Authentic Maya culture, up-close wildlife encounters, and activities in epic landscapes: this adventurous seven-day trip shows off the sheer diversity of Guatemala. Starting in the colonial capital of Antigua, you’ll cycle around the surrounding villages beneath three imposing volcanoes. Then, hike beside Lake Atitlán, one of the most beautiful lakes on Earth, before hitting the Pacific coast and its enchanting mangrove forests. Guided tours are included, with one free day to enjoy the beaches in between.


  • Take a bike tour around colonial villages in a valley of volcanoes
  • Hike to a viewpoint above Lake Atitlán and shop at a Maya market
  • Relax on the beaches of Monterrico or take part in a turtle release
  • Spot crocodiles and iguanas on a mangroves boat tour in Chiquimulilla 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Guatemala City, Transfer to Antigua Antigua
Day 2 Bike Tour of Antigua & Villages, Antigua Walking Tour Antigua
Day 3 Transfer to Lake Atitlán, Maya Ancestral Market Lake Atitlán
Day 4 Hike to Indian Nose Viewpoint, Visit Nonprofit Projects Lake Atitlán
Day 5 Transfer to Monterrico, Free Afternoon Monterrico
Day 6 Chiquimulilla Mangroves Tour Monterrico
Day 7 Transfer to Guatemala City & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Guatemala City, Transfer to Antigua

Palm Sunday procession carpet and the Agua volcano, Antigua

Welcome to Guatemala, "The Land of Eternal Spring," where the climate stays pleasant year-round and flowers never stop blooming. Few countries in Central America boast such a diversity of unspoiled ecosystems and a combination of ancient Indigenous and Spanish-colonial cultures. Upon arriving at Guatemala City Airport, your driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel in the colorful colonial city of Antigua.

Once the capital of Guatemala, Antigua is known for the Spanish Old Town around its main plaza, Parque Central. Three imposing volcanoes, including Fuego, one of the most active in Central America, back the streetscapes of pastel facades and restored colonial buildings. This striking contrast is partly why the city has earned UNESCO World Heritage status.

Day 2: Bike Tour of Antigua & Villages, Antigua Walking Tour

Antigua's Santa Catalina Arch

Set off from the city on a bike ride this morning to explore local life in the Almolonga Valley. Passing Antigua's magnificent churches, colonial ruins, and suburban villages, you'll ride south to the base of the conical Volcán Agua. From there, pop into an experimental macadamia farm in Valhalla, and explore San Antonio Aguas Calientes, famous for its textiles and weaving.

This valley was the site of the country's second colonial capital, Ciudad Vieja. However, the old city met a fateful doom in 1541 when the Agua Volcano triggered a terrible mudslide. The city disappeared into the valley between the volcanoes of Agua, Fuego, and Acatenango—the site of the old city is still the source of much debate. 

In the afternoon, take a walking tour with your guide, to learn about the city's past and present, as well as Guatemalan lifestyle, traditions, and culture. Several churches also feature atmospheric ruins, particularly at San Francisco church, where ruins of an adjoining monastery feature vivid frescoes visible amid earthquake rubble. You'll also linger on the street with the famous Santa Catalina Arch, and see buildings around the Main Square, including the palace and cathedral.

Day 3: Transfer to Lake Atitlán, Maya Ancestral Market

Chichicastenango Market

Adios, Antigua! Today, you'll head to Panajachel, on the shore of Lake Atitlán, by private transfer. Lake Atitlan is a vast volcanic crater widely regarded as one of the most beautiful in the world, and sacred to the Maya community. But first, you'll discover modern-day Maya culture in the town of Chichicastenango, in the Guatemalan highlands. Dubbed "Chichi" by locals, this Indigenous settlement is the site of one of the biggest markets in Central America, established long before the Spanish arrived. 

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 Tomas, 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 mix of ancient Maya religious beliefs and traditional Catholicism) and see firsthand how many Guatemalans simultaneously adhere to two different religions and cultures. 

Day 4: Hike to Indian Nose Viewpoint, Visit Nonprofit Projects

Hike Rostro Maya or Indian Nose
The trail to Indian Nose
This morning you'll transfer by boat to the village of Santa Cruz La Laguna, where you'll hike along ancient paths that the Kaqchikel Maya people have used for centuries. You will view villagers going about their daily life, encounter farmers tending their maize and coffee fields, and see some of the most magnificent scenery in the world. Roads don't connect this remote stretch of lakeshore, so it has barely been touched by the outside world.
Plan your trip to Guatemala
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Take the zig-zag trail up to one of the country's most spectacular viewpoints, known as Indian Nose, thanks to the hill's resemblance to a horizontal face in profile. Your efforts to get up the hill will be rewarded with an unforgettable panorama of the lake 951 feet ( 290 m) below, and Toliman, San Pedro, and Atitlán volcanoes.
Next, your guide will show you the nonprofit projects set up to help improve local life. Tour the school and training center of Amigos de Santa Cruz, and visit two medical clinics: Mayan Medical Aid and the Castillo Foundation, the latter of which is in the remote village of Tzununa. After, walk down to the lakeshore to meet the boat for the return trip. For an even more active day, you could choose to cycle on the Maya Trail and take a kayak instead of a boat back to Panajachel.

Day 5: Transfer to Monterrico, Free Afternoon

Sea turtles nest on Monterrico's beaches 

Make the four-hour journey south to Guatemala's Pacific coast and the town of Monterrico. This seaside village is famous for its black volcanic sands and is a popular weekend trip for residents of Guatemala City. Today is yours to spend however you like. Consider sunbathing on the black-sand beach, or heading out on an ocean fishing excursion—these waters abound with dorado, tuna, grouper, and even bigger catches like marlin and sailfish.

Depending on the time of year, you could take part in a turtle release experience. Monterrico is a popular nesting site for Olive Ridley, leatherback, and green sea turtles (the nesting season peaks in August). Those eggs are collected to help give the creatures the best chance of survival, with the release programs taking place between September to February. Gently tip your hatchling onto the sand and watch as it scuttles toward the ocean. Go tiny turtles, go!

Day 6: Chiquimulilla Mangroves Tour

Mangroves Tour
Chiquimulilla Canal

From the volcanic black sand beach in Monterrico, you'll board a local ferry to the Chiquimulilla Canal. The canal was built in the late 19th century, from Guatemala's border with El Salvador to Puerto San José, parallel to the coastline. Today, it's a protected habitat thanks to the wetlands wildlife that live within the pristine mangrove forests.

On a half-day tour, you'll venture through the waterways on a private boat. Keep an eye out for the creatures that thrive around this nutrient-rich water, including climbing crabs, iguanas, caiman crocodiles, and several varieties of turtles. Many marine reptiles have historically been hunted for their leather, so conservation is the name of the game. You'll then have the afternoon at your leisure in Monterrico. Celebrate your last night in Guatemala by dining on fresh-caught seafood by an ocean fire as you listen to the sounds of waves crashing on the shore.

Day 7: Transfer to Guatemala City & Depart

Cathedral of Guatemala City 

The time has come to say your goodbyes to incredible Guatemala. Your driver will collect you from your hotel and transfer you to Guatemala City Airport, to catch your flight home. See you soon, safe travels!

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Map of Guatemala Cities, Summits & Coast - 7 Days
Map of Guatemala Cities, Summits & Coast - 7 Days