Unleash your inner explorer on this week-long family trip that draws you and the kids into the heart of Guatemala's ancient history and natural wonders. Against a backdrop of Maya ruins, stunning scenery, and exotic wildlife, you'll venture into the jungles of the north, uncover mighty temples, and glide through underground rivers and caves by inner tube.


  • Adventure across jungles and rainforests to stunning waterfalls
  • Explore the K'an Ba river caves by candlelight
  • Bathe in the beautiful natural pools at Semuc Champey
  • Uncover ancient Maya ruins at Aguateca and Tikal

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Guatemala City, Afternoon Walking Tour Guatemala City
Day 2 Ram Tzul Trekking in Lanquín, Transfer to Cobán Cobán
Day 3 Explore Semuc Champey  Cobán
Day 4 Transfer to Candelaria, Cuevas de Candelaria River Tubing Adventure Candelaria
Day 5 Visit the Aguateca Maya Site, Transfer to Tikal National Park Tikal National Park
Day 6 Visit the Tikal Maya Ruins, Fly to Antigua via Flores  Antigua
Day 7 Transfer to Guatemala City, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Guatemala City, Afternoon Walking Tour

Metropolitan Cathedral, Guatemala City
Take a family stroll through Guatemala City

Welcome to Guatemala! This country is a treasure trove of natural wonders, diverse wildlife, and fascinating ruins, making it a great family-friendly destination. Arrive at Guatemala City airport, meet your driver, and transfer to your accommodation. Known for its history, culture, and natural beauty, Guatemala's capital was founded in the 1700s and has evolved into its cultural and economic hub. Lying in the mountainous Valle de la Ermita (Hermitage Valley), it's the largest city in Central America.

After a refresh at your hotel, head out with the little ones ready to explore. Discover the city's charms with a walking tour 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 are into ancient history, don't miss the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology or the Ixchel and Archaeology Museums

Day 2: Ram Tzul Trekking in Lanquín, Transfer to Cobán

The aptly named resplendent quetzal.
See who's first to spot the aptly named resplendent quetzals

Rally the kids this morning as, after breakfast, you and your family will take a private transfer north to Ram Tzul, a gorgeous nature reserve near Cobán located deep in Guatemalan coffee country. It's a drive of about five hours, and there'll be plenty of opportunities to stop along the way, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy the incredible scenery. 

Arrive at Ram Tzul, explore the lush cloud forests, discover the beautiful flora and orchids, and follow the various trails. The reserve is a wonderful place for kids of all ages, with plenty of wildlife, including the aptly named resplendent quetzal, with its iridescent green plumage. Make your way through the forests and hike to a nearby waterfall that plunges 260 feet (80 m) into a lagoon. Break for a bite to eat at the restaurant in Ram Tzul before taking a transfer to your overnight destination of Cobán.

Day 3: Explore Semuc Champey 

Semuc Champey for Families
Take a dip in the pools at Semuc Champey

Take the kids on an adventure that would make Indiana Jones proud as you head out early and make a two-hour transfer to Semuc Champey, an incredible 984-foot (300 m) long natural forming limestone bridge that forms shallow steps to a series of sublime turquoise pools. Located in Alkta Verapaz, one of Guetamala's most beautiful regions, Semuc is a natural wonder hidden in the mountainous jungle near Lanquín.

Don your swimsuits and water shoes as you and the kids explore the pools, trails, and nearby caves. Follow the short but steep path to El Mirador, where you'll be rewarded with sensational views that highlight Semuc Champey's unique strata. Cool off in the pristine spring water where kids will have a blast jumping off rocks, into waterfalls, and floating along the Río Cahabón. Families with little ones will appreciate the many shallow areas where younger kids can enjoy the fun. 

Plan your trip to Guatemala
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Older kids with adventure in mind should channel their inner Indy and explore the nearby K'an Ba river caves. Located deep in the heart of the jungle and only accessible with a guide, take a candle while you and the kids make your way through the labyrinthine darkness. Navigate the caverns and tunnels as you wade chest-deep through the candlelight and encounter rock ledges, waterfalls, and rope ladders. When you and the kids have had your fill, a private transfer will take you back to your hotel in Cobán, where the evening is yours to spend as you wish. 

Day 4: Transfer to Candelaria, Cuevas de Candelaria River Tubing Adventure

river tubing
Enjoy a fun river tubing adventure with the kids

It's another day of adventure as you transfer a couple of hours north to Candelaria in northern Alta Verapaz, known for its towering limestone mountains and the Cuevas de Candelaria (Candelaria Caves) that lie at the base. Your guide will advise on the best caves to navigate, suited to the kids' ages, as you and your family take a tubing trip and float along the underground river and cruise for 1.2 miles (2 km).

When you've had your fill of aquatic fun, explore the nearby hikes (the El Venado trail is great for smaller kids) and discover the jungle trails as the kids keep their eyes peeled for the resident cheeky monkeys. Afterward, head back to Candelaria and enjoy some downtime at your hotel before heading out to one of the nearby restaurants for dinner. 

Day 5: Visit the Aguateca Maya Site, Transfer to Tikal National Park

Explore the scenery around Aguateca
Break up your drive with a walk around ancient Aguateca

Stock up on snacks for the kids as you transfer north to the Tikal National Park. It's roughly a five-hour drive, but you'll have plenty of opportunities to stretch your legs and stock up on refreshments. Approximately halfway to Tikal, you'll break up the journey with a visit to the Maya Aguateca site. Occupying a site on a 295-foot (90 m) high cliff over northern Guatemala's Petexbatún lagoon, you'll cruise along the Río La Pasión until you reach the ancient Maya kingdom.

Explore the ruins that date back to 300 BCE and let the kids' imaginations run riot as they burn off some energy, explore the temples, create their own adventures, and discover the ruins of the Maya palaces, squares, and monuments. When you're ready, hop back in the car and continue to the Tikal National Park, where you'll overnight. 

Day 6: Visit the Tikal Maya Ruins, Fly to Antigua via Flores 

Tikal Maya Ruin
Scale pyramids and admire the fascinating Maya ruins at Tikal

Now the little ones have had plenty of opportunities to hone their best archaeologist adventurer impressions, wow them with a visit to arguably Guatemala's most awe-inspiring ruins—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. 

Explore the ancient ruins 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. As your day ends, transfer to Antigua via a short flight from Flores and spend your last night feasting on traditional Guatemalan fare.

Day 7: Transfer to Guatemala City, Depart

Until the next time, Guatemala
Until the next time, Guatemala

It's the final day of your family adventure. Depending on your flight time, take one last walk through the cobbled streets of Antigua, and indulge in the local street food staple of dobladas (empanadas) before checking out and heading to Guatemala City's airport. At the appropriate time, catch your departing flight with full hearts and memories to last a lifetime. Buen viaje!

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Map of Guatemala for Young Explorers: Temples, Jungles & Caves - 7 Days
Map of Guatemala for Young Explorers: Temples, Jungles & Caves - 7 Days