Taste Guatemalan specialties, learn about Maya history, and get outdoors on this 13-day adventure, starting with a street food tour of Antigua and a nature hike and weaving workshop. Tour a coffee farm, hike up Pacaya and camp overnight on the active volcano, and learn how chocolate is made. Transfer to Lake Atitlán for kayaking, paragliding, and bustling outdoor market visits, finishing your trip in Tikal National Park, where you'll go bird-watching and ziplining and explore the Maya ruins.


  • Discover Guatemalan cuisine on a street food tour of Antigua
  • Tour a coffee farm and learn about coffee production
  • Sleep under the stars on the still-active Pacaya volcano
  • Spot wildlife and wander amid Maya ruins in the famous Tikal National Park

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Guatemala City, Transfer to Antigua & Street Food Tour Antigua
Day 2 Day Trip to Earth Lodge & Nature Hike, Weaving Workshop Antigua
Day 3 Antigua Walking Tour, Coffee Farm Tour Antigua
Day 4 Overnight Camping at the Pacaya Volcano Pacaya Volcano
Day 5 Descend from the Pacaya Volcano, Chocolate Workshop Antigua
Day 6 Scenic Drive to Lake Atitlán & Village Tour Lake Atitlán
Day 7 Kayaking & Hiking at Lake Atitlán Lake Atitlán
Day 8 Visit Chichicastenango Market, Sawdust Carpet Workshop Lake Atitlán
Day 9 Paragliding over Lake Atitlán, Spiritual Maya Ceremony Lake Atitlán
Day 10 Iximché Ruins & Transfer to Antigua Antigua
Day 11 Free Time in Antigua, Transfer to Tikal National Park Tikal National Park
Day 12 Guided Tour of Tikal National Park & Canopy Tour Tikal National Park
Day 13 Depart Guatemala City  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Guatemala City, Transfer to Antigua & Street Food Tour

Antigua Street Food Tour
Antigua street food tour

Welcome to Guatemala! Meet your driver at the airport in Guatemala City and transfer to your hotel in Antigua, about 45 minutes away. Once you arrive, meet your local expert guide, who will introduce you to Guatemala's rich culture through its gastronomy.

On this walking tour along Antigua's cobbled streets, you'll taste culinary creations 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 learn about Antigua's history, visit 16th-century ruins, and enjoy views of the nearby volcanoes. Certain food restrictions will be accommodated. Depending on your schedule, this can be a breakfast, lunch, or dinner food tour. At the end of it, you'll receive a list of some of the best restaurants and bars to visit during your trip.

Day 2: Day Trip to Earth Lodge & Nature Hike, Weaving Workshop

Enjoy a weaving workshop in San Antonio Aguas Calientes

Leave Antigua's cobblestone streets and hit the nature trails around the town. Your guide will meet you at 9 am, and you'll drive out of the city, winding your way out of the Panchoy Valley toward El Hato, a mountainside village. During the drive, enjoy the views of the valley and the surrounding three volcanoes. Just outside El Hato, stop at Earth Lodge, a quaint mountain hotel and working avocado orchard. Upon arrival, you'll enjoy a freshly prepared lunch and then relax in one of the hotel's hammocks.

Afterward, join a three-hour weaving workshop in San Antonio Aguas Calientes at 5,174 feet (1,577 m) above sea level. The people here cultivate corn, beans, vegetables, and coffee, but their famous woven products are another vital part of this small community. Around 60% of the women here still weave their traditional clothing. You'll also learn to create a small textile piece, like a napkin (completing a full-sized woven creation can take nine months or more!).

Day 3: Antigua Walking Tour, Coffee Farm Tour

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

Get to know Antigua today on a guided walking tour. You'll be led by an expert local historian, who'll take you to the city's top landmarks, such as the City Hall Palace, the Capitan 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. When the tour is finished, you'll be picked up for a quick shuttle ride outside Antigua to Finca Azotea coffee farm.

Although Finca Azotea is a small farm, they have a large processing capacity. This means they not only process and package their coffee, but other, smaller growers can also pay to have their coffee processed there. The farm has a maze of trails weaving between the coffee plants and shade trees, which are alive with native bird species. After walking among the plants, head inside to sample different varieties of coffee. You'll get to see the whole coffee-making process from start to finish. The farm also offers a great music and textile museum, which you'll have time to explore.

Day 4: Overnight Camping at the Pacaya Volcano

Volcan de Pacaya - Camp Overnight
Climb Pacaya with your guide for a night under the stars

Meet your guide and head off to climb the Pacaya Volcano. This storybook volcano's slopes and unique landscapes are some of the most impressive in Central America. Set in its own National Park, Pacaya has a continuous plume of smoke drifting from its summit and a massive dried lava field forming the valley at the base of its caldera. This moderate hike takes about two hours. Horses are an option for those who would rather enjoy a more relaxed trip to the top of the volcano.

Your guide will decide where to camp for the evening and arrange the group's campsite close to one of Pacaya's many beautiful vistas. A fresh dinner will be prepared for you while you relax and enjoy the sunset and the fiery-orange glows which characterize Pacaya's super-surface lava flows after dark. Hot coffee and tea will keep your group warm after sundown, and after a good night's rest in tents and sleeping bags, views of the surrounding highland volcanoes of Agua, Fuego, and Acatenango will greet you at first light.  

Day 5: Descend from the Pacaya Volcano, Chocolate Workshop

Descend Volcan de Pacaya
Climb down from the Pacaya Volcano

Break camp and enjoy a relaxed descent down Pacaya's slopes as you hike back to the trailhead. Then, return to Antigua by private transport.

In the afternoon, prepare to participate in a "bean to bar" chocolate workshop. Besides crops like coffee and bananas, Guatemala also produces cacao (cocoa), the main ingredient in chocolate. Cacao has been cultivated here for thousands of years and was even enjoyed by the ancient Maya. Besides learning about the cacao production process, you'll prepare your own delicious Maya chocolate drink and make custom chocolates to take home with you. 

Day 6: Scenic Drive to Lake Atitlán & Village Tour

Volcano Views from Panajachel
Volcano views from Panajachel

Your driver will pick you up after breakfast for a 2.5-hour ride west from Antigua to Lake Atitlán, the most famous lake in the country. The drive to get 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.

When you arrive at Lake Atitlán, climb aboard a boat to tour the surrounding towns. In the company of a local guide, you'll stop at villages far off the tourist trail and experience their authentic culture. For example, you'll visit a local women's weaving co-op and see how they turn cotton into beautiful textiles by hand. You'll also visit a shrine to Maximón, an infamous Maya folk saint.

Day 7: Kayak & Hike at Lake Atitlán

Kayaking on Lake Atitlán
Take to the water on a kayaking outing on Lake Atitlán

Meet your guide for today's five-hour 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; eventually, the route will take you to Jaibalito. From there, you'll return to your hotel.

Day 8: Visit Chichicastenango Market, Sawdust Carpet Workshop

Chichicastenango Market
Experience the colors and flavors of impressive Chichicastenango Market

Take a day trip to Chichicastenango, which locals call "Chichi." This Indigenous town in the Guatemalan highlands is home to Central America's largest and most famous public market. Held every Thursday and Sunday, it draws locals from surrounding villages who come to sell handicrafts, textiles, regional clothing, and fresh produce. Also here is the Iglesia de Santo Tomás, a 16th-century Catholic Church built on the site of a former Maya temple. During the trip, you'll sample typical foods such as the sweet snack pan de muerto ("bread of the dead").

Later, enjoy a sawdust carpet workshop. One of the most impressive aspects of the Easter Festival in Antigua are the alfombras (carpets). During Semana Santa ("Holy Week"), Guatemalans adorn their streets with these long, decorative rugs made from flowers, colored sawdust, pine needles, and fruits and vegetables. During this two-hour experience, learn about the history of these alfombras (which date back hundreds of years) while also learning to make one with the help of local families. 

Day 9: Paragliding over Lake Atitlán, Spiritual Maya Ceremony

 Paragliding over Lake Atitlán
Paragliding over Lake Atitlán

Take in spectacular views over Lake Atitlán on a paragliding excursion. If the weather is nice, you'll enjoy an adrenaline-fueled long-distance flight over mountains covered with untouched jungle forests.

Once you've returned to the ground, participate in a 2.5-hour traditional Maya fire ceremony. A local guide will explain the significance of this experience and prepare you for this event, led by a local spiritual guide known as El Ajq'ij. You'll participate with candles, which is all part of this ceremony/meditation that serves as a way to align your energy with the cosmos. The Maya have been practicing such ceremonies for over 5,000 years. 

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

Day 10: Iximché Ruins & Transfer to Antigua

Iximché Ruins & Transfer to Antigua
Discover the archaeological site of Iximché and its pyramid temples
In the morning, board a boat for a ride to the eastern shore of Lake Atitlán. Then, take a private shuttle through the beautiful highlands of the region on your way to the ruins of Iximché. In the 15th century, this archaeological site was the 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 of the site, declared a Guatemalan National Monument in the 1960s. After the ruins, return to Antigua and check in to your hotel.

Day 11: Free Time in Antigua, Transfer to Tikal National Park

Photo taken by Daniel B
Masks in Antigua (Photo courtesy of Daniel B)

Wake up and enjoy a leisurely breakfast in Antigua at a restaurant on the plaza. If you'd like, browse the markets to pick up souvenirs like handicrafts and hand-woven textiles. Afterward, you'll return to Guatemala City and catch a flight to Flores. You'll be greeted at the airport and transferred to your accommodation within Tikal National Park. Spend some time exploring the park on your own. More than 100 mammals can be found here, including over 60 species of bats, as well as jaguars, pumas, mantled howler monkeys, Yucatán spider monkeys, and more.

Tikal is one of the largest Maya cities ever uncovered and houses the most spectacular ruins in Guatemala, which you'll explore tomorrow on a guided tour. These ruins are comparable to Mexico's Chichén Itzá in pre-Columbian splendor. However, unlike at Chichén Itzá, the ruins of Tikal are set in the middle of a vast jungle, through which you must hike from temple to temple. The many miles of trails also provide numerous opportunities to spot interesting birds, such as toucans and parrots. 

Day 12: Guided Tour of Tikal National Park & Canopy Tour

Tikal's Temple of the Great Jaguar
See the Temple of the Great Jaguar in the famous Tikal National Park

Take a tour of the Maya ruins in Tikal National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the former capital of one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya world. It boasts the tallest pre-Colombian structure in the Americas, Temple IV, at 270 feet (70 m). During your visit, 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, the Window Palace, and more. There is also an optional birding tour inside the park that starts at 5 am, during which you'll see exotic birds and the sunrise from the temples.

Spend the rest of your day in the jungles of Tikal, soaring over the treetops on a zipline. Strap into a harness and feel the adrenaline rush as you zip over the jungle canopy on a 656-foot (200 m) cable perched 131 feet (40 m) above the ground. This canopy tour comprises 10 platforms and nine ziplines, each offering safe and exciting jungle fun. After the ride, transfer back to your hotel in the park. 

Day 13: Depart Guatemala City

Tikal Ruins
Tikal ruins
Use your final day in Guatemala to soak in the beautiful sights and sounds of Tikal National Park. Depending on your time, you can relax on the grounds of your hotel or buy another day pass into the ruins. When the time comes, pack your belongings, meet your driver in the hotel lobby, and transfer to Flores Airport. Then catch a domestic flight to Guatemala City, where you'll board your connecting flight back home. ¡Buen viaje! 

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Map of Food, Culture & Nature in Guatemala: Antigua, Lake Atitlán & Tikal National Park - 13 Days
Map of Food, Culture & Nature in Guatemala: Antigua, Lake Atitlán & Tikal National Park - 13 Days