- Sample Antigua's best street food and create sweet treats at a chocolate workshop
- Take a beach day on the volcanic sands of laid-back El Paredon
- Try your hand at ancient arts and crafts in Lake Atitlán
- Become an ancient explorer as you tour the Iximché ruins
|Arrive in Antigua, Free Time to Explore
|Antigua Street Food Tour, Chocolate Museum Experience
|El Paredón Beach Day
|Visit Chichicastenango Market, Alfombra Workshop, Transfer to Lake Atitlán
|Discover the Iximché Maya Ruins, Flor de Ixcaco Weaving Activity
|Explore Lake Atitlán's Villages by Boat, Transfer to Antigua
|Transfer to Guatemala City, Depart
Day 1: Arrive in Antigua, Free Time to Explore
Welcome to Guatemala! This country's rich history dates back long before Spanish colonial conquest to the days of the ancient Maya kingdoms. Its renowned natural beauty, diverse wildlife, and fascinating ruins make it the perfect family destination. At the airport, meet your driver and transfer one hour west to Antigua. One of the most well-preserved colonial cities in the Americas, full of beautifully restored architecture and bordered by volcanoes, it's easy to see why the town has earned UNESCO World Heritage status.
Day 2: Antigua Street Food Tour, Chocolate Museum Experience
Bring your appetite to today's excursion as you meet a local guide who will introduce you and the kids to the country's rich culture through its gastronomy, a great way to fascinate younger family members through a walking tour of Antigua that combines history and delicious food. Taste a variety of culinary creations with influences dating back a thousand years as your guide introduces you to a selection of sweet and savory delicacies from various traditional restaurants and vendors. At the end of the tour, you'll receive a list of some of the best eateries to visit.
Today continues to be all about the food, and kids and chocoholics alike will love this afternoon's activity. With enough time in between to build back your appetite, head to Antigua's Chocolate Museum with a two-hour "bean to bar" workshop. You and the kids will learn the complete chocolate-making process starting from the cacao tree. If you can see through the experience without eating all the ingredients, you'll get to make and take home your own artisan chocolates and prepare (and taste) traditional Maya cacao drinks.
Day 3: El Paredon Beach Day
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Continue the relaxed vibe today as you and your family take a two-hour transfer to one of Guatemala's best-kept secrets—the laid-back beach town and black volcanic sands of El Paredon. Spend the day playing with the kids on the long and unspoiled beach, hire a surfboard (locals flock here for the surf), enjoy the water sports on offer or simply relax on a hammock amid the palm trees.
Youngsters with an interest in nature might want to opt for a ferry ride down the Chiquimulilla Canal, a man-made canal that runs parallel to the coast and is lined with acres of mangroves, creating a forested refuge for a variety of wildlife. Cruise through the tranquil waters and help the kids spot the plentiful birdlife, fish, and even the occasional caiman (a type of alligator) lurking along the banks.
Day 4: Visit Chichicastenango Market, Alfombra Workshop, Transfer to Lake Atitlán
Adventure and artistic experiences await today as you transfer 2.5 hours north to Chichicastenango (or simply "Chichi" to the locals) in the Guatemalan highlands. Home to Central America's largest and most vibrant public market, visitors travel far and wide to browse textiles, handicrafts, jewelry, and pottery. As you explore the stalls, take a guided walk through the historic market and get the kids to keep their eyes peeled for the wooden carvings and ceremonial masks used in traditional Maya dances.
Shopping and browsing complete, take a breather over lunch, and then continue the artistic theme with a two-hour carpet-making workshop. If the kids seem non-plussed at the prospect, watch their faces light up when they realize they'll be making traditional alfombras (carpets) made from flowers, colored sawdust, pine needles, and even fruit and vegetables. Guatemalans embrace the centuries-old tradition of adorning their streets during Semana Santa (Holy Week) with these long decorative rugs. You'll learn about their history as a local family helps you to make one.
Day 5: Discover the Iximché Maya Ruins, Flor de Ixcaco Weaving Activity
After breakfast, get ready for another adventure as you take a private shuttle through the beautiful highlands to the ruins at Iximché. Watch as the kids take on the role of lead explorers as you discover the array of temples, pyramids, and palaces as you wander the fascinating ruins. Kids of all ages will be captivated to hear stories from your guide about the history, symbolism, and legends preserved within this ancient Maya archaeological site.
In the afternoon, you'll transfer to Casa Flor Ixcaco, a women's sewing cooperative in the small town of San Juan La Laguna. Spend a few hours in the company of these remarkable women as you learn, and have a go at making artisan clothing using traditional weaving methods. Fascinating for kids and adults, you'll see how natural dyes made from seeds, leaves, flowers, and tree bark are used to create the beautiful textiles that the cooperative sells to invest in the community and its families.
Day 6: Explore Lake Atitlán's Villages by Boat, Transfer to Antigua
After the adventures of the last few days, take time out this morning to enjoy a leisurely breakfast and a stroll in the gorgeous surroundings. The best way to discover the beauty around Lake Atitlán and simultaneously entertain the kids is by boat. This morning you and your family will be picked up directly from your hotel's dock and take a private boat tour around the lake's Indigenous Maya villages. You'll see another side to San Juan La Laguna as you hike to the wonderful El Mirador de San Juan, a lookout above the lake filled with colorful paintings by local artists.
Next up is the town of Santiago Atitlán, famous for its shrine to the rapscallion deity Maximón who, while often depicted as a man in a suit and a hat, resides here adorned with colorful garlands and scarves, very much in keeping with the area's artistic feel. You'll have the opportunity to visit another women's cooperative, this time dedicated to backstrap-loom weaving, which has long crafted the traditional costume of the Indigenous Tz'utujil people. Afterward, transfer back to Antigua and spend your last night dining in style as you recount the highlights of your trip.