- Stroll through the well-preserved colonial town of Antigua
- Visit Lake Atitlán surrounded by 3 dormant volcanoes
- Explore the local culinary traditions of Guatemala
- Visit the rich history of the local Mayan ruins in Tikal National Park
|Day 1||Arrival in Antigua||Antigua|
|Day 2||Antigua Walking Tour and Cooking Class||Antigua|
|Day 3||Antigua (Free Day)||Antigua|
|Day 4||Pacaya Volcano Hike & Spa Visit||Antigua|
|Day 5||Antigua - Chocomuseo and free time||Antigua|
|Day 6||Antigua to Lake Atitlán||Lake Atitlán|
|Day 7||Lake Atitlán (Free Day)||Lake Atitlán|
|Day 8||Kayaking and Hiking at Lake Atitlán||Lake Atitlán|
|Day 9||Lake Atitlán to Antigua: Iximche Ruins Visit||Antigua|
|Day 10||Antigua and Flight to Tikal||Tikal National Park|
|Day 11||Tikal National Park and Uaxactún Tour||Tikal National Park|
|Day 12||Yaxha Ruins tour and Transfer to Rio Dulce||Rio Dulce|
|Day 13||Rio Dulce Boat Tour||Rio Dulce|
|Day 14||Rio Dulce (Free Day)||Rio Dulce|
|Day 15||Finca Paraiso Hot Springs and Flight to Guatemala City||Guatemala City|
|Day 16||Depart Guatemala City|
Day 1: Arrival in Antigua
Arrive to the Guatemala City International Airport. A driver and private shuttle will meet you there with your name on a card.
The transfer to Antigua is approximately a 1-hour drive depending on traffic.
Day 2: Antigua Walking Tour and Cooking Class
In the morning you will meet your local historian guide to explore the city of Antigua, the former capital of Guatemala. On this tour, you will explore the City Hall Palace, Palace of the Captain’s General, the ruins of the Cathedral, Maya archaeology through the spiritual stone of jade, and Paseo de los Museos.
After the tour, you'll have time to grab some lunch, relax, and enjoy Antigua a bit on your own. Then in the afternoon, you'll be picked up for a class on how to prepare the local fare that combines traditional colonial Spanish with indigenous Mayan cooking. The class will be taught by native Guatemalan chefs who have specialized in the regional cuisine handed down from one generation to another. Outside of the main dish, you will learn how to prepare Guatemalan tortillas and a local dessert. At the end of the class, you will enjoy the meal with your chefs.
Class duration: approx. 3 hours
Day 3: Antigua (Free Day)
Today you are free to explore the base of Antigua. Antigua is famous for its well-preserved Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture and ruins of colonial churches, being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Outside of the great history of Antigua, the town offers great restaurants, bars, shopping at the local market, and people-watching. You can also book a tour in advance (coffee plantation, ziplining, chocolate museum, historical walking tours, etc.).
Day 4: Pacaya Volcano Hike & Spa Visit
Your guide will meet you bright and early to head off to climb Pacaya Volcano. Set in its own National Park, Pacaya is a volcano with 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 hike takes about 2 hours to the top with a moderate difficulty, depending on your group's fitness. Horses are an option for those who would rather enjoy a more relaxed trip to the top of the volcano.
After summiting, you'll enjoy a freshly prepared picnic lunch and roast marshmallows on the natural heat from the volcano. Our hike down brings you across the remaining dried lava fields and through Pacaya’s lush and lesser known forests and farmland. After the descent, you'll head to a nearby thermal spa whose natural springs are heated by the linked underground activity generated by Pacaya Volcano itself.
You'll start your spa day with a “Thermal Circuit”, consisting of immersing the body for short periods of time in natural thermal pools that varies from hot to cold temperatures (24°C to 41°C). 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 therapy will come to an end with a relaxing 25-minute massage. Afterwards, you will have plenty of time to return to the natural swimming pools and enjoy a snack and/or fruit smoothie. You will return to Antigua later in the evening between 7-9 pm, depending on the group.
Day 5: Antigua - Chocomuseo and free time
This morning you will have a Bean to Bar Chocolate workshop at Chocomuseo. The highlights of this local experience are:
- Learning the complete chocolate making process, starting from the cacao tree
- Prepare and try Mayan traditional cacao drinks
- Make your own custom chocolates to take with you
In the afternoon you have the choice 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. This is a great spot for a happy hour cocktail at sunset.
Day 6: Antigua to Lake Atitlán
This morning you will have a private transfer to Lake Atitlán, an approximate 2.5-hour drive. Some of the morning will be spent on the Pan American Highway that is known as the part of a network of roads stretching from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Ushuaia, Argentina. As you get closer Atitlán, keep an eye out for views from above the lake.
Once you arrive to Panajachel, the main town on Lake Atitlán, you will start a village tour via boat with a local guide. The lake consists of many smaller Mayan villages, a few of which you'll visit to get a closer look into the local arts, traditions, and stories. Highlights include visiting a local women's weaving co-op, seeing a shrine of the infamous "Maximón" Mayan saint, and a picturesque boat rides during the tour.
Your guide will give you time during the tour to stop for lunch, or you can wait to eat at the hotel later that afternoon. After wrapping up the tour, you'll check into a lakeside accommodation and enjoy the rest of the afternoon at your leisure.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 7: Lake Atitlán (Free Day)
Today you have free to explore and enjoy the beautiful Lake Atitlán. You can choose to relax on the grounds of the hotel or explore some of the other surrounding villages. The hotel offers kayaks, swimming, and other water sports, and the public boats can take you around the lake. Other specific tours are also available for booking in advance.
Day 8: Kayaking and Hiking at Lake Atitlán
After breakfast, your guide will meet you for today's adventure. In the first part of the kayaking tour, your paddle will take you westward along the north shore of Atitlán for 1.5-2 hours, passing by tiny villages perched on the sides of the sheer ridges that rise up from the azure waters of the lake. There are opportunities to stop for a dip and/or cliff jump, depending on weather and speed of the kayak group. You'll eventually arrive between the villages of Tzununá and San Marcos La Laguna where you will trade kayaks for daypacks and hiking shoes.
The lake trail that connects village to village will treat you to spectacular views of volcanoes San Pedro, Tolimán, and Atitlán. You'll pass through small villages as we follow the shoreline for approximately 1.5 hours, eventually returning back to the hotel. After a hearty lunch, you have the afternoon free to relax.
Day 9: Lake Atitlán to Antigua: Iximche Ruins Visit
You will leave Lake Atitlán in the morning via boat and then private shuttle to the Iximché ruins. After a short drive through the highlands, you'll reach Iximché where a guided tour through the ruins will reveal the incredible history. Iximché is an archaeological site in the western highlands of Guatemala and includes a number of pyramid-temples, palaces, and two Mesoamerican ballcourts. The ruins of Iximche were declared a Guatemalan National Monument in the 1960's.
After the ruins, you'll stop for a quick lunch on the road towards Antigua where you'll spend the rest of the evening.
Day 10: Antigua and Flight to Tikal
Today you have the morning to explore and enjoy the base of Antigua. It's a great day to buy some souvenirs as you will be heading to Tikal in the afternoon. Your driver will pick you at the hotel and head into Guatemala City to catch an evening flight to Flores. Once you arrive in the Flores airport, look for your name on a sign and you will be transferred to your hotel.
Day 11: Tikal National Park and Uaxactún Tour
Today you will visit the famous Tikal National Park to see the amazing Mayan ruins. Tikal is known world-wide for its impressive pyramids and sprawling ruins. The UNESCO World Heritage hosts a former capital of one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya and has Temple IV, the tallest pre-Colombian structure in the Americas standing at 270 feet (70 m)
You will spend the day with your expert guide exploring this vast complex of temples and pyramids until late in the afternoon. During your visit, you will have the opportunity to see major sites including Temples I, II, II, IV, and V, Lost World, Complex Q, The Great Plaza, The Window Palace, and more. Keep an eye out for 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 ruin site called Uaxactún. The Uaxactún site is an archaeological site and village that has been inhabited by the Mayans for centuries. Today, it features partially restored temples and a small forest community made up mostly of chicleros (harvesters of natural gum).
After the afternoon tour you will return to the hotel for the evening.
Day 12: Yaxha Ruins tour and Transfer to Rio Dulce
This morning your guide will pick you up to visit Yaxhá National Park. The Yaxhá ruins are a classic period Maya site, located between the lakes of Sacnab and Yaxhá.
The Mayan name of the city is evident in the emblem glyph that represents the head of a parrot and reads like “Yax” (Green-Blue) and “has” (water). The site has more than 500 structures, including 40 stelae, 13 altars, 9 pyramids, 2 ball courts, and a network of sacbeob (roads). Plaza C is the only twin pyramid complex outside of Tikal, which commemorates a “Katun” or 20-year period. The causeway lake is 263 feet (80 m) 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 into your hotel for the evening.
Day 13: Rio Dulce Boat Tour
After a relaxing waterfront breakfast, you'll meet the boat for today's Rio Dulce tour. Stops along the way include the famous Castle of San Felipe, an island of birds, hot springs, deep ravine canyons, and more. You'll have the chance to experience a different side of the country in Livingston located on the Caribbean coast of Guatemala, where you'll take in some lunch before heading back to the hotel in the afternoon.
Day 14: Rio Dulce (Free Day)
Today you'll have a free day to explore and enjoy your waterfront hotel in Rio Dulce. Whether you choose to stay on the grounds of the hotel or get out to explore some of the nearby sights, this will be a relaxing day.
Day 15: Finca Paraiso Hot Springs and Flight to Guatemala City
Your driver will pick you up from the hotel first thing in the morning to visit a nearby hot spring waterfall called Finca Paraiso. Take the short scenic hike to reach the secluded waterfall flowing with hot water. You can swim in the cool river and then stand under the hot spring waterfall for a combination of temperatures.
Return to hotel to freshen up for lunch, then take an afternoon transfer to Puerto Barrios airport to catch your evening flight to Guatemala City. Upon arrival, you'll have a transfer to your hotel.
Day 16: Depart Guatemala City
Enjoy breakfast in your hotel (depending on your departure schedule) and then take the hotel shuttle to the Guatemala City airport for your departure flight.