Immerse yourselves in Guatemala's vibrant culture on this two-week family adventure that whisks you from colonial Antigua to the shores of Lake Atitlán and the temples and pyramids at Tikal. Along the way, you'll sharpen your tastebuds with a traditional cookery class, bask in the Caribbean vibe of Río Dulce, and admire local folk art and handicrafts as you kayak, hike, and sail across the country's natural wonders.


  • Craft artisan chocolates in Antigua
  • Tour Atitlán, the world's most beautiful lake
  • Explore the sweet Caribbean shores of Río Dulce
  • Discover the famous Maya pyramids and temples at Tikal 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Guatemala City, Transfer to Antigua, Chocolate Workshop Antigua
Day 2 Antigua Market Day Tour, Traditional Guatemalan Cooking Class Antigua
Day 3 Transfer to Lake Atitlán, Lake Atitlán Village Tour Lake Atitlán
Day 4 Kayaking & Hiking at Lake Atitlán Lake Atitlán
Day 5 Visit Chichicastenango Market, Totonicapán Handicraft Workshops Lake Atitlán
Day 6 Transfer to Guatemala City, Visit San Juan Compalapa Guatemala City
Day 7 Transfer to Río Dulce, Visit Finca el Paraíso Hot Springs Río Dulce
Day 8 Boat Tour of Río Dulce Río Dulce
Day 9 Río Dulce Free Day Río Dulce
Day 10 Transfer to Flores, Isla de Flores Boat Tour Flores
Day 11 Explore Tikal National Park Flores
Day 12 Tour Yaxhá Maya Ruins, Fly to Guatemala City Guatemala City
Day 13 Guatemala City Tour, Visit La Aurora Zoo Guatemala City
Day 14 Depart Guatemala City  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Guatemala City, Transfer to Antigua, Chocolate Workshop

Stroll past colorful shops and colonial architecture in Antigua

Welcome to Guatemala! This country's rich history dates back long before Spanish colonial conquest to the days of the ancient Maya kingdoms, and 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.

Settle into your hotel and then rally the kids to head out and explore. If they need persuading, this afternoon's two-hour "bean to bar" workshop at Antigua's Chocolate Museum should do just the trick. 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 2: Antigua Market Day Tour, Traditional Guatemalan Cooking Class

Fruit stand in Antigua's main market
Immerse yourselves in Guatemalan life and culture on today's family market tour

After breakfast, spend the day with your family immersing yourselves in Guatemalan life and culture. First up is a trip to the market where locals gather not just to shop but to eat, catch up, and browse the hundreds of indoor and outdoor shops. Located just 10 minutes from Plaza Mayor, walk west on the 4th Calle Poniente to enter the market and then follow your nose for delicious street food. Stock up on snacks for the kids, and wander the stalls as you experience this authentic slice of local life. 

Put your market experience to good use this afternoon as you and the kids learn how to prepare traditional Guatemalan dishes (a mix of colonial Spanish and Maya cooking) at a cooking workshop run by chefs from the Sacatepéquez community. Have fun with your family as you get to cook a variety of main courses as well as learn the art of tortilla-making, and of course, there will be sweet treats for the kids to make and taste. At the end of the class, toast your cooking skills as you sit down and feast with your fellow chefs. 

Day 3: Transfer to Lake Atitlán, Lake Atitlán Village Tour

Lake Atitlán Village Tour
Take a photo with some four-legged friends on the shores of Lake Atitlán

Get ready for the next leg of your adventure this morning as you transfer to Guatemala's famous Lake Atitlán, considered one of the most beautiful bodies of water in the world. Enjoy the scenic views of the glittering lake and surrounding volcanoes as you drive to your accommodation.

After a quick refresh and a bite to eat, spend the afternoon exploring the picturesque Maya villages that surround Lake Atitlán with a private boat tour. Look out for birds skimming across the lake as you stop at a women's weaving cooperative and learn about the traditional craft techniques employed. See a shrine dedicated to the rapscallion deity Maximón and meander the village streets as you meet the residents and witness daily life by the lake. Afterward, either relax at your hotel or swim with the kids and play along the shore. 

Day 4: Kayaking & Hiking at Lake Atitlán

Explore the shores of Lake Atitlán with a family kayaking excursion

Start today with an aquatic adventure as you and the kids get onto the water for a kayak tour. Paddle west along the north shore of Atitlán for about two hours and pass villages perched on lakeside cliffs. If the sparkling cool water is just too tempting, jump in for a refreshing swim while older kids can do some cliff-jumping. Your destination is a spot near San Marcos La Laguna, where you'll leave your kayak behind and lace up your hiking boots.

Follow the lake trail between the villages of Tzununá and San Marcos La Laguna and admire the spectacular views of volcanoes San Pedro, Tolimán, and Atitlán, collectively known as the Three Giants. Hike along the shoreline and through small villages for about 1.5 hours before the route takes you back to your hotel.

Day 5: Visit Chichicastenango Market, Totonicapán Handicraft Workshops

Chichicastenango Market
Visit Guatemala's famous Chichicastenango Market for one-of-a-kind souvenirs

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.

After lunch, you'll continue the arts and crafts theme and drive 2.5 hours west to the city of Totonicapán, famous for its locally produced crafts. Understand the traditions and methods passed down through generations as you and the kids visit family homes and workshops to discover the fascinating heritage of items such as intricately crafted wooden masks and hand-woven cotton textiles. Afterward, return to Atitlán and spend the evening dining out in the beautiful lakeside surroundings. 

Day 6: Transfer to Guatemala City, Visit San Juan Compalapa

Guatemalan Culture
Explore arty San Juan Comalapa this afternoon

This morning, rally the kids and take a private transfer three hours east to Guatemala City, the country's capital. Known for its history, culture, and natural beauty, the city was founded in the 1700s and has evolved into Guatemala's cultural and economic hub. Lying in the mountainous Valle de la Ermita (Hermitage Valley), it's the largest city in Central America.

Settle in at your hotel, and at the appointed time, your driver will pick you up for the two-hour ride to San Juan Comalapa. This family-friendly town is a hotbed of art in Guatemala, so much so that it's referred to as the "Florence of America." Filled with painters, musicians, and plenty of galleries, kids will have a ball as you visit the homes of local residents, who open their doors to showcase their folk art. You'll also visit the former home of Rafael Alvarez Ovalle (1848-1956), the famous musician who composed Guatemala's national anthem.

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

Day 7: Transfer to Río Dulce, Visit Finca el Paraíso Hot Springs

Playa Blanca- Rio Dulce
Enjoy the Caribbean charms and white-sand beaches near Río Dulce 

The kids will be jumping for joy this morning when you reveal the next leg of your Guatemala Adventure; the Río Dulce National Park, home to its eponymous river and the perfect base for nature-loving kids with a sense of adventure. The "sweet river" is located near the country's eastern border with Belize, on the country's Caribbean side, and connects to Lago Izabal (Guatemala's largest freshwater lake). The transfer takes around six hours, so sit back and relax as you leave behind the mountains of the west for the tropics of the east. 

Arrive at Río Dulce, settle into your accommodation, and enjoy lunch. Make the most of your stunning surroundings with a trip to Finca el Paraíso, a beautiful river and waterfall fed by natural hot springs. Kids will love the natural swimming pool, so grab your swimmers, cool off in the calm waters, and relax underneath the thermally heated cascades. The adventure continues with a hike up to a river cave where adventurous older kids can don a headlamp and swim in the caverns! Return to Río Dulce, tired and happy, where a spectacular seafood dinner awaits.

Day 8: Boat Tour of Río Dulce

Livingston, Guatemala
Soak up the colorful, relaxed vibe in Livingston

Enjoy a leisurely family breakfast overlooking the water, and then get ready for another aquatic adventure with a guided boat tour on the Río Dulce. There are plenty of wonders to keep the kids occupied as you travel north along the river and see the banks lined with stunning rainforest scenery and quaint villages. Spot the herons and other waterbirds as they flit overhead or rest on the nearby lily pads, and keep your eyes peeled for the many varieties of orchids. Parents might want to stop for a break to enjoy the hot springs, while kids will love exploring the secret caves along the riverbanks.

Sail on to the famous 17th-century Castillo de San Felipe, where kids can stretch their legs in the ancient fort and play pirates, in keeping with the castle's history. Your destination is Livingston, a small town on the Caribbean coast whose Afro-Guatemalan community is defined by its distinctive Garifuna culture, with its own language, cuisine, and customs. Join the kids for a swim and a splash in the warm sea, try the local tapado (a tasty seafood stew) or learn to dance the punta, a traditional Garifuna dance. Afterward, return to your accommodation in Río Dulce.

Day 9: Río Dulce Free Day

Spend the day relaxing with the kids
Enjoy a beach day with the kids

Today is yours to explore or relax as you wish. Return to Livingston for a stroll around the colorful colonial island town and break for a delicious seafood lunch as you take in the salty air and distinctly Caribbean vibe. Or enjoy a day swimming and relaxing with the kids on Playa Dorada in nearby Izabal, known for its golden sands and reputation as one of the most beautiful beaches in Guatemala. 

Day 10: Transfer to Flores, Isla de Flores Boat Tour

Lake Petén pier Flores
Head to dock at Lake Petén Itzá for a family-friendly boat tour
Enjoy a final breakfast overlooking Río Dulce as you and your family transfer north to Flores on Lake Petén Itzá. Its charming lakeside setting makes it the perfect family-friendly base for exploring the region's ancient Maya ruins and Tikal National Park. Settle into your accommodation and get to know the area with a guided boat tour around Isla de Flores (Flores Island). Learn how the Maya communities lived on the lake and the rich history of the island as you sail back to Flores against the setting sun. Sunsets here are magnificent as the vivid colors are reflected on the water.

Day 11: Explore Tikal National Park

Tikal National Park
Spend a day exploring the Tikal National Park and its lush jungle surroundings

It's time for you and the kids to channel your inner Indiana Jones today as you set off for Tikal National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the former capital of one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya world, dating back to around 400 CE. Over the centuries, Tikal gradually succumbed to a ruinous state hidden in the dense jungle until it was unearthed and excavated in the 20th century. 

The kids will love exploring the vast temples and pyramids, including Temples I, II, III, IV, and V, the Lost World, Complex Q, the Great Plaza, and the Window Palace. The Great Jaguar (Temple IV) is the jewel in the park's crown, soaring 270 feet (70 m) toward the sky. Don't forget to look up— the spider and howler monkeys hanging from the tree branches will further inspire the kids as they play among the ruins. 

Day 12: Tour Yaxhá Maya Ruins, Fly to Guatemala City

Yaxhá National Park
Climb the impressive Temple 216 at Yaxhá National Park

There are more ancient wonders in store today as you tour Yaxhá National Park, an archaeological site that includes the ruins of an ancient Maya city and ceremonial center—once the third-largest city in the region, reaching its height of power during the Classic Period (200-900 CE).

The site is an adventurer's playground, so set your young explorers off to discover some 500 structures, including pyramids, altars, plazas, ball courts, and a network of sacbeob (ancient roads) as you enjoy a guided tour of the park. Finish with a hike up the 90-foot (30 m) tall Temple 216 (suitable for children five years and older), which offers stunning views across the park and jungle. Afterward, head to the airport in Flores, where you'll take the short flight to Guatemala City and transfer to your overnight accommodation. 

Day 13: Guatemala City Tour, Visit La Aurora Zoo

La Aurora zoo
Earn brownie points with a trip to La Aurora Zoo

This morning discover the city's charms with a guided stroll through the town. Learn about Guatemala's diverse background and Maya roots as you wander the Plaza Mayor, admire the neoclassical architecture of the Metropolitan Cathedral, and see some of the famous religious landmarks, including the 18th-century Iglesia San Francisco. If the kids' visit to Tikal has fired an interest in ancient history, don't miss the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology or the Ixchel and Archaeology Museums

Afterward, either take a breather back at your hotel or head out to lunch before this afternoon's activity, a visit to the almost one-hundred-year-old La Aurora Zoo, founded in 1924. Divided into themed areas, including Asia, the Americas, and Africa, the zoo covers 37 acres (15 ha) with over 2,500 animals from over 250 species. Explore the snake terrarium with your mini zoologists and encounter the elephants, giraffes, big cats, and reptiles. Celebrate your trip and final night in Guatemala with a delicious dinner at one of the city's many great restaurants. 

Day 14: Depart Guatemala 

Depart Guatemala
Until the next time, Guatemala

It's the final day of your family adventure. You'll return to Guatemala City's airport at the appropriate time to catch your departing flight with full hearts and memories to last a lifetime. Buen viaje!

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Map of Family Fun in Guatemala: Nature, Ruins & Culture - 14 Days
Map of Family Fun in Guatemala: Nature, Ruins & Culture - 14 Days