- Take a dip in the turquoise pools of Semuc Champey
- Explore ancient Maya ruins at Tikal National Park
- Visit local villages on the shores of Lake Atitlán
- Browse Chichicastenango Market, the largest in Central America
- Enjoy a walking tour of Antigua's colonial landmarks
|Arrive in Guatemala City
|Transfer to Cobán & Visit Ram Tzul
|Discover the Pools of Semuc Champey
|Transfer to Tikal National Park
|Tikal National Park
|Tour Tikal, Transfer to the Río Dulce
|Río Dulce Boat Tour, Transfer to Guatemala City
|Transfer to Lake Atitlán, Visit Local Villages
|Visit Chichicastenango Market, Transfer to Antigua
|Antigua Sightseeing Tour
|Transfer to Guatemala City & Depart
Day 1: Arrive in Guatemala City
Welcome to Guatemala City! Your driver will be waiting to greet you and take you to your hotel in Central America's largest metropolis. Settle in and then head out to explore independently. Start at the Centro Histórico (Historic Center), an area filled with museums, archaeological sites, and a large market. There are also many historic buildings and landmarks to discover, including the Plaza de la Constitución, Palacio Nacional de la Cultura (National Palace of Culture), and the iconic 19th-century Cathedral of Guatemala City.
Day 2: Transfer to Cobán & Visit Ram Tzul
Today, your driver will take you north to Cobán, located deep in Guatemala's coffee country. Check into your hotel and then embark on a tour of Ram Tzul, a 247-acre (100 ha) nature reserve near the town of Purulhá. Marvel at the native flora and fauna as you hike up to a beautiful waterfall that cascades 260 feet (80 m) into a lagoon.
Afterward, enjoy lunch at the on-site restaurant, followed by a trip to a nearby cloud forest reserve. You'll also visit the Biotopo del Quetzal, a 2,580-acre (1,044 ha) region home to orchids and the resplendent quetzal, one of the most impressive avian species in the tropics. Return to Cobán after the tour for a restful evening.
Day 3: Discover the Pools of Semuc Champey
This morning, hop in a 4WD vehicle for the journey to Semuc Champey National Park near the Q'eqchi' Maya town of Lanquín. This otherworldly landmark is famous for its terraced pools surrounded by jungle-covered cliffs. The best place to snap photos near the terraces is atop a natural limestone bridge that rises 100 feet (30 m) above the water.
Spend the day at Semuc Champey swimming and hiking. The popular trail to El Mirador offers majestic views over the terraced pools 2,300 feet (700 m) below. You can also do some tubing on the Río Cahabón and explore the nearby K'an Ba river caves. At the end of the day, you'll return to your hotel in Cobán.
Day 4: Transfer to Tikal National Park
This morning, your driver will take you north to Tikal National Park via the town of Candelaría. Hidden inside towering limestone mountains in Northern Alta Verapaz, the caves are filled with underground rivers and caverns dripping with stalagmites and stalactites. Embark upon a tubing tour through the system of caves.
Afterward, you'll hop back in the car and continue north to Tikal National Park, located in the rainforests of Petén Province. Check into your hotel and take the remainder of the day to relax and rest up—tomorrow you'll explore the incredible ruins.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 5: Tour Tikal, Transfer to the Río Dulce
Today you'll explore the famous Tikal National Park, part of the Reserva de la Biósfera Maya (Maya Biosphere Reserve). The UNESCO World Heritage Site hosts the former capital of one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya civilization and is known worldwide for its majestic pyramids and sprawling ruins.
Spend the day with an expert guide exploring this vast complex of temples and pyramids. Highlights include the Lost World, Complex Q, the Great Plaza, and the Window Palace. Along the way, your guide will also tell you about Tikal's biodiverse wildlife, pointing out colorful toucans, spider monkeys, and the distant calls of howler monkeys.
Have lunch back at the hotel before driving to the Río Dulce, which means "sweet river" in Spanish. The river snakes along the Belize border and connects to Lago Izabal, offering lush riverine scenery. Settle into your hotel and spend the rest of the evening relaxing ahead of tomorrow's boat tour.
Day 6: Río Dulce Boat Tour, Transfer to Guatemala City
Spend today sailing the peaceful jade waters of the Río Dulce. As you head north, keep your camera ready, as the banks are lined with stunning rainforest scenery and quaint villages. Water birds like herons are constantly flitting overhead or resting on the lily pads, and you're sure to see blooming flowers like orchids and white water lilies. You can even stop for a dip in natural hot springs and to explore secret caves along the banks. In the afternoon, say goodbye to the Río Dulce and journey back to Guatemala City, where you'll spend the night.
Day 7: Transfer to Lake Atitlán, Visit Local Villages
Start the day with a three-hour transfer west to shimmering Lake Atitlán, one of Guatemala's most popular attractions. The lake sits in a volcanic crater in the southwestern highlands and is surrounded by jagged peaks. Start exploring with a boat trip to the lake's indigenous villages, where you'll get an insight into local life.
Stop at San Juan La Laguna on the western shore, one of the area's least-visited communities. The town is home to weaving co-ops where women handcraft traditional textiles and artwork. Tour the cotton museum to learn how the material is processed, from creating the yarn to dyeing the garments.
Next, visit Santiago Atitlán, home to a shrine dedicated to the "Maximon" Maya saint. Take a tour of the Cojolya Weaving Center and Museum, founded by the Cojolya Association of Maya Women Weavers. Their museum showcases the history and process of backstrap-loom weaving and the evolution of typical Tz'utujil clothing. Afterward, check into your lakeside accommodations for the night.
Day 8: Visit Chichicastenango Market, Transfer to Antigua
This morning you'll transfer to the historic city of Antigua, where you'll check into your hotel before continuing north to Chichicastenango. This highland town is famed for having one of the biggest markets in Central America. The market is held every Thursday and Sunday and draws locals from surrounding villages who come to sell handicrafts, textiles, regional clothing, and produce. Take a guided walk through this Maya market, sampling dishes like pan de muerto (bread of the dead).
Next, visit a factory in town that produces masks worn by Indigenous Guatemalans during their ceremonial dances. Then it's off to the whitewashed Iglesia de Santo Tomás, a 16th-century Roman Catholic church built on the site of a former Maya temple. Here you'll get an introduction to Guatemala syncretism, a blend of Maya religious beliefs and Catholicism. Return to Antigua afterward for a free evening.
Day 9: Antigua Sightseeing Tour
In the morning, meet your local guide to explore Antigua. Guatemala's former capital boasts an impressive array of Baroque buildings and colonial homes painted in bright pastels. Many old religious and civic structures have been beautifully renovated after major earthquakes, while others retain a tumbledown charm.
On this guided tour, you'll visit 18th-century landmarks like the Palacio del Ayuntamiento (City Hall Palace), which houses the town offices and a museum of ancient books. There's also the Palace of the Captain's General, home to the headquarters of the Guatemala Institute of Tourism, and the Casa Santo Domingo, a former convent that's now a hotel and museum.
You'll also see church ruins like the 16th-century Iglesia de San Francisco and Monasterio de Santo Domingo, a former Dominican monastery. Another highlight is the Iglesia de La Merced, a Baroque church destroyed by earthquakes but rebuilt in the late 1700s and whose canary-yellow facade is a hallmark of the city. Of course, you'll also pass through the iconic Arch of Santa Catalina, which dates back to the 17th century. End the day with a farewell dinner and a toast to your final night in Guatemala.
Day 10: Transfer to Guatemala City & Depart
This concludes your grand adventure in Guatemala. In the morning, a driver will meet you at your hotel and transfer you to the airport in Guatemala City, where you'll catch your flight home. ¡Buen viaje!
More Guatemala Itineraries
Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Guatemala? Check out these other Guatemala itineraries, explore other ways to spend 10 days in Guatemala, and discover the best time of year to visit Guatemala.