy views of the nearby volcanoes. There will be plenty of options to accommodate kids' needs (and palates).
Day 3: ChocoMuseo Experience, Cerro Santo Domingo Sculpture Gardens
It's a rare kid who doesn't love chocolate, and this morning's activity will definitely put a smile on their face. Enjoy a two-hour "Bean to Bar" workshop at Antigua's ChocoMuseo. You and your kids will learn the complete chocolate-making process, starting from the cacao tree. Prepare traditional Maya cacao drinks and make your own custom chocolates to take with you.After all that sugar, kids will probably need to let off some steam in the afternoon. Take a shuttle up to Santo Domingo del Cerro to visit the sculpture gardens, an interesting place full of contemporary sculpture art by renowned artists from near and far. There are also great views here of three volcanoes, and if you time your visit for a bit later in the afternoon, you can linger for sunset happy hour cocktails.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 4: Transfer to Lake AtitlánAfter breakfast, your driver will pick you up for the 2.5-hour ride west from Antigua to Lake Atitlán, the most famous lake in Guatemala. The drive there is a treat in itself, as it follows a section of the Pan-American Highway, which stretches from one end of the Americas to the other (Alaska to Argentina). Along this road are stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains. After you arrive in the town, take the remainder of the day to rest, and get some gentle exercise by strolling around the lake and taking some family photos.
Day 5: Boat Tour of Lake Atitlán
After a relaxing afternoon in Lake Atitlán yesterday, you can explore it further today. You'll be picked up by boat from your hotel's dock for a fascinating boat tour. First up is San Juan La Laguna, a pueblito (tiny village) that's home to cooperatives that produce traditional textiles, paintings, and weaving. Everything is handmade, and the cooperatives work to conserve time-honored craft techniques. Depending on your kids' ages and abilities, hike to El Mirador de San Juan, a lookout above the lake decorated with colorful traditional paintings.
Next, visit the town of Santiago Atitlán, home to the Cojolya Weaving Center and Museum, founded by the Cojolya Association of Maya Women Weavers. The museum shows the history, tradition, and process of backstrap-loom weaving and the evolution of the traditional costume of the Tz'utujil and the Indigenous people of Santiago Atitlán.
If you're traveling on a Thursday or Sunday, head next to the traditional Maya town of Chichicastenango for its famous market. Chichicastenango is one of Central America's largest and most famous markets. It draws locals from surrounding villages who come to sell handicrafts, textiles, regional clothing, and produce. Take a guided walk through this vibrant, historic market. Pick up local crafts to take back home—kids can enjoy picking out souvenirs.
Day 6: Iximché Ruins, Transfer to Antigua
Guatemala has a fascinating ancient history that kids can learn about today. Board a boat for a ride to the eastern shore of Lake Atitlán. Then, take a private shuttle through the highlands on your way to Iximché ruins. In the 15th century, this archaeological site was the great 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. Take a guided tour through the site, declared a Guatemalan National Monument in the 1960s. Seeing such impressive ancient sites for themselves can inspire kids' interest in history.
Return overland to Antigua for the night.
Day 7: Transfer to Guatemala City, Depart
It's time to say goodbye to Guatemala today. In good time for your flight, your driver will pick you up from your hotel in Antigua and drive you to the airport in Guatemala City. You and your kids will surely have happy memories of your week in Guatemala. Adios!
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