The perfect blend of relaxed romance and adventure, this two-week itinerary is perfect for couples looking for daytime excursions and blissful evenings. Begin with a few days of exploration in Antigua before heading to see Guatemala's volcanoes, lakes, national parks, and ancient ruins. See why this country has been deemed one of the under-the-radar-gems of the travel world, through cultural, culinary, and outdoor experiences.

Highlights

  • Stroll through the well-preserved colonial town of Antigua
  • Hike the active Pacaya Volcano
  • Enjoy swimming and kayaking in Lake Atitlán
  • Explore four different Mayan ruins
  • Trek to a hidden hot spring and waterfall

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival and Transfer to Antigua Antigua
Day 2 Antigua Walking Tour and Cooking Class Antigua
Day 3 Free Day in Antigua  Antigua
Day 4 Hike & Spa Day Antigua
Day 5 Antigua Day - Choco Museo/Cerro Santo Domingo Antigua
Day 6 Transfer to Lake Atitlán & Village Tour - Stay in Casa del Mundo Lake Atitlán
Day 7 Free Day - Lake Atitlán / Casa del Mundo Lake Atitlán
Day 8 Kayaking and Hiking at Lake Atitlán Antigua
Day 9 Transfer from Lake Atitlán to Antigua with Iximché Ruins Visit Antigua
Day 10 Antigua Free Morning + Afternoon Flight to Tikal Tikal National Park
Day 11 Morning Tour in Tikal National Park + Uaxactún Afternoon Tour Tikal National Park
Day 12 Yaxhá Ruins tour + Transfer to Rio Dulce Rio Dulce
Day 13 Explore the Rio Dulce Area by Boat Rio Dulce
Day 14 Finca Paraiso Hot Springs + Afternoon Flight to Guatemala City Guatemala City
Day 15 Transfer to Guatemala City Airport for your Departure Flight  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Antigua

Antigua’s famous Santa Catalina Arch
Antigua’s famous Santa Catalina Arch

Today, you'll arrive at the Guatemala City International Airport (GUA). A driver will meet you at the terminal with your name on a sign and drive you to Antigua, which is about an hour away. Once you arrive at your hotel and check in, you'll have the evening free to relax or being exploring.

Day 2: Antigua Walking Tour & Cooking Class

View of Antigua and Volcan de Agua from Cerro de la Cruz
View of Antigua and Volcan de Agua from Cerro de la Cruz

In the morning, you will meet your local guide who will give you a walking tour of the beautiful city of Antigua. This former Guatemalan capital boasts an impressive catalog of colonial relics in a magnificent setting. Streetscapes of pastel facades unfold beneath three volcanoes. Many old religious and civic structures are beautifully renovated, while others retain tumbledown charm with fragments strewn about park-like grounds. On this tour, you will visit the City Hall Palace, Palace of the Captain’s General, the Antigua Guatemala Cathedral, and the Paseo de los Museos

After the tour, you will have time to enjoy lunch, relax, and roam around Antigua on your own.

In the late afternoon, you will be picked up and taken to the site of your Guatemalan cooking class where you will learn about the local cultural traditions. Guatemalan cuisine blends traditional colonial Spanish flavors with Indigenous Mayan cooking. Your cooking class will be taught by our Guatemalan natives from Sacatepequez, and they will teach you how to make a main dish, Guatemalan tortillas, and a dessert. At the end of the class, you will be able to sit down and enjoy the meal with your chefs.

Day 3: Free Day in Antigua

Antigua's Main Plaza
Antigua's main plaza

Today, you will have a free day to explore and enjoy Antigua on your own. Antigua is famous for its well-preserved Spanish baroque-influenced architecture as well as a number of colonial church ruins.

Aside from historic architecture, the town also offers great restaurants, bars, shopping, and people-watching. If you'd like to pick up some souvenirs, consider visiting the local market. If you'd like to book additional activities, a representative can also coordinate specific tours. Here are some of our suggested activities:

  • Tour a coffee plantation and do a coffee tasting
  • Go ziplining in the cloud forest
  • Walk through the chocolate museum
  • Take a historical walking tours

Day 4: Volcano Hike & Spa Day

A hiker on the Lava field of Pacaya Volcano
A hiker on the Lava field of Pacaya Volcano

Your guide will meet you at your hotel this morning and take you to the Pacaya Volcano. Set in its own national park, Pacaya is an impressive volcano with a continuous plume of smoke drifting from its summit, and a massive dried lava field forms the valley at the base of its caldera.

The hike up Pacaya takes about two hours, and it is moderately difficult, depending on your fitness level. If you'd prefer a more relaxed option, you can also take a horse to the top. You will be able to enjoy a freshly prepared picnic lunch after summiting, and for dessert, you can roast marshmallows over the natural heat from the volcano. Your hike down brings you across the dried lava fields before winding through Pacaya’s lush and lesser-known forests and farmland.

After your excursion to the volcano, a driver will take you to a nearby thermal spa whose natural springs are heated by the very volcano you just climbed. At the spa, you will start first with a "Thermal Circuit" where you immerse the body for short periods of time in natural thermal pools of varying temperatures, moving from hot to cold.

Next, you will move onto a "Combined Steam and Hydrotherapy Bath" where you can fill your own personal tub with thermal water at your desired temperature. Your spa treatment will come to an end with a relaxing 25-minute massage. Afterward, you will have plenty of time to return to the natural swimming pools and enjoy a snack and fruit smoothie. A driver will pick you up and return you to Antigua later in the evening.

Day 5: Chocolate Workshop - Cerro Santo Domingo

Choco Museo Classes
Participants at the chocolate workshop

This morning you will have a bean-to-bar chocolate workshop where you'll learn about the complete chocolate-making process, how to prepare traditional Mayan cacao drinks, and how to make a batch of chocolates to take home with you. You'll also get to taste different drinks and chocolates during the class.

Later in the afternoon, you will be able to relax at the hotel or take the shuttle up to Cerro Santo Domingo to visit the local sculpture gardens and take in the views. Cerro Santo Domingo is a great spot for a romantic happy hour cocktail with beautiful sunset views.

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

Day 6: Transfer to Lake Atitlán & Boat Tour

Casa del Mundo Hotel on Lake Atitlán
Casa del Mundo Hotel on Lake Atitlán

This morning, a driver will pick you up at your hotel in Antigue and transfer you to Lake Atitlán, which is about two and and a half hours away. Part of the morning will be spent on the Pan American Highway, known as the part of a network of roads stretching from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Ushuaia, Argentina. As you get closer to Atitlán, you'll be treated to great views from above the lake. 

Once you arrive to Panajachel, the main town on Lake Atitlán, you will hop on a boat for a tour of the village with our local guide. Many smaller Mayan villages are located along the lake, and your private boat tour will allow you to get a closer look at the local art, traditions, and stories. Highlights include visiting a local women's weaving co-op and visiting a shrine of the infamous Mayan saint and folk diety known as Maximón.

You'll have time to stop for lunch, and after wrapping up the tour, we will head to the beautiful lakeside hotel of Casa del Mundo. The rest of the evening is free for you to relax, enjoy a swim in the lake, and take in the views.

Day 7: Free Day on Lake Atitlán

Views of Lake Atitlán
Views of Lake Atitlán

You'll have the entire day free day to explore and enjoy the beautiful Lake Atitlán. The hotel offers kayak rentals, a beach for swimming, and other equipment for water sports. Public boats can take you around the lake as well, but ask your guide for recommendations. 

Day 8: Kayaking and Hiking Tour

Kayaking on Lake Atitlán
Kayaking on Lake Atitlán

After waking up to gorgeous views of the lake and its towering volcanoes, you'll have breakfast at your hotel. Then, your guide will meet you for today's kayak tour. You'll begin paddling westward along the north shore of Atitlán for about two hours, passing by tiny villages perched on the sides of the sheer ridges that rise up from the azure waters of the lake. Depending on weather and speed of the kayak group, there are opportunities to stop for a dip in the lake and go cliff-jumping. You will eventually arrive at your destination between the villages of Tzununá and San Marcos La Laguna where you will trade your kayaks for daypacks and hiking shoes.

You'll hike along the lake trail which connects village to village, and you'll see spectacular views of volcanoes San Pedro, Tolimán and Atitlán. You’ll pass through small villages as you follow the shoreline for about one and a half hours, eventually returning to Jaibalito and Casa del Mundo. After a hearty and well-earned lunch at the hotel, you have the evening free to relax.

Day 9: Transfer to Antigua - Iximché Ruins

Views of the Iximché Ruins
Views of the Iximché Ruins

Today, a boat will take you across the lake, and a driver will pick you up and take you to Iximché, an archaeological site in the western highlands of Guatemala. Once you arrive, you'll begin a guided tour and learn about this impressive ancient city. The Mayan architecture of the site included a number of pyramid temples, palaces, and two Mesoamerican ballcourts. The ruins of Iximché were declared a Guatemalan National Monument in the 1960's. 

After you finish exploring the ruins, your driver will transfer you to Antigua, and you will be able to stop for a quick lunch on the road. Once you arrive back in Antigua and check in, you'll have the evening free.

Day 10: Explore Antigua - Flight to Tikal

Views of Antigua's Main Plaza
Views of Antigua's Main Plaza

Today you have the morning free to explore, relax, and buy some souvenirs as you will be heading to Tikal in the evening. 

In the afternoon, your driver will meet you at the hotel and take you to Guatemala City to catch your flight to Flores. Upon arrival at the Mundo Maya International Airport (FRS), a driver will be waiting to take you to your hotel. Once you check in, you'll have the evening free to spend as you'd like.

Day 11: Tikal National Park - Uaxactún 

Tikal's main plaza
Tikal's main plaza

Today you will visit the famous Tikal National Park to see the amazing Mayan ruins. Tikal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known worldwide for its impressive pyramids, and sprawling ruins An expert guide will tell you all about this former capital of one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya that boasts the tallest pre-Colombian structure in the Americas, Temple IV, which stands 270 feet (70 meters). During your visit, you will have the opportunity to see all the major sites of interest, but make sure you keep an eye out for lots of wildlife along the tour and enjoy the sights and sounds of the jungle. 

In the afternoon, you will continue a bit further into the jungle to visit another Mayan site called Uaxactún. Uaxactún has been inhabited by the Maya for centuries, and today it features partially restored temples and a small community in the jungle made up of chicleros (harvesters of natural gum). You'll be able to interact with the community members and see the first astronomical complex in the Mayan world.

After you finish your second tour, a driver will pick you up and return you to your hotel for the evening.

Day 12: Yaxhá Ruins - Transfer to Rio Dulce

Beautiful Yaxhá Ruins
Beautiful Yaxhá Ruins

This morning, your guide will pick you up and take you to visit Yaxhá National Park. The Yaxhá ruins are another Mayan archaeological site located between the lakes of Sacnab and Yaxhá. The site has more than 500 structures, including 40 stela, 13 altars, 9 pyramids, 2 ball courts, and a network of sacbeob (roads). The only twin pyramid complex outside of Tikal is here, and it commemorates a Katun or 20-year period. The causeway lake is 262 feet (80 meters) long and is considered the official entry into the old city, connecting it to Lake Yaxhá.

In the afternoon, you will transfer south to Rio Dulce and check-in to your hotel for the evening.

Day 13: Boat Tour of Rio Dulce

Castillo de San Felipe, Rio Dulce
Castle of San Felipe in Rio Dulce

After a relaxing waterfront breakfast at your hotel, you'll meet the boat at the dock for today's tour. Your guide will take you all the way to Livingston, on the Caribbean coast of Guatemala. 

Stops along the way include the famous Castle of San Felipe, an island of birds, hot springs, and deep ravine canyons. At the end of the journey, you'll arrive in Livingston where you'll have a chance to experience a different side of Guatemala and enjoy lunch before taking the boat back to your hotel in the late afternoon.

Day 14: Finca Paraiso Hot Springs - Guatemala City

Hot springs waterfall!
Hot springs waterfall

Today, a driver will pick you up at the hotel and take you to visit a nearby hot spring and waterfall, Finca Paraiso. This hidden gem of Guatemala is sure to be one of the highlights of your visit on the Caribbean side of Guatemala. You'll take a short, scenic hike to reach a secluded waterfall flowing with hot water which you can stand underneath. You can also take a swim in the cool river nearby. 

After this excursion, you'll return to the hotel to freshen up, have lunch, and hop on your next transfer to Puerto Barrios Airport (PBR). Once you arrive in Guatemala City, a driver will be waiting to take you directly to your hotel for the evening.

Day 15: Depart Guatemala City

Goodbye Guatemala!
Goodbye, Guatemala!

Enjoy breakfast in your hotel (depending on your departure schedule). Afterwards, you'll take the hotel shuttle to the Guatemala City airport for your flight home. We recommend arriving to the airport three hours prior to your departure.